The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, known as subclass 457, is currently held by 95,000 individuals in Australia. It’s a commonly-used gateway into the country for overseas workers. While there is a defininite need to fill skill gaps in the workforce, the government has voiced concerns about foreign workers filling job spaces that could be filled by Australians. As a result, changes are being implemented that could mean fewer foreign workers in the country.
457 Visa Changes
One of the most notable changes to the 457 program involves the eligible occupations list. Over 200 occupations were removed as of 19 April 2017. The old lists have also changed. The Skilled Occupation List is now the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List is now the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
Some of the remaining occupations are now subject to additional restrictions. These are divided into three caveat groups.
- Caveat Group A must have at least two years’ work experience
- Caveat Group B must be employed in a regional area
- Caveat Group C are subject to occupation-specific requirements
The duration of the 457 visa has also been updated. Occupations found on the MLTSSL will remain valid for up to four years. Those on the STSOL are valid for up to two years.
What if I Have a 457 Visa?
If you already hold a valid 457 visa, then you can remain in the country legally until the visa has expired. Once that happens, you may be subject to changes that could affect your eligibility. Additional changes will be coming in July and December of this year, so it’s essential to pay attention and know the law.
What if I Want to Become a Permanent Resident?
There is uncertainty among those who are using the 457 visa as a pathway to permanent residency in Australia. Current conditions are being grandfathered in, but that doesn’t shed any light on what will happen when it’s time to apply again. The government has not provided details on whether current 457 visa holders will follow the conditions that were in place when they originally applied or if they will have to revert to the new system. For some, that could mean going from eligible to ineligible.
The best way to navigate the changes is with the help of someone who knows the system. Emergico offers access to registered migration agents who are knowledgeable and ready to provide advice and assistance. Get in touch today or take our free online visa eligibility assessment.