The Australian government made major changes to its visa programmes last year. The update targeted the controversial 457 visa. During its time, subclass 457 allowed companies to hire overseas workers with specialised skill sets. They were granted for periods of up to four years with the option of bringing a partner and children. It was intended as a way to fill jobs that the local market could not support.
Why Was The 457 Visa Abolished?
As of March 2017, the unemployment rate in Western Australia reached its highest point since 2002, topping 6.5%. This, combined with access to foreign labour through the 457 visa programme, stirred controversy. Locals expressed concerns that the accessibility to international employees who would work longer hours for less pay was causing natives to lose jobs. There were also worries that sponsorship put overseas employees in a position where they could be exploited by businesses, which they relied upon to remain in the country legally.
The New TSS Programme
The government introduced the new Temporary Skill Shortage scheme or TSS as of March 2018. This scheme includes two new streams:
- Short-term – Employers can bring temporary skilled workers in from overseas as long as their occupation is found on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) for up to two years.
- Medium-term – Employers can bring highly skilled workers to Australia to fill critical roles for up to four years with eligibility to apply for permanent residency after three years.
A public business must have annual turnover of $4 million or more and be filling positions that earn over $180,000 to qualify. The company must be able to demonstrate that they prioritise the local workforce and prove that skills will be transferred to native workers. They must also maintain a track record of hiring and training Australian employees.
STEM and tech startups can also take advantage of this programme. They will be required to prove that the same efforts have gone into hiring locally and they must receive recognition from a startup authority.
New TSS Requirements
Additional reforms have introduced requirements for applicants and businesses who use the new TSS schemes. The updates include:
- A more rigorous English language test
- Applicants must have a minimum of two years’ work experience in their occupation
- Undergo mandatory labour market testing (unless international trade obligation applies)
- Allow only one onshore visa renewal for Short-term stream
- Renewal onshore and permanent resident eligibility after three years for Medium-term stream
- Employer must pass non-discriminatory workforce test
- Pay contribution to Skilling Australians Fund
The visa laws are changing. The best way to learn about all available options is with the help of an expert. Emergico’s registered migration agents are ready to help you find job opportunities and more in Australia. Give us a call or visit our website to complete a free eligibility assessment.