Australian immigration changes – new visas and their impact on Australian immigration

The Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa (Subclass 482), the effect on GSM visas and the Global Talent Visa scheme

A lot has been happening in Australian immigration in 2018. It has started with the skilled list for the Subclass 189 being amended. Some of the states & territories followed and their Subclass 190 & 489 visas have consequently been effected.

Most significant of all is that as fo 18th March, 2018 the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa has been replaced by the  Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa (Subclass 482).

The changes and differences between the Subclass 457 & Subclass 482 are significant. We wont attempt to address them all here but will highlight some key points and how these changes may effect your plans and reinforce the importance of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa program.

GSM Visa program

The GSM program has remained intact. It significance is shown by the figures below:

  1.  Subclass 189: 176 occupations remain eligible for this visa
  2. Subclass 190: 416 skilled occupations remain eligible for this visa program
  3.  Subclass 489:
    • 475 skilled occupations remain eligible for the State Territory nominated 489 visa program OR
    • 176 occupations remain eligible for the Family Nominated 489 visa programme

Temporary Employer sponsored visas – new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) 

As mentioned the temporary Employer Sponsored visa (Subclass 457) has been replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482).

Whilst the Subclass 457 could be granted up to 4 years, the Subclass 482 visas can vary:

  1. Short term – up to 2 years if the occupation is on Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
  2. Medium term – up to 4 years if on Medium Long Term Skilled Shortages List (MLTSSL) and a new Regional Occupation List (ROL)
  3. Labour Agreement Stream – this is where an employer has negotiated visa arrangements with the Department of Home Affairs (formerly the DIBP Department of Immigration & B0order Patrol).

Applicant requirements:

  • Work experience – Applicants must have a minimum of 2 years
  • English Language – Applicants must meet minimum english language requirements. e.g For an IELTS test they must score 5 overall, but have a minimum score of at least 4.5 on each component
  • Police clearances – Mandatory police clearances.

Sponsor/Employers:

  • Labour-market testing is required (e.g prescribed advertising standards must be met by the employer)
  • Applicant must be nominated in one of the 509 skilled occupations, unless the negotiated Labour Agreement allows otherwise.

Transitional arrangements – Individuals who are already in Australia on a Subclass 457 visa and need to renew this visa or apply for another visa (such as the Subclass 482 or a permanent visa – see below) will need to check with their employer or Migration Agent what their options are. 

Permanent Employer Sponsored visa – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 visa & Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 visa

  • Applicants must be under 45
  • Applicants must have worked in Australia for 3 years (it was 2 years) on a 457 visa or 482 visa OR have undertaken a skills assessment under the Direct Entry Scheme
  • Applicants must have at least 3 years work experience
  • Applicants occupation must be on the:
    • MLTSSL for Subclass 186 visas (208 occupations)
    • MLTSSL or ROL list for Subclass 187 (673 occupations)

What are the key takeaways about these changes?

  •  It is more difficult to obtain a visa for Australia under both employer nomination schemes –  temporary and permanent residence. e.g Labour Market testing is required for almost all applications under the TSS visa. This wasn’t the case previously.
  • Students hoping to transfer onto an employer sponsored visa must have at least 2 years experience in the occupation for a temporary visa, or 3 years for a permanent employer visa.
  • Skilled applicants wanting to obtain permanent residency need to be under 45 years – unless some very limited exemptions are met.
  • If an applicant or their spouse is eligible for a GSM visa – 189/190/489 – then it is likely to be their best long term option to migrate to Australia permanently

Final comments

These changes have been a long time coming and even before the details were laid out, they have been widely criticised by the business community. They see this as as a significant disadvantage to recruiting, employing and incentivising skilled migrants to fill positions in Australia.

With this is mind, employers will be forced to look closer at the Australia employment market to fill their workforce needs. This will advantage applicants who hold a GSM visa or intend to apply for a GSM visa.

Global Talent Scheme 

In addition to the above there will be further changes to the Australian immigration program. The Department of Home Affairs have flagged a new scheme known as the Global Talent Scheme. This is a  pilot programme aimed at attracting high-income employees and tech specialists.  It is hoped it will alleviate some of the concerns from employers in Australia that they will miss out of skills need to grow their business due to the restrictions in the new Subclass 482 visa.

It will allow eligible established business and start-up companies seeking talent in STEM fields like biomedicine and agricultural technology to sponsor foreign nationals on a temporary residency basis, as well as offering a pathway to permanent residency. The scheme is due to commence on 1st July. As details emerge we will release them here.

 

If you would like to discuss your options – whether you would be eligible –  then please  Contact Us.

 

Australian skilled visas – Removed occupations from 1st July 2017

List of removed occupations

In the first of a number of blogs posts discussing the 1st July 2017 changes, please see below details of the occupations removed as an eligible skilled occupation.

Skilled Migration

Occupations entirely removed from the list of eligible skilled occupations on 1 July 2017 are listed below. Nine of these were eligible for 457 and 186 visas on 19 April 2017.

Equipment Hire Manager^149915
Fleet Manager^149411
Picture Framer^394212
Property Manager^612112
Psychotherapist^272314
Real Estate Agent Principal^612113
Real Estate Agent^612114
Real Estate Agent Representative^612115
Ship’s Engineer231212
Ship’s Master231213
Ship’s Officer231214
University Tutor^242112

If this affects your eligibility, and you would like to discuss if have alternative options then please Contact Us.

 

Changes to Subclass 457 visas, occupation lists and GSM visas

One Step Ahead – Subclass 457 visas

One Step Ahead - Subclass 457 visas

One Step Ahead – Subclass 457 visas

More often than not there are delays for businesses that use Australian employer sponsored visas such as the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visas for the first time. The key to minimising the chance of delays is for the business to understand the immigration aspects of setting up overseas. As failure to do so can be costly.

The good news is that most companies do consider these immigration issues, it is just that they are often not considered early in the planning for overseas expansion.

Rightfully so the primary and initial focus for these businesses seems to be on other issues. issues such as market research, pitching for work, obtaining patents or distribution rights, or doing their homework on organisational matters such as office location, suppliers, staff, logistics and all the other set up steps that need to be done.

However when a business calls me for assistance with subclass 457 visas late in the planning process this is where the first cracks will appear in their plans. The most common outcome of this type of conversation is that I inform the business that there will be a delay for both the business and employees to get the approval and work visas they need.

In my experience the results of these delays are as simple as staff being unable to start work when planned, to businesses losing their preferred office location, businesses occurring costs not budgeted for as staff have to undertake unplanned trips in and out of the country while waiting on work visas, businesses being compromised when tendering for work and blown budgets as they have to seek additional advice from lawyers and accountants that they had not considered.

From an employee perspective there are also problems. One of the most difficult issues I have dealt with was a staff member that was unable to get a visa because they did n’t meet the skills or education level that was required. What compounded this was the employee was integral to the overseas start-up process and had travelled to Australia numerous times to put into place all the pieces that were required to get the business up and running and had been appointed to run the business in Australia. So whilst an early phone call may not have changed the outcome it would have made it easier to manage a compromising and difficult situation.

However the most potentially significant issue that I have seen from a lack of immigration planning was a business receiving a warning from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) before any documents had even been lodged. This was the result of a business deciding to allow staff to fly in and out of Australia on a business tourist visa (which does not allow work) to provide services for a client instead of taking the time, effort and money to ensure they complied with Australia immigration and employment laws and obtain the right visa from the start. So whilst this business had a successful outcome and their staff got the visa they needed, it was the lack of foresight to try and understand what was required early on that meant their Australian plans were almost finished before they got started. It also meant they were subjected to an immigration audit within 12 months of establishing themselves in Australia which cost the business time and money.

Having said this I should outline some, but not all, of the immigration related considerations businesses need to consider when planning their overseas expansion. As ultimately these considerations will affect how business and employees can apply for visas, what businesses and employees need to prepare and provide from a documentation perspective and what obligations businesses must comply with on a long term basis. These planning issues include:

  •  Will you be an overseas business operating in Australia? Or will you be registering a local company?
  • Are the positions you wish to employ foreign staff in recognised as skilled positions for visa purposes?
  • Are there any licensing or registration restrictions that employees must meet in order to be granted a visa?
  • Do these staff members have the experience and qualifications they need to get a visa?
  • Are there any personal or family issues that will restrict an employee or family member from obtaining a visa?
  • What salary package will you be offering to these employees?
  • Will this salary package meet what is considered Australian market rates?
  • Will their contract comply with Australian employment requirements?
  • Do you intend to employ and train Australian staff?
  • Are you aware of the employer sponsorship obligations you have to meet as a sponsor of foreign nationals in Australia? Are these incorporated in your contract with them?
  • Can we sponsor our staff to stay permanently in Australia?

As you will see from the above questions there is a great deal of overlap with general business planning issues, but being aware of these changes the context of your research and any business agreements you enter it with clients, suppliers and service providers and allows you to stay one step ahead in being successful.