From the DIBP
Do the changes affect 457 visa grant holders?
No they do not, unless there is a change in employer or position (including business restructuring) which will require a new nomination application, and will be subject to the latest regulations. If the new nomination is for an occupation that is on the STSOL, the applicant will not face a reduction in the current visa period already held.
My application was lodged before 19 April 2017 and has not been finalised.
My occupation has been removed. What now?
The applicant is still subject to the change in occupation lists and the application will be refused. The applicant will be contacted to withdraw their application and will be given a stipulated time to do so. A refund for application fees will be issued once the withdrawal has been processed. You may request a withdrawal before being contacted by uploading a completed Form 1446 (for 457 visa application) and/or writing a written request (for nomination application) to your immiAccount.
My application was lodged before 19 April 2017 and has not been finalised.
My occupation has has a caveat. What now?
If your application cannot fulfil the requirements imposed by the caveat for your occupation, you will be given an opportunity to withdraw your application (as above). If the nomination application was already approved and only the visa application has not been finalised, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will assess caveats for applications based on the information already available, and will not seek further clarification on if the caveat applies.
My nomination application was approved, but the visa application was not finalised before 19 April 2017. My occupation has been removed. What now?
The applicant should withdraw the application. In such cases, a request for a refund of the nomination fee can also be requested.
I have applied for or have an approved Standard Business Sponsor application. The occupation list changes has affected me. Can I get a refund?
Can I change the nominated occupation on my application?
No. You may withdraw and reapply however the genuinity of the position may be scrutinised, in particular if the new occupation is significantly different.
Can I can the nominated base salary after lodging my nomination application?
Yes, a new contract must be uploaded to your immiAccount, but this may raise questions unless there has been labour market testing or an evidenced hike in the market salary rate.
Will the dependents in applications be affected by the changes?
No, they will be granted the same visa validity as the primary applicant (subject to any 457 MoFU extension restrictions)
Will the changes affect AAT cases?
Yes, the AAT will make their decisions based on current regulations and will take into consideration recently removed occupations and caveats in their decision making.
Are there going to be delays in processing?
It is expected that processing times will slow down for the time being. Streamlined processing for low risk sponsors and expansion of 457 accredited sponsor arrangements are being considered for 1 July 2017.
These are special conditions that apply to certain occupations.
For example, Accountant positions are only eligible for the 457 program if the fulfil the following:
- Excludes positions that are mainly clerical, bookkeeper and accounting clerk duties
- Nominating business must have an annual turnover of AUD$1 million or more
- Nominating business must have five employees or more
Caveats will be subject to regular review and may be added, altered or removed in the future.
My nominated occupation has a caveat requiring my business to have a turnover of at least AUD$1 million. What period is considered?
From 1 July 2017, the nominating business will need to submit information on its turnover for the last financial year. Until 1 July 2017, the DIBP will use existing information to assess if the caveat is met. If the information is not available, the DIBP will request for the information; the last financial year’s turnover should be provided. Independently verifiable information should be provided where possible.
My nominated occupation has a caveat requiring my business to have a turnover of at least AUD$1 million. Can this include turnover from related entities?
No, it must be from the sponsoring business only.
My nominated occupation has a caveat requiring my business to have a turnover of at least AUD$1 million. Can this include GST?
My nominated occupation has a caveat requiring my business to have a turnover of at least AUD$1 million. My business has traded for less than 12 months. What now?
Projected turnover is not sufficient, but the DIBP will consider exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis.
My nominated occupation has a caveat requiring a minimum of 5 employees. What kind of employees?
No restrictions apply at the moment on if they are full time or if they are Australian. The DIBP will assess this from information provided such as organisation chart. From 1 July 2017, sponsoring companies will need to declare their total employees along with information on the breakdown of Australian v overseas workers.
My nominated occupation has a caveat requiring a minimum of 2 years of work experience. What does this mean?
The applicant must have completed at least 2 years full time (industry standard) work experience in the relevant occupation post qualification. The DIBP will recognise that experience may take different forms for different occupations, e.g. relevant experience for a University lecturer could include conducting research in a particular field of knowledge and/or teaching experience
How does the changes affect permanent visa applications?
Applications that were lodged before 19 April 2017 for ENS 186, Skilled Nominated 190 and Skilled Regional (Provisional) 489 visas that have not been finalised, will not be affected by the changes. Applications for these visas lodged on or after 19 April 2017 will be subject to the changes in the occupation lists. RSMS visas are not impacted as they are not limited to the occupation lists and are able to nominate any occupation that is ANZSCO skill level 1 to 3.
Do caveats affect permanent visa applications?
No, the caveats currently only apply to 457 applications. Caveats that existed before 19 April 2017 remain unchanged.
Can you apply for ENS if your occupation is on the STSOL and not the MLTSSL?
Currently you will still be eligible visa the ENS Direct Entry stream. Current holders of subclass 457 visas continue to be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the ENS visa. Access to the TRT stream is not based on the occupation lists and is therefore unaffected by these changes.
Do the changes impact other temporary visa applications that use the MLTSSL and/or STSOL that were lodged before 19 April 2017 but have not been finalised?
No, however Training 407 visa applications lodged on or after 19 April 2017 will be affected by the removal of occupations.
From 1 July 2017
Key reforms that will be implemented from July 2017 for subclass 457 visas include:
- expanding mandatory skills assessments
- introducing mandatory penal clearance checks consistent with other visas
- tightening existing training benchmarks
- removing English language exemptions based on a skilled migrant’s salary (e.g. if their salary is higher than $96,400)
For ENS and RSMS:
- raising English language requirements to “competent” for all applicants (IELTS 6) – with TRT and Direct Entry requirements to be consistent;
- upper age limit of 45 for Direct Entry applicants;
- further changes to the occupations lists and their application to relevant visas
Will there be further changes occupation lists?
Yes, the occupation lists will be regularly updated.
What are the new character requirements?
As of 1 July 2017, all subclass 457 applicants aged 17 years or older will be required to provide penal clearance certificates for countries in which they have lived for a significant period.
What changes are being made to the training benchmarks?
Policy settings for training benchmarks will be clarified and tightened – types of training funds eligible for training benchmark A and types of expenditure on training that are acceptable for benchmark B
From March 2018
What is the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa?
The new TSS visa will replace the 457 visa. It will have two distinct streams: a Short-term stream (Visa Application Charge: $1150) of up to two years and a Medium term stream (Visa Application Charge: $2400) of up to four years. Only Medium term stream visa holders will have a pathway to permanent resident.
What is changing for ENS and RSMS visas in March 2018?
From March 2018, new eligibility criteria for ENS and RSMS will include:
- an upper age limit of 45 (from 50) for most applicants
- occupation must be on the MLTSSL (unless an additional occupation approved for regional areas);
- a minimum market rate salary: all visa holders must earn at least a minimum salary of $53,900 – that is the TSMIT
- at least three years’ relevant work experience
- a pathway to permanent residence through TRT requires 3 years on Medium term TSS visa
Are there new English requirements?
The English requirements for the Short-term stream of the new TSS visa will be the same as the current 457 visa. There will be a higher standard required for the Medium term stream with a score of 5 required in each test component.
What will change in terms of labour market testing?
Labour market testing will be a mandatory requirement for the TSS visa, unless international trade obligations apply
Jee Eun Han