Visa 457 - Abolition and Replacement





The visa 457 is the most widely prevailing visa in Australia for Australian or foreign establishments to promote foreign workers who are skilled to be allowed to work temporarily in Australia. Currently it is undergoing the process of being abolished by the federal government that is led by Malcolm Turnbull.

The complete title of this group of visa was Temporary Business (Long Stay) and was brought in soon after John Howard took place of the Prime Minister in 1996. The title of this visa later changed to Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) Visa on 24 November 2012. The applications for this visa are processed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on 18 April 2017 that two new visa categories will be replacing the 457 visas. The visa will be replaced in March 2018 with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS).

The abolishment of the 457 visa follows an ‘Australian First’ approach which debates that the jobs that should be “appointed to Australians” are given to foreign workers instead who most likely are willing to apply for permanent residency.

The TSS visa program will consist of a Short-Term stream for a period of up to 2 years and a Medium-Term stream for a period of up to 4 years, which will assist business organizations in focusing on genuine shortages of skilled employees in the workforce and will consist of a number of assurances for Australian workers to retain priority status.

The new visa is a part of the new reform package of the Government which aims to encourage the honour and value of the temporary and permanent employer-sponsored skilled migration programs in Australia.

The key reforms involve:

1. Introduction of the temporary skill shortage visa with a set of new requirements, which may include but not be limited to:

  • Latest and more focused occupation lists, which match the skills needed in the Australian labour market
  • Visa applicant is supposed to have a work experience of at least two years in their skilled occupation
  • Employers should pay the salary rate ongoing in the Australian market and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)1, which gives an assurance that overseas workers cannot be engaged to undercut Australian workers
  • Compulsory labor market testing, unless an international obligation applies
  • Facility for renewal of only one onshore visa under the Short-Term stream
  • After completion of three years under the Medium-Term stream, facility for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway will be available
  • In order to be eligible for permanent residence, the period will be extended from two to three years
  • A non-discriminatory workforce test will take place to make sure that the employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers
  • A contribution will be required to be paid to the Skilling Australians Fund
  • The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will collect Tax File Numbers and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records
  • Mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.

 

2. The eligibility requirements for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas will be rigidified, which may include but not be limited to:

  • Strict English language requirements
  • Visa applicants will be required to have a work experience of at least three years
  • At the time of application, the applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 years
  • A contribution will be required to be paid to the Skilling Australians Fund, and
  •  The employers are supposed to pay the salary rate ongoing in the Australian market and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)1.

 

3. Availability of concessions for regional Australia will continue:

  • Under the temporary and permanent visas, the employers in regional Australia will still have access to occupations that reflect their skills needs.
  • Concessions that are existing for permanent visa for regional Australia, which may include waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will be retained. Expanding the occupations in regional Australia that are excluded from the age requirement will be considered

 The subclass 457 visa will be included in the occupation lists used for skilled migration visas, from 19 April 2017.

In Australia, a quarter part of the 457 visa holders are Indian which is the highest number in any country. As of March 2016, there were a total of 51,809 Indian student enrolments to full fee-paying Australian universities. India has warned Australia that dropping the 457 visa would not only affect the number of students enrolling for education at Australian universities and skilled employees applying for jobs in Australia, but also have an adverse effect on the trade relations between the two countries.

As for those who are already on the visa will not be affected, the abolition of this visa will have a disturbing effect on employment opportunities for Indian students. Also, the employer organisations will now rethink before they renew their contract with their Indian employees, once their existing 457 visa expires.


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Collegepond Counsellors (Jimeet Sanghavi)

Collegepond is an online/offline-counseling career guidance, test preparation and admissions counseling outfit.

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