The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) have revised the occupation lists for the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 (457) visa, and provided guidance about transitional arrangements and some expected changes to the upcoming 457 visa in March 2018.
January 2018 Occupation list updates
Following the Department of Jobs and Small Business’ review of the relevant occupation lists, the Department has made the following updates to the skilled occupation lists:
|612115||Real Estate Representative***||OFF||STSOL|
|142114||Hair or Beauty Salon Manager||STSOL||OFF|
The occupations marked with asterisks (***) are also subject to caveats. In addition to the above, a further six occupations will be subject to new or amended caveats, including:
- Accommodation and Hospitality Managers nec (ANZSCO: 141999);
- Management Accountant (ANZSCO: 221112);
- Massage Therapist (ANZSCO: 411611);
- Recruitment Consultant (ANZSCO: 223112);
- Supply and Distribution Manager (ANZSCO: 133611); and
- Taxation Accountant (ANZSCO: 221113).
All of the above changes are in effect as of 17 January 2018. Importantly, unlike prior updates, these revised occupation lists will not apply to visa applications lodged prior to the change date.
The Department announced a number of initiatives under the TSS visa once implemented. These include:
- Streamlined processing arrangements
- new five-year sponsorship agreement period (including for start-ups);
- implementing auto-approval of complete streamlined lower-risk nomination applications lodged by accredited sponsors;
- streamlined ‘renewal process’ for existing sponsors – involving a shorter application form and potentially auto approval of such sponsorship applications; and
- new online forms for the TSS visa.
- Updates to occupation lists
- the updates to this list for January are detailed above. However, it is expected that these lists will undergo further revision in March 2018 upon the roll out of the TSS visa. Changes will also be made to the Training Subclass 407 visa occupation lists to align this with the other visa programs.
- Transitional arrangements
- approved 457 business sponsors will be able to sponsor under the TSS visa program;
- pending subclass 457 nomination and visa applications lodged prior to the implementation of the TSS visa will be processed under the current 457 visa framework;
- pending subclass 457 nominations (lodged without an accompanying 457 visa application) will need to be withdrawn as they cannot be linked to a new TSS visa application;
- employers that wish to sponsor an existing 457 visa holder can lodge a TSS nomination transfer to facilitate this;
- secondary visa applicants (i.e. dependents of the primary 457 visa holder) can lodge a ‘dependent’ TSS application which will be linked to their family’s subclass 457 visa application (and the validity period matching the primary 457 visa holder); and
- 457 visa holders who wish to change occupation will need to lodge both a new TSS nomination and visa (and pay the training levy).
- Refusal of certain incomplete applications
- as of 15 January 2018, the Department will be implementing measure that will result in the refusal of certain applications which do not meet a legislative requirement at initial assessment stage. This does not include health and character documentation, or if a reasonable/satisfactory explanation is provided outlining reasons.
These proposed amendments benefit the following:
- Accredited sponsors
- with processing times for 457 visa applications being increasingly protracted (the Department estimate that 75% of applications are processed in 7 months), the streamlined arrangements provide helpful assistance to accredited sponsors.
- extending the 5-year business sponsorship approvals to start-ups is very welcome news for start-up companies who previously were limited to 18 month approvals (and 18 month visas – see below). This will greatly benefit start-ups who hopefully will no longer have to go through the entire renewal process and expense after the initial 18-month period.
- Existing approved sponsors (and ongoing 457 visa applicants)
- after unacceptable periods of uncertainty, the Department have clarified that existing business sponsors will be able to utilise their existing sponsorships to sponsor individuals under the TSS visa program. Additionally, ongoing 457 visa applications will continue to be processed under the existing 457 visa regime. Existing approved sponsors should also be able to renew their business sponsorship in a more timely manner.
In light of the above, we recommend that:
- business sponsors
- explore becoming accredited in order to access the streamlined processing arrangements and priority processing;
- prospective applicants
- lodge complete subclass 457 nomination and visa applications before the end of February 2018; or
- postpone lodgement until the commencement of the TSS visa (March 2018); and
- business looking to sponsor
- or individuals nominated under one of the caveated occupations carefully review the new caveats to ensure they comply with the relevant criteria.
If you have further queries please do not hesitate to contact us by email at [email protected] or phone (03) 9016 0484 (Sydney) or (02) 8005 1484 (Melbourne) for further information.