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186186482Employer SponsoredENS VisasTSS

What is the difference between the TSS visa and the ENS visa?

By September 2, 2021No Comments

The TSS and ENS visa are both employer sponsored visa programs which allow employers to bring skilled workers into Australia for selected occupations. Both visas are very similar in the sense that they allow the visa holder to reside in Australia, work full-time and have their family accompany them.

However, there are some clear distinctions between the two, with the main one being that the ENS grants permanent residency whilst the TSS visa is temporary. Further points to consider is below:

Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)

The TSS and ENS visa are both employer sponsored visa programs which allow employers to bring skilled workers into Australia for selected occupations.  Both visas are very similar in the sense that they allow the visa holder to reside in Australia, work full-time and have their family accompany them.

However, there are some clear distinctions between the two, with the main one being that the ENS grants permanent residency whilst the TSS visa is temporary. Further points to consider is below:

Disadvantages of a TSS visa compared to ENS visa

1) Restricted to working for sponsor in the nominated occupation

Primary TSS visa holders have restricted work rights. In most cases, the primary visa holder can only work for their nominated sponsor and in the occupation code they were nominated in. If a TSS visa holder wants to change employers, their new employer will need to lodge a new nomination application (and a visa – if a different occupation code) to take over the sponsorship.

This means that in practice moving from one employer to another (or even changing positions) could be challenging. It is certainly less attractive for potential employers, particularly those who do not have a sponsorship in place.

Dependent TSS visa holders have unlimited work rights in Australia and are not restricted to who they can work for.

2) Must maintain health insurance whilst in Australia

Unless the visa holder is a citizen of a country that has a reciprocal health care agreement (RHCA) with Australia, most temporary visa holders (including TSS visa holders) will not have access to Medicare.

TSS visa holders and their family members must maintain an adequate level of health cover which can become quite costly in the long-run (see here for further information).

For further information on what constitutes adequate health insurance, please refer to our blog here.

3) Length of stay

Being a temporary visa, the TSS visa allows its holder to stay up to two years for occupations on the short-term list and up to four years on the medium/long-term occupation list. Occupations on the short-term occupation list can be nominated for a second TSS visa whilst in Australia, but any subsequent TSS visa on the short-term occupation list must be lodged offshore. Multiple applications on the short term occupation list will also find it increasingly challenging to demonstrate that they are a “genuine temporary entrant”.

4) School fees may apply (varies across States and territories)

TSS visa holders who would like to enrol their children for public schooling may need to pay school fees depending on the State/Territory they enrol with. For example, TSS visa holders in NSW needs to pay School fees (2021&2022) between $5,600 to $6,400 depending on the school year for each child.

Children of permanent residents are exempt from school fees.

Advantages of a TSS visa compared to ENS visa

1) Accessing superannuation

One clear advantage of the TSS visa is the ease of accessing superannuation funds when a visa applicant decides to leave Australia. As a temporary visa holder, they can apply for a superannuation payment when their visa expires (or when they have requested for the cancellation of the temporary visa).

This process can be completed simply through the ATO website once certain requirements have been met.

2) No age limitation

Unlike the ENS, there is no age limitation on this visa. TSS visa are therefore suitable for people who are over the age of 45 and would like to work in Australia. There may be options for permanent residency through the ENS visa for high income earners.

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Subclass 186) visa

The ENS visa is a permanent residency visa. Like the TSS visa, it allows the holder to live and work in Australia, but with less restrictions.

There are two main streams for the ENS visa, 1) the Temporary Resident Transitional (TRT) stream and 2) the Direct Entry (DE) stream.

The TRT stream is for TSS visa holders who have worked for their sponsor for 3 years in an occupation that’s on the medium to long-term list. The DE stream is for someone who has a positive skills assessment and 3 years of overall experience related to the position (not just with the sponsor). The position must also be on the medium to long-term list.

Disadvantages of an ENS visa compared to a TSS visa

1) Age limitation

To be eligible to apply for the ENS visa application, the applicant must not have turned 45 years of age. Limited exceptions apply for the TRTS stream.

2) Higher English requirements

Unlike the TSS visa, the ENS visa has a higher English competency requirement. It requires applicants to have a competent level of English (unless exempt) as opposed to a vocational level of the TSS visa.

3) Taxation

Depending on your circumstances, a permanent residence application can impact your taxation obligations. We recommend you review the ATO website or speak to a tax agent to determine this in more detail.

Advantages of an ENS visa compared to a TSS visa

1) Not restricted to an occupation or an employer

At the time of applying for an ENS application the visa holder will declare that they will take up the position for two years. However, this is an intention up until the visa is granted, provided there was a genuine intention to remain in the position for two years. If circumstances change after obtaining permanent residency, a ENS visa holder is not restricted to work for their nominated employer or in the nominated occupation.

An ENS visa is a permanent residency visa and the holder will enjoy the benefits of a permanent residency in Australia.

2) Apply for Australian Citizenship after 12 months (if eligible)

Citizenship by conferral is one of the most common ways of becoming an Australia citizen. One of the requirements is to have been a permanent resident for at least 12 months (among others).

3) Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residency

As a permanent resident, the holder of the ENS visa will be able to sponsor eligible relatives such as partners or parents to Australia.

4) Enrol with Medicare

In most cases, an individual will be eligible for Medicare if they live in Australia and have applied for a ENS visa.

For further information, please refer to Services Australia.

5) Other benefits of being a permanent resident

In addition to benefits above, there are many benefits to being a permanent resident of Australia. This includes being able to remain in Australia indefinitely, work and study. Permanent residents are also able to apply for bank loans to buy property in Australia without needing approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Certain job opportunities, or permanent government roles also require applicants to hold permanent residency to apply.

Do you require further information?

We’ve worked closely with businesses to manage foreign workforces and with employees to maintain residence (permanent or temporary) in Australia. If you require any further information, feel free to contact our experienced team by email at [email protected] or by phone at +61 3 9016 0484.

THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. PLEASE CONSULT AN IMMIGRATION PROFESSIONAL FOR UP TO DATE INFORMATION.
David Huynh

Author David Huynh

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