There are lots of confusing and incomplete answers to the most common questions surrounding the 1st July/March 2018 changes to the 457 visa. Here are the tell-all answers to the top 9 questions you've been asking, prepared for you by our Principal Migration Agent and former Immigration Officer.
Q1: Is it true that I can't get 457 visas anymore?
No. You can still apply for 457 visas until March next year. After that, the 457 visa will be replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.
Q2: What is the TSS visa? Like the 457 visa, the TSS visa is also an employer-sponsored visa. The TSS visa will have 2 streams, the Short-Term Stream (up to 2 year visa) and the Medium-Term Stream (up to 4 year visa).
Only the Medium-Term Stream of the TSS visa will allow you to transition to PR via the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the 186 visa after 3 years. The Short-Term Stream visa will only be valid for up to 2 years, can be renewed from Australia once only, and will not allow holders to transition to the 186 visa after 2 years (like you can now, before March 2018).
Q3: If I go on the Short-Term Stream of the TSS visa, what will happen after my 2 years? Either you can renew your visa once onshore, or you will have to apply for direct-entry PR visas such as the General Skilled Migration visas or the Direct Entry (DE) steam of the 186/187 visas. As mentioned above, you cannot transition to the 186 visa after 2 years (like you can now, before March 2018).
Q4: Which occupation list is relevant for me? The occupation list for 457 visas are under Legislative Instrument IMMI 17/080. Luckily for you, we have prepared a simple, look-up table just for you for all the skilled migration visas: click here.
*Note: These lists may change further pending the Department of Education's 2017-18 SOL review. We will keep you updated on any changes.
Q5: I'm currently on a 457 visa, my 2 years will be up after March 2018. What will happen to me then? Many people are in your situation. The Department of Immigration has not yet released any official statements on how the 186/187 visas will be structured for people in your situation, so we will post an update as soon as new official information has been released.
Q6: My 457 visa expires before March 2018, will these changes affect me? No. 457 visa holders whose visas expire before March 2018 can apply for the 186 visa (TRT Stream) once their 457 visa expires as per current rules and requirements.
Q7: What will be the main changes to the 457 visa? From March 2018 onwards, once the 457 visa is replaced by the TSS visa, the main changes will include:
Work experience: At least 2 years' of relevant work experience required.
English: Medium-Term Stream requires a minimum of IELTS 5.0 each band, or equivalent.
Labour market testing (LMT): LMT will be mandatory, unless an international obligation applies.
Character: Police certificates mandatory.
Workforce: Introduction of a workplace test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.
Training requirement: Employers nominating a worker for a TSS visa will no longer need to meet the training benchmarks. They will instead be required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund. The contribution will be $1,200/year or part year for small businesses and $1,800/year or part year for other businesses.
Q8: From now until March next year, will it become harder to get a 457 visa?
Depends on your occupation and nationality. Unless your occupation was one of the ones removed from the 457 visa occupation lists since April 2017, or if your occupation and country of passport was added to the list of applicants that require mandatory skills assessments, the other changes are unlikely to prevent you from obtaining a 457 visa.
The English proficiency exemption removal would have only affected those with a salary greater than $96,400, while the mandatory provision of police clearances should only be an issue if you had character concerns.
Q9: What other options do I have now?
If you want to work in Australia, the work visas leading to PR include: 189, 190 and 489/887 General Skilled Migration visas, and the DE streams of the 186 and 187 visas. If you have recently completed a course in Australia, you may be eligible for the 485 Temporary Graduate.
For more information, here are the links to the relevant Department of Immigration pages. Our PR Strategy Session can save you hours of research and confusion. Let us do all the reading and planning, and we'll tell you your step-by-step plan to PR! Find out more.
189 Skilled Independent Visa: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/189-
190 Skilled Nominated Visa: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/190-
489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/489-
186 Employer Nomination Scheme Visa: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/186-
187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/187-
457 Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/457-
485 Temporary Graduate Visa: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/485-
407 Training Visa: https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/407-
Want a clear answer to "what should I do"? Book in your PR strategy session today!
It is a 1-hour session designed so you can find out once-and-for-all your exact step-by-step pathway to PR. You'll sit down with our principal migration agent and discuss your situation, goals in detail. We'll then do all the research for you and prepare your Personal Migration Plan. You'll then have a separate session where we can go through your plan with you. Find out more!