From March 2018, the subclass 457 visa will be replaced by the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. Whilst there are going to be big adjustments for businesses and visa holders from a practical and commercial perspective, the Department of Home Affairs (Department) has also released information about how the transition will occur from a regulatory perspective, as explained below.
Employers who are already approved standard business sponsors under the subclass 457 program will still be able to sponsor overseas workers under the TSS visa program.
The following transitional arrangements are expected to be in place for nomination and visa applications (subject to final approval):
- if subclass 457 nomination and visa applications are both lodged before the TSS is implemented they will be processed under the current (ie subclass 457) framework.
- if a subclass 457 nomination application is lodged without a 457 visa application being lodged before the new TSS visa commences, the nomination application will effectively become ‘redundant’. The Department has advised that subclass 457 nominations will not be able to be linked to TSS visa applications, even where the nomination has already been approved.
The Department has also flagged that there will be arrangements made so that ‘redundant applications’ can be finalised and/or withdrawn with a refund of the fee provided. In light of the administrative complications associated with the transition to the TSS visa, the Department is encouraging applicants to:
- lodge subclass 457 nomination and visa applications together before the end of February, or
- postpone lodgement until commencement of the TSS visa.
Other arrangements in relation to secondary applicants and changing employer or occupation under the new TSS system are as follows:
- Secondary visa applicants (of 457 visa holders or pending 457 visa applicants) will be able to lodge a subsequent dependent TSS application and (provided they meet requirements) will be granted a TSS visa linked to their family’s subclass 457 visa/nomination application. The period of the TSS visa will match the expiry date of the subclass 457 primary visa holder.
- After the implementation of the TSS, subclass 457 visa holders whose visa is still valid but wish to change employer can get their new employer to lodge a TSS nomination application. However subclass 457 visa holders who wish to change occupation or need a new visa (eg because their visa is expiring) will need to lodge a new TSS visa application in connection with the new TSS nomination.
Given the changes announced last year are now well and truly on the horizon, it is important that where possible, businesses plan well ahead at this time to avoid having to lodge applications at the last minute and potentially being left with a ‘redundant’ application.
For advice regarding skilled visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for Australian immigration assistance.
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