How the changes to Employer Sponsored Visas could affect your business

Changes to Employer Sponsored Visas

If your business is currently sponsoring 457 employees, or you are planning to sponsor skilled workers in the future, the recent changes to the 457 Visa program may affect you.

The announcement made by Malcolm Turnbull in April brought uncertainty for Australian business sponsors, ranging from small businesses to government bodies, who currently employ 457 workers.

As an Australian employer, which changes may affect your workforce?  

Changes from April 19th 2017:

  • The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) was replaced with the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL). This list will be updated every 6 months.
  • 216 occupations were removed from the list and access to 59 other occupations was restricted.
  • The Skilled Occupations List (SOL) was replaced with the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
  • The maximum duration of 457 visas for occupations that are on the STSOL will be two years.
  • The maximum duration of 457 visas for occupations on the MLTSSL will be four years.

Changes from July 1st 2017:

  • The STSOL and MLTSSL will be reviewed 
  • The english exemption for 457 visa applicants earning over $96,400 will be removed
  • The english requirement for 186 and 187 Transitional visas will be increased
  • 457 visa applicants will be required to provide police clearances 

Changes coming before December 31st 2017:

  • The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will be collecting Tax File Numbers for 457 visa holders and data will be matched with the ATO's records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.

Changes from March 2018:

  • The 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with the TSS visa.
  • 457 visa holders will be required to work for the same employer for 3 years, instead of 2, to be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency through the transitional stream.
  • Employers will be required to make a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund:

             - $1,200 per year for small businesses

             - $1,800 per year or part year for other businesses

Things you can do for your 457 workers before March 2018:

  • If your 457 visa holder's occupation has been removed from the lists, they may still be able to apply for permanent residency through the transitional stream.
  • The changes to the occupation lists will not affect the subclass 187 visa until March 2018. Employers in a regional area can still sponsor employees through the direct entry stream if their occupation has been removed.

At Australian Skilled Migration, our registered migration agents specialise in employer sponsored visas. If you require professional assistance, or would like to know if these changes will affect you or your staff, please contact us. For urgent enquiries, please call us on (03) 9614 0586.

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