A number of changes introduced to the Australian Skilled and Family Visa Program will be through in the first quarter of the year.
From March 2018, current 457 visa holders won’t be able to apply for Permanent Residency under the Direct and Employer Nominated Transition Streams if their occupation is not on the long and medium term occupation lists.
The current 457 visa program will also be abolished and replaced with the new TSS visa program. The TSS visa allows stays of up to two and four years.
The Short-Term stream is designed for Australian businesses to fill skill gaps with foreign workers on a temporary basis, where a suitably skilled Australian worker cannot be sourced.
The Shot-Term stream visa is renewable only once. The STOL occupation list will apply for Short-Term Stream applicants.
The Medium-Term stream will allow employers to source foreign workers to address shortages in a narrower range of high skill and critical need occupations, where a suitably skilled Australian worker cannot be sourced.
Only the Medium-Stream visa holders may renew their visas onshore and may apply for permanent residence pathway after working for three years in Australia. The MLTSS occupation list will apply for Medium-Stream visa applicants.
- Increased Work Experience Requirements
- Higher English Language Levels Requirements
- Mandatory Labour Market Testing
- Set Australian Market Salary Rates
- Additional Character, Anti-Discrimination and Training Requirements
A bill proposing new regulations to make partner visa sponsorship stricter is still before the Senate and is likely to not come into effect until 2018.