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The controversial employer-sponsored 457 visa program has been abolished after the long-awaited legislation replaces it with a new visa program known as Temporary Skill Shortage visa which comes into effect on Sunday, March 18th.
The Migration Legislation Amendment (Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and Complementary Reforms) Regulations 2018 repeals the 457 visa and replaces it with the new Subclass 482 visa. The new visa enables employers to access a skilled overseas worker if they can't find workers with the required skills in Australia.
The new visa available in different streams - short term and medium term – requires mandatory work experience besides tightened English language requirements for the longer duration visa. Applicants are also required to obtain a positive skill assessment before they can apply for the visa.
Experts believe many international students will who were earlier able to get employer-sponsored visas after completing their certificate and diploma courses, will find it “very difficult” to get the new visa due to additional requirements.
“Very few international students are likely to have a relevant 2-year experience and positive skill assessment based on that,” says Jujhar Bajwa, a migration agent.
Under the TSS, short-term visas will be issued for two years, while medium-term visas will be issued for up to four years which requires a band score of 5 overall and minimum 5 in each component of the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS).
The short-term stream of the visa does not provide a pathway to permanent residency.
In a major crackdown on the alleged rort of the 457 visa program, the Federal Government last year announced the overhaul of employer-sponsored visas which will be fully implemented by the end of this month.
Mr Bajwa says more overseas applicants are likely to be better positioned to successfully avail this new visa than onshore international students.
“There are likely to be far fewer international students that overseas applicants who will be eligible for TSS. The overseas applicants with relevant experience and positive skill assessment will have good chances of being approved for it,” he said.
Employers looking to sponsor overseas workers on short-term TSS visa can access occupations on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and for the medium-term four-year visa, occupations on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List can be accessed.
The TSS also has a Labour Agreement stream that allows Australian employers to source skilled overseas workers in accordance with a labour agreement with the government, where there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and standard visa programs are not available.