At the end of March 2018, the 457 visa system used for recruiting overseas employees will be phased out and replaced with a new system. The new visa system will be called the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa, with the official title of sub-class 482 and will bring higher fees for employers and tougher conditions for approvals.
Similar to the 457 visa system, the TSS visa will allow an employee to work full-time in Australia for a sponsoring employer in the job specified in the visa application. However, there are now two options for the TSS visas:
- Short-term visas: for employees in occupations on the Short-Term Skilled Occupations List. Theses visas will last for two years and can only be renewed once for another two years.
- Longer-term visas: for employees in occupations on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List. These will last for four years, with eligibility for permanent Australian residency after three years, or renewal of the TSS for a further four years.
What steps do employers need to take?
Step 1: Employers must apply to be a Standard Business Sponsor. If you have previously sponsored employees under 457 visas, you already comply.
Step 2: Employers must provide evidence of “labour market testing” that shows they are unable to fill the specified job with a local employee. This could be evidence to show that the job has been extensively advertised in Australia during the previous 12 months.
Step 3: Remuneration for the job must exceed either the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold set by the Department (currently $53,900 plus superannuation) or another amount specified by it and must be line with market rates for similar jobs.
Step 4: The department will assess the application, using new procedures which include police checks and an “English language proficiency” assessment (which does not apply to applicants from English-speaking countries such as USA, UK or New Zealand).
It is also important to note that application fees have increased considerably, mainly because employers now must pay a Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy. Businesses with annual turnover of less than $10 million per year will pay $1200 per year for a TSS visa, while larger businesses will pay $1800.
Other changes include a reduced maximum age for applicants (now 45 years), stricter minimum relevant job experience requirements, and employers will need to provide a Tax File Number for each employee.
For advice regarding the visa system changes, please contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.