Australia – New Criteria for Visas Now Include Changes in Occupation Lists

What is changing?

As of January 18, 2018, Australian authorities have issued new occupation list changes, which impact the ability of people in specified occupations to qualify for permanent or temporary visas.

Who will be affected?

  • Clients who would like to employ foreign workers to come and work in Australia.

What to expect
The following changes should be noted:
Changes in Occupation Lists

  • Management Consultant has been moved to the Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List, meaning applicants may now qualify for a four (4) year visa rather than two (2) year visa. However, a caveat has been added that to qualify for approval in this occupation, a position must have a base salary of at least A$90 000 per year.
  • Recruitment Consultant has had a caveat added that in order to qualify, salary must be at least A$90 000 per year.
  • Property Manager has been re-included on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List but only where the position will be in regional Australia.

The full occupation list changes can be found at:
https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/work/work/2018-changes-of-eligible-skilled-occupations

Applications already submitted with the Department of Home Affairs in these occupations will not be impacted.
The Australian Government will review occupation lists periodically and make adjustments which will effect the following employer-sponsored visas: 457, 186, 187 and 407.

Transitional arrangements from March 2018 for Temporary Work visa applications

From March 2018, the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa will be introduced, with the existing Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa being phased out.

In the interim, while 457 visa applications are still ongoing, the following points should be noted:

  • Where a nomination for a subclass 457 visa and the associated visa application have both been submitted before the introduction of the TSS visa, applicants will continue to receive a 457 visa decided against current legislation.
  • Where a nomination for a 457 visa has been submitted, but the visa application associated with that nomination has not been submitted, then that nomination cannot be considered, and a new application against the criteria for the new TSS visa will need to be lodged instead.
  • Where family members joining a 457 visa holder make an application to join the principal visa holder, they will be permitted to submit an application for a dependent TSS visa where the principal already holds a 457 visa. Note that in all likelihood, the TSS visa will attract a higher fee, and thus it would be advisable to apply prior to the TSS introduction.
  • Holders of 457 visas who move to new employers will need to be nominated for a TSS visa in order to make the change.
  • Holders of 457 visas who wish to change occupations must be fully assessed against new criteria through having a nomination for a TSS visa submitted and applying for a TSS visa.

Labor Market Testing Requirements

Labor market testing will be mandatory for TSS visa applications, but exact requirements have not been determined. Businesses are encouraged to advertise roles which they may conceivably fill with foreign personnel for a reasonable period of time before commencing a process to acquire a TSS visa. Advertisements should be specific with regard to the position and terms and conditions of employment as these will expected to be consistent with what is later offered to the applicant for the TSS visa. Also, advertisements should be accessible throughout Australia. More details are expected closer to implementation in March.

Salary Requirements

Clarifications are expected regarding terms that are relevant to the consideration of whether salary paid is satisfactory. For example, “base rate of pay” will be more tightly defined as will “guaranteed annual earnings”. It is expected that steps will be taken to ensure foreign workers better understand salary requirements as a measure to protect them from exploitation with corresponding measures to ensure employers understand their responsibilities. More details have yet to be published.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Be aware that these changes as they may impact timelines for work visas.
  • Convene calls with clients to discuss implications once all details are known and be prepared for the changes from January 2018.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.