Australia – Temporary Visa Framework to be Simplified

What has changed

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced that it will be simplifying Australia’s temporary visa framework by consolidating seven (7) temporary visa types into four (4).

Additionally, online filing will be extended to all sponsored temporary visas and all Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist ) (subclass 400) visas.

Who is affected?

  • Australian employers who sponsor employees to engage in training, professional development or other activities outlined below

What to expect

Effective November 19, 2016, Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection will be consolidating seven (7) temporary visa types into the following four (4) types:

  1. Temporary Activity (Subclass 408)

This new visa type will replace the following existing visas and visa streams:

  • Entertainment (Subclass 420)
  • Special Program (Subclass 416) – Special Program Agreements stream
  • Superyacht Crew (Subclass 488)
  • Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity (Subclass 401) – Exchange, Sport, Religious Worker and Domestic Worker (Executive) streams
  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (Subclass 400) – Invited Participant stream
  • Training and Research (Subclass 402) – Research stream
  1. Training (Subclass 407)

This new visa type will replace the existing Training and Research (subclass 402) visa for incoming trainees. This visa will include two (2) streams for Professional Development and Occupational Trainee.

  1. Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400)

The existing Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (Subclass 400) visa for incoming employees performing highly specialized non-ongoing work will now be called the Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400) visa and will have two (2) streams – Highly Specialised Work and Australia’s Interest.

  1. Temporary Work (International Relations) (Subclass 403)

The “Seasonal Work Program” stream within the existing Special Program (Subclass 416) visa will be merged into the existing Temporary Work (International Relations) (Subclass 403) visa.

There will also be a consolidation of classes of sponsor. Currently, Australian employers or organisations must be approved as a sponsor in one (1) of the following classes to sponsor associated visas:

  • Long Stay Activity,
  • Training and Research,
  • Professional Development,
  • Entertainment,
  • Special Program or
  • Superyacht Crew

After November, these classes of sponsor will be consolidated into the single class of Temporary Activities Sponsor.

Transitional arrangements will apply to allow for existing approved sponsors to continue to sponsor Training and Temporary Activity visas after November up until their approval as sponsors expires or May 18, 2017, whichever is earlier.

Note also that all subclass 400 visa applications can be lodged online from November. Currently, some nationalities must make a paper application in their country of origin.

Changes to Sponsorship Requirement

Also, under the new subclass 408 visa, sponsorship will not be a universal requirement. If the visa application is filed while the applicant is outside Australia and if the period sought in Australia is less than three (3) months, sponsorship will not be required, but in other circumstances, sponsorship will be required. Nominations will also not be required for this subclass. Instead, information usually required in the nomination will need to be provided with the visa application.

At this time, there are no changes to the most commonly-used Australian work visa, the Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • These changes will impact Australian employers who sponsor employees to engage in training, professional development or other activities outlined above.
  • For employers wishing to bring in people for short-term, specialized work, the visa criteria will remain the same in that it still must be non-ongoing short-term employment.
  • It should be noted that employers who hold current approval as sponsors will need to re-apply to be an approved “Temporary Activities” sponsor in order to continue to sponsor people for these activities after May 2017.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.

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