Australia’s temporary employer sponsored skilled visa program is changing: find out if this affects you

In 2017, the Australia Government announced the abolition of the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa), to be replaced with the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March this year.

Who is affected by these reforms?

You are affected by these reforms if you are a:

  • 457 visa holder
  • prospective 457 visa applicant
  • business sponsoring skilled migrants
  • member of an industry that sponsors skilled migrants

Why are the reforms necessary?

These measures focus on Australia’s employer-sponsored skilled migration programs to ensure they better meet Australia’s skills needs, increase the quality and economic contribution of skilled migrants, and address public concerns about the displacement of Australian workers.

What’s changed?

  • The new visa program includes three options:
    1. short-term stream
    2. medium-term stream
    3. labour-agreement stream.
  • All options require, but are not limited to, a two-year work experience in skilled occupation; a labour market testing; and a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund.
  • From 1 March 2018, the 651 occupations eligible for the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be replaced by 435 occupations eligible for the Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa.
  • The short-term stream can be extended only once and offers no green gate to a permanent residency (PR).
  • Although the four-year visa can still lead to a PR, there are only 183 occupations eligible for PR applicants.
  • For the short-term stream of TSS, applicants are required to have at least two years’ work experience, which wipes out most international students.
  • Employers will be subject to higher visa costs and new training levies.
  • For the four-year stream of TSS, applicants are required to have a higher standard of English with a lower maximum age level.

Need help?

If you are facing problems with the abolition of the 457 visa, or have any other visa or migration issues, please contact us on 1300-267-637 or send us an email at: migration@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au and one of our expert consultants will help you.

An understanding of the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (Subclass 790)

The Safe Haven Enterprise Visa, also known as the SHEV, is a new temporary protection visa that allows refugees, or people found to meet Australia’s protective obligations under the Protection Application Information and Guides, to work and/or study in SHEV supportive regional Australia for a period of five years. This is only available for immigrants and their family members who have entered Australia illegally (whether by sea or air), who have lodged a valid application onshore in Australia, and are seeking protection from their country of origin.

The applicants must meet the health, security and character requirements (via police checks from any other countries visited in the past 12 months though not the country they seek protection from). Only family members who are in Australia can be included in the application for this visa and they must be included at the time of lodgement, and at least one member of the family must indicate an intention (willingness or commitment) to work and/or study in regional Australia.

The safe haven enterprise visa allows access to a range of services offered by the Australian Government, such as Medicare, social security benefits (Centrelink), assistance with job searches. Education opportunities are available for any children, while adult visa holders can learn under the Adult Migrant English Programme, and short-term counselling will be given for any existing trauma. Those who have applied for and been granted a safe haven enterprise visa will meet the SHEV pathway requirements if, for three and a half years of the full five years of the SHEV, they have been employed in regional Australia without receiving special benefits payments and/or are studying full time in regional Australia.

Once the pathway requirements are met, applicants are eligible for different temporary or permanent onshore visas, but not a permanent Protection Visa, and applicants must then meet the further visa requirements. If an applicant applies for a skilled or family visa after meeting the safe haven enterprise visa pathway requirements, they will no longer be under Australia’s protection obligation. Additionally, if one does not fulfil the SHEV pathway conditions, they may only apply for another SHEV or a three year Temporary Protection Visa. However, other family members cannot be sponsored to come into Australia once the further visas are approved.

Applicants must be aware that they must have sufficient available funds to pay the visa application charge otherwise their applications will be invalid. They must also note that they cannot leave Australia without approval from the Department of Border Protection, and they cannot travel to the country they seek asylum from. If these conditions are breached, the safe haven enterprise visa will be cancelled. Travel outside Australia will need to be granted if there are any compassionate or compelling circumstances to substantiate the decision.

To find out more information on the steps required to acquire the safe haven enterprise visa, potential applicants may contact us by phone at: 1300 CORNERSTONE or email: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au, as our services are geared towards managing visa applications and any health and verification requirements foreign applicants may need to undertake, thus easing any sense of apprehension the applicants may face.

Migration Lawyer and Migration Agent – Some Key Differences

Immigration Law is one of the most complicated areas of law. It involves a very complex piece of legislation, including policy guidelines, Parliamentary directives and approximately 150 visa categories. The legislation is constantly changing and therefore it is extremely important that you obtain proper advice and representation to maximise your possibilities to migrate to Australia.

Preparing a visa application requires more than merely completing the required forms and answering questions. Appropriate qualification of your representative and experience may prove critical in the preparation of a quality application and submissions to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and in turn the success of such application.

As the decision to migrate to Australia is life changing and costly, it is important that you engage the most qualified professional in the area.

Whilst Immigration Lawyers are also registered as Migration Agents, not all Migration Agents are Immigration Lawyers.

The key difference between an Immigration Lawyer and a Migration Agent is that an Immigration Lawyer must meet more rigorous professional standards and a higher level of continuing practical development and supervision. A Lawyer’s registration with the Queensland Law Society and with MARA must be renewed every year requiring continuing professional courses for both regulatory bodies. On the other hand, a Migration Agent must renew their registration with MARA each year and complete 10 hours of continuing professional development.

Another difference is that your communications with a Lawyer are protected by legal professional privilege which means that these communications are protected from disclosure subject to few limited exceptions. The legal professional privilege does not extend to communications with Migration Agents. However, both Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers have an obligation to their clients to not disclose confidential information without the client’s written consent, unless required by law.

Further, Lawyers, as officers of the Court are permitted to appear in Court on behalf of clients. At Cornerstone Law Offices, our Lawyers are admitted in the High Court of Australia which allows them to appear as advocates on behalf of clients in the Commonwealth Courts as well.

Visit www.cornerstonelawoffices.com.au for further information call 1 300 CORNERSTONE (267 637) for Brisbane and Logan offices and (07) 5538 9119 for Gold Coast Office.