What Scrapping the 457 Visa Means for Australian Businesses

What Scrapping the 457 Visa Means for Australian Businesses

It's official: The 457 visa has been abolished - so what does it mean for businesses and international talent?

The past week has been a particularly significant one for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, announcing that he will be scrapping the 457 visa to preserve “jobs for Australians”.  
Unfortunately, there was no prior warning or adjustment period before these changes were announced. Consequently, there has been much confusion and concern as everyone tries to work through the information which has been made available by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) so far.

Image source: Google Images - https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MalcolmTurnbull  

In terms of the changes to the 457 category, there are still more questions than answers at this stage. The changes announced will see the abolition of the current 457 visa program as we know it.  Based on information released so far, it will be replaced with two new streams (a 2-year and a 4-year) of the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. The duration of the visa will be determined based on the occupation to be filled by the overseas candidate. 
One immediate change, which took effect on 19 April 2017, was the introduction of two new occupation lists.  These new lists will dictate which jobs can be nominated for the current 457 program.  Following the implementation of this new job list, 216 occupations were removed, and caveats were added to 59 other professions. 
These cover the following groups:
  • Group A – caveats relating to work experience only
  • Group B – caveats related to regional location
  • Group C – occupation specific caveats
The caveats which have been added to the 457 job list are designed to maintain the integrity of the program so that duly “skilled” vacancies are met, rather than allowing the 457 program to be used to hire semi-skilled or low-skilled workers. 
For example, occupations within Group A can only be used for positions which require a minimum of two years relevant work experience. 
Occupations in Group B can only be nominated by employers for positions which are located in regional Australia.   
Finally, occupations in Group C are subject to specific guidelines so they will be assessed much more closely by the DIBP.  Some examples of occupations within Group C include: Accountants, Hospitality positions (Cook, Chefs, Café and Restaurant Manager), miscellaneous Manager positions and Marketing Specialists to name but a few.

The New Caveats for the 457 visa-Migration Expert AU
In addition to affecting the occupations which can be nominated by businesses under the 457 program, further developments from 1 July 2017 will likely introduce changes to the training benchmarks to be met by sponsors; tightening of labour market testing criteria; and collection of additional information as part of the sponsorship/nomination process.
According to the Prime Minister, the changes are designed to support businesses in tackling genuine skills shortages. However, it is clear that the underwriting aim is to ensure that Australian workers have priority in accessing employment opportunities.

Although more changes are in store, it is safe to say that there will still be some form of a work visa available for Australian businesses that need highly skilled overseas workers. 

Additional information will be published once details of the amended legislation are released.

If you have any questions about how these changes may affect your current 457 visa and/or application, please get in touch with us to speak with one of our experienced registered migration consultants. 

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