On 18 April 2017, the Turnbull Government announced significant changes to the employer sponsored visas including replacement of the subclass 457 visa with a Temporary Skills Shortage 482 Visa subclass (TSS) and changes to the eligibility for permanent residence of 457 visa holders.
The major changes from 18 April 2017 are:
- Reduction in the number of occupations available to employers wanting to sponsor a 457 visa worker, and the splitting of the remaining occupations into two distinct lists, with different eligibility criteria.
- Perth metropolitan area is no longer included as a ‘regional’ area for RSMS purposes
- Significant changes have been introduced to the 4020 Public Interest Criteria.
4020 can result in the refusal of a visa if false or misleading information is provided. Previously the Department of Immigration looked at information provided in either:
- The current application being processed; or
- A visa which has been held by the applicant within the last 12 months; or
- An application which has been refused in the last 3 years
The changes will mean that an application can be refused if false or misleading information is provided for visas held or visas applied for within the last 10 years.
- Identity – a new visa condition, 8304, will require a visa holder to maintain a single official identity post grant when dealing with Australian State, Territory and Federal Governments. It is a breach of the visa condition if the person doesn’t do this and the visa can be cancelled. The intention of this change is to reduce the risk of identity fraud. If the visa holder changes a name, they will need to notify the relevant Australian government agencies they deal with as soon as practicable.
- Health debt – a new visa condition 8602 will be introduced on all temporary visa applications. A visa won’t be granted if a person has an outstanding health debt. The person may enter into an arrangement to pay it off or show compelling circumstances but this is being used to alleviate costs to the public health system where a person was able to obtain treatment without paying and having no consequences.
- Character – broadening powers to cancel visas to prohibit activities which endanger or threaten individuals.
Transitional Arrangements of 457 and 482 to Permanent Residence under ENS and RSMS Visa Applications
If you held a 457 visa or had applied for a 457 on or before the 18th April 2017 you still have the opportunity to apply for Permanent Residence under ENS or RSMS, under the two-year pathway
What are the eligibility requirements?
If you held a subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017 and continue to hold this visa or a 457, TSS, or related bridging visa at the time of application for ENS or RSMS then you can still apply for permanent residency even if your sponsor has changed.
If you lodged a subclass 457 visa application on or before 18 April 2017 which was subsequently granted and continue to hold this visa or a 457, TSS visa or related bridging visa at the time of application then you can still apply for PR even if your sponsor has changed.
Temporary Residence Transition Requirements which apply:
Whichever occupation you held for your 457 visa on 18th April 2017 or had applied for prior to 18th April 2017, will be eligible for permanent residency regardless of which current occupation list your occupation is on.
The age requirement will remain at ‘under’ 50 years of age with existing age exemptions still available, and the minimum period an applicant is required to have been sponsored in their nominated occupation with the same employer as the holder of a subclass 457 or TSS visa will remain at two years.
All other applicants
Visa holders who applied for a 457 visa after 18th April 2017 or a 482 visa from 17 March 2018, then the new requirements apply for ENS (e.g. Occupation must be on the MLTSSL list, age requirements of under 45 years and three -year transitional period).