AUSTRALIA: Further Information on Changes to the 457 Programme

April 20, 2017

The Department of Immigration (DIBP) has released more information about its changes to the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) overnight.

It is important to note that the 457 programme has not yet been abolished, but it will be replaced with the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (a different programme) from March 2018.

457 visa fee increases are scheduled for 1st July 2017.

Changes to the eligible 457 occupations list took effect from 19th April 2017 and are set out below.

What We Know

DIBP has made the following changes:

  • Culled certain occupations from the 457 occupation list. These can be found here.
  • Imposed caveats to some occupations for sponsorship under the 457 programme. Your consultant can provide further information about the caveats.

The remaining eligible occupations will be split into two groups:

  • Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
    – eligible for a 4 year work visa
    – may or may not have a caveat imposed
  • Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
    Р eligible for a 2 year work visa only
    – may or may not have a caveat imposed
    – likely to be updated every six months.

The list of MLTSSL and STSOL occupations can be found here.

Who Will Be Affected?

  • Newly lodged and pending 457 nomination and visa applications
  • 457 visas granted on or after 19 April 2017 may be subjected to a 2 year validity period
  • Individuals lodging ENS Permanent Residence via the Direct Entry stream on or after 19th April 2017 if their occupation was removed from a list.

DIBP is yet to clarify:

  • Whether sponsors with existing 457 Labour Agreements are affected by the changes
  • Whether candidates can apply for permanent residence under the Employer Nomination Scheme (Temporary Residence Transition) stream after 2 years (or will they be required to wait for 3 years?)
  • Whether DIBP will insist on sponsors withdrawing their nominations and corresponding 457 visas for occupations now no longer approved for the purposes of the programme or for occupations where a caveat applies (we are advising all clients not to withdraw yet, as there is potential for change in relation to this)
  • Whether any permanent residency applications yet to be lodged, where the occupations are currently on STSOL and not the MLTSSL, will be validly made.

Newland Chase is currently liaising with the Department of Immigration to answer the unknown questions listed above and others. We will come back to you with further information once known.

For more information about how these changes affect your business please contact us at [email protected].