AUSTRALIA – Legislative Changes Affect Subclass 482 Visa Holders

November 27, 2023

Legislative changes introduced by the Australian Government on 25 November 2023 have confirmed a pathway to permanent residency to thousands of Subclass 482 visa holders.

In a surprising last-minute addition, the Government has also removed many of the COVID-19 concessions from employer-sponsored, family, and graduate visas.

We explore the key changes now in place.

Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (482) visa

The only change to this visa category is the removal of any limitation on the number of short-term 482 visas that can be applied for while in Australia.

While this change is welcome, there is still a ‘Genuine Temporary Entrant’ requirement for this cohort, which must be considered at each renewal.

Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa

Amendments have been made to the Temporary Residence Transitional stream of the ENS visa, opening up the program to almost all 482 visa holders.

482 visa holders in the short-term, medium-term, and labour agreement streams can apply for an ENS transitional stream visa provided they:

  • Have an occupation code that exists in ANZSCO – 482 visa holders with occupation code 070499 are excluded unless there is a specific 186 pathway option included in the Labour Agreement
  • Nominate an occupation in the same 4-digit ANZSCO group as the one on their 482 visa
  • Have held a 457/482 visa for at least 2 years
  • Have worked in their nominated position for at least 2 out of the last 3 years (not including any unpaid leave), on a full-time basis, while located in Australia

All other ENS requirements remain unchanged. This means that unless specific exemptions apply (see below), applicants must be less than 45 years of age. They must also meet Competent level English, minimum salary, health, and character requirements.

Age Exemptions – Applicants over 45

Age exemptions for regional medical practitioners and those based on high income have been amended to align with the new 2-year transitional pathway.

The ‘Legacy 457 worker’ cohort, being a person who

(a) held a Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa on or after 18 April 2017 and

(b) was in Australia for at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021

continues to have no age limitation, however, there is now a deadline of 30 June 2024 to apply for a transitional ENS visa if the applicant is over 45 years of age.

On-Hire Labour Agreement Workers

482 visa holders under On-Hire Labour Agreements have traditionally been unable to meet the ENS requirements as the Nomination must be able to demonstrate a need for the identified person to be employed in the position under the direct control of the nominating business. This has also not changed even with the expanded pathway.

482 COVID-19 Concessions

Income- and employment-related concessions for 482 visa holders affected by COVID stand-down periods have now ceased.

Other COVID-19 Concessions

The ‘concession period’ originally commenced on 1 February 2020 also came to an end on 25 November 2023.

The cessation affects a number of skilled and family visa applicants, as follows:

  • Subclass 485 Graduate and Subclass 887 Skilled-Regional visa applicants must now be in Australia at the time of lodgement, however, can continue to be in or outside Australia at the time of grant
  • Subclass 887 applicants relying on an employment concession period must lodge their application before 25 February 2024
  • Subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa applicants must be outside Australia at the time the visa is granted
  • Subclass 309 (offshore) and 820 (onshore) Partner visa applicants can be in or outside Australia at the time of grant

Immigration Insights

No changes have been made to the ENS Direct Entry pathway, nor the Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa.

There will likely be a high number of 482 visa holders now eligible for the ENS visas, and businesses may wish to put in place policies for supporting these applications, including sharing of associated costs. Please contact your Newland Chase Consultant for further advice and assistance.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.