AUSTRALIA: Permanent Residency Pathways for Short-Term Worker Cohort

March 25, 2022


Announced in November 2021, the Australian Government sought to “recognise the contribution of skilled migrants who remained here during the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage them to stay in Australia” by improving access to permanent residency via the Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) programme.

New legislation has now been released outlining the pathway to permanent residency for certain ‘Short-Term’ Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage and 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa holders, as well as an extension of grandfathering arrangements.

New Pathway

From 1 July 2022, a cohort of Subclass 482 and 457 visa holders with occupations on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) will be able to apply for an ENS visa through the Temporary Residence Transitional (TRT) stream. The ENS visa had previously only been available to ‘grandfathered’ 457 visa holders (those who held or had applied for a 457 visa as of 18 April 2017), and 482 visa holders with occupations on the Medium-Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL).

To be eligible for the ENS visa, Short-term 482 holders and 457 visa holders who had applied for their visa after 18 April 2017, must be able to show:

  • they have been in Australia for a period of at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and
  • at the time of application, they are employed by a business that is actively and lawfully operating; and
  • they are less than 45 years of age (unless an exemption applies); and
  • they have worked in their nominated occupation for their sponsoring employer for at least three of the last four years as a 457 and/or TSS visa holder.

Applicants still also need to meet the English, health, and character requirements for the permanent visa.

Grandfathering Provisions

Originally introduced in March 2018, ‘grandfathering’ provisions allowed Subclass 457 visa holders who held or had applied for a 457 visa as of 18 April 2017 to be able to access the ENS program regardless of occupation list, and with a higher age-cut off.

The original provisions ended on 18 March 2022, but the new legislation allows for an extension to increase access to the program and to cover applicants currently in the Administrative Appeal process.

The ‘grandfathered’ cohort of legacy 457 visa holders can still access the ENS TRT program by demonstrating that they:

  • are less than 50 years of age (unless an exemption applies); and
  • have worked in their nominated occupation for their sponsoring employer for at least two of the last three years as a 457 and/or TSS visa holder.

The sponsoring business must still be actively and lawfully operating, and applicants still also need to meet the English, health, and character requirements for the permanent visa.

Benefit to Business

Allowing for a greater sense of stability and security, the new legislation will assist businesses and employees in short-term occupations to effectively plan for the future.

Newland Chase will work with businesses to identify potentially eligible employees, and identify the best way forward. A webinar explaining the changes and affects on employers and employees will be held in the coming weeks.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this announcement and how it affects you or your business, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an enquiry here.

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 Case for any case- or company-specific assessments.