2018 will see the implementation of Temporary Skill Shortage Visas, changes to the Occupation Lists, plans to introduce mandatory provisional visas before permanent residency and changes to Parent and Partner Visas.
The Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (subclass 457) will be replaced with Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa
From March 2018, the current 457 visa program will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.
The TSS visa will be comprised of a Short-Term stream allowing stays of up to two years, and a Medium-Term stream allowing stays of up to four years.
The Short-Term stream visa is renewable only once. The STSOL occupation list will apply for Short-Term Stream applicants.
The Medium-Stream visa holders may renew their visas onshore and may apply for permanent residence pathway after working for three years in Australia. The MLTSSL occupation list will apply for Medium-Stream visa applicants. This stream is relatively similar to the current 457 visa.
Tighter Regulations for both streams:
- Increased Work Experience Requirements
- Higher English Language Levels Requirements
- Mandatory Labour Market Testing
- Set Australian Market Salary Rates
- Additional Character, Anti-Discrimination and Training Requirements
Changes to Occupation lists in 2018
A number of changes were made to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) in April 2017 and again in July 2017.
CHECK IF YOUR OCCUPATION IS IN THE MEDIUM AND LONG-TERM STRATEGIC SKILLS LIST (MLTSSL) HERE
Though the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skill List (MLTSSL) is likely to remain the same, the STSOL which is a list of occupations nominated for temporary and short-term visas is likely to see some changes.
Some of the occupations flagged for removal from the Short-term Skilled Occupation List are Accommodation and Hospitality manager, Hair or Beauty Salon Manager, Recruitment Consultant and Building Associate..
University Tutor, Psychotherapist, Property Manager, Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Representative may be added to the list.
It is also likely that Skilled Occupations List will include Airline Pilots in 2018 to address the shortage of pilots in Australia. Following lobbying from the peak body for regional airlines, it has been reported that the Skilled Occupations List will be revised to allow foreign pilots to come to the country on a two-year work visa.
Plans to introduce mandatory provisional visas before permanent residency in Australia and reducing the number of visas from 99 to 10
The Government undertook public consultation to transform Australia’s visa system in 2017.
The Australian government discussed plans to introduce mandatory provisional visas where migrants may need to spend a certain period of time before they are granted permanent residency and also to reduce the number of visas from 99 to 10 to simplify the process.
The Department received 255 submissions and approximately 184 representatives of industry, academia, community and government participated in roundtables across the country, with an additional 60 industry representatives participating in immigration reform workshops.
In December 2017, the department in a consultation summary said while approximately 55% opposed a provisional period, among those who supported the principle of provisional residence, a provisional period of a minimum of two years was most popular.
88% of the submissions supported visa simplification with suggestions that importance be given to transparency around decision making, reduced processing times and a system that was easier to understand and navigate.
The department though has not set a timeline for its implementation and says, ‘This is a long-term programme of improvement to the way we deliver our services. There is no immediate impact for visa applicants or holders. The first step will be broad consultation with the market on the design and build of a new visa processing platform.’
We are likely to hear more about these plans in 2018.
Temporary sponsored parent visa
In the 2017-18 federal budget, a new temporary sponsored parent visa was announced - to be available from November 2017. However, the new visa which will allow migrants’ parents to stay in the country for extended periods has been delayed.
The Bill enabling the new visa to come into effect has not yet been approved by the Senate.
Here are the six must know facts about the new long stay visa for parents:
- 3-year-visa will cost $5000, a 5-year-visa will cost $10,000 and a 10-year-visa will cost $20,000, with the opportunity of a single renewal for another five years at the same price.
- 15,000 people each year will be granted this long stay parent visa.
- Children/Sponsors will be required to pay for their parents' private health insurance. The children will also need to act as financial guarantor on any extra healthcare costs their parents rack up in Australia.
- Those on the new visa will not be allowed to work, however, the government hopes they will take on family roles which would see “reduced pressure on childcare facilities.”
- Those sponsoring their parents for the new visa need to be Australian citizens or permanent residents, or “eligible New Zealand citizens”.
- The visa-holders would not be allowed to reapply beyond the 10 years and would have no pathway to permanent residency.
Proposed changes to Partner Visa were expected in 2017 but it has been deferred to 2018.
This is because the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016(Cth) (“the Bill”) is still before the Senate and has not been enacted.
If the Bill is enacted, it will establish a sponsorship framework for partner visas, placing more focus on the assessment of sponsors.
- The sponsorship assessment would be separated from the visa application process
- Sponsors would need to be approved before visa applications are made
- Legal obligations would be imposed on approved sponsors
- If sponsors fail to meet their obligations, sanctions may be imposed
- In certain circumstances sponsors can be barred from sponsorship
The new regulations propose partner visa sponsorship applications would need to be lodged under stricter criteria and approved before the overseas partner visa application could be lodged.
The new two-step process is expected to delay the lodgement of the overseas partner application and require the overseas partner to have a valid visa until a visa application for the overseas partner can be lodged.