Effective in March 2018, Australia’s current temporary skilled worker program, the 457 visa, will be completely abolished and replaced by the brand new Temporary Skill Shortage visa (TSS visa). This change will impact applicants (employees) and employers alike.
What is the 457 visa?
The 457 visa originally allowed temporary skilled workers to travel to Australia to work in a designated occupation for up to four years. Foreign national employees can come to Australia if sponsored by an approved business in an eligible field if that employer hasn’t been able to fill the position with an Australian national.
What is the TSS visa?
Reforms to the 457 visa program began shortly after the announcement of the abolition last April, and one of the most significant changes has been the reduction of occupations that qualify for temporary skilled worker status in Australia. More than 200 occupations were removed from the original list of occupations covered by the 457 visa, and access to nearly 60 other occupations has been restricted in rounds of changes that began last July and have continued into 2018.
The TSS classification also includes more requirements surrounding work experience, mandatory testing of the labor market (to prove that companies have exhausted all Australian talent pools), set market salary rates (similar to the U.S.’s prevailing wage requirements), and other training requirements.
What does this mean for companies?
The TSS will directly address companies’ “genuine skill shortages” in their workforces. In addition, the brand new visa program will have new restrictions that will help companies prioritize the hiring of Australian citizens over foreign national employees.