24 January 2018

AUSTRALIA: Update on TSS visa programme 

In April 2017 the Australian Government announced that it would replace the Subclass 457 Temporary Skilled Work visa with a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa programme in an effort to provide tighter controls over migration and hiring skilled foreign workers.

New information has been released on the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa programme which is scheduled to replace the Subclass 457 visa programme in March.  The information made available through the Government’s Skilled Visa newsletter included details on visa validity period, simplified processing measures, transitional arrangements, labour market testing and salary requirements.  Even though many details are not yet finalized, what is available should helps employers plan for the switch in March.

The TSS visa programme will comprise separate streams for short-term, medium-term and work completed pursuant to labour agreements in Australia.  Therefore when TSS nomination applications are lodged, employers will now need to select and employment period of one or two years for short-term stream and one, two, three or four years for the medium term or labour agreement stream.

Some of the highlighted streamlining measures include:

  • A five year sponsorship agreement period which includes start-up companies
  • Auto-approval for low-risk nomination applications submitted by an accredited sponsor
  • A shorter renewal process for existing sponsors, shorter application form and possibly an auto-approval for some sponsorship renewal applications

As mentioned these arrangements are not yet finalized and a transition period is expected in the following circumstances:

  • Subclass 457 nominations and visa applications are both lodged before the TSS programme is implemented, they will be adjudicated against the current criteria for Subclass 457 
  • If a Subclass nominations is lodged without the associated visa application, the nomination will not be considered and will need to be resubmitted under the new programme
  • Secondary visa applications will be able to lodge dependent TSS applications if the primary visa holder has a current or pending Subclass 457 visa.  However the validity period will be linked to the expiry date of the primary visa
  • Subclass 475 visa holders with valid visas will be able to change employers after the transition to  the TSS visa programme, provided the new employer lodges a TSS nomination application
  • Subclass 457 visa holders who want to change occupations will be required to have their employers lodge a TSS nomination application and will be required to submit a new visa application.

In addition to the above, Labour market testing will be mandatory for TSS visa applications.   The details have yet have not been provided however sponsors will want to ensure that they meet the criteria once they are available.  Things to consider would be:

  • Advertising positions for a reasonable period of time before recruiting to fill the positions with foreign workers
  • Advertisements should mention specifically the nominated portion and include the terms and conditions that will be offered a foreign worker
  • Advertisements should be access notionally

Changes are also planned for the minimum salary requirement to clarify key terms such as “guaranteed annual earnings” and “base rate of pay”. As well as ensuring salary requirements better reflect pay differences from industry to industry.  Steps will be taken to ensure foreign workers understand salary requirements making it more difficult for employees to take advantage of them and ensure that sponsors comply with applicable labour laws and immigration rules.

Additional details are expected in February and Team Relocations will continue to monitor developments and will update clients once they are announced.

How does this affect the client?

Employers should familiarize themselves with information about the forthcoming TSS visa programme and consult their immigration specialist to see whether or not to submit nominations before or after the switch.





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