Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that Australia's 457 visa would be abolished and it would be replaced with two new visas. The visa was given by the government to foreign workers allowing them to work for four years and to bring their family using a secondary visa. However, the announcement of the prime minister has tightened the requirements for visa application.
The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (457 visa) would be abolished and it would be replaced with the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. The reformation of the temporary employer sponsored skilled migration program included changes of terms and requirements.
In the new program, Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) would be renamed to Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) while Skilled Occupations List (SOL) would be renamed as the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). STSOL's validity would be two years while the MLTSSL would continue to be issued for a maximum duration of four years. The occupation list would be decreased to 435 from 651 occupations.
From July 1, 2017, the government would remove the English language salary exemption threshold. From March 2018, the TSS visa would be comprised of a short-term stream and medium-term stream.
The short-term stream's renewal has the capacity for visa renewal onshore for once only. STSOL applies for non-regional and regional Australia. However, for regional Australia, additional occupations would be available to support regional employers. Applicants should have a score of five, with a minimum of 4.5 in each test component, in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or equivalent test.
On the other hand, the medium-term stream renewal has the capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent resident pathway after three years. MLTSSL applies for non-regional and regional Australia. IELTS 5 or equivalent test in each test component is required for the medium-term stream.
The changes were made to ensure that the program met the skills needed in Australia and increase the quality and economic distribution of skilled migrants. It also aimed to address the public concerns about the displacement of Australian workers.
Existing 457 visa will continue to remain in effect. However, 457 visa applicants who lodged their application on or before April 18, 2017 may be eligible for a refund of their visa application. Applicants whose application has not yet been decided and has an occupation that has been removed from the STSOL may be eligible for a refund of their visa application fee.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull abolishes 457 visa
YouTube/The Sydney Morning Herald