The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has recently introduced big changes to the 457 Sponsorship visa. The programme will be cancelled on March 2018. The good news is that from next year the programme will be replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS).
The changes will definitely have an impact, but for now the Sponsorship programme is still up and running. People that are currently on a 457 visa or have just been granted one will not be affected.
As of 19 April 2018, the Australian Immigration authorities have updated their shortage lists. Some of the occupations have been removed and are no longer considered eligible. Despite the changes however, that still leaves the door open for more than 400 occupations.
Who will be affected?
About 200 occupations have been removed from the lists so far. Fortunately most of those occupations are not very popular amongst applicants. Some occupations such as biochemists, microbiologists and web developers have been removed as well.
Another important change concerning the Sponsorship visa is the validity time. In some cases the sponsorship visa validity will be reduced from 4 years to 2 years. This change will affect people from different areas like roof tiling, cooking, hairdressing, web design and others. Fortunately those applicants can still qualify for Permanent Residence based on their eligibility.
Some of the very popular occupations like – carpenters, nurses, electricians and car mechanics are still able to avail of a 4-year sponsorship visa.
The New Visa Class
According to the new regulations, from March 2018 there will be 2 streams for the Temporary Skills Shortage visa depending on the occupation.
– Short – Term stream, up to 2 years. In this case the applicants will have the opportunity to renew their visa one time being onshore.
– Medium – Term stream, up to 4 years. The applicant can renew the application onshore or apply for permanent residence after 3 years of full-time employment with their Sponsor (Previously, only 2 years were needed with one employer on a 457 in order to apply for Permanent Residence)
The change should not affect applications finalised before March 2018.
Further changes will be announced later on. The most important changes are going to include:
Reducing the occupations for the 457 visa from 600 to around 400,
Experience of minimum 2 years will be required with the new changes coming – until now only several occupations needed experience and the rest were able to apply with only a certificate
Police certificate/s will be mandatory