Indians to be Hit as Australia Abolishes Popular 457 Subclass Visa

Those who go to Australia with a short-term visa will no longer be eligible for permanent residentship.


Australia is another country that is tightening its immigrant visa programs by abolishing the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) and replacing it with Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. The 457 subclass visa was mostly used by Indians to go to Australia.

There will now be two types of TSS: Short-term stream and Medium-term stream. The short-term stream is for employers to source temporary overseas skilled workers in occupations included on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) for a maximum of two years (or up to four years if an international trade obligation applies). The medium-term stream, on the other hand, is for employers to source highly skilled overseas workers to fill medium-term critical skills in occupations included on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for up to four years, with eligibility to apply for permanent residence after three years. Those under the STSOL will no longer be allowed to apply for permanent residentship.

The new move changes the length of visa and also adds certain requirements to apply for it, such as tightened English language requirements, at least two years work experience in the applicant’s skilled occupation, only one-time renewal. Moreover, the employers who hire expat workers on the TSS will have to show mandatory labor market testing unless an international trade obligation applies and will be required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund (subject to legislation passing) at Australian dollar 1,200 per employee per year. However, the Skilling Australians Fund is still being debated in Parliament. It makes hiring expat workers more expensive for the employer.

Those who get the four-year visa will be eligible for onshore visa renewal and permanent residence eligibility after three years under the Medium-term stream and have to show a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.

“Short term TSS visa holders are not eligible to apply for permanent residence,” Dan Engles, managing director, Visa Solutions Australia, was quoted as saying by the Times of India. “The medium or long term TSS visa holder may apply for permanent residence, after having held the TSS visa for a minimum period of three years.” He added: “Unless you (i.e your occupation) are on the correct list, options for permanent residency are restrictive.”

Among the 90,000 people in Australia with a 457 subclass visa, around 22 per cent are Indians, followed by the United Kingdom and China, at 19.5 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively.

The 457 subclass visa was abolished to tackle the unemployment rate in Australia and take an “Australians First” approach. The visa was meant to hire people in fields in which there was a shortage of skilled labor in the country, but was criticized for being easily accessible.

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