On 18 March 2022, transitional arrangements put in place to give 457 visa holders access to permanent residence through employer sponsorship will cease.
A summary of the two transitional arrangements and their benefits are below.
Permanent Residence Pathway
186 TRT Stream Visa
187 TRT Stream Visa
We have explained the background to these two transitional arrangements below and recommend those eligible start thinking about their permanent visa pathways now.
Background to transitional arrangement 1
In 2017, when the Department of Home Affairs ('the Department') announced their intention to cease the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa program, drastic changes followed. A new visa subclass 482 (Temporary Skilled Shortage) visa was put into effect in March 2018. This left a whole cohort of 457 visa holders (and applicants) who were once able to access permanent residence through the subclass 186 Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream visa who were no longer able to do. This change was due to new eligibility requirements.
As such, the Department released transitional arrangements, which allowed some eligible 457 visa holders/applicants to access the earlier provisions for the 186 TRT stream visa or be exempt from some new requirements. Much of the eligibility for the transitional arrangements boils down to particular dates.
Transitional arrangement 1: Eligibility and benefits
To access the transitional arrangements, a person must have held a 457 visa on 18 April 2017, or they must have applied for a 457 visa on or by 18 April 2017 that was later granted. They would also need to continue to hold the 457 or a subsequent 457 or 482 visa or a related Bridging Visa.
This cohort is able to access the following beneficial provisions when applying for a 186 TRT steam visa including being able to apply:
- after working 2 years in the past 3 years with their employer under in their current occupation;
- regardless of whether their occupation is on the Medium to Long-Term Skilled Occupation list (MLTSSL) or not;
- at any time up to age 50 or, if over 50, meet the Age Exemption criteria.
The sponsor for a person eligible for the transitional arrangements does not need to be the original 457 visa sponsor from 2017, it will just need to be the current sponsor.
Transitional Arrangement 2: Background
In 2019, big changes were made to the Regional Migration landscape, with new regional visas introduced and the phasing out the subclass 187 visa, with 187 Direct entry applications for this visa closed from 16 November 2019. The Department of Home Affairs released regional transitional arrangements by defining certain impacted 457 visa holder to apply for the subclass 187 TRT stream visa right up until 18 March 2022.
Transitional arrangement 2: Eligibility and benefits
To be classified as a "457 Transitional worker", a person must have held a 457 visa on or after 18 April 2017. The benefits of being classified as a 457 Transitional worker are they can apply for a subclass 187 TRT visa
- If they hold a 457 visa;
- after working for 3 years in the past 4 in their occupation with their sponsoring employer; and
- regardless of whether their occupation is on the MLTSSL or not
Importantly, the sponsor does not need to be the original 457 visa sponsor, it will just need to be the current sponsor.
A note on 186 Direct Entry
The Transitional arrangements only apply to the TRT stream and not the Direct Entry (DE) stream. To apply for a subclass 186 visa in the stream, the current eligibility requirements apply.
There is still time to review eligibility for PR
The above two transitional arrangements will end on 18 March 2022, which means that where eligible, applications for subclass 186 TRT/187 TRT visas can be lodged right up until and including 17 March 2022. It is worth utilising these provisions while they are in place and confirming whether they are a viable option for employees on temporary visas.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.