The Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa was created in 2018 (replacing the subclass 457 visa), resulting in the short-term occupation list (STSOL) being established. The STSOL allowed businesses to sponsor applicants for up to four years, however, they were not eligible for permanent residence via the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS), subclass 186.
In November 2021, the Australian Government announced its intention to improve access to permanent residence for:
- existing Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holders in the short-term stream; and
- legacy Temporary Work Skilled (subclass 457) visa holders who no longer meet the age requirement.
On 18 March 2022, the Government introduced new legislative provisions creating permanent residence pathways for previously excluded applicants.
This article will examine the permanent residence pathway via the subclass 186 temporary residence transition (TRT) stream, positively impacting current 457 and 482 visa holders who supported Australian businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
482 Visa Holders Nominated in the STSOL
For background information on the introduction of the TSS 482 visa, refer to 'How Will The New TSS Visa (482 Visa) Affect My Business and Sponsoring Workers?'
The March 2018 changes severely impacted many applicants (and their employer s ) sponsored on a 482 visa in a short-term stream occupation. Those that had spent up to four years living, working and contributing to the Australian economy now had limited options to transition to permanent residence after a brief period on their temporary work visa.
Recent Changes to 482 Visa Legislation
From 1 July 2022 , employers can nominate sponsored 482 TSS workers in short-term occupations for the ENS TRT stream if the applicant:
- was in Australia for at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 . (Note: the legislative instruments do not specify the applicant's requirement to have held a 482 visa during this period, so the applicant could have held any visa. However, w e are seeking further clarification from the Department of Home Affairs);
- at the time of application, works for a person actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia; and
- has been employed in the nominated position with the same employer for at least three years ; less i f the COVID-19 unpaid leave period or COVID-19 reduced work period is determined. Periods of unpaid leave will not count to the three-year requirement.
Applicants still need to be under 45 years of age at time of applying for a visa, unless they can claim an age exemption.
However, those who held a 457 visa on or after 18 April 2017 and were in Australia for at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021, will be exempt from the age requirement.
Applicants who were not in Australia for a cumulative period of 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 will not be eligible.
457 Visa Holders Pre 18 April 2017
The Australian Government implemented transitional arrangements after abolishing the 457 visa in 2018. These aimed to ensure 457 visa holders could still access permanent residency.
The transitional arrangements were in effect for grandfathered 457 visa holders from 18 March 2018 to 18 March 2022. Grandfathered 457 visa holders are those who:
- held a 457 visa before 18 April 2017; or
- applied for a 457 visa before this date, with the visa subsequently being granted.
Refer to our past articles for further information:
18 April 2017 Changes to 457 Visa Legislation
The government introduced new legislation from 18 March 2022 to keep these transitional arrangements in place. In order to apply for permanent residency or permanent residence visa, the 457 visa holder must have:
- held or applied for a 457 visa before 18 April 2017, with a subsequently granted visa ; and
- worked in the nominated position with the same employer for at least two years ; less if the visa authority determines the COVID-19 unpaid leave period or COVID-19 reduced work perio d . Periods of unpaid leave will not count to the two-year requirement.
It is unclear whether applicants can be under 50 years of age at the time of application. However, we will update you as associated legislation is amended to reflect this recent change.
457 Visa Holders Post 18 April 2017
The recent change in law also captures those who:
- after 18 April 2017, applied for a nd granted a subclass 457 visa;
- have been in Australia for at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and
- at the time of application, are employed by someone actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia.
This covers subclass 457 visa holders who:
- could not access transitional arrangements (as opposed to 457 visa holders pre 18 April 2017) ; and
- hold an occupation that is not on the medium-term stream.
This is a welcome change and improvement to the TSS 482 scheme.It beneficially impacts many temporary visa holders and Australian employers. The changes demonstrate that the Australian Government is heeding the Australian community's concerns and recognises the significant contribution of 457 and 482 visa holders (particularly in the short-term occupations) to the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.