There have been a number of significant announcements in the past few weeks about the abolition of the 457 visa program and transitional arrangements to support implementation of the new Temporary Skill Shortage visa system.

While the fact the Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP) have finally released updates is to be welcomed, the government and DIBP are encouraged to provide draft regulations and policy before the March 2018 implementation to ensure businesses can plan accordingly.

A broad outline of the new TSS system is now available but much of the detail remains to be fleshed out. At this stage some changes remain subject to legislation passing the Parliament. Until these Bills are debated and passed the final form of the regulations will remain unknown.

In addition, the Department have continued to introduce new criteria to strengthen the temporary work program integrity and we expect many of these changes to carry across into the new TSS system.

Processing times for 457 and accredited sponsorship

A recent industry liaison meeting revealed that processing times for Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (457) applications have now stretched to as much as 5 months due to a combination of staffing restraints, changes to the regulations, and high application volumes.

In addition, the Department's recent approach of requesting more detailed supporting documents to satisfy 'caveats' and genuine position criteria has complicated matters. The Department's approach of issuing wide ranging 'Requests for Further Information' which arguably go beyond the scope of the regulations is worsening processing times and creating an additional layer of complexity to applications... [ more]

Immigration compliance Bill reforms

The government has announced its intention to introduce a new immigration compliance and integrity Bill to strengthen the sanctions against employer sponsors who breach their obligations under the Sponsorship Obligations.

The Bill will also enable the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to collect additional data on visa holders for data matching purposes and enable it to engage sanctioned sponsors under enforceable undertakings to improve immigration compliance... [ more]

Training Levy framework released

The new Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017 will require employers to make a Training Levy payment for each Temporary Skill Shortage visa (TSS), which will replace Subclass 457 Temporary Work program from March 2018, and the permanent Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 visa, and Subclass 187 Regional Skilled Migration Scheme permanent residency visa.

The funds will be allocated to the 'Skilling Australians Fund', a training fund administered by the Department of Education and Training (DET), to support skills development of Australians. Payments will be allocated to State and Territory governments for apprenticeship programs and is expected to generate $1.2 billion over forward estimates... [ more]

STSOL Occupation List Consultation

The Department of Employment is seeking feedback on potential changes to the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) to come into effect January 2018.

Effective April 2017, the Skilled Migration Occupation Lists will be updated every 6 and 12 months. The Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) will be updated every 6 months, in July and January, while the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skill Shortage List (MLTSSL) will be updated every 12 months, at the beginning of the financial year... [ more]

RSMS 187 and ENS 186 processing times

The Department of Immigration & Border Protection has flagged that it has changed its approach to the processing of Subclass 187 Regional Skilled Migration Scheme and Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visas in response to a number of factors in the current caseload. These changes will significantly affect 187 and 186 processing times for both lodged and future applications... [ more]

457 visa updates - November 2017

There have been a number of 457 visa updates in recent weeks, despite the planned abolition of the visa in March 2018.

Many of the changes to the Subclass 457 Temporary Work visa are expected to be replicated in the future Temporary Skill Shortage visa system after March 2018, as the government focuses on increased 'integrity' reforms... [ more]

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