Last chance to lodge 457, 186 and 187 visas before March 2018 changes
The 457 visa will be abolished in March 2018 and replaced with the new Temporary Skill Shortage TSS visa. There will also be substantial changes to the employer sponsored permanent visas; the Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visas. Assuming a 1 March implementation, prospective visa applicants have less than 4 weeks to apply for these visas under the current rules. Hammond Taylor believes that the key changes affecting applicants expected to come into effect in March are:
- Introduction of Skilling Australians Fund levy which could see 457/TSS visa Business Nomination fees increase from $330 to as much as $7500 and 457/TSS visa application fees more than doubling. The levy will also apply to ENS/186 and RSMS/187 visa Nominations.
- Removal of Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) occupations from access to ENS/186 visa (Direct Entry Stream).
- Significantly reducing occupations available for RSMS/187 visa.
- Mandatory 2-year work experience requirement for 457 visa.
- Mandatory Labour Market Testing, unless an international trade obligation applies.
The increased costs are likely to be significant. The below example models the increase in costs for an employee and partner applying for a four-year Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa sponsored by a company with annual turnover of more than $10 million.
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Skilling Australians Fund Levy
The levy fees will be as follows:
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Only Commonwealth government entities will be exempt from the levy. Hammond Taylor believes it is very likely that the new laws will compel employers to pay this fee. As such, employers cannot pass it on to employees or any third party.
TSS visa application fees
The new fees for TSS visas will be as follows:
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Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream
As reported in our January 2018 update, the government has committed to allowing existing 457 visa holders to apply under the TRT stream for the coming years. However, it is not clear whether the new training levy will apply to applicants in this stream.
What to do?
There is still time to beat the fee increases, particularly for 457 visa applicants. If your 457 visa is up for renewal in the near future or you intend to apply for your first 457 visa shortly, we recommend making the application before 1 March. If you plan to apply for the 186 or 187 visa and your occupation is not on the MLTSSL, we highly recommend making the application now. For others, lodging before 1 March may just mean a significant saving in fees.
If you would like to discuss making an application for one of these visas before March, please contact us immediately.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. For specialist advice book a consultation with a Hammond Taylor immigration lawyer or migration agent.