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 while streamlining assessment processes. Users of the program should be aware that it is highly likely additional 457 visa updates will continue to occur through until implementation of the Temporary Skill Shortage visa.
457 visa updates – transitional arrangements for 186 and 187
Significantly, the Department recently released updates on transitional arrangements for 457 visa holders seeking to apply for permanent residency from March 2018. These announcements are welcome though Hammond Taylor will continue to push for further details to better understand the impacts of the proposals.
457 visa updates – health insurance evidence
From 18 November 2017, applicants for the 457 visa will no longer need to provide evidence confirming they hold appropriate health insurance coverage in support of their visa application. Instead, applicants will be required to indicate that they have made suitable arrangements in the online application form.
Applicants will still be required to maintain suitable health insurance (or hold Medicare where eligible) as a condition of their visa. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in visa cancellation.
Initiating penal clearances prior to visa application lodgement
As part of the 1 July changes to the program, 457 visa holders must provide evidence of good character, in the form of a police clearance from each country they have resided in for more than 12 months over the course of the past 10 years. The Department has introduced a service to provide visa applicants with a letter for overseas authorities, prior to lodgement of the 457 application, to obtain the police clearance in order to reduce processing times.
These letters are only needed where overseas authorities refuse to issue police clearances without a clear request from the Australian government. This includes Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, among others.
Failure to provide the police clearance at time of lodgement, or shortly thereafter, can result in slower processing times for the 457 visa.
For information on how to obtain police clearances in advance contact Hammond Taylor today.
457 visa integrity concerns
A number of new visa conditions and changes to existing conditions have taken effect from 18 November 2017. These include:
- Increase of the period of Public Interest Criterion 4020 (Bogus documents or information that is false or misleading) from 12 months to 10 years
- Introduction of new Condition 8602 which prohibits the holder from having an outstanding public health debt (exceptions exist for costs that are met by private health insurance, Medicare, etc.)
- New visa Condition 8303 will prohibit activities that endanger or threaten any individual, or activities disruptive to, or violence threatening harm to, the Australian community or a group within the Australian community.
- Visa Condition 8304 which requires temporary visa holders to identify themselves by the same name in all dealings with Commonwealth, state or territory government agencies. If you change your name, you must inform all government agencies of this name change, including the Department of Home Affairs, as soon as possible.
- Visa Condition 8564 will require individuals not to engage in criminal conduct. Individuals who are subject to this condition, and who receive a criminal conviction during their stay in Australia, may have their visa cancelled.
These type of ‘integrity’ changes are likely to continue to be made as the government identifies issues it considers to be ‘loopholes’ or open to abuse.
Hammond Taylor will continue to advise on 457 visa updates, including the introduction of the new TSS visa system in coming months.