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Note: This content is based on information from the Department of Home Affairs as at 19 March 2018, some of which is dependent on the passage of legislation by Parliament, therefore may be subject to change.
On this page we provide the latest updates regarding the changes to employment-linked visa programs including the TSS, ENS, RSMS and Global Talent visa.
Click on the links below to jump to the section you wish to view.

The much-anticipated new Temporary Skills Shortage (subclass 482) visa (TSS) commenced on 18 March 2018, replacing the Subclass 457 visa program. Click here to get to know the Temporary Skills Shortage visa in detail.



What is the Skilling Australians Fund levy and how will this work?

Two Acts to facilitate the new Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) and amend the current labour market testing (LMT) provisions passed the Australian Parliament on 9 May 2018 and received Royal Assent on 22 May 2018. The commencement date for the Acts have not yet been proclaimed, but is expected no later than 22 November 2018.
Known features of the SAF levy at this stage include that it:
  • will be payable at the time of the TSS (or ENS/RSMS) nomination. TSS nominations (and visas) will only be in 12-month blocks meaning that unlike the 457 visa, it will not be possible to obtain a 6 month or 18-month TSS visa.
  • in the case of TSS nominations, will be payable per year or part thereof and cannot be recovered from the visa holder. It is unclear at this stage as whether a similar prohibition will apply to permanent ENS/RSMS visa applicants, however we think it is likely to be treated in the same way;
  • will be refunded in the following circumstances:
    • the sponsorship and TSS visa applications are approved, but the TSS visa holder does not commence work with the employer;
    • the sponsorship and TSS visa applications are approved, but the visa application is refused on health or character grounds
    • a TSS visa holder leaves their employer within the first 12 months of employment. This will only be applicable in situations where the visa grant period was for more than 12 months. Refunds will only be available for the unused full years of the levy.
  • will still be payable in cases where a TSS or 457 visa holder is lodging a new nomination to change employers. In this case, the new sponsoring employer will be required to pay the SAF levy for any period remaining on the person’s visa;
  • will be tax deductible.



How much must be paid?


Businesses with turnover of less than A$10 million per year will be required to make an upfront payment of A$1,200 per visa per year (or part thereof) for each employee on a TSS visa and make a one-off payment of A$3,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent ENS or RSMS visa.


Businesses with turnover of A$10 million or more per year will be required to make an upfront payment of A$1,800 per visa per year (or part thereof) for each employee on a TSS and make a one-off payment of A$5,000 for each employee being sponsored for an ENS or RSMS visa.



What about the training benchmarks?


The training benchmarks are no longer being assessed as a criterion for sponsorship or nomination applications. However, compliance with training benchmarks may still need to be evidenced for the period up until the date the SAF levy is implemented for:




What are the labour market testing requirements?


Tougher labour marketing testing requirements will be a feature of the TSS such that unless an international trade agreement applies to the nominated position, the Department must be satisfied that there is no suitably qualified and experienced Australian citizen or permanent resident who can undertake the position. Current policy settings require LMT to have been conducted within the 6 months immediately prior to lodging the nomination application, however the Senate has approved amendments to reduce this to 4 months. This amendment will also need to be approved by the House of Representatives.

More information about the LMT requirements in available on our dedicated TSS page here.



What is the new Global Talent Visa?


On 19 March 2018 the Australian Government announced their intention to launch a pilot program in July 2018 for the introduction of a Global Talent visa stream. While the policy settings are still to be determined, the intention is that the new visa stream will facilitate entry to Australia of highly or uniquely skilled talent with the skills to assist in Australia’s innovation and economic development and with a nominated salary of at least $180,000.

It is intended to give eligible applicants a four-year TSS visa and have a pathway to permanent residence, and provide age exemptions with simplified processing.

Initially the scheme will consist of 2 streams:


  • established business stream
  • start-up business stream for businesses operating in STEM-related field (Digital, Biomedical, agTech etc.)


The Australian Government is currently undertaking consultations with industry and other stakeholders on a number of other aspects of the program such as how businesses might be eligible to access the program, and how to accommodate cutting-edge skills sets that do not fit neatly into ANZSCO classifications. 



Business Sponsorship renewals and auto-grant functions


The Department is introducing further initiatives to benefit low risk, accredited sponsors. Firstly, a simplified business sponsorship renewal form will be introduced to coincide with the TSS implementation. This will allow for the ‘auto-grant’ of low risk sponsorship renewal applications. Secondly, in some cases, TSS nominations by accredited sponsors will also be subject to automatic approval. The Department will also be revising the accredited sponsorship criteria to expand these arrangements to a wider cohort of sponsors.



Enhanced compliance and integrity measures


At the same time as facilitating low-risk applications, the Department is introducing several measures to enhance the integrity of the temporary work visa program. This includes:


  • Increased information sharing with the Fair Work Commission and the Australian Tax Office to monitor for incidents such as underpayment of TSS visa holders;
  • Publication on the Department’s website of sponsors who have been sanctioned for compliance breaches; and
  • Longer processing times for sponsors who are flagged in the Department’s systems as having a history of non-compliance or other integrity concerns.



July 2018 Occupation list changes


In July 2018, the Department of Jobs and Small Business (DJSB) will conduct a review of the STSOL, MLTSSL and ROL to determine whether any occupations:


  • should be added to the lists;
  • should be removed from the lists; or
  • should be moved from one list to another.


The review will examine whether there is a shortage in the occupation and whether current and anticipated demand for the occupation can be met within the Australian labour market. Following a round of public consultation, the DJSB will then make recommendations to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection who has final say on amendments to the lists.

The consultation period for the July 2018 list changes opened in 19 March 2018. The DJSB will consult with industry stakeholders during March and April before releasing their Traffic Light Bulletin in May 2018. The Bulletin will list those occupations for which a change is proposed, allowing online submissions in response to the Bulletin until the end of June 2018.

If you would like to make submissions to the July 2018 occupation list review, please contact us.