There are lots of confusions about the recent changes that have been announced. Below is the information that will summarize the changes already implemented and are going to be effective in the near future.
From today 19th April 2017
1) Changes in the occupation lists: Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is renamed as Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Similarly, Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) is renamed as Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL).
2) Validity of 457 visas will be 2 years for occupations under new Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL and 4 years for Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
3) About 216 occupations removed and access to 59 other occupations restricted for 457 visa, reducing the total of the eligible occupations for 457 visas from 651 to 435 occupations. 24 out of 435 occupations for 457 visas are only for regional areas.
In addition to the above changes, there are caveats that apply to some of the occupations which imposes specific conditions and restrictions for 457 visa application process and eligibility.
From 1 July 2017
1) The new occupations list STSOL will further be reviewed by the department.
2) Character requirement will be mandatory for 457 visas i.e. applicants have to submit a penal clearance certificates.
3) English language salary exemption threshold will be removed.
Before December 2017, for existing 457 visas,
1) DIBP will commence the collection of TFNs of 457 visa holders, and the data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
2) The Department will commence the publication of details relating to sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulation 1994 and related legislation.
From March 2018
1) 457 visa will be abolishes and replaced with Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. TSS will have two streams: Short-Term stream of up to 2 years and Medium-Term stream up to 4 years.
2) Short-Term streamâ€™s key criteria
â€¢ Renewal can only be done onshore once only.
â€¢ Occupations from STSOL will apply for non-regional areas. For regional areas, STSOL will apply with additional occupations.
â€¢ English requirement will be 5 overall in IELTS or equivalent with 4.5 each.
â€¢ GTE requirement.
3) Medium-Term stream
â€¢ Renewal of the visa can be done and also it will provide pathway for permanent residency after 3 years.
â€¢ Occupations from MLTSSL will apply for non-regional areas. For regional areas, MLTSSL will apply with additional occupations.
â€¢ English requirement will be 5 each in IELTS or equivalent.
4) Applicable for both streams, following eligibility criteria will be applicable:
â€¢ Work experience: at least two yearsâ€™ relevant work experience.
â€¢ Mandatory LMT, unless an international obligation applies.
â€¢ Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold requirements i.e. $53900.
â€¢ Character: Mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
â€¢ Workforce: A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.
â€¢ Training requirement: a strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers.