Changes to the subclass 457 visa – what does it for me?

There has been a lot of anxiety over yesterday’s announcement on subclass 457 visas being abolished. We have been closely following the developments and the proposed changes. Here’s a summary of what you should know:

Currently hold a subclass 457 visa and planning to apply for permanent residency?

Your visa will continue to be in effect under the same conditions and validity period. If you were planning on applying for permanent residency, you should seek advice and reassess your eligibility without delay. From March 2018, the list of occupations that can be nominated for certain visas such as the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187), Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186), and skilled visas (subclasses 190, 189 and 489) will be shortened.

Applied for a subclass 457 visa and awaiting a decision?

If your associated nomination application has not been approved yet, your application may be affected if your nominated occupation is not on the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STOL) (see http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists/combined-stsol-mltssl). Nominations for certain occupations that are on this list can still be affected if that occupation is subject to a new ‘caveat’ placed on it. These are new requirements placed on nominations for certain occupations.

If your nominated occupation is only on the STOL but not the MLTSSL, then the validity of your visa will be limited to 2 years. You can renew it for a further 2 years, but there will be no pathway to permanent residency.

Wanting to lodge a subclass 457 visa application?

The subclass 457 visa is still open for new applications. However, you must ensure that your nominated occupation is currently on the MLTSSL or STOL and meets any caveat requirements. The list of eligible occupations and other requirements such as skills assessments are likely to change in July 2017. We understand that the subclass 457 visa will be phased out by March 2018 and replaced with 2 other temporary employer sponsored visas. There will be other changes introduced such as the requirement for work experience, skills assessments, police clearances and English level.