Employer Sponsored Visas – The Past, The Present and the Imminent Futu | AMVL Migrations

2017 was an eventful year with significant changes to the legislation in April and July 2017.  Many of these changes affected business sponsorships for skilled workers, in particular the following:


  • The creation of two lists of occupations that can be sponsored by a business  – one a medium and long term list and one a short term list.  The short term list for 457 visas results in only a 2 year visa with no pathway to a permanent visa.

  • The lowering of the age to 45 years for direct entry ENS and RSMS applications

  • The requirements that all applicants for ENS or RSMS visas meet higher English levels

  • The introduction of caveats for some occupations lodged under the 457 and ENS pathways

  • The removal of the high salary exemption for the English requirement for 457 visa applicants

  • The introduction of new tighter definitions for what can be included in the training benchmark calculation for sponsorships lodged after 1 July 2017

  • The requirement for police clearances for all 457 visa applications


2018 promises to be just as eventful with significant changes due to be introduced in March 2018 including the following that will have a direct impact on businesses wanting to sponsor skilled workers:


  • The abolition of the 457 visa and the introduction of the Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa.  This visa will have 2 streams – a short term (2 year visa) and a medium term (4 year visa) stream.  Each stream will have a specific occupation list and there will be additional occupations available under both streams for employers in regional areas of Australia. Only visa holders in the medium term stream will have a pathway to a permanent visa.

  • All TSS applicants will require at least 2 years relevant work experience and all positions will require labour market testing unless international trade agreements allow for this to be waived.

  • Instead of having to meet the training benchmarks, the introduction of the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) will require businesses that wish to sponsor foreign workers to pay into the fund. The requirement will be $1200 per nominated TSS position per year for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million, and $1800 per TSS nomination per year for businesses with an annual turnover of more than $10 million.

  • A one off contribution of $3000 (businesses with turnover under $10 million) or $5000 (businesses with more than $10 million turnover) per permanent nominations will also be required.

  • Applicants for the temporary resident transition stream for ENS and RSMS will need to be under 45 at the time of application and they will need to be on the temporary visa for 3 years.


The good news is that there has been a grandfathering clause announced that will allow anyone who held or had applied for a 457 visa before 18 April 2017, to apply for the permanent employer sponsored temporary residence transition stream visas, using the current requirements for age and period of employment on the 457 visa.  This means that they can be aged up to 50 years and only need to have held the 457 for 2 years (not three) at the time that they apply.


At AMVL we recognise that the changes in March 2018 may mean increased costs for businesses and could also mean that potential employees may decide not to take up positions if they will only receive a short term visa.  It could also mean that some employees may cease to meet the requirements for a permanent visa. 


If you have any concerns about the changes that have occurred or will occur in early 2018, please do not hesitate to contact us.