Immigration introduces new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa

Finally, the long anticipated TSS visa has been introduced on March 18th and replaces the former s/c 457 visa with immediate effect. Find below a first rundown on the new key criteria and differences to the old s/c 457 visa.

Sponsor

  • The requirement that a new Standard Business Sponsor meets either Training Benchmark A or B, has been removed. Instead, there will be a new requirement for sponsors to make an annual contribution to a newly created 'Skilling Australia Fund' (SAF). While it isn't known yet when this new requirement will be implemented, it is expected to be finalized within the next few weeks.

  • Existing Standard Business Sponsor are required to continue meeting their training Benchmark

  • Sponsors are now prohibited from recovering application cost from employees (such as application charges, Training levy or Migration agent cost)

  • The new TSS visa is available in two streams:

    • The Short-Term stream will have a visa validity of one or two years and is open to occupations, which are on the STSOL at the time of application. The English language requirement for applicants remains the same as the s/c 457 requirement

    • The Medium-Long Term stream will have a validity of up to four years and is open to applications, which are on the MLTSSL at the time of applications. Applicants will need a minimum of vocational English.

  • Occupations that are dropped off either list after the application was lodged, are still processed. Employers will need to specify the duration of the nomination at application stage in order to calculate the newly implemented SAF contribution.

  • The “Australian Market Salary Rate” (AMSR) is the salary an Australian is being paid or would be paid for the position in question. The procedure on how a particular number is being determined will be outlined by the Minister. The Department of Home Affairs will have the right to disagree with the calculated number.

  • The AMSR is only the wage an employee receives. It cannot include benefits, such as phones, company cars, accommodation, etc.). The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) still applies and, unless exempt, the AMSR cannot be lower.

  • If an employee does not commence working with the Sponsor within a specified time-frame, the Sponsor now has the duty to inform Immigration accordingly.

 

Visa applicant: 

  • Short-term Stream only: Onshore applicants can only apply for one further renewal. However, there doesn't appear to be such a restriction for applicants who are offshore at time of application.

  • Medium-Longterm Stream only: Applicants may still apply for a s/c 186 or s/c 187 visa under the temporary transition stream, however, they now have to work for 3 years for the previous employer/sponsor, instead of the current 2.

  • Most trade occupations continue to require a mandatory skills assessment.

  • There will be a health waiver, similar to the waiver that was available for s/c 457 applicants.

  • Applicant's in either stream will need to show that they have worked for a minimum of 2 years in their nominated occupation prior to applying for a TSS.

  • Applicant's in the short term stream now have to meet a 'genuine temporary entrant' requirement, similar to visitor visas or student visas. Factors being taken into account are the applicant's migration history, the situation in the applicant's home country, the family situation and the financial situation of the applicant.

  • There are extended cancellation provisions under the TSS program. The minister will now be able to consider whether the applicant had a genuine intention to commence work in the nominated position, whether the nomination was genuine or whether the situation has changed after visa grant.

  • The requirement to maintain health insurance for all applicants remains in place

 

Please note some of the new regulations (such as the SAF) have not yet been finalized. Above analysis, therefore, doesn't aim to be migration advice but is only a brief overview of the new TSS program, that has now replaced the old s/c 457 visa program.

If you require advice on your visa situation feel free to contact us for a consultation.