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New 457 Changes

New 457 Changes

Do you plan to employ migrant staff?

In this article we’ll cover how the latest announced changes to the 457 visa scheme affect you. The main changes are to the list of eligible occupations, English language requirements and training benchmarks. Let’s have a look at each in turn.

1. Eligible occupations

The list of eligible occupations has been revised – a number have been removed and new occupations have been added.

A range of Medium and Long Term Strategic Skilled List (MLTSSL) jobs have been added including biochemist, biotechnologist, food technologist, microbiologist, life scientist, geophysicist and petroleum engineer.

Twenty two Short Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) occupations have been added including artistic directors, music directors and professionals, dress makers and tailors, airplane and helicopter pilots, flying instructors and aircraft maintenance positions, R&D Manager and IT/ICT positions.

Two occupations have been moved from the medium to short-term list including anesthetist and productions manager (mining), while twenty three occupations have moved from the short to medium-term list including certain engineering, executive and management, chemist, environmental, university and IT/ICT occupations.

Twenty occupations have been removed from the eligible list including psychotherapist, real estate, university tutoring and shipping occupations.

For the full list, visit:

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00848

It’s important to remember that this new list applies to all applications made on or after July 1st 2017 or being considered as of July 1st 2017. Current 457 holders will not be affected by the change. The current occupation list will be updated again on January 1st, 2018.

Visa validity

Visas are valid for 4 years if the occupation is listed on the MLTSSL. There is also no limit to renewals and applicants have a pathway to permanent residence.

Visas are valid for 2 years if they are not on the MLTSSL. One renewal is allowed and there is no pathway to permanent residence. Visas on the STSOL may be granted for up to 4 years if requested by the sponsor and required to meet international trade obligations.

2. English language proficiency

Applicants need to prove their English proficiency using an approved English language test such as International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test and achieve an overall band score of 5.0, with 4.5 for each component. Test results must be lodged with an application unless the following exemptions apply:

  • The applicant is an employee of an overseas business being transferred to an Australian entity and has a minimum pay of $96,400.
  • The applicant holds a passport from an exempt country such as the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand or Ireland.
  • The applicant has completed at least 5 years of study in a secondary or tertiary education where English was the medium of instruction.
  • The nominated occupation will be performed at a diplomatic or consular mission in Australia.

3. Skills assessment and training

The skills assessment program has been updated to include additional nationalities for certain occupations. Training standards have also been tightened and sponsors who have been trading for 12 months must meet one of the following.

  • Benchmark A. 2 percent of the payroll must be put into a training fund.
  • Benchmark B. 1 percent of the payroll must be devoted towards training Australian employees.

For more information on meeting your obligations or wider accounting issues, contact us today.