Thank you to event sponsor Tieto Norway and Justin Gibbs of Fragomen for a very informative overview of the Australian Visa situation following recent changes including the abolition of the 457 visa and introduction of the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa.
The system has become much more complex and the changes introduced to ensure that access to skilled work visas is restricted to occupations in genuine short supply and follows the Government’s agenda to put Australians first.
There are two main streams for the TSS visa, a short-term stream which allows for two years in Australia with one extension and a long-term stream that allow for a four-year term in Australia with multiple extensions.
The criteria for a TSS visa now require mandatory Labour Market Testing (LMT) demonstrating that there is no suitably qualified Australian available for the role. This advertising is governed by strict and technical rules on where the advertisement must be displayed, and for how long. Employers were strongly encouraged to seek advice early to ensure applications met criteria. Acceptable platforms for advertising now include job ads posted on LinkedIn but generally classifieds or social media are not acceptable.
Similar to the 457 visa, salary and terms and conditions of employment must be no less favourable than what an equivalent Australian would receive.
Other significant changes include the split of the occupation lists – now the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), the introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy, revised English language requirements, introduction of mandatory policy clearances and minimum period of work experience.
The Department is very keen for companies to become Accredited Sponsors to help fast track low risk applications allowing the visa process to be one to two weeks as opposed to three to four months. For all approved sponsors, there are a number of important obligations and responsibilities and it is very important that companies ensure strict compliance. The Department is increasing its compliance and audit activities and there are also new powers on their way including ATO data matching and ‘Naming and Shaming’ of companies that do not comply.
There are in fact still many different visa categories, 99 to be precise, so navigating the correct category is important to ensure compliance and help facilitate business needs. For example, there was discussion about the different between ‘business visitor activity’ and ‘work’. The recommendation was to seek advice before proceeding as the consequences of getting it wrong can lead to serious consequences and be very costly.