January 2018 Visa updates

January 2018 saw further updates being released by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Many of the updates are in line with the planned changes to the work visa from the current 457 program to the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. We set out below a summary of the latest updates.

Updated Skilled Migration List

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in consultation with the Department of Jobs and Small Business (DJSB) have updated the list of eligible occupations for sponsorship. In November, DJSB introduced a traffic light management system to give businesses an opportunity to present submissions on the proposed changes to the sponsorship list.

From 17 January 2018, the occupations of Property Manager (612112), Psychotherapist (272314) and Real Estate Representative (612115) were introduced to the list of occupations available for sponsorship.

DIBP has also moved two occupations from the short term to long term skilled occupations list namely Horse Breeder (121316) and Management Consultant (224711). For Management Consultants, they have also amended the caveat for using this role increasing the minimum base salary to $90,000.

DIBP has amended the caveats for the following roles:

  1. Accommodation and Hospitality Managers are only to be used in a regional location.
  2. Recruitment Consultants are required to have a base salary of $90,000 and Management and Taxation Accountants are required to be sponsored by businesses that have an annual turnover of $1 million.

Finally, Building Associate (312112) and Hair or Beauty Salon Manager (142114) has been removed from the list of occupations available for sponsorship. The next updates to the list are expected to take place in June 2018. Businesses are encouraged to present submissions to either retain an occupation or suggest changes to the caveats when invited by the DJSB. This is to ensure the work visa program is responsive to current business conditions.

The above changes apply to applications lodged on or after 17 January 2018. They also apply to new 457 nomination transfers. They do not affect pending 457 matters.

Lodging Decision Ready applications

DIBP has indicated that it will refuse 457 applications which are not lodged complete. Applicants no longer have the opportunity to submit the application and provide the required documents when requested. Instead, if documents are not provided within 2 business days of lodgement, the application will be refused immediately.

Clients are reminded that documents required in support of an application include financial statements, business registration documents, training proof, employment contracts, position description, passports, qualifications, health insurance documentation and employment references. The only exception to the above is police clearance certificates.

TSS key points

Clients are reminded of the following key points expected to be introduced under the TSS program in March 2018:

  • Mandatory Labour Market Testing for all occupations.
  • Removing the training requirement but introduction of the Training Levy Fund.
  • Implementing auto approval for low risk nomination applications lodged by accredited sponsors.
  • Standard five year sponsorship agreements including for start-ups.

Other matters

There has still not been any indication from DIBP on when exactly in March 2018 the new TSS program will activate. Clients are advised to submit applications (both visa and nomination) under the current 457 program while the rules surrounding the program are certain. The next update is expected to be in February 2018.


Mark Dunphy

Mark is an employment lawyer experienced in litigious and non-litigious applications of employment and industrial relations law.

Kristopher Kunasingam

Kristopher leads the firm's migration practice. He specialises in employment-related migration to Australia.

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