The recent changes to the skill lists and announcement of a new work visa have left many 457 visa holders wondering what the future holds for them to live and work in Australia.
Under existing rules, a 457 visa holder is eligible to apply for a permanent residence subclass 186 with the nomination of their current employer, after working for 2 years in their nominated occupation for the same employer (called the Temporary Residence Transition or TRT Stream).
Alternatively, if a 457 visa holder has more than 3 years’ relevant work experience and a positive skills assessment in an occupation on the approved skill list, they can apply for permanent residence with employer nomination (under the Direct Entry Stream).
Under the proposed new two-tier system, the majority of occupations will only be eligible for two-year temporary work visas (with the option for 1 extension), and ineligible for permanent residency afterwards. Only around 180 jobs will be eligible for four-year stays and permanent residency.
In announcing the changes to the migration program, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and immigration minister Peter Dutton said people currently on 457 visas would have their conditions “grandfathered”, implying that their current visas would be subject to some transitional arrangement but the details of this are unknown.
We understand that there will be a grace period for people currently on 457s to apply for permanent residency. The changes to residency eligibility will not commence until March 2018, so under current legislation 457 holders should have until then to submit their residency applications. The Department of Immigration has confirmed this in briefings to migration professionals on Wednesday as well as to the media .
“Existing 457 visas will continue to remain in effect until they expire. As is currently the case, a 457 visa holder who wishes to remain in Australia beyond the validity of their current visa, must apply for a new visa before their current visa expires,” a department spokeswoman told HuffPost Australia.
“Existing 457 visa holders and applicants as at 18 April 2017 will continue to have access to existing employer sponsored pathways to permanent residence. Further details will be published on the Department’s website in due course.”
If you are worried about the impact the changes could have on your plans for residency, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or book an appointment to speak with our of our immigration specialists.