1. Current 457 Visa Applicants
If your 457 application has not yet been lodged or is pending, you will be affected by the changes in the occupations list.
This would cover both:
Occupations removed from the new list (the STSOL); and
Occupations with caveats such as minimum salary, minimum work experience, position details and size/nature of business
If your application is pending and you are in one of the affected occupations, you are likely to receive correspondence from Immigration asking if you are able to meet the new requirements.
You may need to then provide further documentation or your employer may need to increase your base salary.
If you are unable to meet the new requirements, you have the option of either withdrawing your application or having it refused.
You may be able to re-lodge, and it may be better to lodge in a different nominated occupation.
Alternatively, you may consider applying for an RSMS visa which has a wider range of occupations. The caveats on salary level, business size and position only apply to 457 visas, and you may be eligible for an ENS visa which is not subject to the same caveats.
2. Current ENS Applicants
If you have lodged your ENS application prior to 19th of April and is still in process, you will not be affected by the changes to the occupations list.
If you are looking at applying for an ENS visa through the Direct Entry Stream, you will be unable to apply if your occupation has been removed from the list.
If you are currently on a 457 visa and considering applying for an ENS visa through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream, you will not be affected by the changes immediately. You should apply without delay to avoid the impact of future changes.
3. Current 457 Holders
The announced changes do not directly affect the work rights or visa duration for current 457 holders. However, there are consequences 457 holders should be aware of:
If your occupation has been removed or has caveats, this will impact on you changing employer because a new nomination would need to be lodged.
Extending your 457 Visa
If you are wish to extend your 457 visa, this would involve a new application and you would need to be aware of the following:
If your occupation has been removed from the list or is subject to caveats, you may not be able to extent
If your occupation is on the STSOL but not the MLTSSL, your 457 extension would be only valid for 2 years. Future changes may mean you can only extend once
Applying for Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas
If your occupation is on the STSOL but not the MLTSSL, you may no longer be eligible for ENS after March 2018 (see below).
You may also need to work for your employer for 3 years rather than the current 2 years if applying for the ENS Temporary Residence Transition Stream – it is not yet clear when this change will come into effect.
4. Future 457 Applicants
The 457 visa will be abolished from March 2018. The 457 will be replaced by the Temporary Skills Shortages (TSS) visa from this date.
The TSS visa will have higher requirements than the current 457 visa – in particular:
Minimum of 2 years work experience
Labour Market Testing for most applicants
Higher English for 4-year visas
If you are likely to be affected by these changes, you should lodge your 457 visa application prior to March 2018.
5. Future ENS Applicants
Immigration has indicated that they will be making changes to the ENS program over the next 12 months.
In particular, you will no longer be eligible for either the Direct Entry or Temporary Residence Transition Stream unless you have an occupation on the shorter MLTSSL. You will also need a higher level of English and will need at least 3 years of work experience. The current age limit will also reduce from 49 to 44.
If you are currently eligible for an ENS visa, you should lodge without delay to avoid the impact of these changes. This is particularly for people who have an occupation on the STSOL which is not on the MLTSSL (which is most occupations) and older applicants who are between 45 and 49.
6. Future RSMS Applicants
RSMS applicants are currently not affected by the changes to the occupations lists. The RSMSOL is still the same, and covers a wider range of occupations than the STSOL.
Future changes will also require a higher level of English, minimum of 3 years of work experience and a reduced age limit. It is not yet clear, but there may also be a significant reduction in the number of eligible occupations.
If you are currently eligible for an RSMS visa, you should apply without delay to avoid the future changes.