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Latest news about changes to 457 visa rules

As of 19 April 2017, the lists contained in these schedules have been re-named:

  • the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) as the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL); and
  • the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) as the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

In addition, some significant changes have been made to occupations eligible for temporary and permanent skilled migration. From a subclass 457 perspective this includes:

  • 216 occupations removed from the list of eligible occupations; and
  • caveats added to 59 other occupations

Occupation lists are already available on the Department’s website.

What if I have waiting for a decision on my 457 nomination or visa application?

If you’ve already lodged a subclass 457 nomination or visa application for an occupation which is no longer approved as a result of the Government’s announcement you will be given the opportunity to withdraw the applications and a refund will be provided.

Nomination applications lodged post the new legislation coming into effect can be refused, but at this stage, the Department will continue to offer withdrawal/refund of fees under policy. This ‘grace period’ is designed to reduce the impact on clients who lodged applications that can’t be approved because they were unaware of the changes to the list of eligible skilled occupations.

Changes to visa rules:

Previously, 457 visas were generally granted for four years unless:

  • a shorter period of employment was requested by the sponsor in the nomination;
  • the sponsor was a ‘start up’ business with an approved sponsorship agreement for only 18 months;
  • the sponsor’s contractual obligation covers a shorter period; or
  • a shorter period is appropriate for a recognised family member of the visa applicant.

457 visas granted on or after 19 April 2017, the maximum four year visa period will, however, only be available where the primary applicant’s occupation is on the MLTSSL.

For all other applicants where their occupation is not on the MLTSSL, a maximum visa period of two years will be available. This includes primary visa applications, lodged, which are still pending a decision on 19 April 2017.

Note: Subsequent entrants (i.e. secondary visa applicants) wanting to join a primary applicant who already holds a 457 visa will not be impacted by this new policy. That is, subsequent entrants can still have their 457 visa ‘match’ the visa period of the primary visa holder – even if this is longer than two years (unless MOFU extension limits apply).

More changes will come in to effect on 1 July 2017

Further changes to the 457 programme are planned for 1 July 2017. These include:

  • possible further adjustments to eligible occupation lists;
  • an expansion of client cohorts for whom mandatory skills assessments are required;
  • minor changes to the training benchmarks for 457 sponsors; and
  • 457 programme no longer excluded from standard policy around penal checks – with police certificates required to be provided from countries a visa applicant has lived in as per current policy for other visa subclasses.

Contact us if you’d like to be updated with the latest news about changes to 457 visa rules.

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