The Australian Government has announced its plans to implement changes that will redefine the pathway to permanent residency for those on Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) visas and the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187) visas. These changes will come into effect from 25 November 2023, subject to the approval of regulation changes.
Simpler and clearer pathways to Permanent Residence
The forthcoming changes are set to introduce clearer and more accessible pathways to permanent residence for TSS visa holders. This move reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring that Australia continues to attract and retain skilled workers to enhance its thriving economy.
By providing a clearer route to permanent residency, these changes will not only benefit the skilled workers themselves but also the employers who rely on their expertise. The current system has often been seen as restrictive as there are limited pathways for temporary skilled visa holders to achieve permanent residency.
Who will these changes apply to?
The changes will have a significant impact on two primary groups:
- TSS Visa Applicants: for individuals intending to apply for a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) visa on or after 25 November 2023.
- Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Applicants: for individuals planning to submit new applications for the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187) on or after 25 November 2023, as well as individuals with existing applications that have yet to be finalised by that date.
While the changes are designed to increase accessibility to permanent residency for temporary skilled workers, the overall migration program planning levels are expected to remain consistent.
What will be changing?
1. Changes to the TSS visa
- All short-term stream TSS visa applications can be lodged in Australia:
- Limits on the number of Short-term stream TSS applications visa holders can make in Australia will be removed. Applicants who wish to lodge a third or more Short term-stream TSS visa can do so from onshore.
- Short term stream TSS holders with visas expiring before the changes will need to travel outside Australia to lodge a third short term-stream TSS application.
2. Changes to nomination requirements for the TRT stream of the ENS and RSMS visa subclasses
- Eligible visa requirements for ENS/RSMS nominations:
- Employers will be able to nominate holders of all TSS visa streams, including Short-term and Labour Agreement streams. The nominated person will need to have held their TSS (or subclass 457) visa(s) for 2 out of the 3 years before nomination.
- The RSMS visa will continue to be restricted to transitional 457 workers and transitional 482 workers.
- Nominated occupation requirements:
- Nominated occupations will no longer be assessed against skilled migration occupation lists.
- The nominated occupation will need to be listed in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) and the nominated worker will need to continue to work in the occupation nominated for their TSS visa(s).
- Work experience requirements:
- The period in which TSS visa holders are required to have worked in a position with their sponsoring employer (or in the occupation for medical practitioners and certain executives) will be reduced to 2 out of the 3 years before nomination.
3. Changes to visa requirements for the TRT stream of the ENS and RSMS visa subclasses:
- Age exemption requirements:
- Changes will be made to age exemptions for regional medical practitioner applicants and high income earning applicants aged 45 years and over to allow for a two-year pathway.
- COVID-19 related age exemptions that will become redundant as a result of the two-year pathway, will be ended.
These forthcoming changes mark an important step in the Australian Migration System, introducing a more inclusive and straightforward pathway to permanent residency for temporary skilled workers. As the government continues its work on reforms in its skilled visa programs, these changes represent the initial phase of an exciting journey for both skilled workers and employer sponsors.
Whether you are an individual seeking permanent residency or an employer sponsor looking to understand how these changes may affect your workforce, we are here to support you throughout this transition.
If you require additional information or have any questions regarding these changes and their potential consequences, please feel free to get in touch with us here. We will provide tailored guidance to help you navigate these new pathways successfully.
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