UPDATES: MARCH 2018 CHANGES

Kris Ahn, Accredited Specialist Immigration Lawyer, attended the information session hosted by the Department of Home Affairs on Friday 23 February 2018.

Here are the updates.

Temporary Skills Shortage visa – the TSS Visas

This visa will be Subclass 482.

The department is simplifying the processes for this visa and will be introducing automated renewal process for sponsorship applications.

Standard Business Sponsorship

Business sponsors will be able to renew their SBS sponsorships online two months before its expiry date and will be able to receive approval within minutes, except when the following cases apply:

  • This is your first sponsorship application
  • If there are integrity concerns within your business
  • If you are changing your status from accredited to standard sponsorship status
  • If overseas business sponsorships

The 18 months sponsorship approval for start-up company will be removed. All Sponsorships will be approved for 5 years. One lifetime TRN will be used for all subsequent approvals.

The four categories of accredited sponsors will remain the same. The department has advised that these sponsors will officially receive automated nomination approvals and priority processing of 5 days or less.

Companies that wish to change their sponsorship to accredited status must lodge a new sponsorship application.

TSS Nominations

  • AT TIME OF APPLICATION, the nominated occupation must be on the relevant list. The occupation will NOT be reassessed at the visa stage or if it is removed from the relevant list.
  • Unless International Trade Obligations (ITO) apply, Labour Market Testing (LMT) is required for all applications.
  • Gumtree type advertising will no longer be acceptable, and all advertising must be in English.
  • Some flexibility will be available around LMT for ‘talent based’ applications.
  • The Skilling Australians Fund levy will be paid at the time of nomination and will be tax deductible.
  • Where the nomination is refused, withdrawn or incorrect application is lodged, the levy will be refunded.
  • The Skilled Australians Fund levy cannot be passed on to the visa applicant and will be covered by the “paying for sponsorship” regulations.
  • Nominations that are lodged without having the associated visa lodged as well will become redundant. This is because the TSS visa cannot be lodged against them. In this circumstance, nominations can be withdrawn, and refund requested.
  • During AAT visa appeals, it is advised by the department that new nomination and visa linked to that should be lodged before the changes. Where both the nomination and visa decisions are being appealed together this is unnecessary.

TSS Visa

  • If your occupation is on the STSOL, your application can only be lodged onshore twice. You must go offshore to lodge your third application. Previous time on 457 visas will not be counted as one of these visas.
  • Work experience caveats will be removed from the lists and will be made redundant.
  • Regional caveats will be added to relevant occupations.
  • The Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) will be introduced and Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) will continue.
  • Guaranteed earning must not be less than the AMSR and TISMIT.
  • Exemption for high salary will continue.
  • The requirement for mandatory skills assessment will not change but will be moved from policy to an Instrument.
  • Skills assessment does not have to be finalised when lodging the visa application but must be demonstrated.
  • Schedule 3 will be removed. Applicants will be able to lodge their application from substantive visas or bridging visas A, B or C.
  • Work Experience: generally, will required post qualification, is not in addition to and does not cancel any ANZCO work experience criteria. Applicant must demonstrate that they have worked in the occupation being nominated, not being trained. Some exceptions will apply to some industries, such as health and education.
  • Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE): STSOL occupations will have to meet GTE requirements. Applicants will also be assessed against the GTE requirements if they have been in Australia on any visa for 4 years or more and where the decision maker has significant concerns.
  • New Condition 8607: this will replace 8107 and will require all applicants who wish to change occupation to lodge new nomination and visa application. If you are changing the sponsor, only a new nomination is required to be lodged. If the visa for the new nomination is granted, it will be counted as one of the two onshore TSS visas.
  • Decision-ready applications with clear submissions should be provided for faster processing, usually within 2 months.
  • Applications with no documents attachment will be refused within 2 days.

186 Visa and 187 Visa Changes

Pipeline Applications

70% of current cases that had been lodged are considered high risk. The refusal rates have increased tremendously:

  • ENS: current refusal rate is 30%, increased from 2% two years ago
  • RSMS: current refusal rate is 50%, increased from 13% two years ago
  • Fraudulent activities have become increasingly high

Currently, the department has 50,000 RSMS/ENS applications on hand waiting to be assessed. While the applications are being processed in date order, processing time is being affected by the need to sort our high-risk applications.

March 2018 Changes

  • AMSR and TSMIT will be applied to ENS and RSMS applications.
  • The department will introduce additional discretionary power for VPO to reassess skills and genuineness of position at the permanent stage and to request a skills assessment.

Transitional Arrangements

  • This will not last indefinitely, the exact period is to be confirmed.
  • TRT applicants can carry on the time spent on the 457 visa when they apply for the new TSS visa. However, TRT pathway will be broken (not available) if the occupation is removed and the applicant can’t access the new TSS visa.
  • For applications that had been lodged, sponsors must maintain training benchmark expenditure until a decision is made on the application.
  • Applications for nominations can still lodge before the March changes. Any applications lodged after the March changes will be subject to the new regulations unless you are subject to the transition arrangements.

The department has not set a definite date on when this will come into effect. While this won’t come into effect on 1 March 2018, it can come in anytime after this date!


If you think this effects or will affect you, inquire with us today!

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