On 18 April 2017 the Prime Minister announced that the Government intends to abolish the subclass 457 visa programme and replace it with a new temporary work programme with stricter eligibility requirements. While these changes will be implemented in stages and the subclass 457 visa will not be abolished until March 2018, a number of changes have come into effect on 19 April 2017 that have substantially changed the landscape of the 457 visa programme.
The Prime Minister’s stated intention of these reforms is to ensure that the subclass 457 visa programme is used to fill genuine gaps in the Australian labour market, rather than being used as a vehicle for securing a migration outcome.
Key changes that took place on 19 April 2017 are that the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) has been replaced by the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Skilled Occupation List (“SOL”) has been replaced by the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
216 occupations have been removed by the STSOL.
These changes are likely to affect thousands of current visa applicants in Australia.
The Government has announced that 457 visa applicants who had lodged their application on or before 18 April 2017, and whose application has not yet been decided, with an occupation that has been removed from the previous CSOL will no longer be eligible for a 457 visa.
This is the case even if the applicant met the relevant criteria at time of making the application.
Please contact Rothstein Lawyers if you believe you are affected by these changes.
Article Uploaded April 2017