As of 19 April 2017, several changes to sub-class 457 visa have been introduced which is designed for Temporary Skilled Workers. This category is being replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. It is to be noted that existing sub-class 457 visa holders will not be affected by this change for the duration of their current visa.

As part of the changes to sub-class 457 visa, the Skilled Occupation List (SoC) has been replaced by Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), both lists are identical and it also forms part of the STSOL which is used for employer sponsored and state nominated visas.

The 457 sponsorship list has been reduced as follows:

  • 16 occupations which are restricted on the MLTSSL.
  • 200 occupations have been removed from the STSOL.
  • 24 rural occupations which are only available for employment if they are in an RSMS postcode.

In addition to the above, the following changes came in to affect from 19 April 2017:-

  • 216 occupations previously nominated as eligible for appointment of a foreign national to work under the 457 visa program have been eliminated.
  • 59 additional occupations have strict caveats attached.
  • Pending 457 applications already lodged but whose occupation eligibility has been eliminated may withdraw their application and request a refund of the application fee (visa applicant and nominating employer).
  • 457 visas granted on or after April 19, irrespective of application date, have maximum validity of 4 years for MLTSSL. May be eligible to apply for Permanent subclass 186/187 visa after 3 years with the same employer, in the same
  • Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) visas granted after April 19, irrespective of application date, have maximum validity of 2 years, with one only renewal (onshore).
  • Application fees payable to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

During the course of this year, further changes may also be rolled out as follows: –

On or before 1 July 2017

  • English Language – At present, those earning $96,400 are exempt from meeting the English Language Requirement. However, this will be removed and they will now be required to meet this requirement.
  • Clearance Certificates – It will be mandatory to provide Police Clearance Certificates to confirm the character of the person applying for a visa. This applies to applicants aged 16 years and above.
  • Training – Strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers.

Before December 31, 2017 – for existing 457 visa holders

  • DIBP commences collections of Tax File Numbers for 457 visa holders and other employer-sponsored migrants. Data to be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records, ensuring that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
  • DIBP will publish the names of all sponsors who do not meet their agreed obligations under Australian Immigration Policy.

Effective March, 2018

Sub-Class 457 visa stream will be replaced by TSS, with more stringent criteria, shorter validity (STSOL), limitation of one only renewal, and labour market testing required for each nomination. Points to note are:-

  • Applicants must have minimum 2 years’ previous work experience in their proposed employment occupation.
  • Must adhere to the minimum market rate salary to remain.
  • Mandatory Labour Market Testing (exception to this is where an international agreement applies).
  • Employers’ strict adherence required to anti-discrimination practices against Australians.
  • Expanded requirements of employers’ financial / practical contributions to training.
  • IELTS (or equivalent) score of 5, with minimum of 4.5 in each component for STSOL and MLTSSL