What is the change? The Australian Government has made slight changes to the lists of skilled occupations that can be filled by foreign nationals under skilled visa programmes.
What does the change mean? The changes will affect what occupations foreign nationals can be nominated into for skilled Australian visa programmes, and, in some cases, the validity period for which a temporary visa will be issued. Officials previously indicated that there would be no changes to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), and while officials did indeed decide against moving any occupations off the MLTSSL to the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), some occupations were moved from the STSOL to the MLTSSL. Others were struck altogether.
- Implementation timeframe: The changes take effect 17 January.
- Visas/permits affected: Temporary Work (Skilled) visas (Subclass 457), Training (Subclass 407) visas, Employer Nominated Scheme (Subclass 186) visas, and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) visas.
- Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals applying for any of the visas listed above.
- Business impact: Sponsors should review the revised MLTSSL and STSOL to determine whether they will have to make any adjustments to their international recruiting and staffing programmes.
Background: The changes announced this week were minor compared to the overhaul of the occupations lists in April of 2017 and the additional changes that took effect 1 July. Overall, only three occupations were added to the STSOL. Two were moved from the STSOL to the MTLSSL. Two were removed altogether.
*Caveats apply. See the Department of Home Affairs summary of the 17 January changes to the lists of eligible skilled occupations.
For some occupations, officials added new caveats, which often restrict recruitment of foreign workers on the basis of the worker’s salary, the company’s annual financial turn over or other factors. Occupations to which new caveats will apply include Accommodation and Hospitality Managers, Management Accountants, Massage Therapists, Recruitment Consultants, Management Consultants, Supply and Distribution Managers and Taxation Accountants. Additional information on the caveat changes is available here.
BAL Analysis: Officials said recently that they “prioritised continuity” when developing the new occupation lists. And while some changes were made, they are relatively small compared to the more significant changes in April and July. With the exception of the changes listed above, employers can continue using the MLTSSL and STSOL as they have for the past six months.