On 18 April 2017, the government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa programme will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years, will support businesses in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.

The changes, which commence in stages from 19 April 2017 are designed to reduce the number of non-residents who are able to obtain working rights in Australia. With immediate effect the list of occupations has been reduced by 200 and applications for nominations and linked visas can no longer be granted to applicants in those occupations. This is likely to affect sponsoring employers who have commenced the nomination process in one of those occupations. Details about the retrospective effect of these changes will need to be assessed before sponsors make final decisions on withdrawing such applications.

There are a number of other relevant changes and requirements and we recommend you seek advice before entering into any material discussions with job applicants regarding their employment in Australia.