DHA has announced further details of the new TSS visa program in meetings for migration agents held across Australia last week. While the implementation date was not announced, implementation of these changes is expected for early March 2018. Details announced in these meetings include:
New Class: GK – New Subclass 482
When the TSS visa program is implemented on the implementation date, applications for TSS nominations and subclass 482 TSS visas will be available, and 457 nominations and 457 visa applications will no longer be available. DHA prefers that the new visa be referred to as the “TSS Visa” rather than by its subclass number.
Occupation List Validation at Time of Nomination Lodgement
Occupations for TSS nominations will be validated against the appropriate occupation list(s) at the time of application for the TSS nomination only. Validation will not occur again at the time of decision for the TSS nomination or at time of application or time of decision for the TSS visa application. This will add certainty for businesses who were concerned about occupation list changes occurring after lodgement of a TSS nomination or visa application.
One to One Linking of TSS Nominations and TSS Visa Applications
Unlike the current subclass 457 visa scheme where a new visa application can be linked to a nomination that may have originally been linked to a previous visa application, under the new TSS scheme, TSS visa applications will only be able to be linked to the original TSS nomination they were lodged with. Re-linking nominations to visa applications other than the first visa application that references the TSS nomination will not be possible under the TSS scheme
It will not be possible to link TSS Nominations to 457 visa applications, and will not be possible to link TSS visa applications to 457 nominations. As such, any 457 nominations should have corresponding 457 visa applications lodged prior to the TSS implementation date. 457 nomination applications with no lodged linked 457 visa application as of the TSS implementation date will be administratively finalised and refunds provided.
Schedule 3 requirements eliminated, Schedule 1 detailed
Schedule 3 requirements that had existed for subclass 457 visas will not exist for TSS visas applications.
DHA indicated that Schedule 1 requirements for the TSS visa would include a requirement that onshore applicants hold a substantive visa or a Bridging Visa A, B or C.
Visa Application Fees
The visa application charge for primary applicants for the Short Term (ST) stream of the TSS visa (STSOL occupations) will be $1,150, while Medium Term (MT) stream (MLTSSL occupations) primary applicants will pay $2,400.
Onshore applications limited in some cases for ST Stream applicants
Applicant for Short-Term stream TSS applications (for occupations on the STSOL occupation list) will be limited to receiving 2 successive TSS visas (assuming the second TSS visa was the result of an onshore TSS application) before being required to leave Australia if they wish to lodge an application for a further TSS visa. Genuine Temporary Entrant criteria may be an issue if a TSS visa applicant has been in Australia for 4 years or more.
In response to an audience questions, DHA indicated that a change of occupation or any other change requiring a new TSS visa would be counted towards the 2 TSS visa rule as it would require a new TSS nomination and new TSS visa.
Mandatory Skills Assessments
Existing policy for mandatory skills assessments will exist under the TSS program as a legislative instrument. Similar to the subclass 485 visa, any mandatory skills assessment requirement will require evidence that the skills assessment has been applied for at the time of application for the TSS visa. DHA indicated that as with the 457 visa, a discretionary skills assessment requirement for all occupations will also exist in cases where a case officer is not satisfied that the applicant is skilled.
Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement imposed
TSS visa applications for the short term stream (ST) will be subject to a new GTE requirement. Generally a person who has been in Australia less than 4 years will satisfy the GTE criteria, however persons in Australia 4 years and more may be subject to GTE scrutiny. DHA officials stated the goal of this requirement was to identify people who were remaining in Australia for an extended period of time on various temporary visas.
2 Year Work Experience Requirement
The TSS visa will have an overall requirement of 2 years full time, post-qualification paid work experience during the 5 years prior to application (or part-time equivalent), regardless of the applicant’s academic qualifications. Previously for the 457 visa, applicants meeting the academic requirements per ANZSCO could apply with no work experience. DHA stated this would be applied somewhat flexibly, however questions persist including whether 24 months on 2 successive working holiday visas would count given that at least 88 days of that period likely be spent doing specified work outside of the applicant’s nominated application.
DHA indicated that work experience gained during Masters/PhD study may be considered, including clinical work. Additional qualifying work may include work gained during a forma Professional Year program and performing arts work experience during study.
This requirement is expected to have a significant impact on the ability of graduating students to apply for a TSS visa.
Health Waiver via PIC 4007
TSS visa applicants will be eligible for consideration of health waivers under PIC 4007 of Schedule 4 of the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth). The former PIC 4006a used by 457 visas will no longer be used.
2 Days to Provide Evidence After Lodgement
DHA stated that the rule that all primary evidence (other than “genuine” submissions etc) would need to be uploaded within 2 days of lodgement for sponsorship, nomination and visa applications or the applications would be subject to refusal with no request for additional documents.
457 Subsequent Entrant provisions
After the TSS implementation date, 457 visa holders will be able to add applicants to their visa by lodging a TSS Subsequent Entrant application. The TSS visa will be set to expire at the same time as their existing 457 visa.