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Answers to your 457 VISA questions

Questions from recruiters about the recent changes to the temporary skilled visa or 457 changes, answered by the Lisa O'Hara of Exclusive Migration.

This should only be taken as general advice at time of publishing.

Q1. What has already changed?

A. As of 19 April 2017:

• the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) has been replaced with the new

Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL);

• the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has been replaced with the new Medium and Long-term

Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL);

• there has been a reduction of 216 occupations available for subclass 457 visa programme applications;

• 59 caveats now apply to specified occupations - these either relate to work experience, regional location or are occupation specific; and

• new visa validity periods also apply under the standard subclass 457 programme with a maximum 2 year period available for occupations that are eligible for the subclass 457 programme but not on the new MLTSSL.

Q2. Can people still apply for subclass 457 visas?

A. Yes. The subclass 457 programme remains open until the new TSS visa comes into effect in March 2018. The occupation list has been restricted (19 April 2017) and integrity settings will be further tightened.

Q3. Where can I find a list of removed occupations?

A. This is attached for your convenience.

Q4. Why were occupations removed?

A. They were removed due to a wide range of factors including: immigration integrity concerns, low usage over the last five years, being reserved for Australian citizens (e.g. magistrate) and based on advice from the Department of Employment.

Q5. Where can I find information about the caveats?

A. This is contained in the Schedule 1 MLTSSL and Schedule 2 STSOL lists.

Q6. Do the above changes have any impacts on existing subclass 457 visa holders?

A. No – unless they wish to change employers or positions, in which case a new nomination will need to be approved under the new arrangements.

Note: • This will include situations where due to business structure changes, an employer is required to lodge a new sponsorship application and is required to lodge new nomination applications to accommodate existing subclass 457 visa holders (unless they continue to work for an associated entity of an Australian sponsor).

• A new nomination approval for an occupation listed on the STSOL will not result in reduction of the visa period already held by the visa holder.

Q7. What if we have a pending application where the occupation has been removed from the list - what happens now?

A. Once the application has reached the assessment stage, you will be contacted by the Department and given the opportunity to withdraw your application in writing. The letter will specify a period for required response (i.e. 14 days for nomination applications and 28 days for visa applications).

Alternatively, you can request a withdrawal in writing at any time and you will then be entitled to a refund of the application fee. If you do not withdraw your application, it will be refused. This could have unintended consequences as far as s48 bar and possible Schedule 3 criteria being met for subsequent visa applications.

Note: • If seeking to withdraw a visa application, the Department ask that you complete and attach Form 1446 to your ImmiAccount where possible to facilitate faster processing.

• If seeking to withdraw a nomination application, the Department ask that you attach a written request to this effect to your ImmiAccount where possible to facilitate faster processing.

Once a withdrawal has been actioned, the process to facilitate a refund will be initiated. Applications which do not meet the requirements and are not withdrawn within the prescribed timeframes will be refused. No refund will be provided in such circumstances.

Q8. Can I get a refund for an approved nomination if a related visa application now cannot be approved?

A. Yes, if, a subclass 457 visa application is unable to be granted where the approved nomination is for an occupation that has been removed from the list, the sponsoring business can request that the nomination be withdrawn and request a refund of the nomination fee.

Note: • If seeking to withdraw your approved nomination, it has been requested by the Department that you utilise Form 1446 where possible to facilitate faster processing.

The completed form should be emailed through to not your ImmiAccount.

• Once a withdrawal has been actioned, the process to facilitate a refund will be initiated.

Download the full Questions and Answers PDF here.

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