On Monday 12 February 2018, Department of Home Affairs clarified to the MIA issues and provisions related to the introduction of the TSS visa.
It should be noted that some of the provisions/features of the new TSS visa are dependent on the outcome of legislation still currently being debated in parliament eg the Skilling Australians Fund Bill. The TSS visa regulations are therefore still not completely finalised.
The following summary of the meeting:
Date of introduction – there is still no definite date, but the Department informed it will be in the first half of March. It will not be 1 March at this stage.
Genuine Temporary Entrant – the GTE requirement will be considered met unless the applicant has a history of holding a number of short term visas over the last 4-5 years. It is not clear at this time whether this will only be short term employment visas or include other visa subclasses.
Transition from 457 to TSS, limit of two visas – a visa holder transitioning from a current 457 visa to a TSS visa, will still be eligible to apply for a second TSS visa onshore.
Non Discriminatory Workforce Test – although there is no detail about this test as yet, it was confirmed by the Department that it will be an ‘exception’ test rather than for all TSS applications. The Department will be looking for cases where the composition of an organisation’s workforce does not match the usual industry norm, eg where the number of sponsored workers far outnumber Australian employees and is different to what would be expected in that industry. The Department does accept that there may be good reasons for such deviations and only expects to be examining a small number of cases each year.
Labour Market Testing – the requirements for LMT will be made much clearer by including the length of time a position must be advertised, the method of advertisement and exemptions to LMT. Issues related to the specifics of the LMT are still being debated in parliament and have not been finalised.
Skilling Australians Fund – the relevant Bill is still being debated in parliament. The Department does not intend to delay the introduction of the TSS visa, if the SAF legislation is not finalised by March. Training benchmark obligations will continue until such time as the SAF legislation comes into effect. The Department does not intend for sponsors to be subject to both training benchmark and SAF obligations at the same time and will exercise some flexibility during the overlapping periods. There will be no refund of the SAF levy in the event that an employee leaves the sponsor before the end of the visa validity and any second employer sponsoring the visa holder will also be required to pay the SAF levy. The only circumstances in which the SAF levy will be refunded will be if the TSS nomination is refused. The Department of Education and Training will collect and control the expenditure of the SAF.
Health Criteria – The 457 health PIC 4006A will be replaced by PIC 4007 for the TSS visa.
Accredited Sponsors – the Department is looking to expand the accredited sponsor scheme and will be examining the settings for this option.
Streamlining the application process – the ‘look’ of the TSS application form will be different to that of the 457 visa and ‘lower risk’ applications will be prioritised. No definition of ‘low risk’ applications was provided at this meeting.
So BIG CHANGES ARE COMING and if you or anyone you know is thinking of applying for the replacement 457 class visa or is planing to apply for a TSS visa or has had a visa refused or cancelled or has had any issues issues regarding how the changes to the law may effect you book an appointment with us now.
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