Australian Visas: What should one expect in 2018?

With the columns of SBS Australia, we get to know about the implementation of the Temporary Skill Shortage visa and changes in the Occupation Lists, and the mandatory requirement of provisional visas before one gets entitled for permanent residency, here are the reflections with the significant changes to help gain clear understanding of what is there in the pipeline for 2018 with respect to Australian Visa.

The Update: 457 Visas will be replaced with Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa

The existing 457 visa programs is all set for abolishment from March 2018. Despite the protests against this decision, this will soon be replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.

The TSS visa is designed to accommodate two sub-categories:

  • A Short-Term stream which permits the students to stay in Australia up to a maximum of two years. These candidates are eligible to apply for visa renewal only once.The STSOL (Short-term Skilled Occupation List) occupation list is applicable for Short-Term Stream applicants.
  • A Medium-Term stream which permits them with a stay of up to four years. These candidates are additionally entitled to apply for Australia permanent residency. It is so expected that this subcategory will be identical to the existing 457 visas. Furthermore, the Medium-Stream visa holders become eligible to apply for their permanent residence pathway after working for three years in Australia. The Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL occupation list) will be applicable for Medium-Stream visa applicants. This stream is relatively similar to the current 457 visas.

Tighter Regulations in the new shift:

For both the streams, the MLTSSL and the STSOL, there seems to constraints which have been laid on the eligibility of this visa.  Some of the insights pertaining to the tightness that might show up in the regulations include:

  • Increasing the requirements related to relevant Work Experience
  • Requirements in the context of English Language Levels could go higher
  • Labor Market Testing to become mandatory
  • Australian Market Salary Rates will set up as standard
  • Character, Anti-Discrimination and Training Requirements may be added

Changes to Occupation lists in 2018

There are considerable numbers of changes which were made to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) in April 2017. These changes were soon revised in July 2017.

Most likely, the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skill List (MLTSSL) should remain the same, but major changes are expected in the STSOL which is a representation of the list of occupations nominated for temporary and short-term visas.

There is also a probability of seeing some elimination from the Short-term Skilled Occupation List like Accommodation and Hospitality Manager, Hair or Beauty Salon Manager, Recruitment Consultant and Building Associate.

Instead, it is expected that this occupation list will now open avenues for University Tutor, Psychotherapist, Property Manager, Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Representative.

Airline Pilots is also likely to be added to the Skilled Occupations List in 2018 which will help in addressing the shortage of pilots in Australia. Considering lobbying from the peak body for local airlines, SBS Hindi revealed the Skilled Occupations List will be updated to enable foreign pilots fill these vacancies quickly on a two-year work visa.

Probability of introducing mandatory provisional visas before permanent residency in Australia

In order to transform Australia’s visa system, in 2017, it was decided by the Government of Australia to take some steps on the basis of public consultation. According to the outcome of public consultation, sources revealed that a vast majority were in support of the principle of provisional residence, a provisional period of a minimum of two years.

A huge 88% of the submissions were of the opinion that the visa application process should be further simplified. They laid importance on transparency in the decision making process, reducing the processing time and implementing a system that was easier to comprehend.

Keeping in consideration to reduce the number of visas from 99 to 10, the Australian government plans to introduce mandatory provisional visas where migrants would be required to spend a certain period of time before they are granted permanent residency.

There were a total of 255 submissions received by the department, of which approximately 184 representatives were from industry, academia, community and government participated in round tables. There were an additional 60 industry representatives which participated in immigration reform workshops.

Although the department has not set a time line for its implementation, it is said that, the entire transition is directed towards improvement in the way the services are being delivered. The impact of the change on visa applicants or holders would be visible over long term. The first step towards this simplification of process will be broad consultation with the market on the look and feel of the new visa processing platform.

More details on these plans should show up in 2018.

Temporary sponsored parent visa

In the announcement made on the subject of 2017-18 Federal Budget, a new temporary sponsored parent visa was made available from November 2017. However, delay is anticipated in the new visa for permitting migrants’ parents to stay in the country for extended periods.

The Bill in the context of new visa to happen has not been endorsed by the Senate yet.

6 must know facts about the new long stay visa for parents

  • Three variants of visa proposition are being introduced. This includes a 3-year-visa costing $5000, a 5-year-visa costing $10,000 and a 10-year-visa costing $20,000, with the opportunity of a single renewal for another five years at the same price.
  • The long stay parent visa will be granted to15,000 people every year.
  • Children/Sponsors will be held responsible for paying the private health insurance of their parents. They will also need to act as financial guarantor on any additional healthcare costs that may occur during their stay in Australia.
  • Those on the new visa will not be allowed to work in Australia. However, the government is in consideration to help them take family roles towards “reduced pressure on childcare facilities.”
  • Sponsors for the new visa have to be Australian citizens or permanent residents, or “eligible New Zealand citizens”.
  • The visa-holders will not be entitled to reapply beyond 10 years and would have no pathway to permanent residency.

Partner Visa

There were changes proposed in 2017 with respect to Partner Visa applications but it has been deferred for the year 2018. This is in line with the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016(Cth) (“the Bill”) which is still with the Senate for approval. This Bill has not been enacted till now. In case this Bill gets enacted, it will create a sponsorship framework for partner visas, laying more focus on the assessment of sponsors.

Specific Highlights will include:

  • Sponsorship assessment would remain separate from visa application process
  • Sponsors would need to be approved prior to visa applications
  • Legal obligations would be imposed on approved sponsors
  • Sanctions may be impose din cases where sponsors fail to meet their obligations
  • Circumstances would be defined where sponsors can be barred from sponsorship

As per the new regulations proposed, partner visa sponsorship applications would undergo stricter criteria and require prior approval before the overseas partner visa application could be lodged.

This new two-step process may delay the lodgment of overseas partner application. It may even require the overseas partner to have a valid visa until a visa application can be lodged for the said overseas partner.

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