Earlier this month, we announced that on 25 November 2023, the Australian Government will introduce the following changes:
  • Enable subclass 482 (TSS) visa holders to apply for the subclass 186 (ENS) visa under the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream, even if their nominated occupation is on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List
  • Reduce the eligibility “wait period” for the 186 visa under the TRT stream from 3 years to 2 years
  • Individuals will still need to meet all of the criteria for grant of the 186 visa (age, health, character, etc.)
The Australian government published the Migration Legislation Amendment (Expanding Access to Temporary Residence Transition Stream) Instrument (LIN 23/078) 2023.  This legislative update is designed to complement amendments to the Migration Regulations, ushering in pivotal changes that expand access to permanent residency for a broader spectrum of individuals holding Subclass 482 and certain Subclass 457 visas.

Effective Date

The amendments, chiefly orchestrated through alterations to subregulation 5.19 and Schedule 2 Subclass 186 and 187 regulations, are scheduled to take effect on 25 November 2023.

Key Amendments

Definition of Subclass 457/482 Worker

For the purposes of subregulation 5.19 and Schedule 2 of Subclass 186, the definition of a Subclass 457/482 worker has been revised, reducing the required employment period with the nominating employer from 3 years to 2 years in the last 3 years immediately preceding the application for a Subclass 186 or 187 visa.

Age Requirement for Subclass 457/482 Worker

The amendment also modifies the definition of a Subclass 457/482 worker exempt from the age requirement.  The requisite employment period for this exemption is reduced from 3 years to 2 years for those who are paid above the Fair Work High Income Threshold.

Regional Medical Practitioner Applicant

For regional medical practitioner applicants, the period of required employment in regional areas has been reduced from 3 years to 2 years.

Removal of COVID-Related Concessions

References to COVID-related concessions exemptions have been deemed redundant and consequently removed.

Applicability

Changes to the defined terms apply to applications made on or after the commencement of the instrument.

Removal of bars on application

This amendment removes parts of the Migration Instrument (LIN 19/049), which currently specifies the requirement to have an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List for the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream.  Other references to this subsection have also been removed.

It’s important to note that this instrument remains unchanged for the Direct Entry Stream.

Applicability

These changes apply to applications for nominations made on or after 18 March 2018, but not yet finally determined, as well as applications made on or after the commencement of this instrument.

Final Thoughts

These amendments mark a significant shift in Australia’s migration landscape, opening up pathways to permanent residency for a broader group of work visa holders.  The reduction in required employment periods and the removal of certain criteria reflect the government’s commitment to adapt immigration policies to evolving needs and circumstances.

Subclass 482 visa holders and employers should closely review these changes to understand their implications on visa eligibility and application processes.  More importantly, the opening up of these pathways will likely result in an influx of applications which will invariably result in a slowdown in the processing of applications as well as various permutations in processing that arise from such a large cohort.


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