Welcome to March 2018, the most anticipated month in the migration industry. The 1st of March 2018 has come and gone, and we are still eagerly awaiting the announcement of the official implementation date of the Temporary Skill Shortage subclass 482 (TSS) visa programme.

Following from our previous updates on the new TSS visa, the Department has provided us with some more insights and clarity on the new processes that will be implemented this Sunday, 18 March 2018 (‘Implementation Date’).


Transitional Arrangements 

All applications lodged before the Implementation Date of the TSS will continue under the ‘old rules’, for example:

  • Business Sponsorship applications – except training benchmark will not be assessed at this stage and 5-year sponsorships will be available; and
  • Subclass 457 visa applications that:
    1. Have nominations for existing 457 visas; and
    2. nominations and visas that have been lodged before the Implementation Date.

Importantly, any 457 nominations that have been submitted without a supporting subclass 457 visa application before the Implementation Date and are:

    • Still undecided by the Implementation Date – the nomination would be automatically finalised and refunded;
    • Approved but has no visa attached yet – the nomination would be dismissed as Subclass 457 nominations cannot be linked to TSS visas (sponsor will need to withdraw and request a refund).

For 457 nominations currently with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (‘AAT’), if the nomination is not linked to a Subclass 457 visa application it is strongly advised that you re-lodge a new nomination before the Implementation Date and link this application to a lodged visa application. Similarly, if you have a nomination application that has been approved and may expire before a linked visa may be granted, it is recommend that you lodge a further nomination application prior to the Implementation Date.

Frequently asked questions about the transitional arrangements

  1. If you are a Standard Business Sponsor, what can you do?
    You can nominate overseas employees for the new TSS visa program. This will include existing subclass 457 visa holders for whom a new TSS nomination is required to facilitate a change of employer or transfer occupation.
    Provided you are actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia, you can lodge a renewal form prior to the expiry of your sponsorship license.
    If you are an Overseas Business Sponsor or your sponsorship license has expired, you can lodge a new sponsorship application.
  2. You have an approved subclass 457 nomination that has not ceased, can you lodge a TSS visa application? 
    You cannot lodge a TSS visa application without lodging a new TSS nomination first.
    If you are not able to lodge a related subclass 457 visa application before the Implementation Date, you can request to withdraw your lodged nomination and request a refund of the departmental fee.
  3. If you have a subclass 457 visa in effect, what can you do? 
    If you intend to change jobs, your new employer must lodge a TSS nomination application.
    If you are changing positions and your new position is substantially different from your previous role, your employer must lodge a new TSS nomination and visa application on your behalf in the new skilled occupation.
    You can lodge a TSS subsequent entry visa application for your family unit.
    You can lodge a new TSS visa application before your current subclass 457 visa expiries.


Temporary Skill Shortage Subclass 482 (TSS) Visa 

The new TSS visa will continue in the same format as the subclass 457 programme.

We have detailed some of the changes under each step of the TSS programme below, and how they may affect you.


Business Sponsorship 
  1. Sponsorship Renewals
    All business sponsorships, including start-ups, will be valid for 5 years from the date of approval. Sponsors must renew their sponsorship prior to its expiration, otherwise a new sponsorship application must be lodged. For renewals, sponsors are recommended to lodge a renewal form approximately two months prior to the expiry of their sponsorship. The Department is implementing a more streamlined approach with business sponsors only having one TRN identifier for the whole sponsorship period, with access to auto-approvals unless there are integrity concerns.What does this mean for you?
    This will mean that the process of renewing your sponsorship will be simpler and enable businesses to access auto-approvals with the potential for sponsorships being approved in minutes. This is subject to the integrity of the form or if you are seeking accreditation for the first time. Currently sponsors need to request from the Department for the expiration date of their business sponsorship. With the TSS, sponsors will now have the ability to see the expiry date of their approved sponsorship through their last sponsorship application in ImmiAccount. The Department is also planning to implement an email reminder system to notify sponsors of their expiration date. This will mean that sponsors have easier access to the expiration date and can renew the sponsorship prior to its expiry. 
  2. Sponsorship accreditation has been expanded
    Currently for sponsorship accreditation, the business must meet the standard sponsorship requirements and meet certain requirements such as High-Volume Usage (sponsored at least ten primary 457 visa holders in the two years prior to an application for accreditation).Partnerships and ‘start-ups’ can now apply for accreditation with Department officers given discretionary power to award accreditation to low risk sponsors. From the implementation of the TSS visa, accredited sponsors have potential access to auto-approvals for streamlined nominations.

    What does this mean for you? 
    Currently accredited sponsors, receive the benefits of priority processing for nomination and visa applications with processing times of 5 days or less. With the expansion of the sponsorship accreditation, TSS nomination applications lodged with accredited sponsors may have access to auto-approvals with the potential for nominations to be approved in minutes! If you believe your business meets the requirements to be an accredited sponsor, please contact us so we can undertake a further assessment for you. 
  3. Training Benchmark
    Training benchmarks will no longer be assessed at the sponsorship stage. Please note that training obligations will remain the same pending the passing of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) legislation.What does this mean for you?
    There will not be an additional requirement to assess whether training benchmark was met at the sponsorship stage. The SAF levy will need to be paid to the Department of Home Affairs at the nomination stage. Any sponsorship applications lodged before the Implementation Date must continue to comply with the existing training benchmarks. 


  1. Eligible Occupations 
    The occupation list that is currently available to subclass 457 applications will still be available under the TSS pathway, with additional occupations available for employers in regional areas.
    An important change is that occupation list requirements will only apply at the time of lodgement of the nomination application. This means that the occupation list will no longer be assessed at the time of decision or at the visa application stage.
    The Department will publish the new instruments for the skilled occupation lists on the Implementation Date. We will keep you posted with any updates.
  2. Nominated Employment periods 
    The TSS visa offers three streams, namely:
    i. Short-Term Stream (STSOL);
    ii. Medium-Term Stream (MLTSSL); and
    iii. Labour Agreement.For STSOL occupations:• Applicants will be eligible for visas of up to 2 years, with visas being renewable once for a further two years onshore (if an International Trade Obligation (ITO) applies; and the applicant is an intracompany transferee and sponsored as an Executive or Senior Manager, then a 4-year TSS visa can be granted);
    • Applicants cannot apply for the TSS visa more than twice onshore;
    • If an applicant wants to apply for a third TSS visa, they will need to lodge it offshore, noting that they must satisfy the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criteria;
    • Demonstrate that they are a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE). Applicants will need to show that they only intend to stay in Australia for a short term, and will leave Australia on completion of their TSS visa;
    • There is no pathway to Australian permanent residency through employer-sponsored skilled visa;
    • All onshore applicants (primary and secondary) must hold a substantive visa or Bridging A, B or C visa at the time of lodgement;
    • Overall IELTS score requirement is 5 (or equivalent in other approved tests), with a minimum score of 4.5 in each component;
    • Fees:
    – Business Sponsorship $420
    – Nomination $330
    – Single Applicant $1,150

    For MTSSL occupations:

    • Applicants will be eligible for visas up to four years without any limitations on renewal applications;
    • Applicants will be eligible for permanent residency after three years under the transition pathway subject to meeting eligibility criteria;
    • All onshore applicants (primary and secondary) must hold a substantive visa or Bridging A, B or C visa at the time of lodgement;
    • Overall IELTS score requirement is 5 (or equivalent in other approved tests), with a minimum score of 5 in each component;
    • Fees:
    – Business Sponsorship $420
    – Nomination $330
    – Single Applicant $2,400

    What does this mean for you? 
    If your occupation is on the STSOL, you will only be eligible to stay in Australia for no longer than 4 years on an employer-sponsored TSS visa. You will not be able to lodge a TSS visa application onshore more than twice and will need to go offshore to lodge a third TSS visa. 
    The grant of a subsequent TSS visa offshore balances on GTE requirements. The Department will not look favourably upon applicants who have held more than two TSS visas in the STSOL stream in the last 5 years or you have been in Australia for more than 4 years (regardless of visa type). These applicants will need to satisfy the GTE requirements and prove they intend to stay in Australia for a short term, will leave Australia on completion of their TSS visa and understand that there are no pathways to permanent residency through employer-sponsored skilled visa. 
    The good news for current 457 visa holders is that you can still apply for a TSS visa onshore and have the opportunity to renew it for a further 2 years thereafter. 

  3. Labour Market Testing
    Labour Market Testing (LMT) will be required for all occupations unless an ITO applies. The LMT requirements aim to balance prioritising Australian workers and recognising industry practices, and will be informed by the approach taken by comparable countries.
    Under the TSS, LMT will need to be undertaken for a minimum period of time prior to the lodgement of the nomination application. The specific requirements  are yet to be released by the Department, but we will be keeping you posted as information becomes available.
    There will also be stricter requirements on LMT evidence. Sponsors can conduct advertising on mediums such as national recruitment websites, print media or radio, however general classified websites will not be accepted.What does this mean for you?
    Sponsors will now need to organise LMT for all nomination applications, regardless of the occupation. 

    With stricter requirements for LMT evidence, advertisements on general classified websites, such as Gumtree, will not be accepted. We suspect that the Department have excluded Gumtree recruitment ads as LMT evidence as a means to ensure that the LMT is genuine. 
  4. Annual Market Salary Rate 
    The Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) will be defined once the regulations are released, however from discussions with our colleagues in the industry, AMSR will not be less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) which remains at A$53,900. The Department is removing the concept of ‘base rate of pay’ and introducing Guaranteed Annual Earnings (GAE). The GAE for nominees must not be less than the AMSR and TSMIT. The Department has the right to disagree with the calculation of AMSR if the information is inconsistent with Australian labour market conditions relevant to the occupation, unless it is reasonable to disregard that information.
  5. Contributions to the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) 
    Under the TSS, employers will be required to pay a training levy which will go towards the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF). The SAF is expected to generate revenue of $1.2 billion and will be used to meet future skills and needs of Australians with a focus on apprentices and trainees.
    The Skilling Australians Fund will replace the existing training benchmarks for employers using the 457, ENS and RSMS programs. The process will streamline the training requirement for employers to be compliant, however, it will significantly increase the upfront costs to employers.
    The SAF Levy will be collected by the Department of Home Affairs and administered by the Department of Education and Training. The levy will be payable at the time of lodgement of the TSS nomination application.
    The Bills to implement the SAF levy passed the House of Representatives on 12 February 2018 but are yet to pass the Senate. Policy settings are being finalised and may vary. We will provide more detailed information when available.

    What does this mean for you? 
    As detailed in our previous client alerts, it is confirmed that businesses with a turnover of: 
    • Less than $10M – the SAF contribution will be $1,200 per year per TSS nomination 
    • $10M or more- the SAF contribution will be $1,800 per year per TSS nomination The good news for sponsors is that the ATO has advised that SAF contributions will be tax deductible. As the Government has yet to finalise the SAF Bill, there has been discussions of senators pushing to exempt small businesses, with a turnover of less than $5 million, from paying the training contribution charge. It also appears that the SAF Bill will not be finalised by the Implementation Date of the TSS visa. We will update you once we get confirmation on the SAF Bill from the Government. 



The Department has announced the new visa class (GK) and subclass (482) for TSS visas. TSS visas will have stricter conditions on the lodgements of nomination and visa application forms, namely with the introduction of the concept of one nomination – one visa. Below are the main changes to the requirements for TSS visas:

  1. One nomination – One visa 
    From the commencement of the TSS visa, a visa will only be able to be granted against the nomination referenced in the visa application when lodged.
    This means that if a ‘linked’ nomination is approved and then ceases, refused, or has been withdrawn, the applicant will be given the chance to withdraw their visa application before any decision to refuse is made.What does this mean for you? 
    This is one of the harsher new rules applied to the TSS visa. The concept of one nomination – one visa stops applicants with refused nominations from relodging their nominations and linking it with a lodged visa application. 

    This will mean that applicants will need to “queue” again with a new TSS nomination and visa application. 
  2. Relevant work experience 
    Visa applicants will be required to have at least 2 years’ work experience in the nominated occupation or related field. The work experience is generally required to be undertaken on a full-time basis in the last 5 years. Part-time work can be considered where equivalent skills remain relevant. Experience gained as part of the research components of a Master and/or PhD may be considered as work experience for relevant occupations, such as medical and research occupations. Experience gained through clinical placements and internships may be considered as work experience for medical practitioners, including Resident Medical Officers (RMOs). The internship component of the Professional Year Program may be considered as work experience for relevant occupations. Performance experience gained while studying may be considered for applicants with a performing arts occupation.
    The requirement will be considered flexibly in the context of the nominated occupation and industry with more details to be rolled out at a later date.
  3. Mandatory skills assessment 
    The current TRA 457 Skills Assessment program allows for applicants to be exempt from skills assessments based on the applicant holding relevant Australian qualifications. However, with the implementation of the TSS, there will be no more exemptions and occupations that are listed in the TRA 457 skills assessment program will be required to have mandatory skills assessments. Skills assessment will not need to be completed before the lodgement of the visa application, however suitability to the occupation must be demonstrated.
    The Department will be updating this list and we will be notifying you once it is released.
  4. Anticipated visa conditions 
    The Department will be introducing Condition 8607 which will be mandatory for all primary visa holders. Similar to the current Condition 8107, which mandates that an applicant can commence work with their sponsoring employer once the nomination is approved, Condition 8607 will have stricter requirements.
    Condition 8607 will require TSS visa holders (not the employer) who wishes to change their ANZSCO occupation, to have a new nomination approved and a new visa granted before they can start work in the new occupation.


We will continue to keep you updated throughout the month as we receive further news and clarity from the Government.