1st of July 2017 visa changes outlined


On July 1 2017, changes were introduced to the Australian immigration policy. We speak to the Robert Walters specialist immigration Manager, Meghan Cemail to understand what these changes mean for both professionals and employers in the Australian market.

Who is affected?

  • Professionals: only occupations on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) will continue to be eligible for a four year 457 visa. Those occupations listed on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) will only be eligible for a two year visa. 
  • Employers: the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have advised that they will be updating the occupation list every six months, and we will keep you updated of these changes as they are announced. 

How and when should the labour agreement be used? 

The aforementioned changes may affect employers looking to sponsor certain occupations that have been removed from the pre-existing skills list, or have certain caveats attached to them. Organisations that require skilled workers will need to seek support through immigration service specialists, who can still sponsor occupations that have been removed through their existing labour agreement. 

Are there any caveats which restrict the ability to sponsor certain occupations?

Yes, further caveats have been introduced for certain occupations. These caveats are additional criteria that need to be met in order to sponsor an individual under the required occupation. These caveats

Have any occupations been re-introduced to the 457 list?

Yes, some previously removed occupations such as Retail Buyer, Web Developer, ICT Support and Test Engineers NEC have now been re-introduced to the eligible 457 list

Exemptions and mandatory requirements.

Unlike before, the English language exemption has been removed for individuals earning over $96,400 unless they are coming as part of an intra-company transfer and are earning above this amount. All other English language exemptions still apply.

Mandatory Police clearances for all applications and skills assessments for specific occupations will now apply for all applications lodged after July 1st 2017.

Have the changes impacted the permanent employer sponsored skilled migration reforms overview (PR)?

The subclass 186 visa, more commonly known as employer sponsored permanent residency, has also been affected by latest visa changes.

Organisations are now required to show there is a ‘genuine need’ for employees to work in the nominated occupation. 

New caveats introduced.

Caveats to certain occupations, that were previously only applicable to 457 visas, now extend to Subclass 186 visa applications. These only apply to applications lodged under the Direct Entry (DE) Stream. Applications lodged under the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream can still apply on the basis that they have held a 457 visa with the same sponsor, in the same occupation, for at least two years.

Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry streams requirements.

Applicants for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream must be below 50 years of age at the time of application. They will also need to meet a higher level of English language to show they have ‘competent’ English. Applicants for the Direct Entry Stream visa must be below 45 years of age at the time of application. Certain exemptions to this apply, including for specific occupations.


Click here to read the full visa changes update. 

Interested in the Robert Walters Labour Agreement and how it can help your business or individual needs? Read our latest article here.

To enquire about visa options and requirements please contact our Immigration Services Team on +61 2 8289 3100 or via email at immigration@robertwalters.com.au.