From March 2018, the Australian Government introduced a new work visa in replacement of the 457 visa – the Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.
The TSS visa is a temporary visa which permits the holder to live in Australia, while working full-time for the sponsoring employer, in the nominated position. Applicants for a TSS visa may include dependent family members in their application.
The TSS visa has a short-term stream and a medium-term stream. Applicants with occupations on the Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) are eligible for visas of up to two years (renewable once, for a further two years), whilst those on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) can apply for up to four years, with eligibility for permanent residency after three years.
The role that the employer wants to fill must appear as an occupation on the Combined List of Eligible Skilled Occupations. In determining whether the proposed nominated occupation is an accurate reflection of the duties of the position, the Department of Home Affairs (formerly DIBP) uses the Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).
Both the position description and the TSS visa applicant’s employment and education history must reflect the description provided by ANZSCO.
The applicant must have the skills required to fulfil the role. Whilst the skills required vary in accordance with the occupation in question, all TSS visa applicants are required to have a minimum of two years’ relevant work experience. When examining a TSS visa applicant’s skills and qualifications against the nominated position, Home Affairs case officers cross-reference the position description supplied in the employer’s nomination application with the visa applicant’s qualifications and work references.
If applicants are not from an exempt country (UK, USA, Canada, NZ or Ireland), they will also need to meet English language requirements at the time of application.
Health and character criteria will also need to be met. Police clearance certificates are required for every country in which the applicant has lived for 12 months or more since turning 16 years of age, within the last ten years.
There are three steps to the application process.
1 – Standard business sponsorship
A business must become approved as a Standard Business Sponsor in order to employ a TSS visa holder. To obtain a Standard Business Sponsorship agreement, the business must demonstrate lawful and active operation in Australia. This includes identifying the correct ABN to apply under, registering the business name, supplying Business Activity Statements (BAS) and financial statements, as well as showing a commitment to training Australian citizens and permanent residents and compliance with workplace and other Australian laws.
2 – Nomination
Following the SBS application, an employer must nominate a position within their business as one which must be filled by an overseas citizen. As part of this step, there are various requirements to be met:
Labour Market Testing
To nominate an employee for a TSS visa, a business must demonstrate that they have tested the labour market. Labour market testing includes demonstrating that the business unsuccessfully advertised for the nominated position. Evidence will need to be supplied as part of the application and the evidentiary requirements are very specific. In most cases, two advertisements placed within the last 4 months for a minimum period of 28 days will be acceptable, however there are instances when this will not be sufficient, and alternative evidence is required. Further, there are exemptions to this requirement in some instances. Employers are encouraged to seek professional advice to ensure that the labour market testing provisions are met.
The salary for the nominated position must meet two requirements. Firstly, the remuneration must be above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT). This threshold is set by DIBP each year and is currently $53,900 plus superannuation. Secondly, the proposed salary must be within the market rate for the role. This ensures that the applicant will be paid in line with Australian employees in comparable roles.
Note: Some occupations will be subject to caveats that set a minimum remuneration level that is above TSMIT.
The introduction of the TSS visa brings with it a new Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy to be paid at nomination stage. The SAF levy will make nominating employees a considerably more expensive undertaking for a business.
The amounts payable per applicant are set out as follows:
3 – Visa application
Step three of the process is the visa application itself, at which time the nominee must demonstrate that they meet the requisite skill level for their occupation, as well as health and character requirements.