Following the government’s decision to scrap the 457 visa, the Chamber is gearing up to help SMEs transition to the new Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa.

The government threw a curve ball at many SMEs this week, when it announced that it will be scrapping the 457 visa and replacing it with a new Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa scheme.
 
According to the announcement, made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday, the changes “will ensure Australian workers are given the absolute first priority for jobs” while businesses will still be able to temporarily access the critical skills they need to grow if skilled Australians workers are not available.
 
The new scheme will be made up of two streams: one short term (issued for two years) and one medium term (issued for up to four years for “more focused occupation lists”). Both of these will be subject to labour market testing including a requirement for two years of work experience, a market salary rate assessment and a new non-discriminatory workforce test.
 
The Government has also indicated that employers utilising the new visas will be required to contribute to a training fund, which will be used to help fund investment in local training and education initiatives details of these extra payments by business still remain unclear.
 
There will be different requirements under the new scheme applied to employers in metropolitan and regional areas (mostly related to the range of occupations available).
 
The Chamber has greeted the news cautiously, stating that while “it’s appropriate that the Government is looking to ensure that the checks and balances in the system meet community expectations”, it needs to “handle the transition into the new system carefully to ensure that business can continue to access the skills they need”.
 
Details of the new visa and transitionary arrangements for current 457 visa holders and applicants is available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website.