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Businesses who make use of skilled workers from overseas need to be aware of sweeping changes to the temporary skilled migration scheme announced last month.

The Federal Government’s announcement that it will be scrapping the 457 visa and replacing it with a new Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) Visa, has caused widespread concern, with many businesses asking how it will affect them.

To cut through the confusion, Rebecca Burdick, Policy Manager of Workforce Skills at NSW Business Chamber, explains what you need to know.

Understanding the basics
The TSS visa will be made up of two classes. The short term class has a reduced list of approved occupations and this means some occupations that were eligible under the 457 arrangements will not be eligible under the new scheme. 

The medium term class requires applicants to demonstrate a higher level of English language skills and will also involve mandatory labour market testing. Employers who want to engage a worker under the medium term class will, for example, need it provide substantial proof that they aren’t able to hire a worker with the skills they require locally.

Businesses who access either scheme will also have to pay a foreign worker levy. Small businesses with turnover of less than $10 million will have to pay $1,200 for every year they employ a temporary visa worker. Businesses with turnover of more than 10 million will be charged $1,800 per year. 

No change for current 457 holders
Reassuringly, current 457 visa holders will not be affected. If one of your employees is on a 457 visa right now, they can continue on their current arrangements until their visa expires.

On the other hand, if you have assisted a prospective employee to make a 457 visa application and it is still being considered you should seek advice about whether they will still be eligible under the new TSS scheme.

Where to go for help
The migration system is complex, which is why we are advising members who want further information about the new TSS visa scheme to contact a registered migration agent or lawyer specialising in migration law for advice. 

For further information about the changes visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website.

Small businesses with turnover of less than $10 million will have to pay $1,200 for every year they employ a temporary visa worker. Body copy: Businesses who make use of skilled workers from overseas need to be aware of sweeping changes to the temporary skilled migration scheme announced last month.