The Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) Visa (TSS Visa) is a new stream of visa introduced as part of Australia’s reformed skilled migration scheme. The new stream is now fully operational and supersedes the Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa program (457 visa) which is now closed to new applications.

Features of the TSS Visa

The TSS visa stream is designed to assist employers address genuine skills shortages in the Australian labour market. It enables employers to bring skilled workers into Australia (by sponsorship) where they are unable to source the workers they need locally.

Each visa stream allows an applicant to include eligible family members in their application which are defined as a partner – married or de facto (same or opposite sex) or dependent child or children up to 23 years of age.

The TSS visa comprises three streams:

The short-term stream permits employers to fill temporary skills gaps identified from a list of occupations on the Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) for a maximum two-year duration (or 4 years under International Trade Obligations) with a once-only onshore renewal capacity.

This visa does not provide an opportunity for permanent residency and applicants must demonstrate that they genuinely do not intend to remain permanently in Australia.

The medium-term stream targets long-term skills gaps and is designed to fill more narrowly-defined and highly-skilled occupation categories appearing on the Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

Applicants may apply for up to four years with an opportunity to renew indefinitely whilst the occupation remains on the list. The medium-term stream provides a pathway for permanent residency after three years provided the visa holder meets relevant eligibility requirements and has complied with any visa conditions.

A Regional Occupation List (ROL) includes various occupations that are specifically available in regional areas and forms part of both the STSOL and MLTSSL.

The labour agreement stream applies to employers who have entered into a labour agreement with the Department of Home Affairs. A labour agreement allows businesses who can demonstrate a specific need that cannot be met by the Australian labour market, to sponsor workers. Currently, there are four types – company-specific, industry-specific, designated area and project agreements.

Like the medium-term stream visa, applicants may apply for up to four years, apply to renew the visa, and seek permanent residency, subject to eligibility, after three years.

Some occupation categories are subject to certain ‘caveats’ meaning that there will be additional requirements relating to the business entity or occupation, for example, a pre-requisite for a business to have achieved a minimum annual turnover before obtaining sponsorship approval, minimum salary requirements, minimum number of employees or specific locality requirements.

How do I apply for a TSS visa?

Occupation

Applicants first need to check if they have the relevant qualifications or skills suited to an occupation listed on the STSOL or MLTSSL. These lists are reviewed regularly to ensure they provide an accurate picture of occupation shortages at the current time which means that categories of occupations may be added, deleted or moved between lists at any time and without notice.

Sponsorship

Applicants must also have an employer who is willing to employ them in the listed occupation. The employer must be an ‘approved business sponsor’. An approved business sponsor must lawfully operate a business in Australia and fulfil various other requirements.

A visa application cannot be submitted without the applicant being ‘nominated’ for the position by the approved business sponsor. Before nominating a proposed applicant, the employer must show that they have made genuine local efforts to recruit for the occupation (known as labour market testing).

The employer must pay the visa holder a market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) to ensure that overseas workers are not exploited, and Australian workers are not cut out of a position.

The employer must pay for all costs associated with the sponsorship and nomination application.

Visa Eligibility criteria

Grant of a visa will be subject to the applicant meeting various eligibility criteria including skills and qualifications relevant to the occupation category, minimum work experience, health and character requirements (including police checks), English proficiency and any other requirements specific to the visa type for the stream in which they are applying.

TSS visa applicants need to demonstrate at least two years’ relevant work experience in their chosen occupation category (unless applying under a Labour Agreement Stream where the two-year requirement may not be necessary).

Family, partners and children included on the primary visa applicant’s application also need to meet certain eligibility requirements.

Visa holders must provide Tax File Numbers to the Department of Home Affairs for cross-checking with the Australian Taxation Office to ensure conformity with salary requirements.

Conclusion

Applying for a visa is a complex process with strict eligibility criteria, legislation and regulations constantly evolving and listed occupation categories subject to change at short notice.

A lawyer experienced in migration law can assist greatly in explaining the process and obtaining the extensive information necessary to support your application.

Getting your application right the first time is imperative to increase the opportunity of being granted an Australian visa.

If you or somebody you know is interested in applying for a TSS visa, or other visa type or wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on +61 2 9212 2422 or email info@tklegal.com.