First Class Migration Australia have received confirmation from the Department, via our industry association the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA), notifying of further information as to the introduction of the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa legislated to come into effect March 2018.
According to the MIA, the summation of the information discussed and clarified at a meeting between the Department and the MIA is as follows:
- Date of Introduction of the TSS visa – There is still no definite date. The Department has informed the MIA, however, that it will be in the first half of March. It will not be 1 March at this stage.
- Genuine Temporary Entrant – The GTE requirement will be considered met unless the applicant has a history of holding a number of short-term visas over the last 4-5 years. It is still not clear at this time as to whether this will only be short-term employment visas or if this also includes other visa subclasses.
- Transition from 457 to TSS – A visa holder transitioning from a current 457 visa to a TSS visa will still be eligible to apply for a second TSS visa onshore.
- Non-Discriminatory Workforce Test – Although there are no details about this test available yet, it was confirmed by the Department that it will be an “exception” test rather than for all TSS applications. The Department will be looking for cases where the composition of an organisation’s workforce does not match the usual industry norm, e.g where the number of sponsored workers far outnumber Australian employees and is different to what would be expected in that industry. The Department does accept that there may be good reasons for such deviations and only expects to be examining a small number of cases each year.
- Labour Market Testing – The requirements for LMT will be made much clearer by including the length of time a position must be advertised, the method of advertisement and exemptions to LMT. Issues related to specifics of the LMT are still being debated in parliament and have not been finalised.
- Skilling Australians Fund – The relevant Bill is still being debated in parliament. The Department does not intend to delay the introduction of the TSS visa, if the SAF legislation is not finalised by March. Training benchmark obligations will continue until such time as the SAF legislation comes into effect. The Department does not intend for sponsors to be subject to both training benchmark and SAF obligations at the same time and will exercise some flexibility during the overlapping periods. There will be no refund of the SAF levy in the event that an employee leaves the sponsor before the end of the visa validity and any second employer sponsoring the visa holder will also be required to pay the SAF levy. The only circumstances in which the SAF levy will be refunded will be if the TSS nomination is refused. The Department of Education and Training will collect and control the expenditure of the SAF.