Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visas

The Temporary Skills Shortage visa is Australia’s new short-term work visa. Find out what it’s all about.

In April 2017 the Australian government announced that the 457 visa would be phased out, and replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa by March 2018.

Until then, it's still called the 457 visa, but is being changed in several major ways that you need to be aware of. By the time the 457 visa turns into the TSS visa, it will probably be mostly just a name change.

What is the TSS visa?

The TSS visa allows skilled workers to come to Australia to help fill a legitimate skills shortage. The TSS visa will have fewer eligible skilled occupations than the old 457 visa, and these occupations are now divided into two different categories.

  • Jobs on the Short Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL)
  • Jobs on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)

In addition to this, a lot of caveats now also apply. For example, airplane pilots only qualify if they work in regional Australia. These occupation lists will also be updated regularly. Visa applications can take many months to complete, so the list might be different by the time you successfully receive a visa. The lists used arethose at the time your application is completed, not when you initially apply.


STSOL vs MLTSSL

It's the same visa, but it works very differently depending on which list your job is on.

TSS Visa StreamsLength of stayConditions
Medium-term
  • 4 years
  • Your occupation is on the MLTSSL
  • Visas can be renewed onshore an unlimited number of times
  • Applicant must have a score of six on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • A pathway to residency exists
Short-term
  • 2 years
  • Your occupation is on the STSOL
  • Can only be renewed onshore once
  • Applicant must have an IELTS score of five
  • Must display an intent to stay in Australia only temporarily
  • No pathway to residency

How long can I stay in Australia on a TSS visa?

Whether you have a short-term or medium-term TSS visa determines the length of time you can stay. With a short-term TSS visa you can stay for two years and with a medium-term visa you can stay for four years.

If you are here on the short-term visa, you can only apply for renewal in Australia once. With the four-year visa, you can only renew it in Australia, but there is an option for permanent residency.

If you hold another kind of visa which has a “no further stay” clause, you are not permitted to apply for a TSS visa to extend your stay.

Am I eligible for a TSS visa?

The main condition is that you must be sponsored by a current Australian employer, and they must nominate you for a specific job. This job must be on the current STSOL or the MLTSSL.

You must not currently be in Australia on another kind of visa, and you cannot apply if you are on a visa that has a "no further stay" condition.

Your employer must also fulfill a wide range of conditions, including donating money to the Skilling Australians Fund when nominating workers for the TSS, trying to recruit Australian workers first, and making ongoing attempts to upskill its existing workforce.

Before you can apply, you must fulfil these conditions:

  • You must have at least two years of work experience in the profession for which you’re applying for a visa. This will increase to three years in March 2018. This may vary for certain occupations.
  • You will need to demonstrate adequate English language skills.
  • You must have a valid passport.
  • You must fulfill character requirements and pass a police check

Can I get permanent residency while on a TSS visa?

You can get permanent residency on the four-year visa, but not on the two-year visa.

For the four-year visa, it is now a little harder to gain permanent residency. There are a wide range of changes, depending on one's chosen pathway to residency. For example, as of March 2018, with the 186 and 187 visa, there will be a requirement that employees have been working in their current position for at least three years, rather than the previous two-out-of-three years requirement.

How do I apply for a TSS visa?

To apply for this visa, you first need a sponsor. You can’t arrive in Australia, apply for work and then apply for the visa. You will need to arrange everything prior to your arrival in Australia.

Your sponsoring employer must fulfil certain criteria as well:

  • They must prove there is no local capacity to fill the role.
  • They must pass a non-discriminatory test to show they are not discriminating against a local workforce.
  • They must guarantee to pay the Australian marketplace rate of pay to ensure they are not undercutting local business and not taking advantage of TSS visa holders.

You also need to meet specific health requirements before applying for the visa, and you will need to pay for any required tests out of your own pocket. Plus, you will need adequate health insurance to cover your stay while in Australia.

You will also need to prepare all of your documentation and pay for your application.

How can a migration agent help me get a visa?

Migration agents are professionals who can guide you through a visa application, advise you on visa types to apply for and keep you updated on changes to Australian immigration law. If you feel the visa application process is too complicated a migration agent could make the whole process much easier.

Find a migration agent

The latest Australian visa and migration updates

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    StephSeptember 12, 2017

    Are we able to transfer a current 457 visa of a MLTSSL occupation to another employer?

    • finder Customer Care
      MaySeptember 13, 2017Staff

      Hi Steph,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Yes, while on a 457 visa (MLTSSL), you can change employer. But you need to find another sponsoring employer. They would also need to lodge an application with the department of immigration to take over your sponsorship. You may also need to note the following:

      1. You can only start working for the new employer if your new sponsorship and nomination are approved.
      2. Your visa may be canceled if you stop working for more than 60 days.
      3. You may be required to also lodge a new visa application. The Department of Immigration may need to check if you have the required skills for the new occupation with the new employer in the case that the new position is a different occupation.

      It would also be best to speak to Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents who can assist you with your Australian visa or appeal.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

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