Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (TSS Visa)

From March 2018, the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS Visa) has replaced the 457 visa program. The TSS visa comprises a Short-Term stream of up to two years, and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years.

The Short-Term stream is designed for Australian businesses to fill skill gaps with foreign workers on a temporary basis, where a suitably skilled Australian worker cannot be sourced.

The Medium-Term stream will allow employers to source foreign workers to address shortages in a narrower range of high skill and critical need occupations, where a suitably skilled Australian worker cannot be sourced.

TSS Visa – Short-Term Stream

The Short-Term stream includes the following criteria:

  • Renewal: Capacity for visa renewal onshore once only.
  • Occupations:
    • For non-regional Australia, the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) will apply.
    • For regional Australia, the STSOL will apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers.
  • English language requirements: A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 5, with a minimum of 4.5 in each test component.
  • Genuine entry: A genuine temporary entrant requirement.

TSS Visa – Medium-Term Stream

The Medium-Term stream includes the following criteria:

  • Renewal: Capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years.
  • Occupation lists:
    • For non-regional Australia – the Medium Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)will apply.
    • For regional Australia – the MLTSSL will apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers.
  • English language requirements: a requirement of a minimum of IELTS 5 in each test component.

TSS Visa – Eligibility

Eligibility criteria for both streams includes:

  • Work experience: at least two years’ relevant work experience.
  • Labour market testing (LMT): LMT will be mandatory, unless an international obligation applies.
  • Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold requirements.
  • Character: Mandatory penal / police clearance certificates to be provided.
  • Workforce: A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.
  • Training requirement: see Skilling Australians Fund Levy below.

Skilling Australians Fund Levy

Eemployers sponsoring foreign workers on a TSS visa will be required to pay a Skilling Australians Fund Levy (SAFL) which will replace the current Training Benchmark arrangements which apply to the 457 visa program. At this time the SAFL has not yet been implemented. The amounts payable will be different for small and large businesses:

 Small Businesses (under $10 million annual turnover)

  • TSS Visa – Upfront payment of $1200 per year (or part thereof) per employee on the TSS visa, so for instance an application for a 4 year (Medium Term Stream) TSS visa would attract a levy of $4800 and an 18 month TSS visa would attract a levy of $2400.
  • ENS and RSMS Visas – a one off payment of $3000 for each employee sponsored.

 Large Businesses ($10 million or more annual turnover)

  • TSS Visa – Upfront payment of $1800 per year (or part thereof) per employee on the TSS visa.
  • ENS and RSMS Visas – a one off payment of $5000 for each employee sponsored.

NOTE: It is currently not clear how employers who have a mix of 457 visa holders and TSS visa holders will be affected moving forward.

Visa Application Charges

The Visa application charges for the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa are:

  • $1150 per visa (primary applicant) for the short term stream
  • $2400 per visa (primary applicant) for the medium term stream

Subclass 482 Visa Application Process Summary

Step 1 – Employer becomes an approved Standard Business Sponsor

  • Online application to Department of Home Affairs (DHA) (IMMI Account)
  • Employer must provide DHA with certain documents, that may include evidence that
    • business is legally established
    • business is currently operating
    • business is financially sound
    • BAS is up to date
    • there is no adverse information about the business
    • business has demonstrated a commitment to employing local labour
    • business has premises – leased or owned
    • business employs staff
    • DHA Fee $420.00

Each application is different and the documents required will vary according to the facts. We will be able to advise exactly which documents are required for your application once we know more about your business operations.

Step 2 – Employer nominates the overseas skilled worker for a skilled position

  • Online application to the DHA (IMMI Account)
  • Employer must satisfy DHA on a number of issues, that include the following:
    • the nominated occupation is on the 482 occupations list (MLTTSL or STSOL)
    • business is unable to find an Australian worker – Labour Market testing required in most instances
    • salary is to be paid at the correct annual market rate
    • business needs to sponsor a skilled worker in a genuine skilled position and hasn’t created the position to help someone out !
    • employment structure and employee numbers
    • the business has provided a written contract of employment that meets Fair Work Australia and DHA requirements usually required
    • the skilled worker (nominee) will be paid at the same or similar rate as a local person doing the same job
    • the skilled worker (nominee) will have the same or similar employment conditions as an Australian worker
    • Caveats (where applicable) can be met
    • DHA fee – $330 plus
    • Skilling Australians Fund Levy payable

Each nomination application is different and the documents required can vary enormously according to the facts. We will be able to advise exactly which documents are required for your application once we know more about your business; your recruitment efforts and the person you wish to nominate

Step 3 – Visa Application

No two visa applications are the same. Some visa applicants are single; some are married with children; some are in a same sex relationship; some have health issues and others have police convictions and/or overseas debts.  It’s impossible to provide a visa overview that covers all sets of circumstances. The following provides a rough guide to the steps involved in the 482 visa application process. This guide is not intended to be used when preparing your visa application. We recommend that you obtain professional advice on your eligibility to apply for a 482 visa and on the documents required for your application.      

  • Online application to the DHA (IMMI Account)
  • An applicant will usually be required to provide the following as a bare minimum:
    • Passport – as evidence of identity
    • Passport sized photo
    • Birth certificate – as evidence of identity and family relationship, especially when children are included in the application
    • Police clearance (possibly from multiple countries)
    • Visa medical (depending on occupation and countries lived in)
    • Evidence of relevant skills and paid work experience
    • Evidence of relevant qualifications or equivalent work experience
    • Health Insurance or Medicare card
    • Military discharge certificate (where relevant)
    • Occupational registration or licensing (where relevant)
    • English language proficiency
    • Visa history – for applicants who have visited or are in Australia
    • hold an appropriate visa – for applicants who are in Australia (substantive visa, Bridging visa A, Bridging visa B or Bridging visa C)
    • No debts to Australian government (including tax debts)
    • DHA Fees payable

The DHA is very strict when it assesses an application by a business to become a standard business sponsor or an application to nominate an overseas skilled worker. If either of these applications is refused, the business will usually lose the fees paid to the DHA, including the Skilling Australians Fund Levy. If the nomination application is refused, any associated visa application cannot be granted.

Nomination and visa applications are complex. Engaging an experienced migration consultant to manage the application process can save a great deal of time, stress and also save money. Our team frequently spends hours and hours trying to sort out the visa messes that people have got themselves into. It’s much better to do it once and do it right !