Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) in Australia

Last November, Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke announced plans to provide permanent residency (PR) pathways for

  • Subclass 482 TSS visa holders with an occupation on the short-term skilled occupation list
  • Certain Subclass 457 visa holders that no longer satisfies the age requirement 

Following on from Minister Hawke’s media release, the legislation has finally been confirmed this month. This is a very critical and positive update, giving above-mentioned visa holders some clarity on when and how they can progress to permanent residency, which was previously not available.  

Who can apply for Short-term Skilled Occupation? 

As per the latest legislative instrument, the following visa holders are included:

  • On 18th April 2017, a 457 visa holder or a 457 visa applicant whose application was approved later; and
  • From 1st July 2022, a Subclass 457/Subclass 482 STSOL stream visa holder, who remains employed by the sponsor, and has been in Australia for at least 12 months cumulatively, between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; 

This instrument also confirmed that short-term skilled occupation list requirements would not be applicable for the specified visa holders, which is consistent with Minister Hawke’s announcement.  

What should I do now? 

The updated legislation came into effect on 18th March 2022. However, these changes are very complex and comprehensive. Depending on your visa history, your date of eligibility can vary significantly. Therefore, you should always consult with a migration professional for a detailed assessment of your eligibility first, before committing to this process. 

You should also note that Subclass 186 visas, whether direct entry or temporary residence transition stream, require employer nomination. Therefore, you must also discuss this matter with your current sponsor. If your sponsor is not in a position to nominate you for permanent residency, it is not possible for you to proceed by yourself. The nomination process also requires lots of preparation and supporting evidence, which can be quite intimidating and confusing for some businesses.  

In the meantime, you should review Subclass 186 TRT visa’s requirements carefully, because the concessions are mainly for age and occupation lists, they do not change the remaining visa requirements, such as:

  • Generally speaking, working for your sponsor for 3 years (or 2 years if additional concessions apply)
  • Competent English – you should note that from November 2019, there is no more English exemption.
  • Health and character – as this is a permanent residency application, health and character can be ‘one fails, all fail’ criteria. This means that your visa application can be rejected if  any member of your family unit fails to meet these requirements. 

This is a very important step for not just yourself, but also for your employer – if your visa application is refused, your employer will not get a refund for the nomination application charges, which can range from approximately $3,500 to $5,500

We are still expecting more clarification and details from the Department of Home Affairs, as the latest legislative instrument has not yet covered all possible scenarios. However, whether you are a sponsor, or a TSS/457 visa holder who may be eligible, contact our visa team now and start planning! 

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