On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa programme will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years and will support businesses in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programmes.

Key reforms include:

  • Introducing the temporary skill shortage visa with new requirements, including but not limited to:
    • new, more targeted occupation lists which better align with skill needs in the Australian labour market
    • a requirement for visa applicants to have at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation
    • a minimum market salary rate which ensures that overseas workers cannot be engaged to undercut Australian workers
    • mandatory labour market testing, unless an international obligation applies,
    • capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the Short-Term stream
    • capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years under the Medium-Term stream
    • the permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years
    • a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers
    • strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers
    • the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will collect Tax File Numbers and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records, and
    • mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
  • Tightening eligibility requirements for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas, including but not limited to:
    • tightened English language requirements
    • a requirement for visa applicants to have at least three years’ work experience
    • applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application
    • strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers, and
    • employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold1.
  • Concessions for regional Australia will continue to be available:
    • Employers in regional Australia will continue to have access to occupations under the temporary and permanent visas, to reflect their skills needs.
    • Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will be retained. Consideration will be given to expanding the occupations in regional Australia that are exempt from the age requirement.
  • Significantly condensing the occupation lists used for skilled migration visas, including the subclass 457 visa, from 19 April 2017.

The implementation of these reforms will begin immediately and will be completed in March 2018.

Further information on reforms is available:

Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection-Australia

On 1 March 2017 a new Work and Holiday arrangement commenced with Vietnam.

The Work and Holiday (Temporary) visa (subclass 462) is for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year. It is a temporary visa that encourages cultural exchange and closer ties between Australia and eligible partner countries.

If you have completed specified subclass 462 work in northern Australia in tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry and fishing you can apply for a second Work and Holiday visa. For more information refer to ‘specified subclass 462 work’ under the ‘Visa applicants’ tab.

Working in Australia – six months with one employer: You can generally only work six months with one employer. More information is available at Working in Australia – six months with one employer

This visa allows you to:

  • stay in Australia for up to 12 months
  • work in Australia, generally for up to six months with each employer
  • study for up to four months
  • leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid
  • apply for a second Work and Holiday visa if you have worked for three months in northern Australia in tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry and fishing.

First Work and Holiday visa - you must be outside Australia when you apply for this visa.

Second Work and Holiday visa - If you apply in Australia, you must be in Australia when this visa is granted. If you apply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when this visa is granted.

Visa limits

There is an annual limit on the number of first Work and Holiday visas granted to each country. No applications will be approved once this limit is reached and you should wait until the following year to lodge an application. The visa programme year starts on 1 July each year.

For Bangladesh, the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Thailand,Turkey and Vietnam, the immigration office outside Australia that processes applications from nationals of those countries can tell you how many visas are available.

For Argentina, Chile, Portugal and Uruguay you need to contact the Americas Service Centre.  For Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain you need to contact the Europe Service Centre.

There is no limit on the number of second Work and Holiday visas that can be granted each year.

Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection-Australia

​On 12 December 2016 a trial of the new 10-year ‘Frequent Traveller’ Visitor visa will commence for holders of passports from the People’s Republic of China who are applying from within China.

The visa will be valid for up to 10 years and will allow multiple short stays of up to three months for tourist or business visit purposes. The visa will complement existing visitor visas and will be suited to travellers from China who have known long term plans for frequent short-term travel to Australia.

Applicants will need to provide biometrics identifiers (fingerprints and photograph) at an Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) in China before lodging an application online. Appointments for biometrics collection at an AVAC can be made through our service delivery partner’s website.

The visa has been introduced as a trial and therefore numbers are limited. The visa will be available online only and has a charge of AUD1000. The visa might be extended to other passport holders in the future. 

More information is available on the Australian Embassy in China website.

Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection-Australia

As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to improve client information, the publishing of current visa and citizenship processing times will give you more meaningful data about the visa or citizenship product of your choice.

The latest processing times will replace the previously published service standards to give you a better idea of how long it is taking to process a particular visa subclass, stream, or citizenship application.

Processing times will be updated monthly to reflect current caseloads and processing pressures, and will be available for most visa subclasses and citizenship application types. We do not publish processing times for some subclasses, as they are closed to new entrants, or capped and queued.

To ensure that your application falls within the published processing times, you must lodge a complete application. Your application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and actual processing times can vary due to individual circumstances, including:

  • whether you have lodged a complete application and included all necessary supporting documents
  • how promptly you respond to requests for additional information
  • how long it takes to perform required checks
  • how long it takes to receive additional information from external parties, particularly in relation to health, character, national security, and Assurance of Support requirements
  • the number of places available in the migration programme
  • surges in demand and peak periods.

Click on Global visa and citizenship processing times to know more about the visa processing time.

Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection-Australia

From 19 November 2016, Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) holders who undertake three months work in northern Australia in tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry and fishing will acquire eligibility for a second Work and Holiday visa. This work needs to have been undertaken after 18 November 2016.

Work and Holiday visa holders could previously only hold one of these visas in their lifetime. The second Work and Holiday visa initiative will provide an incentive for young people holding a first Work and Holiday visa to visit and work in northern Australia.

Work and Holiday visa is for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year.

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age
  • don't have a dependent child with you at any time during your stay in Australia
  • have a passport from:
    • Argentina
    • Bangladesh
    • Chile
    • China, People's Republic of
    • Indonesia
    • Israel
    • Malaysia
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Slovak Republic
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Thailand
    • Turkey
    • USA
    • Uruguay

    Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection-Australia