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Blog by Joan Cuss


Charles Darwin has been quoted as saying that it’s not the strongest of species that survives but the one that is most adaptable to change.

Yes Charles, we get the message but we are still challenged by Malcolm Turnbulls’ recent announcement of changes to occupation lists for 457s and migration pathways to Australia.  As written in my previous blog, this has caused confusion and many eyebrows and questions have been raised in this unsettling time for current 457 visa holders – have a look:

Q:Can an employer sponsor change the nominated 457 occupation post-lodgement?

A: No.  The employer sponsor can withdraw and lodge a new nomination with a new occupation. This is however likely to raise concerns when assessed by a case officer around the genuineness of the position.

Q: Where the new 457 caveat requires a business/company/sponsor to have a minimum of 5 employees, are there any restrictions on the type of employee: do they have to be full-time and Australian staff only?

A: No, not at this stage. If the company declares that they have 5 employees and this is consistent with other information provided, then this should be accepted by the case officer.

Q: What changes are being made to the 457 training benchmarks as of 1 July 2017?

A: As of 1 July 2017 the Department will change their policy as to the types of training funds eligible for training benchmark A.  They will also be setting out the types of expenditure on training more prescriptively and rigidly, that are acceptable for training benchmark B.  As of X March 2018, and under the new TSS visa scheme further changes will be implemented.

Q: Can you still apply for a 186 PR visa if your occupation, is no longer on the MTSSL and only on the STSOL?

A: Yes. However, this is likely to change after X March 2018.

Q: Can you still apply for 186 permanent residency through the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream if your occupation has removed from the MLTSSL list and now appears only on the SSL list?

A: If you are a holder of a subclass 457 visa, with enough time left on your current 457 visa, you may continue               to be eligible to apply for 186 PR through TRT.  The reason in law for this is that access to the transition stream           has never been based on specific immigration occupation lists (published in legislative instrument), and is                     therefore unaffected by the changes.

Q: How have the changes affected the RSMS permanent residence programme?

A: At this stage RSMS remains unchanged. However as of 1 July 2017 the following higher eligibility criteria                 will apply to the primary applicant at time of application:

  1. maximum age limit of 45 (which is 5 years younger than the current maximum age of 50),
  2. at least 6 in all four bands of an IELTS, (same as the current direct entry criteria, but higher than the current TRT English criteria)

Q: What further changes will come into operation on 1 July 2017 for the 186 ENS PR visa?

A: Similar to the answer immediately above. As from 1 July 2017 the primary applicant will be require to be to meet the following criteria at time of application:

  1. maximum age limit of 45 (which is 5 years younger than the current maximum age of 50),
  2. at least 6 in all four bands of an IELTS, (same as the current direct entry criteria, but higher than the current TRT English criteria)

Q: Will there be further changes to the occupation lists (this will include applicants wanting to apply for 457’s, 186’s 187’s, 189’s, 190’s and 489’s) as of 1 July 2017?

A: Yes. Furthermore, it is expected that going forwards, the occupation lists will be far more regularly updated. The PM and the Department have announced that there will be further cuts made, applicable as of 1 July 2017.

Q: Are there any changes being made to character requirements, across all visa subclasses?

A: As of 1 July 2017, subclass 457 applicants aged 17 years or older will be required to provide penal clearance certificates for countries in which they have lived for a significant period.

As of 1 July 2017, a sponsor in a partner visa application (onshore and offshore / temporary and permanent) will have to first become an approved sponsor (and meet the character requirements themselves), before the partner requiring a visa becomes eligible to lodge his/her visa application.

Should you wish to discuss any visa related matters, give us a call or e-mail us to see how we can help you.



1 Comment

  1. Erica Hesse says:

    You can contact me in Australia, Brisbane office: Tel: +61 7 3878 4252, Email: or South Africa, Johannesburg office: Tel: +27 11 021 5760, Email:

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