The Department of Immigration has announced that Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) workers may be able to avoid the TSS visa’s tough new restrictions if their visa application is lodged at some point during the next week.
With the rollout of the Government’s new TSS visa expected to begin at some point in the first week of March, the Director of Programme Management, Cathy Milfull, has confirmed that it would be the Department’s preference to give stakeholders approximately seven days’ notice before the introduction of the new program.
Whilst the 457-visa program was originally expected to conclude—and the TSS visa introduced—at the beginning of the month, the Department appears to be giving potential applicants a small window of opportunity to ensure that their affairs are in order before the changeover.
Any occupations featured on the (STSOL) will no longer have access to a pathway to the Permanent Residency program through the Direct Entry stream after the introduction of the TSS visa. Instead, STSOL applicants will be limited to a two-year visa with an option to extend it for a further two years while still onshore.
The CEO of Absolute Immigration (AI), Jamie Lingham, has welcomed the Department’s announcement, saying that “the AI staff have been working extra hours to ensure that all of our client’s applications have been lodged by the original COB Friday deadline that we had believed was a strong possibility, especially when considering the Department’s ‘planned outage’ at 9pm on the 2nd of March.”
“With the way the government policy has been moving recently—this being the latest in a string of surprise announcements—we wanted to ensure that none of our clients would miss out in the event that another last minute change was made.”
“So far there has been minimal to no notice of the TSS implementation date. When we have a government that is so unsure as to what is happening, we want to ensure that we have provided our clients with the best chance of remaining in Australia. The next major announcement to impact the TSS program will be the introduction of the Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017, which is still to be finalised in the Senate.
“There have been some amendments in relation to Labour Market testing for roles, therefore this was not passed as expected on the 15th of February. With the proposed amendments being accepted, we anticipate that this will come in to effect toward the end of March, if not early April,” Lingham said.