On Friday, 18 March 2022, the Australian Government released an amendment to legislation regarding permanent residence pathways for subclass 482 and 457 visa holders on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
Permanent Residence Pathway for Short-Term Skilled Visa Holders
From 1 July 2022, a Subclass 457 or 482 visa holder nominated in an STSOL occupation will now have access to a permanent residence pathway through the Subclass 186 Temporary Residency Transition Stream (TRTS).
Who is eligible
Short-Term subclass 482 visa holders will be eligible to apply for permanent residency under the TRTS stream provided that:
- They have worked in the nominated occupation for a period of 3 years in the 4 years immediately prior to the TRTS application;
- They have been in Australia for at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and
- They are currently employed by a person “actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia”.
People who on 18 April 2017, held or had applied for a subclass 457 visa that was subsequently granted will also have access to this permanent residence pathway, provided that:
- They must have worked in the nominated position/occupation for a period of 2 years in the 3 years immediately before the TRTS application is submitted whilst holding a subclass 457 or 482 visa;
- At the time of application, the person is employed by a person actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia; and
- The applicant meets all other requirements for the TRTS stream.
It is currently unclear whether the new pathway will include a concession for the TRTS age requirement. The grandfathering/transitional arrangements that ended on 18 March 2022 permitted applicants up to the age of 50, however all other TRTS applicants must be under the age of 45 to be eligible. As the prior arrangements have now been repealed, clarification regarding the age requirement will be required in the future.
Affected by the pandemic
The amendment also introduces concessions for visa holders that have been affected by unpaid leave or reduced work periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The concessions lower the work requirement for specified subclass 457 visa holders that have been subject to a COVID-19 reduced work or unpaid leave period to the following:
- If the specified 457 visa holder was not employed in the nominated position on a full-time basis or was on unpaid leave due to the pandemic (‘COVID-19 reduced work period’), a period of 2 years less any COVID-19 reduced work period (not including any other unpaid leave) is suitable to meet the work criteria.
- If the specified 457 visa holder was not employed in the nominated occupation and was on unpaid leave (‘COVID-19 unpaid leave period’), a period of 2 years less any COVID-19 unpaid leave period (not including any other period of unpaid leave) is suitable to meet the work criteria.
These concessions also extend to all other persons applying through the TRTS scheme:
- If the applicant was affected by a COVID-19 reduced work period, a period of 3 years less any COVID-19 reduced work period (not including any other unpaid leave) is suitable to meet the work criteria.
- If the applicant was affected by a COVID-19 unpaid leave period, a period of 3 years less any COVID-19 unpaid leave period (not including any other period of unpaid leave) is suitable to meet the work criteria.
The Instrument also provides exemptions to 457 visa holders that were not able to access prior transitional arrangements, as they were nominated in an occupation that was not on the Medium-Term Skilled Occupation List (MTSOL). The instrument exempts people in this position from meeting the occupation criteria and allows them access to the new pathway to permanent residency on 01 July 2022 without the need to apply for a short-term subclass 482 visa to be eligible.
The introduction of this new pathway will aim to assist Australian businesses in critical sectors such as hospitality and healthcare to alleviate acute skill shortages that are still being faced as the Australian economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn More About this New Visa Pathway for Short-Term Skilled Visa Holders or other Immigration Pathways to Australia
Gilton Valeo Lawyers is a Sydney based incorporated legal practice specialising in corporate migration, founded in 1982.
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