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As the dust settles on the Turnbull Government announcement that they were abolishing the 457 Visa and replacing it with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa, the most significant concern has been how Permanent Residency works with this new scheme.
Importantly, these changes won’t come into effect until March 2018, meaning if you are currently on a 457 Visa, and you have worked the necessary two years and your employer is willing to sponsor you for Permanent Residency, it will be possible through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Temporary Resident Transition Stream). It would be recommended to take that step sooner rather than later, as delaying could mean you fall under the new regulations.
For those whose occupation can be found on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), Permanent Residency is still an option, however you will need to work three years with a company, instead of two, and the company again needs to be willing to sponsor you for PR. This applies for all new applications under the TSS system, and any person on a 457 who hasn’t for two years before March 2018.
However, where it gets tricky is for occupations on the Short-Term Skill Shortage List (STSSL). Persons whose occupation is now on this list are unable to seek PR through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Temporary Residence Transition Stream). This captures all new applications and people who are currently on a 457 but won’t have held a position for two years by March 2018. Unfortunately, this means there are a number of people who currently hold a 457 Visa who thought they would have a path to Permanent Residency, but that may no longer be possible.
However, Permanent Residency may still be possible under the ENS Direct Entry Route. To get PR under this system means that you have to get your skills assessed by your assessing body and they have to see if they think your skills are suitable for PR, or if the skills you possess are at a suitable level for PR. The majority of bodies look for qualifications to determine your eligibility, rather than considering the experience that you have. The employing company also has to be willing to sponsor your PR application. Therefore, if you are on the STSSL list and you have a relevant qualification and your employing company is able and willing to sponsor, it’s advisable to talk to a migration agent to determine whether you would be eligible for PR under the Direct Entry route.
There is also the option to look at the Skill Select route, assuming you are under forty and have a degree or relevant qualification. To do this, you have to pass the age and degree/experience criteria, achieve the necessary English test score and earn enough points to send in an expression of interest to the government. Within twelve months they will hopefully send you a request to apply for permanent residency.
Just because your occupation is on the MLTSSL at the moment, does not mean it will stay there! The government has already stated that they will regularly reassesses the occupations on each of the lists, the first of which will be held on the first of July. As a result of this, it is difficult for anyone to be able to advice with one hundred percent certainty about whether a 457 or TSS visa holder will be eligible for PR in the future, even if they are eligible, or not eligible, currently.
If you are on a visa, sit tight and get advice, as the conditions of your existing visa will stay the same, with the exception of whether the two year/three year ruling might affect you. With there still being so much uncertainty about the impact of these changes, be sure to keep in touch with your migration agent or sponsoring company to make sure you know how you will be affected.

Purnima Kabra