The visa change, which came into effect on March 19, will see the former 457 temporary skilled worker visa replaced with the more stringent 482 temporary skill shortage visa. The change comes after complaints from trade unions that the previous visa unfairly took jobs from Australians came to a head in 2017.
“Australians, wherever possible, where vacancies are there, where job opportunities are there, Australians will be able to fill them,” Turnbull said at the time.
“Australian universities need to vie for staff who bring specialised expertise to enhance the contributions that universities make to our community”
Under the new visa scheme, three streams are available: a short-term stream for two or four years for occupations on the Short-term Skilled Occupation list; medium-term for up to four years for occupations on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List or the Regional Occupation List; and a Labour Agreement stream for an unspecified duration for workers whose employer has an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs.
As with the 457 visa, all streams must be employer-sponsored.
During the original announcement, there was a level of confusion among students and agents, with the belief that the change would affect post-study work rights – a point quickly quashed by a tweet from education minister Simon Birmingham – and the understanding that fewer students would be eligible to apply directly for the TSS after studies.
With the visa implemented, the full requirements are now clear, and the minimum two-year work experience initially proposed will preclude most graduates.
However, UA’s call for flexible arrangements has been heard, with experience gained through formal arrangements such as clinical or industry placements, internships and apprenticeships now considered.
The TSS’ English language requirement is only slightly higher than the 457’s requirement and still remains below those needed to enter a Certificate III or higher at most institutions.
“We want to ensure that Australian businesses can access the best talent in the world, because this will underpin business growth, skills transfer and job creation”
Countering any concerns post-study work rights would be affected, grants into the visa stream surged by 52.6% to hit an all-time high of 37,459 in 2017.
Announced during the new visa’s implementation, the Australian government also plans to pilot a Global Talent Scheme visa system, to attract highly skilled international workers.
As part of the proposed trial, businesses with a turnover of more than $4m will be able to sponsor workers with an annual salary above $180,000.
“We want to ensure that Australian businesses can access the best talent in the world, because this will underpin business growth, skills transfer and job creation,” minister for citizenship and multicultural affairs Alan Tudge said.
“Australians are prioritised for the jobs, but… we want to be able to attract talent from overseas”
Following a similar line to that of the new TSS, the scheme will require employers demonstrate they prioritise employing Australians and that there will be a skills transfer as a result of hiring the visa recipient.
“At all stages, Australians are prioritised for the jobs, but where the skills and experience are not available here, we want to be able to attract talent from overseas,” Tudge added.
The announcement was welcomed by UA which saw it as an opportunity for universities to recruit “global superstars in research commercialisation and building university philanthropy operations”.
“The university workforce is global and highly-competitive – and this visa category could be a pathway for professionals at the cutting edge of the knowledge economy,” UA CEO Belinda Robinson said.
“Australian universities need to vie for staff who bring specialised expertise to enhance the contributions that universities make to our community.”
UA is currently urging the government to broaden the requirements of the 12-month trial and reduce the base income to below $180,000.