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Temporary Skill Shortage visa program: Recent Developments for Employers (Including Direction 100)

Nov 16, 2022 | AUS | 0 comments

Following the Job and Skills September 2022, in coordination with representatives from unions, governments and employers, a large portion of the summit had addressed how Australia immigration can assist in easing severe skills shortages currently being faced across all sectors of Australia. 

Amongst the announcements, the Minister has allocated investment of $36.1 million into visa processing and additional staff capacity to urgently address the backlog of visa applications has resulted in faster and much needed processing of visa application. 

Changes to the immigration landscape are largely positive for employers to manage their business needs whilst facing the current worker shortage. 

The new priority processing under Ministerial Direction 100 – intends to prioritise applications with regard to healthcare, teaching and hospitality occupations, in addition to prioritising offshore temporary and permanent visa applications. This is particularly good news for those recruiting workers under the Temporary Skill Shortage Program or TSS (Subclass 482) program, initially designed to respond to the labor market needs of the business. 

Prioritisation and more efficient processing of applications made on behalf of accredited sponsors is amongst one of these favourable changes announced, intended to boost economic productivity and ultimately enable you to recruit and have your prospective employees onshore and working for you much faster.

Although the TSS program has remained largely the same, the TSS program has become more attractive for both the nominee and business. The Government has recognized that in order to fill the skills shortage gap, the country would need to attract and retain talents and skills workers in Australia – with enacting change to permanent employer visa applications being amongst the best methods to incentivise employees to remain in Australia. 

Currently, employers can nominate employees for the TSS visa under the Short-term stream, Medium-term stream or Labour Agreement stream. 

The Short-term stream relates to occupations stated on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List, while the Medium-term stream relates to occupations stated on the Medium-term Skilled Occupation List. 

Labour agreements enable businesses to nominate workers in occupations specified under the terms of the Labour agreement, allowing access to lower skill level occupations and those not listed in the MLTSSL and STSOL. 

If established less than 12 months ago, the business can become an approved sponsor and nominate under the TSS visa, provided a strong business case and financial capacity to nominate workers is demonstrated. 

A business that has been approved as a Standard Business Sponsor, enables the business to employ suitably skilled workers to fill positions within the company. This Sponsorship is valid for 5 years at a time. There are no limitations on the number of workers that can be nominated during the term. 

Whilst the requirements for the Subclass 482 TSS visa in Australia have remained largely the same, not all Subclass 482 TSS visa holders have been able to access and later apply for a permanent employer visa. Namely, occupations listed on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) were intended to include occupations which were not in high demand, enabling the visa holder to work and live in Australia for two years at a time, with the opportunity to extend a further 2 years. However, as stated, those who are nominated in occupations on this list could initially not apply for a Permanent Employer sponsored visa after 3 years (Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme or ENS – Temporary Residence Stream visa). 

Given the immediate skills shortage, the options for people coming from the Subclass 482 TSS – Short term stream have been expanded via means of transitional arrangements. As of the 1 July 2022, individuals who were in Australia between February 2020 and December 2021, for a minimum of at least 12 months cumulatively, and whom are able to be nominated by their sponsors on a Subclass 186 ENS under the Temporary Transition Stream, can access permanent residency upon completion of three years of work with their employer.  In certain circumstances this period may be reduced to two years and age requirement is waived.

After holding a Subclass 482 TSS visa for a period of 3 years and being employed with the same employer, individuals can now apply for a Permanent Employer visa, despite their occupation being on the Short-term list. 

Whilst there talks of combining both the MLTSSL and STSOL for faster and easier processing of visas to address current skills shortages, these talks are only in the pipeline however would be much welcomed within the industry. 

What this means for employers, is that you will have the ability to retain workers in occupations in the STSOL and incentivize your workforce via means of permanent residency. 

Currently set at AUD53,900, changes to Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, a major component of the TSS visa program, are likely to be enacted soon for the purpose of ensuring visa holders have the adequate means to support themselves in Australia. 

Overall, the impact of the Ministerial Direction 100 —is positive news for employers wishing to utilise the TSS program, with recent experience in terms of visa processing, particularly those offshore certainly being felt by those in the industry. If you have any questions in relation to the current legislation applicable to the TSS visa program or becoming an approved sponsor, please do not hesitate to contact us at or on (02) 9189 2988.