Australian Visas- What’s in pipeline for 2018?

Posted on January 2, 2018

From the columns of SBS Australia, we come to know what we can expect from Australia immigration in 2018. Indeed 2017 has been a wonderful year for all states of Australia. Good number immigrants were invited for PR through various subclass programs. Family reunification has increased and student migration reached to spectacular peak level.

In the New Year 2018, here’s what Australia will experience in its visas and immigration sector:

457 visa to replaced with Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa

The news of the 457 visa abolishment has been quite a viral now. While there were protests and urges to take back this decision, the government of Australia stood firm on its announcement. From March 2018, 457 visa program will not be active; instead will be replaced by a completely new visa program called Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS).  This visa will be divided into two subcategories; Short Term stream (validity of 2 yrs) and Medium Term Stream (valid for a period of 4 yrs).  Candidates on the later type of visa can renew their visa and apply for Australia permanent residency.  It is said this subcategory of TSS visa will be similar to the current 457 visa.

However, along with this massive shift several constraints may also be applicable in the eligibility of this visa. This visa may  bring about changes like- demand an increased work experience and higher English Language score, labour market testing would be mandatory, character and anti-discrimination and training requirements may be changed, the Australian Market salary rates may vary for the visa applicants, etc.

Changes to Occupation lists in 2018

During April 2017 and July 2017, several changes were made to the Skilled Occupation list. The Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) was introduced and revised again.  Though the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)  is predicted to remain the same, the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) is likely to experience some changes. Occupations like Hair or Beauty Salon Manager, Accommodation and Hospitality Manager, Recruitment Consultant and Building Associate etc. are expected to be flagged off from the Skilled Occupation List. Likewise, occupations like Property Manager, University Tutor, Real Estate Agent/Representative and Psychotherapist may be added to the list.

According to recently released news, Airline Pilots is also likely to be added in 2018. The country is facing a severe shortage of pilots and a two-year work visa is being granted to overseas pilots to fill the vacancies faster.

Mandatory provisional visas before Australia permanent residency

In 2017, the Government of Australia took public consultation to transform its visa system. The government discussed over its plans to introduce a mandatory provisional visa before gaining permanent residency.  According to SBS Australia, the department in a consultation summary said while approximately 55% opposed a provisional period, among those who supported the principle of provisional residence, a provisional period of a minimum of two years was most popular. 88% of the submissions supported visa simplification with suggestions that importance be given to transparency around decision making, reduced processing times and a system that was easier to understand and navigate.  Many also urged to reduce the number of visas from 99 to 10.

While the Australian Department has not announced any timeline or the final decision, it stated, ‘This is a long-term programme of improvement to the way we deliver our services. There is no immediate impact for visa applicants or holders. The first step will be broad consultation with the market on the design and build of a new visa processing platform.’ The complete story on this plan is likely to be revealed in 2018.

Temporary sponsored parent visa

During the 2017-2018 Federal Budget announcements, the government announced a new temporary sponsored parent visa. This visa will be of a great help to candidates who want to sponsor their parents to live with them in Australia. Though the billing that enables this new visa to come into effect has not been approved by the Senate yet, it can be expected that in 2018 this visa facility may also come into effect. (This visa has several constraints with regards to its cost, funds application terms etc.)

Partner Visa

The proposed Bill which was passed into the Senate and was seemed to become active 2017 but was delayed is predicted to be up in 2018. If this Bill is enacted, it will establish a framework of sponsorship for partner visas and give importance to the assessment of sponsors. This means that:

  • Sponsorship assessment would be separated from the process of visa application
  • The sponsors must be approved in order to file their visa application
  • Approved sponsors may be obliged to several legal obligations
  • In case the fail to adhere to these obligations, sanctions may be imposed
  • If need be, sponsors can also be barred from sponsorship