457/TSS: Priority processing no more; all 457 applications expected to be finalised by end of year

In the latest Skilled Newsletter, the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) have released important processing arrangement news for Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visas and all outstanding applications for Subclass 457 – Temporary Skill Shortage (457) visas, and, of course, their related nomination and business sponsorship applications.

Priority processing requests no longer accepted

As of 5 September 2018, Home Affairs will no longer accept or consider requests for priority processing. This is due to the large number of requests impacting resources, and the relatively fast processing of TSS visa applications. Any priority request made before the cut-off date will be attended to if warranted.

Going forward, business sponsors and visa applicants will need to be mindful of the ministerial direction that allocates priority processing for TSS visas in the following order:

  • Accredited business sponsors,
  • Positions located in regional areas,
  • Applications lodged under a labour agreement, then finally
  • All other applications.

457 applications expected to be finalised by the end of the year

Of particular note, is that Home Affairs expects that all 457 visa applications will be finalised by the end of the year.

Years ago, 457 visas were processing as fast as TSS visas currently do (days and weeks, not months and years), so it will be interesting to see whether Home Affairs will manage to keep timeframes for TSS visas down, instead of suffering the same processing blowout that affected 457 visas.

Labour agreement processing

Lastly, Home Affairs have said they are committed to cutting down processing times for labour agreements by implementing a new case management model. Labour agreements are separately negotiated agreements with Home Affairs to sponsor overseas workers for 457/TSS visas when the standard temporary migration scheme, namely the standard business sponsorship, is not available.

Additionally, snow sport industry labour agreements will no longer be valid from 31 August 2018. Unlike other template labour agreements, such as the fast food industry labour agreement, snow sport industry labour agreements are not ceasing due to any market demand or political considerations. Instead, due to the length of time for these visas being at most six months, it was decided that clients would be better served by applying for Subclass 400 - Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visas, which can permit a stay of up to six months.