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Understanding the New Employer Sponsored Visa

Written by Binfeng Zhang

It has been approximately 2 months since the Subclass 457 Visa was abolished and replaced with the new Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (TSS). For all the hype and mystery surrounding the visa (partly because the immigration department chose to drip-feed information) is the TSS really that much different?

This article will unpack the main changes in the TSS visa and how your business can satisfy the requirements.


There was a time where businesses could sponsor employees who had just graduated from university and generally if the occupation was considered a Skill Level 1 or 2, the business was not required to advertise the position to the general public.

The TSS requires your prospective employees to have two years of relevant work experience and the position must be advertised to the general public for a period of at least 4 weeks. It does not need to be a paid advertisement and there are no restrictions on what type of media you must publish your advertisement on, however, the platform should be appropriate for the occupation advertised.

Paying for Training

The Subclass 457 visa required businesses to pay either 1% of their total payroll towards training Australian citizens/permanent residents who were employed by the company, or pay 2% of their total payroll to an industry training fund.

The benefit of this system was so a business could use the funds to upskill employees within the business, however, there was a major drawback with the Department of Home Affairs which had very strict definitions of what could qualify as training. This meant that certain types of critical training provided to certain people within the business did not count, which consequently lead the company to spending more money on unnecessary training just to meet the requirements.

This has been replaced by the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF), whereby business owners are required to pay the amounts listed in the table below to the Department of Home Affairs.

The Australian government will then use these funds to train Australian citizens and permanent residents through various educational channels. This new system removes the complexity behind determining what types of training will be accepted, however, businesses lose the opportunity to spend that money on their own employees.

Company Annual Revenue
Visa Subclass Less than AUD 10 million Greater than AUD 10 million
482 AUD 1200/visa holder/year AUD 1800/visa holder/year
186/187 AUD 3000 one off payment AUD 5000 one off payment

The SAF is payable in full upfront and there is a refund policy in place for the Subclass 482 visa if the employee does not remain with the business for the duration of the sponsored period.

Retaining Great Employees Long Term

Subclass 457 visa holders, and their employers, panic when the Department of Home Affairs initially did not announce any transitional pathways for those who already held an employee sponsored visa when the first round of legislative changes came in on 18 April 2017.

In the previous system, employees who held Subclass 457 visas and worked for the same employer in the same occupation for 2 years, had an option to apply for permanent residency. This was not the case with the new Subclass 482 visa as it was highly dependent on whether your occupation appeared on the Medium to Long Term Skilled List.

As it turns out, the government did include a transitional arrangement and they were quite generous:

Applicable to those who lodged a Subclass 457 visa by 18 April 2017 and subsequently had a visa granted or who already had a visa granted by the aforementioned date. The applicant is not required to have held the same subclass 457/TSS visa throughout the relevant period. If their first temporary skilled visa ceased, they could have made up the require time on a subsequent subclass 457/TSS visa. The applicant is eligible to apply for TRT after 2 years in their nominated occupation and the occupation list requirements, age restrictions and English language requirements do not apply.

What this means is that those on 457 visas, regardless of occupation, could apply for permanent residency after 2 years. There was a collective sigh of relief from many who fell into this scenario, but the same question was asked at the end of each phone call “They (immigration department) won’t change their minds again will they?”. The honest answer is “we (migration agents) are no longer told beforehand”.

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About the author

Binfeng Zhang

Binfeng Zhang is a Director of Affinity Migration Group and a Registered Migration Agent. His strength is in helping SME with employer sponsored visas, skilled migration visas, business investor visas and overcoming challenges in small businesses.