Skills in Demand Visa

The Skills in Demand Visa is replacing the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) Visa with a three-tiered system for applicants based on their annual earnings and occupation. The new ‘Skills in Demand visa’ aims to address labour market needs and introduces several significant changes for temporary skilled migrant workers, including more time to find another sponsor if their employment is terminated, and a clearer pathway to apply for permanent residency. Skill shortages will now be independently verified, and employers will have more incentive to attract and retain skilled workers.

Note: The Skills In Demand Visa will likely be open to apply for by the end of 2024. 

The three-tiered system is planned as follows:

Tier 1 – Specialist Skills Pathway Tier 2 – Core Skills Pathway Tier 3 – Essential Skills Pathway
– No occupation list applicable, however trades workers, machine operators, drivers and labourers are excluded

– Requires guaranteed annual earnings of at least $135,000 which will be indexed annually

– Priority processing with a commitment to a 7-day median visa processing time

– A simpler and regularly updated Core Skills Occupation list (CSOL) managed by Jobs and Skills Australia

– Requires guaranteed annual earnings of at least $70,000 which will be indexed annually

– For occupations earning under $70,000 per year but working in essential skill occupations.

– Further assessment by the government is being undertaken on the best way to introduce this pathway

This pathway is likely to be sector-specific, with stronger regulatory framework, minimum standards and ongoing advice from Jobs and Skills Australia

Skilled temporary visas- Replacement of TSS 482 visa

A new three tiered system of visa pathways to replace the TSS SC 482.

  • The specialist skills visa pathway will not have an occupational list and a processing turnaround of 7 days.  Trades occupations, machinery operators, drivers and labourers will be excluded from this visa class. There will be 3,000 places allocated per year. The ‘specialist skills’ visa for those earning over $135,000 per year.
  • The core skills visas pathway are expected to provide the majority of visa for the program.  trades workers will be required to apply under this visa based on a revised ‘skills in demand list‘ developed by Jobs and Skills Australia. The ‘core skills’ visa for the $70-135,000 cohort. Earnings to be at least TSMIT, currently set at $70,000, but to be indexed annually.
  • The details of the essential skills visa pathway are yet to be finally determined. This visa will involve union oversight, be capped and be restricted to specific sectors.  To date the aged care and disability sectors have been mentioned. The ‘essential skills’ visa is for those earning under $70,000

The visas will be granted for up to 4 years and visa holders will be able to change employers more easily and provide clear pathways to permanent residency.  The ‘TSMIT‘ will be indexed annually and a public register of employer sponsors to allow more ease with moving between employers.

Skilling Australians Fund

Consideration will be given to collecting the SAF in smaller increments over time in recognition of the greater freedom of visa holders to change employers.  A monthly or quarterly payment model will be explored.

Labour Market Testing

LMT is to be streamlined, although the only announcement so far is that the requirement to advertise on the Workforce Australia site will be abolished. The validity of advertising period will increase from 4 to 6 months.

LMT will be gradually phased out as Jobs and Skills Australia data on skills shortages improves and a Core Skilled Occupation List created as an alternative to LMT.

Key elements of the Skills in Demand visa include:
  • Time spent with any approved employer will count towards permanent residence requirements
  • Skills in Demand visa holders will have access to self-nominated independent permanent pathways, in addition to employer-sponsored pathways
  • The visa will provide for a 4-year stay for all streams
  • median processing time of 21 days
  • Skills in Demand Visa holders will have the ability to move between sponsors with an 180 day time period to find a new sponsor
  • Streamlined labour market testing (LMT) requirements will be introduced. The requirement to advertise on Workforce Australia has already been removed

The Australian government has released its Migration Strategy, which provides a road-map to the significant long-term reforms to be implemented starting in 2024, including, among other developments:

  • A New Skills in Demand visa with three pathways based on the foreign worker’s proposed earnings in Australia;
  • Streamlined labour market testing requirements;
  • System-wide simplification of immigration processes;
  • A new agency to identify skills needs; and
  • A new points system for permanent skilled migration.