On 18 March 2018, the new 482 visa was implemented abolishing the well known 457 visa.  After much speculation about the proposed changes over the last year, here are the top 5 tips for navigating the new 482 visa program to sponsor temporary overseas workers to Australia.

Existing approved employer sponsors can continue to sponsor temporary skilled workers to Australia

Existing Standard Business Sponsors that were approved under the 457 program can still sponsor temporary workers for the new 482 visa under the requirements.  There is no need to update your sponsorship approval until it is nearing expiry and the renewal process has been streamlined for existing sponsors.

Australian employer sponsors can also apply for approval as an Accredited Sponsor where they meet the new expanded criteria for low risk, low volume sponsors gaining access to priority processing of 482 applications in as fast as 5 days with the possibility of auto grants in some circumstances.

Employers can only sponsor for occupations on the STSOL list or the MLTSSL list

The key difference between the occupation lists is that occupations on the STSOL are only approved for a 2-year visa (unless International Trade Obligations apply) and occupations on the MLTSSL can be approved for 4-year visas.

Employers must check the 482 skilled occupation list carefully and associated occupation definitions listed in the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO) guide to confirm the duties of the position they wish to nominate are best matched to the chosen nominated occupation code and consider the additional special requirements (known as caveats) which must be satisfied to nominate many of the occupations on the list.

The first step to sponsoring an overseas worker is to identify the occupation that best corresponds to the duties to be performed and ensure that the duties are a match to the definition in the ANZSCO guide.  You can find the 482 skilled occupation list at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2018L00302

No automatic transition from the 482 visa to Permanent Residence

Unlike the old 457 to Permanent Residence pathway, the nominated occupation must still be on the MLTSSL occupation list at the time a business is eligible to sponsor for Australian permanent residence.  Under the Temporary Transition Stream, this will be after 3 years working in the nominated position for the sponsor on a 482 visa (or old 457 visa).  Visa applicants must also still be under 45 years of age when applying for permanent residence (unless exempt). The genuine need for the nominated position will also be reassessed by the Department of Home Affairs under more stringent criteria before it will be approved for a visa applicant to apply for permanent residence even after they have worked in the position for 3 years.

482 Visa only for highly skilled workers with Qualifications and at least 2 years full-time work experience

The 482 visa is directed at appropriately skilled workers who hold both qualifications at the required skill level for the nominated occupation and a minimum period of work experience in the nominated occupation.  Completion of a formal skills assessment is also mandatory for some occupations and discretionary skills assessments can be requested if necessary to evidence the required skill level.

The changes to the skill level for the 482 visa are one of the most significant aspects of the reforms.  The previous 457 visa requirements allowed employers to sponsor an applicant with only the qualification at the level required for the nominated occupation.  The introduction of the two-year work experience requirement for the 482 visa will now operate to prevent employers from sponsoring an international student graduate where they do not have two years of work experience.  It will also substantially impact employers wanting to sponsor many Working Holiday Visa holders who may have completed a qualification overseas but have limited work experience in the nominated occupation.

Work experience will only meet the legislative requirements where it is at an appropriately skilled level which generally means post qualification.  The work experience must also be full time and have been in the nominated occupation in which the employer is nominating and not at a lower skill level.

Labour Market Testing exemptions removed for all professional occupations

Labour Market Testing requirements are now being required for all occupations except in limited circumstances where International Trade Agreements apply and involve much tighter assessment criteria to ensure employers have adequately tested the Australian labour market before being approved to sponsor an overseas worker.  The previous 457 requirements meant that the vast majority of occupations were exempt from Labour Market Testing and even where applicable the requirements were minimal.  However, with Labour Market Testing occupation exemptions now removed, employers must now show that they have used a national recruitment service to run at least two advertisements for the position for 28 days and ensure that the details of the position, employer, salary, and location are included.  Records of responses to the advertisements will also be required to demonstrate that there are no suitably qualified Australians to perform the role before the nominated position can be approved to be filled by an overseas worker.