Australia well-positioned to retain skilled workers with upcoming 482 visa changes

This article was written on 20 November 2023 ahead of the proposed changes expected to come into effect on 25 November.

Exciting news on the horizon for 482 visa holders in Australia!

Pending approval of regulation changes, a series of amendments are set to roll out from 25 November 2023, marking a significant expansion of employer-sponsored permanent residency pathways and strong benefits for Australia’s hospitality industry.

The amendments relate to the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482) and hold specific implications for employers and skilled workers within the hospitality sector.

The 482 visa is the most commonly-used visa for employers to hire skilled visa workers in Australia.  The occupations eligible for the 482 visa are primarily divided into two categories – “short-term” occupations (e.g. cooks who are eligible for a visa of up to 2 years and not generally eligible for permanent residency) and “medium-to-long-term” occupations (e.g. chefs who may receive a visa of up to 4 years and have a permanent residency pathway). 

Many roles in the hospitality industry fall under the category of “short-term” occupations, with eligibility for 482 visas for up to 2 years (as opposed to up to 4 years for “medium-term” occupations) and the ability to be renewed once onshore. The removal of the renewal limit for 482 visa holders eliminates a significant barrier for individuals in these roles, allowing them to apply for further 482 visas without the need to leave Australia.

This change enhances the stability and continuity of skilled workers in the hospitality sector, and with the upcoming changes, employers will also be empowered to support these 482 visa holders for permanent residency visa applications.

Another noteworthy update relates to changes proposed for the Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (Subclass 186) – the popular employer-supported permanent residency pathway – and aims to provide greater support for 482 visa holders seeking permanent residency.

Presently, hospitality workers with short-term occupations face challenges in accessing employer-supported permanent residency through the 186 visa. The proposed changes aim to address these barriers, enabling employers in the hospitality industry to support their skilled workforce for permanent residency under the “Temporary Residence Transition Stream” of the 186 visa.

The adjustment to the minimum employment period required for 482 visa holders seeking the 186 visa is particularly relevant to the hospitality sector. To facilitate a smoother transition to permanent residency, the minimum employment period required for 482 visa holders seeking the 186 visa in the TRT stream will be revised. Instead of the current requirement where applicants must work for at least 3 out of the last 4 years with their sponsoring employer whilst holding a 482 visa, the new requirement will be set at 2 out of the 3 years before lodgement.

By reducing the minimum period of 482 visa employment to 2 out of the last 3 years, hospitality workers have a more streamlined pathway to permanent residency, easing the transition for both those seeking to settle in Australia and employers who wish to retain skilled workers.

In a move to enhance flexibility, changes to age exemptions will also be implemented for regional medical practitioners and high-income earners. These changes bring additional flexibility to the system, and will apply to roles within the hospitality sector that are located regionally or potentially involve high-incomes. The amendments aim to create a more inclusive framework for skilled workers in various sectors, including hospitality.

These long-awaited changes are designed to offer more equitable and streamlined access to permanent residency for skilled workers, creating a beneficial arrangement for both employers and 482 visa holders. For the hospitality industry, this means that skilled professionals now have a more accessible and certain pathway to permanent residency, highlighting Australia as a more attractive destination for talent in the global hospitality market.

Businesses within the hospitality sector that employ sponsored workers or individuals holding a 482 visa should actively consider the potential impact of these changes. The amendments signify a positive shift in Australian immigration policies, presenting new opportunities for employers to support the long-term residency goals of their skilled workforce, and ultimately aligning with the broader goal of positioning Australia as a hub for top-tier talent in various sectors.

To further explore the impact of these changes and understand how it may impact your business or individual circumstances, please contact the Mullins Migration team for guidance on navigating the evolving immigration landscape.

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
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