How changes to skilled worker visas could impact your business, timelines and where to find more information
The Government is abolishing the 457 skilled worker visa scheme, effective March 2018, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promising to put 'Australians first'. The move is likely to affect brokerages looking to hire workers from abroad or currently employing workers on 457 visas.
Two new temporary worker visas will replace the 457 scheme: a 2-year short term visa, which can be renewed for another 2 years and a longer term 4-year visa. The previous 457 visa allowed holders to stay and work in Australia for four years.
Finance Brokers will still be able to access the 2-year skilled worker visa.
There are two different lists to correlate with the different visa. The 2-year visa will be open to occupations on the short term skilled occupations list (STSOL) which, despite being greatly reduced, still includes Finance Broker, Finance Manager and Finance Investment Adviser. However, the 4-year visa is restricted to those on the medium and long term strategic skills list (MLTSSL) which does not include any finance-related jobs outside of accountant and actuary. Therefore brokerages will struggle to hire staff on the 4-year visa.
Only workers on the 4-year visa will be eligible for permanent residency in Australia, meaning new brokerage staff from abroad will inevitably be short-term, unless they acquire citizenship by other means (such as marrying an Australian citizen).
Finance Brokers will struggle to get permanent residency in Australia
Workers currently on 457 visas will not have their visas changed. However, the Government will be making extensive changes to the permanent residency program - the 186 visa - meaning these workers' chances of staying in Australia could be greatly reduced. From March 2018 finance brokers currently on 457s will not be eligible for permanent residency through the 186 visa; they will need to apply before this date.
In July 2017 the government will review the short-term skilled occupations list and could potentially remove Finance Broker and associated categories from the list.
You can find more information on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website: https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/457-abolition-replacement