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The Australian Government has announced that they have made some changes to expand pathways to permanent residency for migrants holding a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. These changes are designed to help Australian employers attract and keep skilled migrants. The changes also give TSS visa holders more certainty about their long-term future in Australia.

These changes took effect on Saturday November 25th, 2023.

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Who will be affected by these changes?

These changes affect skilled workers holding one of the following visas:

  • Subclass 482 - Temporary Skill Shortage visa

  • Subclass 186 - Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream)

“The update will have a positive impact on 482 visa holders with short-term and regional occupations, providing a clear pathway to permanent residency in Australia that was previously lacking. When paired with an extended 485 visa, it also opens up an alternative pathway to permanent residency for international students beyond general skilled migration.”Alice Guan (MARN1909953) , migration agent at IDP

What changes are expected?

Changes relevant to Subclass 482 - Temporary Skill Shortage visa holders

Onshore TSS visa application limits

Prior to November 25th, 2023, TSS visa holders were only allowed to apply for one TSS visa renewal while being onshore in Australia. If an applicant wanted to apply for a third visa term, they had to lodge their application from overseas. This process could be expensive and inconvenient for both visa holders and their employers. 

The Australian Government has now removed the limit on TSS visa applications that can be made by visa holders who are currently in Australia

This change applies to new TSS visa applications made from November 25th onward. 

Changes relevant to Subclass 186 - ENS visa holders (TRT stream)

TSS visa streams eligible for nomination 

The Australian Government is planning to allow employers to nominate employees holding TSS visas of all streams. This will include Short-term and Labour Agreement streams. 

Eligible skilled occupation requirements

The Government has also removed the requirement for TRT stream occupations to appear on a skilled migration occupation list. The following occupation requirements still apply:

  • The nominated skilled worker must continue to work in the occupation nominated in their TSS visa application.

Length of employment requirements before nomination

Finally, these changes will allow TSS visa holders to be nominated by their employer for the TRT stream after being employed for two of the three years before their nomination. Prior to November 25th, 2023, an employee had to work for their nominating employer for three years (in the four years before being nominated).  

COVID-19 concession changes

As of November 25th, 2023, the COVID-19 concession period will end. Anyone travelling to Australia will no longer need to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status or seek a travel exemption. 

For Subclass-186 ENS visa (TRT stream) applicants, the COVID-19 concession changes also mean that periods of reduced work due to COVID-19 will not count toward meeting the work experience for new TRT stream nomination applications.

TRT stream nomination changes apply to new ENS and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme nomination applications that were not finalised by November 25th, 2023.

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Why are these changes being made?

These changes are part of the Australian Government’s continuing work to reform their skilled visa programs. The Government is planning more visa program improvements in response to a 2023 review of the Australian migration system.

They hope to make the visa system more effective, responsive, and fair. By dealing with things like who can apply, how long it takes to process applications, and how easy it is to apply, the government wants to make Australia a place that attracts talented people and makes it easier for those people to move to Australia .

What are the IELTS and eligibility requirements for these visas?

Subclass 482 - Temporary Skill Shortage visa

Eligibility requirements (short-term stream)

  • Your nominated occupation must appear on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (SOL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL).

  • You may require a positive skills assessment.

  • You must have worked in your nominated occupation (or in a related field) for a minimum of two years (unless exempt).

  • You must have a sponsor, and the sponsored position must offer a salary of at least $70,000 or above.

  • You must meet Australia’s health and character requirements.

  • You must meet the English skill requirement.

Eligibility requirements (medium-term stream)

  • Your nominated occupation must appear on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

  • You may require a positive skills assessment.

  • You must have worked in your nominated occupation (or in a related field) for a minimum of two years (unless exempt).

  • You must have a sponsor, and the sponsored position must offer a salary of at least $70,000 or above.

  • You must meet Australia’s health and character requirements.

  • You must meet the English skill requirement.

IELTS requirements

The IELTS band score requirements for this visas are:

  • 482 short stream: Overall band score of at least 5.0, with a score of at least 4.5 for each skill.

  • 482 medium stream: Overall band score of at least 5.0, with a score of at least 5.0 for each skill.

  • Please note that you cannot use IELTS One Skill Retake to apply for the 482 visa

Subclass 186 - Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (TRT stream)

Eligibility requirements

  • You must be 45 years or younger at the time of applying (unless exempt)

  • You must be nominated by an Australian employer who sponsored your 482 or 457 visa.

  • You have worked full-time for your sponsor for at least 2 of the 3 years before your 186 application.

  • You may be required to present a positive skills assessment

  • You must meet the English skill requirement.

IELTS requirements

To be eligible for a Subclass 186 visa (TRT stream), you must demonstrate that you have a competent English language skill level. You will need to achieve an overall IELTS band score of at least 6.0, with no individual band score falling below 6.0. 

Hear from a migration agent

We sat down with Alice Guan (MARN1909953), IDP's in-house migration agent to hear what she thinks of these changes:

”The update will have a positive impact on 482 visa holders with short-term and regional occupations, providing a clear pathway to permanent residency in Australia that was previously lacking.”, said Alice. “When paired with an extended 485 visa, it also opens up an alternative pathway to permanent residency for international students beyond general skilled migration.”

What is an extended 485 visa?

International students who have graduated with a degree from a recognised Australian university or other educational institution may be eligible for a Subclass 485 - Temporary Graduate visa (post-study work stream). Visa holders can live, work and study in Australia for up to four years. 

To help Australia fill critical skills shortages, from July 1st, 2023, graduates holding an eligible degree may also be approved for an additional two-year stay on their visa. This means that international students who graduate from an Australian university with an eligible degree may be approved to stay in Australia for up to six years

If you’re an international student interested in migrating to Australia, get some personalised visa advice from one of IDPs friendly and experienced Migration Services agents.

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Why choose IELTS?

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IELTS is the world's most popular English test for a reason. Why choose IELTS?

  • IELTS is accepted by more universities, colleges and academic institutions than any other English test. The test is accepted globally by more than 12,000 organisations.

  • Are you more comfortable with paper or computers? IELTS lets you choose how you want to take your test. 

  • Feel confident on test day with official IELTS preparation materials . They are free and you'll get access to premium materials including webinars, videos and practice tests. 

  • IELTS is the only major test to offer One Skill Retake . You can now retake any component of the test; Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking. It's perfect if you want to improve on one area instead of redoing a full test. With other tests, you need to book, pay, and sit a full test again. 

Ready to get started? Book your IELTS today and take the first step on your journey to living, working or studying in Australia!

Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs  website for changes that may apply to you. If you are interested in Australian student visas , work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent .