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Skills in Demand Visa: What employers should know

In December 2023, the Australian Government unveiled its latest Migration Strategy, aimed at streamlining the skilled migration system to safeguard workers whilst addressing skill shortages.

One of the changes that will have the biggest impact on employers and skilled visa applicants will be the replacement of the Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa with a brand new Skills in Demand Visa.

Here’s what we know about the upcoming Skills in Demand Visa.

What is the Australia Skills in Demand Visa?

The Skills in Demand Visa is a four-year temporary skilled worker visa, forming a crucial component of the Australian government’s overhauled Migration Strategy.

The primary objective of this visa is to incentivise skilled professionals from overseas to relocate to Australia, thereby bolstering the nation’s economy.

Will it replace the Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa?

The Skills in Demand visa is set to replace the Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa (subclass 482). This visa category has allowed employers to sponsor skilled workers to fill vacancies in instances where adequately qualified Australian workers are unavailable.

This new visa introduces a fresh approach to occupation lists, promising expedited visa processing and increased workforce flexibility. Notably, it empowers workers to switch employers rather than being tethered to a single sponsor. Permanent residency is expected to be available to all Skills in Demand Visa holders.

When will this change take effect?

While Australia’s new Skills in Demand visa was announced in December 2023, comprehensive guidelines are expected to be unveiled by the end of 2024, coinciding with the visa’s anticipated commencement.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Applicants for the Skills in Demand visa must satisfy general eligibility criteria, including specific health and character prerequisites.

The visa will be structured into three distinct pathways or tiers, each tailored to specific skill requirements, earnings, and employment conditions. 

1. Specialist Skills Pathway

This pathway is designed to attract top-tier talent and highly skilled professionals beneficial to Australia’s national productivity. It will be available to applicants in any occupation except trades workers, machinery operators and drivers, and labourers (they may be able to apply through the Core Skills Pathway). Applicants must be paid at least $135,000 per annum and the median processing time for this visa is set to be days.

2. Core Skills Pathway

This pathway is open to applicants whose occupations feature on the newly established Core Skills Occupation List. It aims to address targeted workforce shortages and is expected to accommodate a significant portion of migrant workers. This pathway is available to eligible applicants with an occupation listed on a new Core Skills Occupation List (currently under draft). Applicants must be paid at least $70,000 per annum and the median processing time for this visa is set to be 21 days.

3. Essential Skills Pathway

This pathway, currently under development, will be devised in collaboration with state and territory governments, businesses, and unions. Despite typically lower remuneration, jobs under this pathway will play a crucial societal role. It is currently being considered in the context of the care and support economy, but could be open to other sectors with persistent shortages.

The new skilled migration program is intended to bolster Australia’s status as a destination of choice for skilled migrants. At time of posting, the Government expects to implement the new Skills in Demand Visa by the end of 2024, citing that it may be available sooner.

Do you have visa holders on your payroll? To learn more about improving your documentation process, and how you can streamline VEVO checks, book a demo with CheckWorkRights today.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is general only, and not to be taken as Migration Advice. Please be aware that visas and regulations are subject to frequent change. It is advisable to verify the latest information from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and or seek specific advice relating to your circumstances from a MARA Registered Migration Agent.