Australian Government Abolishes 457 Visas

Today the Australian Government made a special announcement, and for some of you this will not be very good news at all. Political rumblings have been going on for a while with the opposition and a couple of fringe parties expressing their disapproval of this temporary work visa. The government insists though that this is their decision alone and there has been no influence.

Here’s Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull…

What we know, or at least think we know, so far:

  • The changes come into effect as at 19 April 2017
  • Current 457 visa holders will not be affected by these changes
  • 200 skills have been removed from the current list reducing from 650 down to 450

If you are an Amusement Centre Manager, or a Bed and Breakfast Operator, or Cinema or Theatre Manager, or a Vehicle Painter, Wool Buyer or a Zookeeper and you were hoping to move to Australia based on that skill, today you ran out of luck. There is a link to the full list of all 200 removed skills towards the end of this article.

For some time I’ve been saying the job market has not been too healthy here in Australia at the moment, and the situation hasn’t much improved since I wrote What’s It Really like Trying to Find a Job in Australia? – 2015.

If you read the comments on that page, you will see just how tough or even impossible it’s been for some people to find suitable work. It seems that now the government is trying to do something to fix that; for Australians.

And now the good news.

Two new replacement visas

Well, I’m not sure if we can call it good news yet or not. But the government are replacing the 457 visa with two new kinds of visas that will continue to bring skilled workers to Australia from abroad. With those two new visas, come two more new skills lists.

Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)

A two-year temporary visa targeting the “best and the brightest” with the new system being “manifestly, rigorously, resolutely conducted in the national interest” according to Mr Turnbull. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the new two-year visa would not lead to permanent residency.

Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)

This is a four-year temporary visa targeted at “higher skills” and is a much shorter skills list. I had a quick look at the list, it appears to have around 175 to 200 skills on it. This visa will require a certain level a proficiency in English, two years of work experience and a police check.

These were not a requirement of the replaced 457 visas.

Although I haven’t heard it said specifically or seen it in print, I believe this four-year visa will have a pathway to permanent residency. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has not said otherwise, which he has for the shorter term visa.

You can see this for yourself, here he is now…

So whether or not this four-year visa can lead to permanent residency is still a little unclear, but as soon as I know the answer I will update the information here.

The new skills lists

Both the old skills lists have been replaced as follows with immediate effect:

  • Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) replaced the previous ‘Skilled Occupation List’ (SOL)
  • Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) replaced the previous ‘Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List’ (CSOL)

Please visit the government’s website for more information. The following page contains both of the new lists in full listing all eligible skills as well as the ANZSCO code and the assessing authorities:

Details of these new arrangements are still a bit sketchy and the government’s website has not yet been fully updated to reflect all the changes.

Over the last couple of years, 457 visas have been in decline. Currently Australia has 95,758 working in the country on these temporary visas, that’s less than 1% of the workforce. Here’s how the scheme has performed since its introduction in 1996…

It will be interesting to see how the numbers pan out for these new replacement visas.

More on ABC News.

Update: 19 April 2017

As has been mentioned in the comments below, there is an interesting PDF with further information about this announcement available direct from the government’s immigration website.

To download it, click the link below…

This document does contain more information and as its title begins with ‘Fact sheet one‘, this suggests there is more to come. I have spoken to my MARA agent today, he also feels it’s too early to fully assess the new situation.

For sure though, the 457 visa as such will not actually be removed until March 2018. However, those 200 jobs that have been removed are immediate.

My MARA agent’s initial opinion at this stage is that after 19 April 2017 and interim to March 2018, 457 visas will continue to be granted (with or without caveats) and under policy, the maximum four year visa period will, however, only be available where the primary applicant’s occupation is on the new MLTSSL.

For all other applicants where their occupation is not on the MLTSSL, a maximum visa period of two years will be available. This includes primary visa applications, lodged, which are still pending a decision on 19 April 2017.

The two-year temporary period visas will be strictly temporary (with only one 2 year renewal) and with no pathway to permanent residency, whereas the four-year visa will have a pathway to permanent residency.

The maximum age threshold for permanent residence has been reduced to 45 on these skills based visas, effectively shutting off the pathway to permanent visa options for those over this age.

Proposed time-line of changes:

  • from 19 April 2017 – 216 occupations removed and 59 others restricted, 24 occupations restricted to regional Australia, occupational lists renamed, validity period for occupations on STSOL 2 years
  • from 01 July 2017 – English salary exemption, which exempts applicants whose salary is over $96,400 from the English language requirement, to be removed, training benchmarks to be changed, mandatory penal clearance certificates introduced
  • before 31 December 2017 – collection of Tax File Numbers (TFN) for 457 visa holders for ATO data matching, publication of sanctioned sponsors
  • from March 2018 – 457 visa abolished and replaced with TSS visa which will comprise the Short-Term (2 years) and Medium-Term stream (4 years)

If you want to know what your options are, but you are struggling to understand all the rules, you really do need to speak to a MARA registered migration agent for expert advice.

To find out what they are and how to find one, please visit my page called Choosing a MARA Registered Migration Agent.

Visa Assessment Service
{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Gemma Doughty October 10, 2018, 8:02 am |

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for the extremely helpful site! I am still researching like mad and yours has been a most helpful tool. We are currently researching moving to Australia (lifelong dream) on a TSS (Mid Stream) visa and my husband has an interview in a couple of weeks time before we move onto the visa process. I have so many concerns and appreciate you may not be able to answer them but if anyone has experience of doing this please can you offer any advice/reassurances I would be most grateful.
    I am mainly concerned about the lack of security this visa will offer me and my family and am now thinking a job offer and relocation help may not be all it’s cracked up to be?! I guess specifics can’t be answered but anyone currently in the same situation or recently relocated on this visa your help/advise is much appreciated.

    • BobinOz October 10, 2018, 7:27 pm |

      Thanks Gemma, glad to hear you have found my website helpful.

      I’m not sure I fully understand what your question is, but I can’t help with, for example, the pros and cons of visa types, because only MARA registered migration agents can do that.

      I am not sure what you mean by the lack of security of the visa, unless what you do mean is that it is a type of visa that that does not offer at any time the possibility of applying for or getting permanent residency.

      If that is your concern though, I can see why that would worry you, because I don’t think it’s a great idea to uproot your family and come here for a short period of time working a temporary job and then have to go all the way back to where you came from again.

      Hopefully someone else reading your comment will be able to help you further.


      • ousmane swaray January 22, 2019, 2:36 am |

        I’m in Africa I want to go Australia

  • DV June 19, 2018, 10:44 pm |

    Hello Bob,

    What is the processing time for 482(STSOL) employee nominated visa?Mine was lodged on 14-May-2018 and still no response. Waiting desperately.

    Could you please advise?

    • BobinOz June 20, 2018, 5:45 pm |

      According to the government’s page about this kind of visa, 90% are processed within 40 days. So by my calculations, you only have another three or four days to wait.

      Unless, of course, you are one of the 10%.

      • DV June 20, 2018, 6:28 pm |

        Thanks Bob! I hope I fall in that 90% and be done with this wait :'(

        • BobinOz June 21, 2018, 7:53 pm |

          If you can, let us know when you have heard from them. Cheers, Bob

          • DV June 26, 2018, 6:17 pm |

            Hi Bob,

            Yes i got mine yesterday (25-Jun).. 🙂


            • BobinOz June 28, 2018, 8:55 pm |

              There you go, pretty much bang on time. Congrats 🙂

  • Wendy Starling March 17, 2018, 11:10 pm |

    I would like someone to help my son and daughter in law to migrate to
    Australia, they have the money but not qualified enough. I am the mother writing to you, we work in Bahrain..

    • BobinOz March 19, 2018, 7:25 pm |

      Then you need to enlist the services of a MARA registered migration agent, to find one of those, see my page about Migration agents..

      That said, if your son and daughter’s circumstances are such that they are not able to be successful with an application, then even a MARA agent will not be able to assist. Money alone will not get a visa. Good luck, Bob

  • Robert Savage February 9, 2018, 3:24 pm |

    Hi Bob
    I am presently working in regional NSW as staff specialist anaesthetist on a 4 year 457 visa ( started work 27/06/17). The job is permanent, I have just turned 50 ( bummer!). The employer will sponsor me for permanent residency, am I too late as I am now 50. One of the appeals of permanent residency is to avoid the extra 8% on stamp duty if I buy a house. If I cant get permanent residency are there other options for me and my family to allow me to continue to work for my present employer after the 4 years and buy a house without paying the extra 8% aimed at foreign investors.

    • BobinOz February 9, 2018, 5:26 pm |

      Sorry Robert, but I simply cannot answer these kinds of questions about visas and eligibility. The rules are very complex and you would need to speak to a MARA registered migration agent for advice. See my page about Migration Agents for more.

      • Robert Savage February 9, 2018, 6:10 pm |

        Thanks Bob for the link, I appreciate the time you have taken to reply.

  • BobinOz April 20, 2017, 12:15 am |

    Thank you all for your comments and the additional links and information. As has been suggested, information is still coming through in dribs and drabs and it’s all a bit sketchy at the moment. I’ve just added an update, including a link to that PDF with further information, but even so I don’t think the dust has settled yet.

    I can’t answer any individual questions about how this might affect your applications, but I am in close contact with my MARA agent and if we have any concrete updates we will post them here.

  • danny April 19, 2017, 3:04 pm |

    My company has applied for 457 but now with all the changes I’ll fall under STSOL, so with this i have 2 years + 2 years renewal option. However, does this mean this end of road for me to apply for a PR? is this close ended opportunity because im under STSOL? or can I still apply PR under point based system?

    I’m concerned and your help is very much appreciated

    • Mark April 19, 2017, 4:17 pm |

      Hi Danny Have a read off this on face value and early days facts it would look correct but then read on, it says the skills list has immediate effect but the 457 will not be vamoosed (my word) until March 2018 It looks like any application for 457 with a removed skill will be refunded but that’s not what you fall under it seems so all is not lost …My thoughts would be if you have the opportunity to apply for a PR visa (which seems to be your goal at the end) under points based then go for it, alternatively get on with the 457 as I imagine there will be an influx of 457 applications now Use a MARA agent if you are doing it yourself for PR visa, there is one on here even
      I have a funny feeling we have not seen the last of this maneuvering of visas. I think come the renewals in July a lot more occupations may vanish as they will probably scrutinise states to be more accurate or expurgated with wanted lists…Good luck whatever you decide!

      • danny April 19, 2017, 4:32 pm |

        Hi Mark,

        Thanks a ton, what you say may save my ass because I may still get through the gate. however, i work for a startup and my lawyer mentioned i would get only 18month visa with old 457 rule for start-ups. So now i’m not sure what will happen.

        1: STSOL and change of rules
        2: PR removed from STSOL
        3: PR for 3 years +
        4: my visa was supposed to be 18months but now not sure what will happen
        5: My lawyer is on holiday
        Wow! i think its ok to freak out now……

  • Thijs April 19, 2017, 12:02 am |

    Hi Bob,

    Here’s an extra source you may want to check:

    This may be good information to further clarify and specify some stuff in your post; because this is obviously quite sensitive matter that lots of people will probably be very anxious about. I note 2 things that may be good to include:

    – The abolishment of the 457 visa program does not start on April 19th (but the changes to the occupations list do indeed). The abolishment of the 457 visa program an the replacement will be for March 2018 according to this official source (and how it appears in that source at the moment I’m typing this… no guarantees for the future).

    – The source also states: “capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years under the Medium-Term stream” … so there’s that in “print”. In this context, it also mentions: “the permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years”.


  • Iyyappan April 18, 2017, 9:34 pm |

    I have got state nomination for hr job.. which is removed from the new list.. I got the invite only today for 190 visa.. so I can still apply visa online or I will not be eligible to apply for visa after 19 April? ?

    • Thijs April 18, 2017, 11:40 pm |

      Hi lyyappan,

      I’m not an immigration agent nor can I guarantee the information is correct, but currently, this is the state of things as to the changed lists:

      These changes will only apply to new applications lodged on, or after, 19 April 2017 for:
      -Employer Nominated Scheme (subclass 186) – Direct Entry Stream
      -Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
      -Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) – if nominated by a State or Territory Government
      -Training visa (subclass 407)​​​​

      However, for the subclass 457 programme for any of these removed occupations on, or after, 19 April 2017:
      -no visa applications can be granted
      -no nomination applications can be approved.

      Source: ; scroll to the bottom and click open the “removed occupations item”

      So long story short: unless you still apply today, April 18th 2017, it will apply starting tomorrow for your 190 visa application. For 457 visa, it’s even worse: for those, it even applies to applications already submitted. Those visa can simply no longer be granted for any of the removed occupations.

    • yaad June 10, 2017, 8:03 pm |

      Congrats ..dear when u applied for state nomination .on what step u reached now please inform am also waiting for nomination…. but my occupation is removed now .i applied in jan and am alloted an application no. Do u have any idea whether they will process my application or not

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