Pathway to Permanent Residency for Short-Term 482 visa holders
New legislation has been released offering a pathway to permanent residency for certain Short-Term Subclass 482 and 457 visa holders, as well as an extension of grandfathering arrangements.
Announced in November 2021, the Australian Government sought to 'recognise the contribution of skilled migrants who remained here during the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage them to stay in Australia' by improving access to permanent residency via the Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) programme.
From 1 July 2022, a cohort of Subclass 482 and 457 visa holders with occupations on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) will be able to apply for an ENS visa through the Temporary Residence Transitional (TRT) stream. The ENS visa had previously only been available to 'grandfathered' 457 visa holders (those who held or had applied for a 457 visa as of 18 April 2017), and 482 visa holders with occupations on the Medium-Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL).
To be eligible for the ENS visa, 'Short-term' TSS and Subclass 457 visa holders who had applied for their visa after
18 April 2017, must be able to show:
- they have been in Australia for a period of at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and
- at the time of application, they are employed by a business that is actively and lawfully operating; and
- they are less than 45 years of age (unless an exemption applies); and
- they have worked in their nominated occupation for their sponsoring employer for at least three of the last four years as a 457 and/or TSS visa holder.
Applicants still also need to meet the English, health, and character requirements for the permanent visa.
Originally introduced in March 2018, 'grandfathering' provisions allowed Subclass 457 visa holders who held or had applied for a 457 visa as of 18 April 2017 to be able to access the ENS program regardless of occupation list, and with a higher age-cut off.
The original provisions ended on 18 March 2022, but the new legislation allows for an extension to increase access to the program and to cover applicants currently in the Administrative Appeal process.
The 'grandfathered' cohort of legacy 457 visa holders can still access the ENS TRT program by demonstrating that they:
There is no age limitation for the grandfathered cohort.
- Have worked full-time in their nominated occupation for their employer for at least two of the last three years as a 457 and/or TSS visa holder.
- Meet the English, health, and character requirements for the permanent visa
The released legislation has limited detail in terms of any exemptions, allowances, or policy on how it will be applied. We expect further information to be provided closer to the implementation date of 1 July, at which time it will then be possible to provide assessments on eligibility for applicants.