New hope for short-term (STSOL) 482/457
visa holders to stay permanently in Australia

What's happening?

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) recently reaffirmed proposed changes announced in November 2021 that would provide better access to permanent residence for:

  • Existing Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa holders with occupations on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL); and
  • Legacy Temporary Work Skilled (Subclass 457) visa holders who no longer meet the age requirement

These changes will reportedly be implemented gradually from December 2021 to 1 July 2022. There are also plans to extend visas for Skilled Regional (provisional visa) holders (Subclasses 489, 491 and 494) by allowing them more time to meet regional work requirements for permanent residence.

Why is this important?

If introduced and passed, these changes will give the more than 20,000 Subclass 482 and Subclass 457 visa holders already in Australia a pathway to permanent residence. For Subclass 482 visa holders, the restriction of a two-year stay without such a pathway would be lifted. Those holding the discontinued Subclass 457 visa who no longer meet the age requirement for permanent residence would also benefit. Both would gain access to eventual Australian citizenship.

These changes recognise that temporary skilled migrants – many working in the health and hospitality sectors, and many in regional Australia – have faced much uncertainty during the pandemic, despite being critical to Australia’s economic recovery by helping local businesses fill worker shortages. That is why the key focus is on offering permanent residency to temporary visa holders who chose to stay in the country.

I hold a Subclass 482 or Subclass 457 visa. What should I do?

While these potential changes offer hope to temporary visa holders wanting to gain permanent residency, it is important to know that these changes have only been mentioned in government announcements. Legislation would need to be introduced and passed into law before they become effective. From the DHA announcement, it is clear existing temporary visa holders in the short-term stream who are already in Australia and looking to gain permanent residence are at a greater advantage compared to those who are offshore and yet to apply.

With further details about the implementation of these changes still to come, you should seek a professional migration expert who can provide you with the most up to date information and advise you on how it will apply to your individual situation.

I am considering applying for a Subclass 482 visa. What do these changes mean for me?

Without more information, it is difficult to say at this stage whether easier pathways to permanent residence will be offered to future Subclass 482 applicants. Given existing worker shortages, we would hope all skilled migrants with occupations on the STSOL are shown the same lenience (whether they already hold a Subclass 482 visa or not); however, we will need to wait for further clarification from the DHA.

Are you a 482 or 457 visa holder, or thinking of applying for one?
We can walk you through how these changes might benefit you.

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