The peak body protecting and promoting the Australian visual arts sector

Visa 457

Currently foreign citizens can apply for a 457 visa to work in Australia as a skilled worker in their nominated occupation for their approved sponsor for up to four years. On 18 April 2017 the Australian Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) will be abolished in March 2018 and replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.

Passport
Image: Pixabay

The TSS visa will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years. The visa’s objective is to fill gaps in Australian businesses with temporary foreign workers. The Medium-Term stream will have a potential pathway to permanent residency after three years.


New eligibility requirements will include:

  • Tightened English language requirements
  • Applicants to have at least two years work experience in their nominated occupation
  • Employers to pay the Australian market salary rate
  • Mandatory labour market testing
  • A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.

There are thousands of skilled professionals, including artists and arts workers who work and contribute to the development of different industries in Australia and are currently holding a 457 visa. With the abolition of this visa not only will foreign workers be affected, but Australian industries.


While existing 457 visa holders will be protected by grandfathering arrangements, it is unclear whether they will be shifted to the new TSS visa once their current visa expires.


The new TSS visa may also impact on employers of visa holders as sponsoring skilled works will involve higher costs. A small business (with an annual turnover of less than $10 million) will pay a $1,200 fee per year per worker, all other businesses will pay a fee of $1,800 per year per worker. Applicants will also have to pay a fee of $1,150 for a Short-Term visa and $2,400 for a Medium-Term visa.


The occupation list for the TSS has been condensed from 651 occupations to 435 occupations, 216 occupations were removed including:

  • Art director (film, television, stage)
  • Actors, Dancers and Other Entertainers NEC
  • Artistic director
  • Author
  • Cinema or Theatre manager
  • Community arts worker
  • Director of Photography
  • Entertainer or Variety Artist
  • Film, Television, Radio and Stage Directors NEC
  • Graphic Pre-press Trades Worker
  • Media producer (excluding video)
  • Interior Decorator
  • Multimedia designer
  • Painter (visual arts)
  • Potter or ceramic artist
  • Sculptor
  • Screen printer


Many of the occupations have been removed from the list due to lack of use, or very low numbers of 457 visas granted in that occupation. For example, for the period July 2007 – December 2016, twenty-two 457 visas were issued in the occupation Painter (Visual Arts), four of these were in the period July 2016 – December 2016. [1]