March 20, 2022

New Pathway to Permanent Residence for STSOL 482 Visa Holders

Fantastic news for 20,000 subclass 457/482 holders in Australia.

Mark Walsh
Principal

Back in November 2021, I wrote about the looming deadline for certain subclass 457 holders concerning transitional arrangements for Permanent Residence.

It’s incredible what can happen within a relatively short period in Australian immigration. New legislation, which commenced 17 March 2022, brings excellent news for many of these same visa holders, in addition to opening a new pathway to permanent residence. So, what's new?

Extension of the 457 grandfathering arrangements

'Specified 457 holders' will have access to Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS), including previous age limit rules, regardless of whether their occupation is on the short-term occupation list (STSOL).

This new setting extends the deadline from 18 March 2022 to the sunset of the new legislation, which is 1 April 2032.

 

Subclass 482 holders (STSOL occupations) will now have a new pathway toward ENS (TRTS)

The new pathway will open up to subclass 482 (STSOL) holders, provided they:

Have been in Australia for a minimum of 12 months (cumulatively) between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and
At the time of (ENS) application, they are employed with an actively lawfully operating business in Australia.

The news is very exciting for around 20,000 subclass 482/457 visa holders who now have a clear pathway towards permanent residence.

 

Does this legislation cover future STSOL 482 visa holders?

Much of the recent commentary on the new changes have focused on current subclass 457/482 visa holders. However, is it possible that the new rules can include future subclass 482 holders?

Yes, it may be possible.***

Let’s take a look at the structure of the new legislation. The Minster introduced the changes through a legislative instrument - a more flexible piece of legislation that allows for swifter introduction of rules into broader immigration legislation.

The new legislative instrument expands the previous definition of a ‘specified person’. A specified person was previously defined as:

A person who on 17 April 2017 held, or had applied for (and subsequently approved) a subclass 457 visa

 The new instrument now broadens the definition of a ‘specified person’ to also include a person who:

Has been in Australia for at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and
At the time of (ENS) application, is employed by a person actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia

As we can see, the original definition of ‘specified person’ was restricted to current subclass 457 visa holders. However, the new definition does not explicitly refer to current subclass 482 holders. 

Let’s imagine a hypothetical applicant:

  1. A current holder of a student (500) visa.
  2. Was in Australia for the entire period of 1 February 2020 to 14 December 2022.
  3. Now is looking to apply for a subclass 482 visa as Restaurant Manager (STSOL occupation).

This potential applicant would be eligible for Permanent Residence (ENS)(TRTS), as long as they:

  1. Are granted a subclass 482 visa (STSOL)
  2. Work for the sponsoring employer for a minimum of 3 years*, as the holder of a subclass 482 visa; and
  3. Meet the other standard requirements for the grant of an ENS visa (e.g. character, health, English, etc.)

*Note: the applicant would need to renew their subclass 482 visa once because the subclass 482 visa in the short-term stream is limited to 2 years.

 

***April 2022 Update. In the Department's March 2022 Skilled Migration Program Update: (released in April 2022), the Department is indicating that the new pathway will be accessible for a period of 2 years only. This would mean that future subclass 482 visa holders (in the short-term occupation list) may not be eligible for the new pathway. More commentary on this development here

Final thoughts

Overall, the news is very positive for this large cohort of visa holders in Australia. However, it will be interesting to see whether the government intends to extend this flexibility to future STSOL occupation holders that do not meet the Australian residence requirement specified in the new legislation.

Photo by Nghia Le on Unsplash

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The information provided in this article or anywhere on this website is of a general nature, it does not relate to your specific circumstance. This general information must not be used to form any assessment or opinion on individual visa eligibility. For an individual assessment contact us for a consultation session to confirm if you are eligible for any visa. 

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