Girl drawing on Australian map.

Government plans to abolish 457 visas and introduce the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa program have left many people reeling. In this blog post, we’ll look at what options are available to you now.

For thousands of migrants across Australia, last week was truly horrific. The Government’s 457 visa changes took everyone by surprise, including us. There we were, expecting a quiet Tuesday after the Easter weekend and instead we were struck by Malcolm Turnbull’s visa missile.

To say we’ve been inundated with calls and emails is an understatement. Our team of Registered Migration Agents have been working round the clock to help clients and prospective clients plan their next step, because although the changes are certainly a setback, this doesn’t have to spell the end of your Australian dream.

10 Australian Visa Options

Yes, these reforms are painful, annoying and somewhat unnecessary, but the main thing to remember is… all is not lost! If you’ve been impacted by last week’s 457 visa changes but want to remain in Australia, you may still have some options.

1. Permanent Residency through TRT

If you’ve worked for your employer on your 457 visa for longer than two years by March 2018, you may still be able to proceed with a PR application even if your job was removed from the list or is now on the short-term occupation list. Time is really of the essence here, as some jobs require full licencing when you apply. If you’re in this situation then you must be ready to lodge by March next year. We are waiting for further detail on the PR options for current 457 holders whose two years two years of sponsorship will be completed after March 2018.

2. 186 Direct Entry PR Visa

You can apply for 186 Direct Entry PR in any occupation on the short-term and medium-term list. If your job is on the short-term list, you must lodge your PR visa before March 2018. You will almost certainly need to obtain a skill assessment first though or sit an English exam, which takes time. If you fall into this category, seek some professional guidance ASAP as anyone aged 45 – 49 must lodge a 186 Direct Entry visa before 1 July 2017.

3. 187 RSMS Direct Entry PR

If you live and work in a regional area, you may be eligible for a 187 RSMS Direct Entry visa. This is even better than a 457 visa as it grants you permanent residency. The RSMS list was not impacted by last week’s announcement, so it’s really business as usual for this subclass – except if you’re aged 45 – 49. In this case you must lodged your visa by 30 June 2017, as from 1 July 2017, applicants must be aged 44 or under for Direct Entry PR visas. Your employer does need to be in a designated area, they’ll need RCB approval and you may need an English test and a skill assessment.

4. Skilled Visas

Depending on your occupation, you may be eligible for a skilled independent 189 visa, skilled nominated 190 or a skilled regional 489. Even though 200+ jobs were taken off the list, the bulk of trades jobs, IT, medical, engineering and teaching are still in shortage.

5. Got a 457 Dependant?

If you’re on a 457 visa and have a partner as a dependant, they may qualify for a visa in their own right. Contact us and we’ll assess their options, it’s worth a try!

6. Partner Visa

Have you found love in Australia? If you have an Australian partner then you may be eligible for a partner visa. In some cases, you can register your relationship and lodge a partner visa, even if you have not lived together for 12 months.

7. NZ Partner?

Have you found love with a New Zealander living in Australia? If you are married or you’ve been living together for over six months then you may be eligible to apply for a partner visa. Contact us and we’ll assess your eligibility.

8. Student Visa

You could study in Australia and work on a part-time basis during term-time and a full-time basis during the holidays.

9. Apply for the new TSS Visa

Currently on a 457 visa and your occupation has been moved to the short-term list? If this sounds like you then remember, you can remain in Australia for the life of your current 457 visa. After that, you may have the option of extending your stay by applying for a two-year TSS visa. Sure, it’s not PR, but it is an option that will allow you to remain in Australia. If your occupation is on the medium-term list then you can apply for a four-year 457 visa with a possible pathway to PR after three years.

10. Stay Positive

Okay, this isn’t exactly a visa option, but it’s an important point. Things change all the time. Your occupation could be moved from the short-term list to the medium-term list. You might meet an Australian partner and become eligible for a partner visa. You might be offered a job in a regional area and find that you’re suddenly eligible for a 187 RSMS visa.

Hopefully you’re now feeling more positive about your options. It’s really important to move quickly and get some advice from a Registered Migration Agent. There’s plenty of chatter in Facebook groups and migration forums, but it’s essential that you speak with a professional and don’t rely on hearsay when it comes to your future.

If you’d like to arrange a free consultation, contact True Blue Migration today on (WA) 08 6189 5333 (VIC) 03 9038 9070 or email changes@truebluemigration.com.