A new framework for temporary work visas is in effect from 19 November 2016.
This has resulted in the abolition of 5 visa subclasses, and the introduction of 2 new visa subclasses. Sponsorship arrangements have also been simplified.
A summary of the main changes is below:
A single class of sponsor, the Temporary Activities Sponsor, replaces the previous 6 different types of sponsorship for temporary work visas. If the business holds one of the old sponsorship types, it can still be used for 6 months (ie up to 18 May 2017). After this, the business will need to apply for approval as a Temporary Activities Sponsor.
Sponsorship is in general required where:
- The application is lodged onshore; or
- The application is lodged offshore, and the intended stay is 3 months or less
Where sponsorship is not required, the application would usually need to have an approved supporter – this may require providing a letter of support and background on the supporter.
The nomination requirement has been removed for all application pathways, apart from the occupational trainee stream of subclass 407
All sponsorship, nomination and visa applications must be lodged online, except for Subclass 403 where a paper option is available.
Training Subclass 407 Visa
This is a new visa subclass which replaces the old Training and Research Subclass 402 visa. There are two streams:
- Occupational Trainee: workplace based training
- Professional Development: where there is a training agreement between an Australian and an overseas organisation
The main change here is that occupational training must be provided directly by the sponsor, rather than through a third party. We understand that many arrangements where training is provided by a different “end user” will now be unlawful.
Temporary Activity Subclass 408 Visa
This is also a new visa subclass and incorporates the following application pathways:
- Invited Participant stream from the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Subclass 400 visa
- Exchange, Sport, Religious Worker and Domestic Worker (Executive) streams from the Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) Subclass 401 visa
- The Entertainment Subclass 420 visa
- The Superyacht Crew Subclass 488 visa
- The Research Stream of the Training and Research Subclass 402 visa
- The Special Program stream of the Special Program Subclass 416 visa
The streams are essentially unchanged, apart from the following:
- Under the Invited Participant stream, wider range of activities are possible, the organisation inviting can now be an overseas organisation and the participant may be paid for their attendance
- Restrictions on payment of wages and salaries are lifted for the Research stream
Temporary Work (International Relations) Subclass 403 Visa
The Seasonal Worker program has been moved from subclass 416 to subclass 403. Apart from that, the existing streams remain unchanged.
Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Subclass 400 Visa
The Invited Participant stream has been moved to the Temporary Activity Subclass 408 visa, and the visa renamed to Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa.
The introduction of the new Temporary Activity Visa Framework should streamline the application process for sponsors. The simplified sponsorship arrangements, elimination of nominations and online lodgement will be time savers for sure. However, current sponsors will need to apply for approval as a Temporary Activities Sponsor within the next 6 months to continue to sponsor for visas.