The Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)

The Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)

The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa is a neat little visa that allows Australian employers, and eligible overseas businesses, to sponsor skilled workers from overseas. 

The skilled worker could be living and working overseas (when they are sponsored) or in Australia, for example, on a working holiday visa or other type of visa.

The TSS visa is also called the subclass 482 visa. We prefer to call it the 482 visa!

For those familiar with the old 457 visa, the 482 visa is essentially a revamped, rebranded 457 visa and the fees payable to Home Affairs are higher.

A 482 visa can be granted for a maximum of either two years or four years, depending upon the “List” a particular occupation sits on. It works this way:

  • for occupations sitting on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) –  the visa can be granted for 1, 2, 3 or 4 years;
  • for occupations sitting on the Regional Occupation List (ROL) AND located in a regional area of Australia –  the visa can be granted for 1, 2, 3 or 4 years;
  • for occupations sitting on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) –  the related visa can be granted for 1 or 2 years.

The requirements for the Medium-term and Short-term streams of the 482 visa are reasonably complex. It would be impossible for us to provide a comprehensive overview of the 482 visa program on one webpage. The following information touches on some aspects of the application process and must not be relied upon as migration advice. No two cases are the same, which is why our team takes a highly personalized approach to each and every application we deal with. 

Standard Business Sponsorship Approval

When applying to be approved as a Standard Business Sponsor, the employer sponsor must: 

  • be actively and lawfully operating in Australia; OR
  • be actively and lawfully operating overseas (not in Australia), and be bringing the visa applicant to Australia either to establish business operations in Australia, or to fulfill contractual obligations
  • there must no adverse information known about the business that affects its suitability to become an approved sponsor

A business is required to prove that it is legally established, financially sound and able to pay the salary, tax and superannuation for its sponsored overseas worker(s). The decision maker at the Department of Home Affairs will consider a multitude of documents at this stage.

A Standard Business Sponsorship Approval is issued for 5 years. Multiple overseas workers can be nominated during that 5 year period.

Accredited Sponsors

Some businesses can achieve “accredited sponsor” status. Nomination applications submitted on behalf of accredited sponsors receive priority processing.

Please contact us if your business wishes to apply to become a Standard Business Sponsor or an Accredited Sponsor. 

Nominated Position

The position offered to the overseas skilled worker is called the “nominated position”.

The nominated position must be a genuine, full-time position. Part-time employment is possible in some circumstances, such as for medical practitioners working in remote areas.

The nominated position must be in the sponsor’s business or in an associated business (associated entity).

The nominated person must be directly employed by the employer sponsor. A written contract of employment is essential in most circumstances. General Practitioners can be engaged under independent contractor agreements. 

The salary should be at least $53,900 per year (excluding any non-monetary benefits) OR whatever the current market rate is for the nominated position. 

Labour Market Testing’ (LMT) is a strict requirement for most nominations. The current LMT rules require an employer to prove it has attempted to recruit a suitably skilled Australian to work in the nominated position. This requires the sponsor to provide evidence that it has advertised the position for a specified period on at least three acceptable platforms. One of the platforms must be the government’s jobactive website and there are strict rules around the wording of the adverts.

In some cases, the Department of Home Affairs will accepts alternative LMT evidence. Please contact us for further information regarding the type of LMT required for your nomination.

Additional nomination requirements

Certain occupations listed on the MLTSSL, ROL and STSOL are subject to additional requirements (caveats). For example, for some occupations the employer sponsor’s turnover must be above a certain amount; the nominated salary must be above a certain amount and the number of staff employed must be above a certain number.

The Short-term stream allows for a maximum two-year term of employment, unless an International Trade Obligation (ITO) applies.

Where an applicant has held more than one subclass 482 TSS visa in the Short-term stream, he/she will NOT be eligible to apply for another visa in this stream whilst in Australia, unless an ITO applies.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss the nomination caveats or ITOs applicable to the occupation or skilled worker you wish to nominate.

Visa applicant

A visa applicant needs to be able to meet a broad range of visa eligibility requirements, which may include:

  • proving they have the skills, qualifications and work experience required for the nominated position;
  • undergoing a formal skills assessment, which must be commenced prior to lodging the visa application (most applicants will not need to undergo a skills assessment)
  • proving they have at least two years of full-time experience (or the part-time equivalent) in the nominated occupation (or a related field);
  • satisfying a DHA decision maker that they genuinely intend to work in the nominated position;
  • satisfying a DHA decision maker that they are a genuine temporary entrant;
  • meeting any mandatory licensing, registration, or professional membership requirements;
  • meeting the relevant health, character and health insurance criteria. Adequate health insurance and/or reciprocal health cover is required.

English requirements: medium-term stream

482 visa applicants applying under the medium-term stream must have the required level of English proficiency. This means the visa applicant must either …

  • hold a valid passport issued by the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland OR have achieved
  • an IELTS test score of at least 5 in EACH test component OR
  • an OET test score of at least B in EACH test component OR
  • a TOEFL iBT overall test score of at least 35 (with a minimum of 4 for listening, 4 for reading, 14 for writing and 14 for speaking) OR
  • a PTE test score of at least 36 in EACH test component OR
  • a CAE test score of at least 154 in EACH test component

The test must have been undertaken within the three years before the date upon which the 482 visa application is submitted.

Some visa applicants are exempt from needing to prove English language proficiency. We will be happy to discuss the various exemptions with you.  

English requirements: short-term stream

482 visa applicants applying under the short-term stream must have the required level of English proficiency. This means the visa applicant must either …

  • hold a valid passport issued by the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland OR have achieved
  • an IELTS overall test score of at least 5.0 (with a minimum of 4.5 in EACH test component) OR
  • an OET test score of at least B in EACH test component OR
  • a TOEFL iBT overall test score of at least 35 (with a minimum of 3 for listening, 3 for reading, 12 for writing and 12 for speaking) OR
  • a PTE overall test score of at least 36(with a minimum of 30 in EACH component) OR
  • a CAE test score of at least 154 (with a minimum of 147 in EACH test component)

The test must have been undertaken within the three years before the date upon which the 482 visa application is submitted.

As mentioned above, some visa applicants are exempt from needing to prove English language proficiency. Our team is on hand to discuss the English proficiency requirements with you.

The application process

A 482 visa is applied for in the following three (3) stages:

Stage 1: Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) Application

The employer’s application for an SBS is lodged with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

Once approved, an SBS is valid for five years and enables the employer sponsor to nominate one or more eligible skilled workers from overseas over the five year period.

Sponsorship obligations

Businesses approved to sponsor overseas skilled workers MUST comply with a number of sponsor obligations. These obligations are designed to protect overseas workers from exploitation and to ensure the visa program is used correctly.

A standard business sponsor must not recover, or attempt to recover, the costs associated with applying for an SBS approval or the cost of the 482 nomination application, which includes the Skilling Australians Funds Levy, and any professional service fees paid to a migration consultant or recruiter.

An approved sponsor may be able to recover GST and/or claim a tax deduction for payment of fees and costs associated with applying for sponsorship. The sponsor’s accountant will be able to advise on these matters.

Approved sponsors must maintain documentary and electronic records relating to their sponsorship and subclass 482 (494 and 457) nominations. The records must be  made available to the Department of Home Affairs or the Australian Border Force if requested.

The Sponsorship Obligations for standard business sponsors can be viewed here.

Stage 2: Nomination Application

The nomination application is lodged with the DHA.  It’s important to ensure that the nomination application is correctly prepared and accompanied by all required supporting documents, including where a caveat or other additional nomination requirement applies. 

Nomination applications can be complicated and document heavy. It’s critical to get the nomination application right first time, including the LMT. If it’s wrong, the application is likely to be refused and the employer will lose all money paid to DHA, including the SAF Levy. If it’s wrong, the related visa application cannot be approved.

We’ve dealt with multiple businesses who lodged their own nomination applications and got it so terribly wrong. They lost thousands! Our team were then engaged to re-submit the application with the correct information and supporting documents. Getting it wrong can be a costly, stressful and time-consuming experience.

Skilling Australians Fund Levy

Sponsors must pay the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy for EACH subclass 482 nomination lodged with the DHA.

The amount payable varies according to the sponsor’s annual turnover and the visa applicant’s proposed period of stay in Australia:

  • For sponsors with an annual turnover of LESS THAN AU$10 million, the SAF levy payable is AU$1,200 for each year of the nominated visa applicant’s proposed period of stay

       i.e., AU$1,200 for a 1-year visa; AU$2,400 for a 2-year visa and so forth.

  • For sponsors with an annual turnover of AT LEAST AU$10 million, the SAF levy payable is AU$1,800 for each year of the nominated visa applicant’s proposed period of stay

       i.e., AU$1,800 for a 1-year visa; AU$3,600 for a 2-year visa and so forth.

The SAF levy must be paid upfront, at the time the nomination is lodged. Please contact our office for further information about the SAF levy.

Stage 3: Visa Application

The application is lodged with the DHA either at the same time as the nomination application or before the nomination expires (generally within 12 months of approval). The main criterion is that the visa applicant meets the Home AFfairs 482 visa requirements. 

An applicant can usually be in or outside Australia when applying for a 482 visa. However, the applicant cannot usually apply for a third 482 short-term stream visa in Australia unless this would be inconsistent with an International Trade Obligation.

An applicant may be ineligible to apply in Australia if they do not hold the required type of visa or have previously been refused a visa (or had their visa cancelled).

Once the DHA has approved all three applications, the applicant will be granted a subclass 482 visa. The term of the visa will depend upon the visa stream, along with the employer’s requirements.

If the visa is granted in the Medium-term stream, it will be valid for up to four years. If the visa is in the Short-term stream, it will be valid for up to two years.

It may take several weeks to prepare and lodge the above applications. The time is taken largely depends on how long it takes for the employer sponsor and/or visa applicant to provide us with the necessary supporting information and documents. 

The time it takes the DHA to process an application depends upon its processing time service standards and may vary due to several other factors, including the complexity of a particular case, perceived risk factors, and processing priorities. 

Please contact us for current information on the likely processing timeframes for above applications.

Fees

Standard Business Sponsorship Approval (SBS)

Department of Home Affairs fee: $420

Our fee: $2,000 plus GST for a new (first time) SBS, which includes unlimited telephone advice for the duration of the SBS

Our fee: from $1000 plus GST for an SBS renewal

Nomination Application

Department of Home Affairs fee: $330

Our fee: $1,800 plus GST*

A discount can be offered for bulk nominations.

Skilling Australian Fund Levy (SAFL) – Annual turnover under $10M:

  • 1 year: $1,200
  • 2 years: $2,400
  • 3 years: $3,600
  • 4 years: $4,800

Skilling Australian Fund Levy (SAFL) – Annual turnover over $10M:

  • 1 year: $1,800
  • 2 years: $3,600
  • 3 years: $5,400
  • 4 years: $7,200

Visa Application

Department of Home Affairs fees – Short-term steam – visa application charges

  • Main Applicant: $1,330
  • Dependent over 18: $1,330
  • Dependent under 18: $335

Department of Home Affairs fees – Medium-term stream – Visa application charges

  • Main Applicant: $2,770
  • Dependent over 18: $2,770
  • Dependent under 18: $695

EasiVisa fee (short-term or medium-term stream):

  • Single applicant: $2,200 plus GST
  • Married: $2,400 plus GST
  • Defacto: $2,600 plus GST

*The Department charges a minimum 1.4% credit card surcharge in addition to its application charges.

** EasiVisa’s professional fees may vary where a visa applicant, or an accompanying family member, has health or character issues or where the visa applicant has children aged 18 years and over and dependency must be proved.

If you’d like to find out more … 

Call +61 8 9429 8860 to book a consultation with one of our corporate services team or click here to book online.

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