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457 visa changes could create challenges for local businesses

27 April 2017 - 4:18pm

The Australian Government has announced that it will abolish the controversial 457 visa and replaced it with a scheme claiming to be more reflective of the current climate. The new visa will be known as "Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. Both sides of the fence have reacted strongly. Some have praised the changes as a step forward in protecting Australian workers and others have called it a populist change aimed at pleasing a growing right wing agenda.

Whatever your viewpoint, these will decrease the supply of skilled workers here in Australia - which could make it more difficult for your business to hire the talent you need. We've had a closer look.

The visa changes

216 occupations have been removed from the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List - which names the skills that workers must have to apply for a sponsored visa. All applicants for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas must meet tightened English language requirements amongst other new requirements.


Changes to 457 visas may present challenges for Australian businesses. Changes to 457 visas may present challenges for Australian businesses.

The new TSS visa will comprise a Short-Term stream of up to 2 years and a Mid-Term stream of up to 4 years. Concessions will be available to migrants willing to work in regional areas. Applicants with skills included on a new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List, which includes more niche skills lacking in the Australian workforce, will be available in both regional and non-regional areas, and be valid for up to four years. 

Furthermore, applicants for both streams must have at least two years relevant work experience and their employer must offer them at least the minimum market salary rate. 

Challenges and solutions

We've yet to see whether or not these changes will improve Australia's workforce. However, it's clear that they will reduce the supply of skilled migrant workers and make it more difficult to replace skilled employees who are leaving Australia when their visas expire. 

Business will have to improve both their wages and benefit packages in order to compete in a changing labour market.

This is likely to increase competition for local skilled workers, meaning business will have to improve both their wages and benefit packages in order to compete in a changing labour market. Offering a better salary is straight forward - but what do better employee benefit packages look like?

The cornerstone of any competitive package includes corporate health insurance. Thanks to the rising cost of private insurance and an increasing focus on personal health, this is an offering that is attractive to workers of all shapes and sizes.

Implementing your own plan doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. Here at HICA our insurance advisors specialise in tailoring a corporate health insurance plan to your budget and specific needs so that you can hire and keep the best talent as these visa changes come into play. 

Get in touch today to find out more.