Immigration Matters | Grandfathering arrangements under Subclass 186 TRT Stream

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Vol. 4 | 25 July 2019

It was announced this week that an amendment has been made to the grandfathering provisions in Immigration Policy which are for 457 visa holders wishing to apply for permanent residence under the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Subclass 186 employer sponsored visa, whereby the application can be submitted once the relevant visa holder has completed 23 months of eligible, full time employment with their sponsor.

Background

When the Subclass 457 visa program was abolished in 2017, the Department advised there would also be further changes to the Employer Nomination Scheme and in March 2018, it confirmed there would be transitional arrangements for subclass 457 visa holders who held or had applied for, and subsequently been granted, a subclass 457 visa on or before 18 March 2017.  These transitional arrangements will remain open until 18th March 2022 for eligible visa holders, including for visa holders who may have been required to obtain a new TSS visa since their initial qualifying 457 visa was granted.

These transitional arrangements are only available to those applying through the TRT pathway as outlined below:

Where a nomination is lodged on or after 18 March 2018, and at any time until 18 March 2022, in relation to a client in this cohort, standard nomination requirements in place as of 18 March 2018 must be met with the exception that:

  • occupation list requirements will not apply; and
  • the minimum period an applicant is required to have been employed in their nominated occupation/position as the holder of a subclass 457 or TSS visa will remain at two years.

These grandfathering provisions also provide flexibility around the age requirements, and this cohort may still apply up to the age of 50 years (instead of the now 45 year age limit).

The concession to the two year employment requirement was updated in Policy on 18 July to introduce the following additional concession:

  • However, decision makers can accept 23 months as having satisfied this requirement. This is to prevent inefficiencies resulting from the 457 visa expiring a few days short of applicants meeting the two-year work requirement, necessitating obtaining a further TSS visa to complete the two years of time worked.

This change has been applied with immediate effect and will help clients save time and money from otherwise having to obtain a new TSS visa simply to facilitate lodgement of a PR application straight after.

What does this mean for you?

While at first glance this may not seem a big change, it provides substantial benefit to both employers and individuals by removing the need for a ‘forced’ renewal purely required to facilitate PR application lodgement.   The cost savings will also be quite substantial, given the higher costs associated with the TSS.  For example, submitting a TRT application after 23 months of employment would save between $4175 and $4755 alone in Visa Application Charges (including the SAF) levy for a single applicant, and savings of between $11,740 and $14,120 for a family of four.

The 23 rather than 24 months may also make a difference to individuals nearing the age of 50.

Upon lodgement of the Subclass 186 visa, the employee would automatically be granted a bridging visa A, which would provide them with continued work rights and lawful residence, while their PR application is being processed.

As these transitional arrangements are only in place until March 2022, now is a good time to review your sponsored visa population to determine who may be able to benefit from these concessions.   We can help you with transitioning these employees from temporary to permanent residence and can also assist with confirming if they can access this pathway.

If you do identify anyone who we can help with, or would like assistance in reviewing your assignee population, let us know.

If you would like to discuss these pending changes please reach out to your Mapien Migration contact or Sarah Pettit, Principal, on 08 9485 4200.  You can also forward any queries by email to hello@mapien.com.au

Written by
Sarah Pettit
Sarah has been providing Australian and overseas businesses with immigration advice for over 14 years. With extensive experience and specialisation in corporate migration, Sarah has worked with some of Australia's largest corporations across multiple industries including Oil & Gas and Resources, Finance, Information Technology, Health, Banking and Education.