Three new temporary work visa subclasses are being introduced in Australia next month to replace the existing nine visa subclasses currently in place.
The Australian government has introduced legislation to make the changes which will take effect for all visa applications lodged on or after 24 November 2012.
A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said that the changes are in line with the government’s ongoing commitment to a reduction of temporary work visas by 50% by the end of 2012 and an overall reduction of 50% in the number of all visa subclasses by the end of 2015.
Under the changes the Subclass 401 Temporary Work (Long Stay) Activity visa will replace the Exchange, Sport and Religious Worker visas currently in place.
It is intended for sporting organisations operating in Australia for individual competing in sporting events, for religious workers undertaking not for profit work, for organisations and businesses with an agreement relating to staff exchanges and foreign or Australian government agencies.
The Subclass 402 Training and Research visa will replace the Occupational Trainee, Visiting Academic and Professional Development visas. The new visa is intended for those undertaking work based training in Australia, academics undertaking research in Australia and managerial or professional staff undertaking professional development activities in the country.
The Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa will replace the Government Agreement, Foreign Government Agency and Domestic Worker visas. It will also replace the privileges and immunities provisions under the existing subclass 456 Business (short stay) and subclass 457 Business (long stay) visas. The visa will not require an approved sponsorship to be in place.
It will be for agreements between the Australian government and a foreign organisation or government for individuals to work in Australia, for individual representing a foreign government agency that does not have official status in Australia.
It is also for foreign language teachers working in an Australian school as an employee of a foreign government and domestic workers for the holder of a diplomatic visa.
Amendments have also been made to other temporary work visas. The existing subclass 420 Temporary Work (entertainment) visa will include overseas film crews. The subclass 45 Business (long stay) visa will be known as subclass 457 (temporary work skilled) visa.
The changes have implications for businesses that are already approved sponsors, according to accountants KPMG. It explained that those who are already sponsors prior to the changes under any of the existing streams that the new visas will replace, will not need to apply for a new sponsorship provided this is otherwise still in effect.