Changes to Australia’s temporary activity visa programme could affect a lot of overseas workers looking to move to the country in 2017, and make it easier for some.
The 457 visa, which allows an overseas worker to live and work in Australia for up to four years is the best known visa programme internationally, but the temporary activity visa scheme brings as many, if not more, foreign workers into the country.
Under recent changes those applying for the visa for short term work will find several visa categories have been consolidated, sponsorship requirements amended and the whole programme simplifies and streamlined.
In almost all cases, application submission and processing for the programme, popular with many Australian and international companies for highly skilled foreign workers, can be done and completed online.
Temporary activity visas, which are eligible for up to six months, fill the gap between business visit visas, where the foreign national is limited to strictly business activities, and 457 visa which is applicable over a longer term of up to four years.
According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) the new faster online application procedures should make these short term visas an even more convenient and faster option for companies needing skilled overseas people for short term assignments.
It is also hoped that some of the changes will encourage more cultural, social, and academic activities to Australia.
Under the changes the current seven visa subclasses have been consolidated into four new categories. The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Subclass 400 visa is for foreign nationals with highly specialised skills and those engaged in work that is in Australia’s interest.
Temporary Work (International Relations) Subclass 403 are for foreign government workers, domestic workers for diplomatic and consular staff and those with privileges and immunities and is now combined with the seasonal worker programme stream from the former Special Program (Subclass 416) visa.
Training (Subclass 407) is a new visa category that replaces the Training and Research (Subclass 402) visa and is for professional development and occupational trainees. The visa holder will be able to participate in classroom based professional development activities and training delivered by third party organisations is no longer applicable with only the sponsor providing the training.
Temporary Activity (Subclass 408) is another new visa to replace the Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) Subclass 401, Temporary Work (Entertainment) Subclass 420 and Superyacht Crew Subclass 488 visas.
This new visa will not include certain sponsorship and nomination requirements found with many other Australian employment based immigration processes. Applications for the Subclass 408 visa submitted outside Australia will require sponsor nomination only if the proposed stay is for longer than three months but all applications lodged in Australia will still require sponsorship regardless of the length of stay.