IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? The Australian Government will introduce changes to Australia’s temporary activity visa framework with a view to simplify the application process for a number of temporary visas. The changes will include the creation of a new consolidated sponsor class, the removal of some sponsorship and nomination application requirements, the repeal and consolidation of a number of visa subclasses, and the ability to lodge applications online.
Implementation time frame: The proposed changes, which are subject to approval by Australia’s Governor-General, will become effective as of 19 November 2016. Transitional arrangements, up until 19 May 2017, will be available for approved sponsors that received sponsorship approval prior to 19 November 2016 as a long stay activity, training and research, professional development, entertainment, special program or superyacht crew sponsor to utilise this sponsorship approval to sponsor a Training (subclass 407) or Temporary activity (subclass 408) visa applicant. From 19 May 2017, businesses will need to be approved as a Temporary Activities Sponsor if they wish to sponsor a Training (subclass 407) or Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa applicant (where applicable).
Who is affected: Visa applicants and sponsors (where relevant) for the following temporary visa subclasses: Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) (subclass 401) visa, Training and Research (subclass 402) visa, Special Program (subclass 416) visa, Temporary Work (Entertainment) (subclass 420) visa, Superyacht Crew (subclass 488) visa, Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (subclass 400) visa and the Temporary Work (International Relations) (subclass 403) visa.
Business impact: Effective from 19 November 2016, a new Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa will replace the following temporary visa subclasses:
In addition, a new Training (subclass 407) visa will replace the Professional Development and Occupational Trainee streams of the current Training and Research (subclass 402) visa.
A single Temporary Activities Sponsorship status will replace six of the current sponsorship types (long stay activity, training and research, professional development, special programme, entertainment, and superyacht crew).
Unless transitional arrangements apply, Training (subclass 407) visa applicants will need to be sponsored and nominated by a Temporary Activities Sponsor.
No requirement for a nomination application will be applicable for the Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa and visa applicants will only need to be sponsored by a Temporary Activities Sponsor where:
Changes to other temporary activity visas
The existing Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (subclass 400) visa will be renamed the Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400) visa and will be applicable for visa applicants seeking to apply under the ‘highly specialised work’ and ‘Australia’s interests’ streams.
The Temporary Work (International Relations) (subclass 403) will also have the Seasonal Worker Programme (currently available under the Special Program (subclass 416) visa) added as a stream available for this visa subclass. This is in addition to the existing Government Agreement, Foreign Government Agency, Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) and the Privileges and Immunities streams.
Next steps: Businesses seeking to utilise the new Temporary Activity (subclass 408) and Training (subclass 407) visa subclasses post 18 May 2017 will need to apply to become an approved Temporary Activities sponsor. Transitional arrangements for a period of six months will be applicable to those sponsors approved prior to 19 November 2016 under the existing long stay activity, training and research, professional development, entertainment, special program and superyacht crew classes.
Legislation incorporating these reforms to Australia’s existing temporary activity is expected to be released in the coming months.
BAL Analysis: BAL welcomes the upcoming proposed changes to Australia’s temporary activity visa programs in an effort to reduce some of the red tape associated within the existing framework. The ability for all new Temporary Activity (subclass 408), Training (subclass 407) and Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400) visas to be lodged online will be an advantage to visa applicants. BAL will continue to closely monitor the release of legislation relating to these changes and update interested parties accordingly.
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