Australia considering a one-year short-term mobility visa

8 Jan 15

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has proposed a new visa category that would allow high-skilled foreign nationals to work in Australia for up to one year. Berry Appleman & Leiden has been advocating for an appropriate short-term work visa for some time, and the proposal is a welcome development.

What does the change mean? Qualifying applicants would be able to apply for the new one-year visas, rather than go through the costly and time-consuming process of applying for Subclass 457 visas.

  • Implementation timeframe: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection proposed the one-year visa in December 2014, as part of a review of Australia’s overall skilled migrant scheme. Submissions to the review are due at the end of January 2015. The Australian Government will then make a decision on whether to move forward with the recommendation.
  • Visas/permits affected: The proposal would create a new one-year short-term mobility visa for high-skilled foreign nationals.
  • Who is affected: Employers aiming to hire high-skilled foreign nationals for up to one year.
  • Impact on processing times: Most people anticipate that there would be marked improvements in processing times for the new visa when compared to the 457 visa.
  • Business impact: Businesses would save time and money because the new visa’s application would likely be significantly less costly and time-consuming. The new visa would not require the labour market testing, language or skill requirements that the 457 requires.
  • Next steps: At the end of the submission period, the Australian Government will decide whether to move forward with the proposal. BAL is providing a submission in support of the proposed new short-term mobility

Background: A new visa would be welcome news to Australian employers, many of whom have complained about the difficulty of the 457 visa application process. The proposal has come under fire from labour unions, which say a one-year visa for foreign nationals would damage Australia’s domestic labour market. Proponents say that’s not the case and that the visa will help make Australia competitive in the global economy.

Douglas Allison, BAL Sydney’s Client Manager and Solicitor, was quoted on 8 January in the Australian Financial Review saying the proposed visa would be welcomed by businesses, which wanted to be able to make intra-company transfers and short-term appointments quickly and simply. In the article, Allison also advocated BAL’s preferred position to remove the current age threshold of 50 for skilled permanent residence. He commented that “to suggest that skilled persons over the age of 50, if they were to permanently migrate to Australia, are not able to provide a sufficient contribution to society and create a benefit to members of the Australian community, is misconstrued and borders on the adoption of discriminatory practices.”

BAL Analysis: A one-year short-term mobility visa would be a significant benefit to Australian employers looking to stay competitive in the global economy. BAL Australia’s Managing Director, Tim Denney, stated that in “today’s modern economy it is imperative that businesses operating in Australia and across the globe have the flexibility to move highly skilled employees quickly and efficiently across borders for short-term assignments. A visa such as the proposed short-term mobility visa would assist the Australian economy to remain completive and assist to create economic growth.” BAL Australia will continue to monitor the process and will keep clients updated on key developments.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

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