Earlier this week, the Federal government announced changes to employer-sponsored visas in Australia – something that affects many workers in the aged care industry.

Coming into effect at midnight on the 19th of this month, the occupation list of those who are eligible for sponsorship under the subclass 457 visa will be significantly reduced to include fewer occupations.  

This is likely to have a large effect on the aged care industry and its employment recruitment as many workers are currently on this visa.

The 457 visas brings temporary foreign skilled workers into Australia.  

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement on Facebook on Tuesday

In his statement, the Prime Minister said that the 457 visas will no longer be “passports to jobs that should go to Australians”.  

The Prime Minister also announced that the by March 2018 the 457 visas will be abolished and replaced with new Temporary Skill Shortage visas.

This new visa will be split into two streams:

  1. A four-year Medium Term stream, which is the same duration as the current 457 visa
  2. A two-year Short Term stream

The standards to apply for these new visas have been raised with an increase in the English language requirement for applicants for the Medium Term stream to an IELTS (or equivalent test) score of 5 in each band.

It will also be required that all applicant have at least two years of work experience in their skilled occupation.

The new changes also affects the employers with new training obligations, which will require payments to a new government-run training fund.

Many aged care providers recruit registered nurses through the migration system, therefore changes in the visa may affect the concentration of nurses available to work.

Aged care providers in rural areas already face challenges in hiring skilled workers, something that will be even more difficult with the removal of the 457 visas.

The introduced changes should not affect anyone who is currently a holder of a subclass 457 visa in Australia, however, it will affect them if the renew their visa.

Aged care providers and services who hire foreign workers on this visa should seek advice about how these changes affect them and their employees.  

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