Further to the Australian government's aim to simplify the visa process, a new temporary visa framework will come into effect November 19, 2016 that will consolidate seven temporary visas into four subclasses and one sponsorship class. Online filing will also be extended to all sponsored temporary visas and all Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist)(subclass 400) visas.
New Visa Subclasses
- A new Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa will replace the following visas:
- Entertainment (subclass 420);
- Special Programme (subclass 416) - Special Programme Agreements stream only;
- Super-yacht Crew (subclass 488);
- Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) (subclass 401)- Exchange, Sport, Religious Worker and Domestic Worker (Executive) streams;
- Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity)(subclass 400) - Invited Participant stream only; and
- Training & Research (subclass 402) - Research stream only.
A new Training (Subclass 407) visa will replace the existing Training & Research (subclass 402) visa and will include two streams: Professional Development and Occupational Trainee.
The Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity)(subclass 400) visa will become the Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist)(subclass 400) visa and will be comprised of two streams: the Highly Specialised Work stream and Australia's Interest stream.
The 'Seasonal Work Programme' stream of the Special Programme (subclass 416) visa be merged into the existing Temporary Work (International Relations)(subclass 403) visa. All other streams within the subclass 403 visa will remain: Government Agreement, Foreign Government, Domestic Worker (Diplomatic/Consular) and Privileges and Immunities.
Consolidation Into One Sponsorship Class
A new 'Temporary Activities Sponsor' class will replace the following six existing sponsorship classes: Long Stay Activity, Training and Research, Professional Development, Entertainment, Special Programme and Super-yacht Crew.
Transitional arrangements will allow sponsors approved for the classes that will close before November 19, 2016 to continue to sponsor the new Training (subclass 407) visa or Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa until May 18, 2017 (or until the relevant pre-November 19, 2016 sponsorship ceases, whichever is earlier).
Removal Of Sponsorship Requirements
On or after November 19, 2016, there will be no nomination requirements for the new Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa and sponsorship will only be necessary where the applicant is outside Australia and is proposing to stay in Australia for more than three months or the applicant is applying from within Australia. This should streamline visa processing.
Sponsorship and nomination will continue to be a requirement for the Training (subclass 407) visa and the Temporary Work (International Relations)(subclass 403) visa.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
After May 18, 2017, sponsors that were previously approved under the current Entertainment, Long-Stay Activity, Superyacht, Special Programme, Professional Development and Training and Research classes will need to apply for approval as a 'Temporary Activities Sponsor'.
The legislation for the new temporary visa framework is expected to be released in the coming months.