Changes to the Australian Temporary Work Visa

Changes to the Australian Temporary Work Visa

With the Australian government’s announcement to abolish the current Temporary 457 visa and replace it with the Temporary Skill shortage (TSS) visa from March 2018, what does this mean for GPs looking to work in Australia?

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has advised that the current Temporary Work Visa (457 Visa) will be abolished and replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS). This update is part of a broader reform package designed to both prioritize Australian workers and maintain the integrity of employer sponsored skilled migration programmes.

While a large number of occupations have been removed as being eligible to apply for the new TSS Visa, General Practitioners and other specialist medical professionals remain on the list of desirable skilled occupations across all regions of Australia.  There are, however, some altered criteria requirements currently not found in the 457 Visa that may need closer consideration.

Effective from 1st July 2017, sponsored skilled applicants may be impacted by the new TSS English language requirement, which now extends to those applicants with salaries over $96,400; an exemption threshold change from the 457 Visa. Along with this, as proof of good character, penal clearance certificates will become mandatory. Other tightened eligibility criteria include the requirement for applicants to be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application and have at least three years’ relevant work experience (up from two years in the 457 Visa).

From 1st March 2018, the TSS Visa programme will be in full effect and comprised of two separate streams; a Short-Term stream of up to two years, or Medium-Term stream of up to four years. The Short-Term stream is designed to allow employers to fill skill gaps with foreign employees for a limited time, while the Medium-Term stream will allow employers to source staff from overseas to address shortages in a narrower range of high skill and critical need occupations, such as medicine.

Perhaps the key difference between the streams is the capacity for Medium-Term stream visa holders to apply for the permanent residence pathway after three years. More specifically, the Short-Term stream allows for only one visa renewal onshore and the English language component requires an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 5, with a minimum of 4.5 in each test component, while the Medium-Term stream allows for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years, with a minimum of IELTS 5 (or equivalent test) in each test component.

Much of the policy detail concerning the new TSS Visa is still being finalised and this will continue throughout the implementation process. Ochre Health will advise of any alterations that may impact overseas medical professionals. For General Practitioners and specialist medical professionals already working in Australia under the 457 Visa, conditions will remain unaltered and in effect.

More information on changes to the Australian Temporary Working Visa can be found either through this fact sheet or via the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website: .

If you have been thinking of moving to Australia and want to know more about living and working in Australia and what GP opportunities Ochre Health have in their medical centres, please contact our Recruitment team on 02 8356 3100 or email



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