Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has announced that all subclass 482 visa holders will be eligible to apply for permanent residency by the end of 2023. Currently, subclass 482 visa holders in short-term occupations are unable to seek permanent residency. The government will also allow short-term subclass 482 visa holders to renew their visas indefinitely, and will reduce the required employment period before seeking permanent residency from three years to two. The new policies are designed to provide more equitable access to permanent residency in Australia.

Background: The Subclass 482 Visa

The Subclass 482 visa is a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa designed to allow employers to sponsor a suitably skilled foreign worker to fill a position for which a qualified Australian candidate cannot be found. The subclass 482 visa features several “streams,” including the short- and mid-term streams as well as the labor agreement stream, each of which allows the foreign national to live and work in Australia for a specified period of time. At present, only subclass 482 visa holders in the mid-term and labor agreement streams are eligible for permanent residency.

Expanded Pathways to Permanent Residence

According to the government’s announcement, all subclass 482 visa holders – including those in short-term occupations – will soon be eligible to seek permanent residency through the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa. Applicants will need to continue to work in the occupation nominated for their TSS visas, but occupations will not be limited to the government’s Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

The government will also reduce eligibility for the TRT stream from three years to two years employment with the sponsoring employer. Applicants will need to meet all other nomination and visa requirements for the TRT stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme visa.

To facilitate the new permanent residency policy, the government is removing limits on the number of short-term stream TSS visa applications that visa holders can make in Australia. The move is intended as an interim measure to assist those currently in Australia who would normally need to go offshore to make further visa applications.

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