• Jenny Murphy MARN 0852535

How the changes impact your HR Strategy

Following the Australian Government’s recent announcements regarding the employer sponsored visa program, it is more important than ever to partner with a migration agency to assist in reviewing your HR strategy.

The Government has made several announcements regarding changes to be introduced over the next 12 months, however the legislation and policy is not yet drafted or available for the future changes. SCA Connect are able to guide you through what has already changed and what is proposed, whilst working with you to review the impact these may have on your recruitment and talent acquisition processes.

The changes impact both the temporary employer sponsored program (457 visa program) and the permanent employer sponsored visa program (Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) – Subclass 186 and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS- Subclass 187).



457 Program

  • Changes to the occupation lists which resulted in 216 occupations being removed, and 59 occupations being restricted.

  • The occupation lists were renamed to the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

  • The maximum duration for 457 visas issued for occupations on the STSOL is two years. Occupations on the MLTSSL will continue to be issued for a maximum duration of four years.

Permanent Employment sponsored visa program

  • The new occupation lists are applicable to the employer sponsored visa programs. The MLTSSL is the applicable list for the direct entry stream.


The changes to the 457 program impacted all applications lodged and not yet decided. In many instances this left employers and applicants without a visa option. The shorter visa validity has also seen applicants not proceed with roles they had previously accepted. This is understandable, especially when potential visa applicants are often the best and brightest in their field of expertise and already hold lucrative roles overseas, or have several international opportunities. Several companies also have their own internal policies regarding the relocation of employees, especially for intra company transfers, and the cost of relocating employees for a two year period is no longer an economically viable option.

The Government has shown little regard for the recruitment process and strategies companies implement, including the lead time and costs incurred. In several instances employers were in 3-6 month recruitment processes prior to lodging an application. In several industries there is a global talent shortage and the specific skill set is simply not available in Australia. Australian businesses are competing for the talent on a global scale, not just in Australia. At the same time, their home grown talent is also being attracted to pursue international opportunities. Businesses have usually made a significant investment in training their Australian employees. It is not just a matter of business providing more lucrative opportunities for Australians to retain the talent in Australia. Employees pursue international opportunities for a number of reasons, including wanting to experience a different life and culture, and develop further career opportunities.

On a positive note, the Government has begun undertaking stakeholder consultation following the announcements and many industries, organisations, and other impacted stakeholders have provided submissions which will hopefully have an impact on changes due for 1 July 2017.

The STSOL is due to be reviewe