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Changes to work visa conditions for TSS and Regional 494 employees

By 24 June 2024No Comments

From 1 July 2024, TSS subclass 482 and Regional subclass 494 visa holders who cease employment with their sponsoring employer will be able to work for up to 180 days for any employer in any occupation while they seek a new sponsor. If they have not found a new sponsor after 180 days, they will need to depart Australia or face possible cancellation of their visa. Sponsored employees will be able to work in between sponsorships for a total of no more than 365 days in the period of their visa.

Sponsoring employers will still be required to notify of changes in circumstances (including changes in occupation) and cessations of employment within 28 days.

The changes will apply to existing visa holders, as well as those granted a visa on or after 1 July 2024. Any periods a visa holder stopped working for their sponsor before 1 July 2024 will not count towards the new time periods outlined above and those employees will have 180 days from 1 July to find a new sponsor.

The changes will make it easier for employees to move between sponsors. It will also open opportunities for employers to hire sponsored workers in any occupations for up to six months without the need to sponsor them.

Employers who employ a TSS or regional visa holder will need to carefully track the 180 days and the expiry date of the existing visa carefully to ensure that the employee is not employed beyond 180 days unless:

  • A new nomination has been approved.
  • A new nomination and a new visa has been lodged and a bridging visa granted if the current visa is due to expire within the 180 days (or before the new application is approved).

These changes are part of a package of expected reforms to reduce the reliance of sponsored employees on a particular sponsor and so lessen the chance of worker exploitation. Other changes expected to be announced shortly include allowing sponsored workers to count periods of work for multiple sponsors when calculating the two years of sponsored employment before they can transition to permanent residence and allow sponsors to spread the payment of the SAF levy over the life of the employment

As these changes take effect, employers may need to consider their current policies in relation to the payment and recovery of visa costs and the period of agreed sponsorship for new employees as these changes could mean that sponsored employees become more mobile and less likely to work for the same employer for the full period of their sponsorship.

As always we are here to assist and you should contact your Ajuria advisor for more information.

Author Ajuria

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