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Australia's employer-sponsored visa: Changes to come in 2024

A new Skills in Demand visa will replace the Temporary Skills Shortage visa and promises faster processing times, increased job mobility and a clearer path to permanent residency.

In 2023, Australian Home Affairs Minister, Clare O’Neil, released a review of the country’s immigration policies. She stated that the immigration system was “not fit for purpose” and had many flaws that could lead to exploitation.

The largest change announced last year was that there would be a major overhaul of the Skilled Migration programme, particularly for employer-sponsored visas in Australia. It’s now been announced that the existing Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) visa will be replaced with the Skills in Demand visa in late 2024.

See also: Tips for securing an Employer Sponsored visa for Australia

What is the Skills in Demand visa?

The Skills in Demand visa will be valid for four years and will have three distinct pathways.

  • Tier 1: The Specialist Skills pathway – This targets high-paid professionals to drive innovation and job creation.
  • Tier 2: The Core Skills pathway – This focuses on filling skill gaps across a range of occupations. This will be the main sponsorship option for most employers.
  • Tier 3: The Essential Skills pathway: This will cater to lower paid workers in critical sectors.
PathwaySpecialist SkillsCore SkillsEssential Skills
PurposeFast-track pathway for highly skilled specialists and top talent in areas of needStandard pathway for skilled workers to fill workforce gapsStrongly regulated pathway for lower-paid workers, initially focused on care sectors

Salary threshold
To be indexed annually and must be no less than Australian workers in the same occupation

Earning at least AUD135,000

Specialist Skills Threshold

Earning at least AUD70,000

Core Skills Threshold

Earning below AUD70,000

Below Core Skills Threshold

OccupationAny occupation except trade workers, machinery operators and drivers, and labourersOccupation must be on Core Skills Occupation List (CSOL)Sector-specific and capped
Processing timeSeven days21 daysUnknown
Validity periodUp to four yearsUp to four yearsUp to four years
Pathway to permanent residenceYesYesYes

Key benefits for job seekers

Visa duration

The TSS visa (subclass 482) is valid for up to four years in the medium-term stream but only two years in the short-term stream. The new Skills in Demand visa will be valid for up to four years for all three pathways and provides more certainty for visa holders.

Employer flexibility

With the new Skills in Demand visa, you will have more flexibility in moving between employers. With the subclass 482 visa you would only have had 60 days to find a job with another approved sponsor. If you couldn’t secure a new position, you would either have to apply for a different visa or leave Australia.

The Skills in Demand visa enhances job mobility by extending this time to 180 days (approximately six months) to find new work without losing your visa.

Pathways to permanent residency

While the TSS visa (subclass 482) has a route to permanent residency, this is only for those working in an occupation on the Medium-Term list, whereas the skills in demand visa will allow for a pathway to permanent residency for all occupations.

The current TSS visa requires that you have worked for the same employer, in the same occupation, for two years to be eligible for the permanent pathway. The new Skills in Demand visa will provide a pathway to permanent residency and time spent with any approved employer will count toward your permanent residency requirements. Meaning that the clock does not reset when you start with a new sponsor.

The most notable change here is that you will no longer have to rely on your employer to sponsor or nominate you to apply for permanent residency. This helps to mitigate the chance of sponsored workers being exploited.

Earnings threshold indexation

The salary thresholds for the Specialist and Core Skills Pathways will be reviewed annually. This is to make sure that overseas workers are not being paid less than native Australian workers and that the workers in the Core Skills Pathway are being paid a decent living wage.

Key benefits for employers

Consolidated occupation list

The introduction of a consolidated occupation list for the Core Skills Pathway should make sponsoring workers from overseas easier and faster.

Labour Market Testing (LMT)

Certain elements from the TSS visa will be carried over and adjusted by removing elements that the government’s Migration Strategy deems unnecessary or over-complicated.

For example, the requirement to advertise to positions through Workforce Australia was removed in December 2023. This means that employers only have to post two valid advertisements instead of three.

There is talk of the government moving away from LMT altogether and toward independent testing of the labour market through Jobs and Skills Australia.

Skilling Australians Fund

Under the current TSS visa, employers are required to pay the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) upfront for the entire validity of their employee’s visa. This can be as much as AUD 7,200 for a four-year nomination. Adjustments to this requirement may allow for smaller or more frequent payments.

The Skills in Demand visa will be gradually implemented throughout 2024, starting with the Specialist Skills pathway. Applications for the Core and Essential pathways are not expected to be available until late 2024.

Considering the move to Australia? If you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at or by calling +27 (0) 21 657 1526 or + 61 (3) 86514500

Our registered migration agents can offer you expert advice and representation for moving to and gaining permanent residency in Australia.

You can also take our free Australian visa assessment.

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