The Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) Program

The Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) program, aka the "TSS visa" program, was developed by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to replace the abolished 457 visa program. Under the TSS visa program, employers can recruit skilled overseas workers when a suitably qualified Australian cannot be sourced. The process of employing skilled overseas workers under the TSS visa program, involves three stages:

  • Standard Business Sponsorship application - approval gives employers access to the TSS visa program
  • Nomination application - an employer nominates the position to be occupied by the overseas worker, which is only approved if DHA believe certain criteria have been met
  • TSS visa application - the outcome of which is based on DHA's assessment of the overseas worker's suitability for the nominated position, and other visa-related criteria
Standard Business Sponsorship - brief overview

A Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) is similar to a license – while valid it allows employers to sponsor an unlimited number of skilled workers from overseas. An SBS is valid for five years. It may be suitable for:

  • Established Australian businesses: Companies, Partnerships, Sole Traders, Trusts, etc
  • Overseas businesses: so they can fulfil obligations for a contract in Australia
  • Overseas businesses: to establish an Australian operation of their business and employ overseas workers to assist in establishing the business
Standard Business Sponsorship - Employer Obligations

Being a Sponsor requires strict adherence to Sponsor Obligations. They are in place to protect overseas workers from exploitation; and to ensure the 457 visa program is being used to meet genuine skill shortages, rather than undercut the local labour market.

All Sponsors must comply with the following Sponsor Obligations:

  • Cooperate with inspectors
  • Ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment
  • Keep records
  • Provide records and information to the Minister
  • Tell us when certain events occur
  • Ensure the visa holder participates in the nominated occupation, program or activity
  • Not recover from, transfer or charge certain costs to another person
  • Pay travel costs to enable sponsored people to leave Australia
  • Pay costs to remove unlawful non-citizens
  • Provide training to Australians and permanent residents
  • Not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices

Failure to comply with Sponsor Obligations can result in severe penalties.

Standard Business Sponsorship application - Main Criteria

To become a Standard Business Sponsor, businesses must be able to show:

  • Are financially secure or have access to sufficient funds to meet their financial obligations
  • Training benchmarks have been met over the immediate last 12 months and for the period of any previous SBS held – where trading for 12 months or more
  • An auditable training plan showing how training benchmarks will be met- where trading for less than 12 months
  • A commitment to maintain training at the required level for each year of the SBS approval
  • A commitment to employing local labour
  • They don’t engage in discriminatory recruitment practices

Overseas businesses that don't currently have an operating base in Australia, do not need to meet training benchmarks.
Once a business sponsorship application has been lodged, employers are able to lodge an application to nominate the overseas worker's position.

Nomination application - Main Criteria

A company can apply to sponsor an overseas employee by nominating their position. The position must meet the following criteria:

  • Genuine - must fit within the scope and scale of the business
  • Full-time - at least 38 hours per week unless exempt
  • Position description aligns closely with the relevant ANZSCO
  • Relevant ANZSCO is on the STSOL or MLTSSL
  • Any caveat criteria are met (occupations with caveats can be found here)
  • Labour Market Testing completed - 2 adverts run over four weeks each, in the past four-month period (specifications apply)
  • remuneration not less than an equivalent Australian worker is/would be paid - the "Annual Market Salary Rate" (AMSR)
  • the higher of the AMSR or any minimum amount imposed by a caveat will be paid. Eg. a caveat on Recruitment Consultant requires minimum earnings of $90,000 exc. super. So if the AMSR was $75,000, the caveat of $90,000 would be required. If the AMSR was $95,000, then $95,000 would be required, being higher than the caveat
  • the AMSR, excluding any non-monetary benefits, must not be less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), currently set at $53,900 exc. superannuation, regardless of whether a higher amount will be paid

Once the nomination has been lodged, an application for the TSS visa can be submitted.

Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482)

The subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, aka the "TSS visa", has two streams:

  • Short-term stream - STSOL occupations
  • Medium-term stream - MLTSSL and ROL occupations

The TSS visa is valid for up to 2 years under the Short-term stream, unless an International Trade Obligation (ITO) applies; up to 4 years under the Short-term stream if an ITO applies; and up to 4 years under the Medium-term stream. Dependent family members can be included in the application.


The following criteria must be met by the main TSS visa applicant (sponsored foreign worker):

  • meet relevant ANZSCO qualification and/or skill requirements - generally a relevant degree (some occupations allow five years relevant experience to substitute a degree)
  • minimum of two years skilled employment experience in the nominated occupation
  • be a genuine applicant for entry and stay as a short term visa holder (applicants for STSOL occupations only)
  • hold registration or licensing, or be eligible to apply, if required to perform that position in Australia
  • meet character requirements - police checks required for all countries spent a total of 12 months or more in past 10 years
  • meet health requirements - depending on passport country, travel history and health, some applicants must do health checks
  • meet English language requirements - English language testing may be required (unless holding a passport from: Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom and United States)

Prior to the expiry date of this visa, the visa holder may be able to apply for a new TSS visa. TSS visa applicants cannot apply for more than two TSS visas under the short-term stream, while they are in Australia.

Transfer of an existing Subclass 457 or 482 TSS visa

If an overseas worker holds an existing 457 or 482 TSS visa, where they are the main visa holder sponsored by another employer, that visa can be transferred to a new employer, subject to the following:

  • the visa holder's occupation hasn't been removed from the TSS visa program
  • all criteria under the "NOMINATION" section above have been met
  • a TSS visa holder isn't changing their nominated occupation (if so, they must apply for a new TSS visa)

The new employer will need to lodge or hold an existing SBS; and will also need to lodge a nomination application.

Dependents of Subclass 457 and 482 TSS visa holders

This visa is for eligible dependent family members of a person that is sponsored by their employer, as the main 457 or 482 TSS visa holder. This visa can be applied for at the same time as the sponsored 482 TSS visa holder, or after a 457 or 482 TSS visa has been granted.

The following family members can apply for this visa:

  • Spouse (opposite or same-sex)
  • De facto couples (opposite or same-sex) who have lived together for at least 6 months, unless exempt
  • Dependent children

All applicants must meet health and character requirements; and provide relevant supporting documentation. Dependent family members will have the same visa expiry date as the main 457 or 482 TSS visa holder. Once the visa is granted, dependent family members have unrestricted work rights.

NOTE: due to the abolishment of the 457 visa program on 18 March 2018, family members of a main 457 visa holder who don't already hold a dependent 457 visa, can apply for a dependent 482 TSS visa.

Temporary Work Short Stay Specialist Visa (Subclass 400)

This visa is for people who wish to visit Australia to do short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work. In limited circumstances, the visa allows the holder to participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests.

The 400 visa is generally granted for up to three months. A longer period of up to six months might be permitted in limited circumstances, depending on the work or activity.

Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)

This visa allows the holder to live and work in Australia after they have completed their studies. The graduate skilled visa is valid for a period from 18 months up to four years, depending on the Australian qualification used when applying for the visa.

The following requirements must be met by the applicant:

  • Under 50 years of age
  • Be in Australia at the time of application and approval
  • Possess an eligible valid visa
  • Meet relevant Australian study requirements
  • Meet English language requirements
  • International student recently graduated with an eligible Australian qualification; OR with skills and qualifications that relate to an MLTSSL occupation on the combined list of eligible skilled occupations

We can help to make the process clear and smooth.