Office 1, 122B Belmore Road, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031

457 Visa Changes – how it affects the construction industry

There have been a lot of changes this week to immigration law for skilled overseas workers in Australia. The Government has moved to abolish the existing 457 visa scheme and replace it with a new system that is designed to continue to encourage skilled workers in Australia.

Australia is a country that is developing very quickly and is trying hard to keep up with the skilled workers required. This is why the 457 visa existed, to allow skilled workers to fill positions that were unable to be filled by Australians and to help train Australians with advanced skills from overseas experience, to strengthen the workforce.

What are the 457 visa changes?

This has been widely reported so we’ll keep this brief.

  • The list of eligible skilled occupations have been split into two lists; Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
  • Applicants for an occupation on the MTSSL are eligible for 4 year visas, applicants for an occupation on the STSOL are eligible for a 2 year visa or 4 years (with different requirements during the application process).
  • The original 457 visa allowed holders to apply for Australian Permanent Residency. Through the new scheme only those granted a visa for an occupation on the MTSSL will be eligible to apply for permanent residency, and you now have to wait for 3 years before you can apply (formerly 2 years).
  • For those applying for the new visas there will be higher standards required with regards to English language testing, police checks and previous work experience.

How will the 457 visa changes affect the construction industry?

The construction industry in Australia continues to rely on overseas workers as there is an increasing demand for skilled trades and a lack of suitable Australian candidates for the number of vacant positions. This is reflected in the number of construction jobs that are included on the primary MTSSL list. Here’s a few examples:

  • Bricklayer
  • Carpenter / Carpenter & Joiner / Joiner
  • Plumber
  • Fitter / Fitter – Welder / Welder
  • Electrician / Electrical Engineer
  • Construction Project Manager
  • Civil Engineer
  • Gasfitter
  • Architect
  • Drainer

As a labour hire agency based in Sydney we know too well the demand for experienced candidates in the above roles. We are constantly recruiting and delivering skilled labour hire to companies all over Sydney who struggle to find suitable candidates for the ever increasing demand.

What construction jobs have been affected by the visa changes?

Offering the incentive of permanent residency after three years working within the nominated occupation should continue to attract skilled overseas workers to Australia, provided they are on the MTSSL. However, not all job roles are as black and white.

For example one of the jobs that have been included on the STSOL is Building Associate, an occupation that is widely used by site managers and supervisors across the construction industry. There are concerns amongst construction business owners that without the potential to offer these positions permanent residency at the end of the visa duration, or only being able to provide a 2 year working visa is going to put off potential candidates for these positions, and recruiting for them is difficult already.

Do labour hire agencies provide sponsorship through the new visa rules?

Yes we do. At BriX Projects skilled labour hire we offer sponsorship opportunities to the right candidates so they can work in Australia. Although the 457 sponsorship is no longer available, we will be offering candidates that are on either of the skilled occupations list the potential for sponsorship. Why as a labour hire agency do we offer these visa options for our employees?

  • We pride ourselves in recruiting skilled, qualified and experienced workers for our clients, and by offering them sponsorship opportunities we can continue to offer their excellent workmanship to our clients. Great for our clients.
  • By providing sponsorship we are assisting our employees to continue their opportunity to work in Australia to contribute to an industry that is in high demand for skilled workers to fill a large gap. Great for our employees.
  • The positions that we can offer sponsorship for can lead to Australia permanent residency for some candidates that can lead to building a long-term, strong construction workforce in Australia. Great for Australia.

If you would like to know more about BriX Projects skilled labour hire sponsorship opportunities then please contact us today. If you would like to know more about working with BriX projects give us a call on 1800 621 066 today and one of our expert team will be able to help.

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