Major changes to the 457 visa affecting the wine industry

Friday, Apr 21, 2017

The Federal Government on 18 April 2017 announced major reforms to the temporary skilled work visa system with the 457 visa to be abolished from March 2018 and replaced by a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa. However, effective from 19 April 2017 more than 200 occupations have been removed from the list of eligible occupations for the 457 visa.

Further, only certain occupations will classify for a 4-year visa, all other skilled occupations listed as eligible for the visa will be limited to 2 years. 

For the wine industry, the changes that took effect on 19 April have major implications. Firstly, only employers located in “Regional Australia” will be entitled to sponsor an applicant for a 457/TSS visa. While the whole of South Australia is classified as Regional Australia, wineries in interstate wine regions including Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Hunter Valley no longer will be eligible to sponsor an applicant for the 457/TSS visa. Secondly, winemakers and viticulturists only can apply for a 2 year visa and not a 4 year visa as previously. In combination these changes will severely restrict the ability of wine industry employers to fill long-term skills shortages through overseas skilled migration. 

New applications can still be made for the 457 visa, however any new application must be for an occupation contained in the new list of eligible skilled occupations. Further, this requirement also extend to applications lodged prior to the Government’s announcement This means that in the event the application was for an occupation which now has been removed as eligible occupation, the application will not be granted. 

The South Australian Wine Industry Association would welcome any feedback, including practical examples of the have these changes have affected or are likely to affect individual wine industry employers. Please contact Henrik Wallgren.