Australia announces 6-months renewal window to skilled worker visa holders

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has announced plans to grant 6 month renewal window to skilled worker visa holders in their country.

This was disclosed in significant revisions to visa conditions 8107, 8607, and 8608, set to take effect from July 1, 2024.

According to authorities these changes aim to address unfair labor practices and enhance the labor market mobility for temporary migrants holding the following visas: Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 494)

Some context

The new update highlights the extended flexibility for visa holders who cease employment with their sponsoring employer. Under the new regulations, these individuals will have up to 180 days at a time,(6 months) with a cumulative maximum of 365 days(1 year) during the visa period, to secure new sponsorship, apply for a new visa, or arrange departure from the country- Visa guide first reported.

During this grace period, visa holders are permitted to work for other employers, including in occupations not listed in their most recent sponsorship nomination, enabling them to sustain themselves while seeking new sponsorship.

  • The Department of Home Affairs mandates that sponsors must notify any changes in the visa holder’s employment status within 28 days.
  • Furthermore, visa holders are prohibited from engaging in work inconsistent with the license or registration requirements for their nominated occupation.
  • The changes 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.” the Australian authorities stated.

What you should know

In addition to these changes, the Australian government has outlined a comprehensive migration strategy. Introduced on December 11, 2023, this strategy encompasses eight key actions and over 25 policy commitments aimed at reforming the migration system.

The objective is to attract more international talent and address labor shortages, ensuring that the migration process aligns with Australia’s economic and social needs.

On May 14, 2024, the government announced that the planning levels for the 2024-25 permanent Migration Program would be set at 185,000 places. This program is designed to fill labor gaps in various sectors, with a particular emphasis on regional Australia, which often faces more severe shortages. By prioritizing visa processing for these areas, the government aims to distribute the benefits of migration more evenly across the country.

 More insights

The updated visa conditions are part of a broader effort to make Australia’s labor market more dynamic and responsive. By allowing temporary visa holders more time and flexibility to find new employment, the government aims to reduce the exploitation of migrant workers and ensure that they are treated fairly.

This approach is expected to benefit the workers and the wider economy, as it will help ensure that skills and talents are used effectively.

The Department of Home Affairs stressed that these measures are crucial for supporting the integration and contribution of skilled migrants in Australia’s workforce. By providing greater job security and flexibility, the government hopes to make Australia a more attractive destination for global talent.



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