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ENS TRT Concessions for COVID-19 affected 457 and TSS Visa Holders

On 23 November 2020, new provisions were introduced providing concessions for 457 and TSS visa holders who have been stood down, or on reduced pay, who are seeking to apply for permanent residence under the employer nomination scheme (ENS) (temporary residence transition (TRT) stream).

To meet one of the critical eligibility requirements for ENS TRT, TSS or 457 visa holders generally must have worked for the nominating employer for at least 3 years full-time (unless transitional arrangements apply in which case it is reduced to 2 years) in the nominated occupation for the nominating employer. Further, sponsor obligations required that the TSS or 457 visa holders continue to be remunerated at or above the market rate, which would be assessed when a 457 or TSS visa holder applied for ENS TRT. Evidence of full-time work and approved earnings would be provided by means of payslips and PAYG payment summaries for the relevant periods of employment.

As mentioned in a previous newsletter, Home Affairs are taking a flexible approach and neither sponsor obligations or visa conditions are breached where a TSS or 457 visa holder is working reduced hours, reduced pay, or even stood down.

Building on the previously implemented provisions, the newly introduced provisions allow for the period of time 457 or TSS visa holders work reduced hours, or are stood down, during a COVID-19 concession period to not adversely affect their ENS TRT eligibility.

Further, 457 or TSS visa holders who are seeking exemption from the age requirements based on earnings greater than the fair work high income threshold (FWHIT) for the previous 3 years, will also benefit from the COVID-19 concession period.

The concession period commenced on 1 February 2020, and the end date has not yet been finally determined. Applications for ENS TRT submitted after 24 November 2020 will benefit from these provisions.

If you have been stood down, or are working reduced hours while holding a 457 or TSS visa since 1 February 2020, but you would still like to proceed with an ENS TRT permanent visa application, please contact us to determine the best plan of action for you.

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