What is TSS VISA & How Does it Work?



In 2018, The Department of Home Affairs introduced two new employer-sponsored Visas. The two new categories replaced the 457 Visa (standard employment visa). These changes were made by then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government. The 20-year-old Employer-Sponsored 457 Visa was terminated, and the new Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa (TSS Visa) was launched.

There’s been a workforce shortage in many industries in Australia, especially farmers, nurses, teachers, physicians, mine workers, etc. The government has changed many rules and restrictions, including the recent 457 Visa (in 2018) changes to let employers bring workers to the country without any difficulty.

It is estimated that in the coming years, the demand for more skilled workers is going to skyrocket. The government is already planning to ease the rules for immigration and employment for workers.

What is a Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa?

This Visa lets an employer sponsor an eligible and skilled worker (non-Australian) to fill a position they can’t find an eligible Australian to fill the vacancy.

In 2017-18, the new TSS Visa requirements along with common eligibility requirements were announced. The new Visa has two main streams:- Short Term Stream and Medium Term Stream, including a Labour Agreement Stream, which is for extraordinary cases. The applicant can be inside or outside of the country.

How is the short term stream different from the medium-term stream?

They are different in the following way:

  • Validity of Short Term Stream (STS) is two years unless International Trade Obligation (ITO) applies while it is four years for Medium Term Stream (MTS).
  • Visa fees for STS are approximately $1150 and $2400 for MTS.
  • For STS occupation on (Short Term Skilled Occupational Demand list) STSOL is applicable while for MTS, Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) is applicable.
  • STS can be renewed only once onshore, but MTS can be renewed as many times as you want.
  • Required English Language Proof for STS: 5 bands or equivalents overall with a minimum of 4.5 each. 

Required English Language Proof for MTS: 5 bands or equivalent overall with a minimum of 5 each.

  • There is no permanent residency pathway for STS, but there is a permanent residency pathway open after three years for MTS.

What are the similarities in both streams?

  • Mandatory work experience for MTS: 2 years relevant to the nominated occupation.
  • Set Labour Market Testing.
  • Police Clearance required.
  • Non-discriminatory workforce test.
  • Employers must compulsorily contribute to Skilling Australians Fund (SAF).
  • Business having turnover < 10 million AUD: Training Levy 1200 AUD per applicant.
  • For a business having turnover > 10 million AUD: Training Levy 1800 AUD per applicant.
  • No age limit.

Labour Agreement Stream

This option is useful in exceptional cases, and the employer can use this option (Visa type) under certain conditions.

Under the Labour Agreement Stream, an employer can sponsor an applicant as an overseas skilled worker. This can be done if the employer has a labour agreement with the Australian government by establishing a need that cannot be fulfilled in the Australian labour market. The employer must also state the unavailability of standard temporary or permanent visa programs. This Visa is only issued when there are no other options to bring the workforce to Australia.

This is the basics of a TSS Visa, and you can find a more detailed procedure for applying for these Visas on the website of the Home Ministry. Check the website to know whether you are eligible and understand the process of applying for a Visa. 


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