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While the publicity surrounding the end of 457 visas generated a great deal of fear and uncertainty, there has been little or no impact on qualified GPs filling long-term job vacancies in Australia.  Similarly, the perceived threat of GPs being removed from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) has not become reality. 

As of the 18th March 2018 the 457 visa is no longer available for new applications but has been replaced by the TSS Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) which has very similar eligibility criteria.

In addition, GPs continue to be included on the Medium-Term Stream which is based on occupations listed on the MLTSSL. There is little difference between the MLTSSL occupations for TSS and 457 visas. This still allows GPs to be nominated for a visa of up to 4 years. There is no restriction on the number of renewals, which is the same as the 457 was.  Skilled occupation lists will be reviewed every 6 months.

General information

Why was the 457 visa abolished?

Visas have been at the centre of political debate for some time with unions lobbying to prevent competition from overseas. The subclass 457 visa has been in place for over 20 years, The Department of Home Affairs are trying to renew and simplify the system to help better address genuinely skilled shortages around Australia. The outcome is likley to improve government earnings.

Will GPs still have the same access to visas as before?

Yes, because there is still a shortage of GPs in Australia, the new system still allows GPs to work in Australia on a visa that is valid for 4 years – and have an unlimited number of renewals.

Will GPs currently on a 457 visa need to apply for a TSS visa?

No, all existing 457 visa arrangements will stay in effect. GPs will not need to transfer visas and will be able to transfer their nomination to a new practice when they move – for the duration of the current visa.

Information for ‘employers’ and practice owners

Can Sponsors continue under current sponsorship?

Yes, they can nominate TSS visas under their current sponsorship approval.

Have Sponsorship and Nomination application fees changed?

No, these have remained the same:

  • The TSS sponsorship fee will be $420, the same as the 457-sponsorship fee.
  • The TSS nomination fee will be $330, the same as the 457-nomination fee.

What if I need to renew my sponsorship?

If you need to renew sponsorship, there is some good news:

Post March, existing sponsors will be able to complete a short and simple form to ‘renew’ their sponsorship for a further five years. The form requirements have been significantly reduced, and the renewal application may ‘auto approve’ in some cases.

NB: Remember to do this a minimum 2 months before your current sponsorship expires.

Have the training requirements changed for business sponsors?

New training requirements have not yet been implemented. Sponsors have a window of opportunity where you will not be liable for the training levy payments. If you need to do a nomination or renew your sponsorship, now is the best time to avoid extra costs.

In the past, the employers had to prove that 1% of payroll for their practice was spent on training for their Australian employees – or contribute 2% of payroll to a specified training fund.

This regime no longer exists, and it is proposed that sponsors will now have to pay a Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy for every nominated GP. This would include GPs who are already in Australia on an existing visa and are moving to a new clinic.

Should the proposal go ahead, business sponsors would need to pay the levy for every GP they nominate, this includes GPs moving to your clinic that are already in Australia as the holders of 457 visas.

The levy would be payable in full at the time the worker is nominated and would depend on the size of the business. Currently proposed levy amounts are:

Business Size SAF Levy
Small (turnover <10 million) $1200 per person per year
Other $1800 per person per year

Based on the information we have received, sponsors will need to choose from the outset how many years they want to nominate the GP for and pay the fee upfront.

Therefore, whilst previously it was suggested that you should nominate for the maximum period, this is no longer the case. You need to ensure the nomination is only for the contracted period to avoid paying over what is required. It is important to note that the SAF Levy is still undergoing negotiation and awaiting senate approval. The exact details, implementation and charges are yet to be determined and may change by the time it comes into effect. We have heard that there has been some senator pushback over the levy and a lot of talk about amending it to add exemptions for smaller companies and those in rural areas

What documents are needed for the nomination application apart from the GP’s details?

  • Signed Employment Contract
  • Employment Terms that demonstrate the Annual Market Salary for the position
  • Labour market Testing (details below)
  • Position Description
  • Organisational Chart
  • Statement stating Genuine Need – Brief description of the business and the business growth, whether this position is a replacement or a new position due to growth

What do I do differently to demonstrate Labour Market Testing (LMT)

Stricter labour market testing has been implemented and the exemption for Medical Practitioners no longer exists. Each nomination will need to be accompanied by evidence of the steps the sponsor has taken to find suitable Australians to fill the role prior to offering it to the nominee. Specific requirements include:

  • The position must have been advertised in English, and in Australia
  • The advertisement must include:
    • The job title or a description of the position
    • The name of the sponsor (or the name of any engaged recruitment agency)
    • The annual earnings for the position (unless exceeding the high-income threshold)
  • There must be at least 2 suitable advertisements
  • The advertisements must be made via a national recruitment website, national print media, national radio or if the sponsor is “accredited”, via the business’ website
  • The advertisements are expected to have “remained live” for at least 21 days

In all cases, LMT must have been undertaken within 12 months of the nomination being lodged, this is proposed to reduce to within 6 months after 18th June 2018.

Due to the specific nature of the LMT requirements and the timeframes, it is important that all sponsors pay close attention to this aspect and ensure that all adverts are placed meet the criteria.

Do UK GPs meet the experience requirement?

TSS Visas now have a mandatory 2 years’ relevant experience requirement, however GPs who have MRCGP or MICGP do not have to worry about this as you have done years of placement training to gain MRCGP and this is considered relevant experience for the purposes of this criteria.


“The visa information provided in this document was produced by a MARA registered migration agent of Carman & Associates Pty Ltd and accurate at the time of publication. Alecto provides no comment or explanation of the information contained”.