Sponsoring Architects – from 457 to TSS

sponsoring architects 457 TSS

For several years, the 457 visa has been a mainstay for architects wanting to work in Australia. According to the 2011 Census, 38% of architects were born overseas. The 457 will be replaced in March 2018 by the Temporary Skills Shortages (TSS) visa. Until then however, the 457 remains a relevant way of sponsoring architects; any 457s issued prior to March 2018 will remain valid for the duration they have been issued for (up to 4 years). And as “Architect” is an occupation on the MTLSSL, it can lead to PR after the 2 year 457 period via a Transitional 186.

To be eligible for a 457, the applicants must:

  • Be sponsored by a company accredited as a 457 standard business sponsor;
  • Have the required skills to fill a position nominated by that architectural firm;
  • Have a competent level of English proficiency;
  • Meet proper health check requirements.

(In case you’re a firm looking to become a sponsor, have a look at our concise article on the sponsorship process here.)

How does the new TSS Visa scheme affect architects and firms?

With the 457 being removed, and the TSS visa stepping in, it’s crucial to be aware of the changes that might substantially impact your business or career plans.

Once the TSS scheme is introduced, however there will be some adjustments affecting your industry. Here are the vital ones you should know about:

  • Applicants have to achieve at least a minimum IELTS score of 5 for each component
  • The high income exemption to the English language requirements will be removed
  • The Age limit for applicants reduced from 50 to 45
  • In addition to the relevant qualifications, at least two years’ relevant work experience will be required
  • The Transitional period to permanent residency (via the 186) will increase from 2 to 3 years
  • Police checks will be mandatory
  • Ongoing review of the occupation lists are set to occur every 6 months

For sponsors of architects:

  • Strengthened training requirements imposed
  • Compulsory non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not discriminating against Australian workers
  • Labour Market Testing (LMT) will be made obligatory

Professional Registration

Registration is handled on a state by state basis through Australia. In some states, if an employee is working under the supervision of a registered architect then registration is not a prerequisite of the visa. If however the employee will be working unsupervised, then they will need to gain the necessary registration, in order not to breach the working conditions of their visa.

The registration process for foreign architects varies from person to person, depending on your qualifications and background. For example, one pathway for overseas qualification holders who wish to register as an architect in Australia involves a two-stage process of their Provisional Assessment, followed by a Review of Academic Equivalence (RAE). This process is a comprehensive and rigorous one. It involves examining your academic portfolio and the contents of the course leading to your qualifications, in order to determine whether you’re suitable for Australian registration.

Another pathway involves the Review of Graduate Equivalence (RGE), which is for people who have an overseas qualification, no longer have their student academic portfolio, but still meet other criteria. This pathway allows applicants to obtain an assessment of their standing compared to Australian educational standards.

How can we help?
We’ve got the experience in migration law and the architectural industry to ensure that your visa, sponsorship or permanent residency application will go smoothly, despite the announced disruptions and changes. Let us help you secure your Australian dreams!