The TSS Visa One Year On

TSS Visa now One Year Old

The TSS (Temporary Skills Shortage) visa replaced the 457 visa in March 2018, so is now over one year old.

As we now have 12 months of data on TSS visa grants, this article looks at the trends we can see in terms of overall numbers, occupation, location and citizenship of applicants.

The descriptions below compare the numbers of 457 visas granted from July 2017 to June 2018 (last year of operation) to the numbers of TSS visas granted between April 2018 and March 2019 (the first full year of operation).

1. Employers are Still Sponsoring Staff

Whilst it appeared that the TSS visa would be less attractive to employers – for example due to the increased cost and labour market testing requirements – the number of sponsored employees in Australia has been stable.

In March 2018, there were 151,596 temporary employer sponsored visa holders in Australia. In March 2019, there were 154,205 – a slight increase. Numbers are well down on a high of over 200,000 in March 2014, but the decline started well before the introduction of the TSS.

Grant numbers of TSS have largely backfilled for the phasing out of the 457:

2. Strong Declines in Hospitality and HR Professionals Occupations

When looking at the most popular occupations for the 457 visa, we can see a big change between the first full year of TSS (April 2018 to March 2019) versus the last full year of the 457 (July 2017 to June 2018).

We see a massive drop off in the number of visas granted to food trades such as cooks and chefs, restaurant managers and HR professionals.

Most other occupational categories have been relatively static, but we do see IT occupations such as programmers and network/support professionals increasing their share, as well as engineers.

457 and TSS Visa Grants by Occupational Category

Occupations 457 (Jul-17 to Jun-18) TSS (Apr-18 to Mar-19) 457 Rank TSS Rank Rank Change
2613 Software and Applications Programmers 3615 4012 1 1 0
2531 General Practitioners and Resident Medical Officers 2091 1434 2 3 -1
2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts 1528 1780 3 2 1
3514 Cooks 1324 451 4 15 -11
2421 University Lecturers and Tutors 1193 920 5 5 0
3513 Chefs 1101 609 6 11 -5
2544 Registered Nurses 1028 931 7 4 3
1411 Cafe and Restaurant Managers 1009 294 8 22 -14
2247 Management and Organisation Analysts 878 860 9 6 3
2251 Advertising and Marketing Professionals 871 683 10 9 1
2211 Accountants 855 692 11 8 3
3212 Motor Mechanics 795 634 12 10 2
2632 ICT Support and Test Engineers 783 730 13 7 6
2231 Human Resource Professionals 557 199 14 31 -17
1351 ICT Managers 488 498 15 13 2

3. Sydney and Melbourne Increase their Overall Share by Location

Overall, we see little movement in the distribution of TSS visa approvals by region – Sydney and Melbourne have slightly increased their share of visas granted:

TSS and 457 Visa Grants by Location

Location 457 TSS 457 Share TSS Share Change
Greater Sydney 23,371 22,116 39.7% 40.4% 0.7%
Greater Melbourne 14,276 13,773 24.2% 25.1% 0.9%
Greater Perth 4,897 4,316 8.3% 7.9% -0.4%
Greater Brisbane 3,895 3,424 6.6% 6.2% -0.4%
Rest of Qld 2,904 2,523 4.9% 4.6% -0.3%
Rest of NSW 2,667 2,268 4.5% 4.1% -0.4%
Greater Adelaide 1,597 1,226 2.7% 2.2% -0.5%
Rest of Vic. 1,537 1,608 2.6% 2.9% 0.3%
Rest of WA 1,046 771 1.8% 1.4% -0.4%
Australian Capital Territory 924 811 1.6% 1.5% -0.1%
Greater Darwin 611 301 1.0% 0.5% -0.5%
Rest of SA 355 194 0.6% 0.4% -0.2%
Rest of NT 312 251 0.5% 0.5% -0.1%
Rest of Tas. 198 248 0.3% 0.5% 0.1%
Greater Hobart 186 206 0.3% 0.4% 0.1%
Not Specified 111 379 0.2% 0.7% 0.5%
Other Territories 13 379 0.0% 0.7% 0.7%
Total 58,900 54,794 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

4. Some Increases in DAMA Regional TSS Visas

A number of initiatives have been announced encouraging sponsorship of TSS visas by regional employers – for example new Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) in The Goldfields (WA), Great South Coast (VIC), Adelaide City and Regional SA, Orana (NSW) and Far North Queensland.

Looking at TSS grants in these DAMA areas, we can see numbers in the Great South Coast and Orana increasing off a low base, but most other areas have actually declined since the introduction of the TSS visa:

TSS and 457 Visa Grants for DAMA Regions

DAMA Area 457 TSS Change
Greater Adelaide 1,597 1,226 -371
Darwin 611 301 -310
Cairns 312 234 -78
Northern Territory – Outback 312 251 -61
Western Australia – Outback (South) 241 229 -12
South Australia – South East 231 94 -137
Warrnambool and South West 202 300 98
Far West and Orana 160 237 77
South Australia – Outback 88 73 -15
Barossa – Yorke – Mid North 36 27 -9
Total 3,790 2,972 -818

5. Declines for most Nationalities, Apart from India and South Africa

We have seen some changes in the mix of citizenship of TSS holders versus 457 holders. Looking at the main source countries, we see declines of more than 20% in the number of people from China, France, Canada, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Malaysia and Nepal. Numbers from India and South Africa increased significantly though.

Top 20 Citizenship Countries for 457 and TSS Grants

Citizenship 457 TSS Difference Percent Change
India 14,632 16,138 1,506 10.3%
United Kingdom 8,913 7,986 -927 -10.4%
Philippines 3,747 3,424 -323 -8.6%
United States of America 2,785 2,666 -119 -4.3%
China, Peoples Republic of (excl SARs) 3,152 2,316 -836 -26.5%
South Africa 1,639 2,114 475 29.0%
Ireland, Republic of 1,910 2,021 111 5.8%
France 1,578 1,348 -230 -14.6%
Japan 1,215 1,221 6 0.5%
Canada 1,252 926 -326 -26.0%
Italy 1,251 926 -325 -26.0%
Brazil 1,031 910 -121 -11.7%
Korea, South 1,457 842 -615 -42.2%
Vietnam 807 777 -30 -3.7%
Germany, Fed Republic of 890 770 -120 -13.5%
Sri Lanka 700 626 -74 -10.6%
Malaysia 864 595 -269 -31.1%
Spain 614 593 -21 -3.4%
Netherlands, Kingdom of The 655 557 -98 -15.0%
Nepal 819 448 -371 -45.3%

Conclusions

Overall, the abolition of the 457 program has made less impact in overall temporary employer sponsored visa numbers than expected.

However, when looking more closely at the numbers, we see the following trends:

  • Occupation: Significant reduction in hospitality and HR occupations
  • Location: Sydney and Melbourne increased their share of grants, but some growth in grants for certain DAMA regions
  • Nationality: Reduction in numbers from most traditional source countries, apart from India and South Africa