IN a positive development for AMMA members who used skilled workers from overseas, the federal government has made regulations extending the validity period for the 400 temporary short-stay activity visa from the current three months’ duration to six.

The regulations, which will automatically take effect on 23 November 2014, follows the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s recent review of the 400 series visas and the skilled migration program.

In its submission to the review, AMMA called for change to the duration of 400 short-stay visas, citing processing delays as unresponsive to industry needs.

“In cases where employers are able to access the 400 short-stay activity visa rather than the more heavily-regulated 457 visa, there are often processing delays undermining the responsiveness of the stream,” the submission read.

“For instance, it is not uncommon for it to take longer to apply for and have approved a 400 visa than the visa holder will actually spend in the country.

“In some cases, it takes longer to approve a short-stay activity visa that will last from six weeks to three months than to approve a 457 visa that will last for four years.”

Extending support for flexible visa validity periods and the ability for multiple entries, AMMA also recommended an increase to the duration of Subclass 400 visas.

“The current system is causing operational issues because the temporary work subclass 400 and 457 visa programmes do not sufficiently accommodate the common practicalities of our industry’s global staffing requirements,” the submission said.

“This is due in part to exclusions to the 400 short-stay activity visa which, as an example, prevent highly-skilled specialised overseas employees from being rotated through a project in Australia.

“If the 400 visa is ideally extended to six months instead of three, it would go a long way towards bringing some practicality and workability into the current system for resource industry employers and addressing practical issues.”

AMMA welcomes the government acting on this advice by extending the 400 Series visa maximum stay to six months, and will continue to work on progressive migration policy with Australia’s key decision makers in the best interests of a prosperous resource industry.

To learn more about the Subclass 400 visa changes, click here.

To read AMMA’s submission on the review, click here.