Q&A with Sophie Manera on the Subclass 482 and Subclass 494 visas

Sophie ManeraIn a Q&A session with Legalwise Seminars, Sophie Manera, a Partner at Tang Law, answers queries on the Subclass 482 and 494 visas. 


With skill shortages predicted by Infrastructure Australia to reach 93,000 by 2023, how would you briefly describe the role Subclass 482 and Subclass 494 will play in bridging the skills gap?

The Subclass 482 and Subclass 494 visas will likely play a large role in bridging the skills gap. These visas allow Australian businesses, who genuinely cannot fill a position with an Australian worker, to sponsor an overseas worker.

However, these visas are not a complete solution to the skills shortage Australia is experiencing. There are significant costs associated with sponsoring an employee, which may deter businesses. Furthermore, there are inflexible and onerous labour market testing requirements, which can result in a business wasting time and money if not complied with.

In addition to hurdles affecting businesses, the Subclass 482 and Subclass 494 visas have minimum work experience requirements, which prevent recent graduates from being sponsored. The Subclass 494 visa requires the visa applicant to have a “skills assessment”, often requiring many years of study and work experience. The “skills assessment” requirements often far exceed the minimum requirements an employer would expect an employee to have.

Employers need workers immediately, and these hindrances are costing the economy.

What are the common mistakes applicants make when applying for the visas?

Some skilled/employer-sponsored visas have criteria that must be met at time of lodging the application. If an applicant doesn’t have a particular document at that time, they won’t be eligible for the visa, even if they have the right skills for the job. This can cause significant stress for the visa applicant, as well as their employer.

What’s one key consideration should a lawyer or immigration agent keep in mind?

Your reputation is everything. Your job is not to secure a migration outcome, it is simply to present your client’s case honestly and accurately.

What are some of the trends and developments you see ahead in immigration?

There will need to be increased flexibility in visa eligibility requirements, particularly around lower-skilled positions and positions in small businesses. We are also likely to see an increase in the number of permanent visa places for skilled migrants, family members and (hopefully) refugees.

Personally, I would like to see a substantial upheaval of current migration programs so that businesses can fill positions with the right workers, however it’s much more likely we’ll see a more conservative approach taken.

Sophie Manera is a Partner at Tang Law. She practices exclusively in immigration law. Sophie represents visa applicants, sponsors and businesses in lodging applications, attending to complex migration matters, making submissions to the Department of Home Affairs, and representing applicants in the tribunals and courts. Sophie’s passion is for arguing cases based on compelling or compassionate circumstances, and she finds it incredibly rewarding to help families stay together in Australia. Sophie is the Vice-President of the Migration Institute of Australia’s Western Australia State Committee. In 2019 she was awarded the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Award for Mentor of the Year. In 2018 she was awarded the Migration Institute of Australia Kevin Lane Service Award for contributions to the profession. She is currently undertaking an Italian language course. Connect with Sophie via LinkedIn LinkedIn