Author: Rebecca Berkovic

Principal Lawyer Migration Agent Number: 0963431

New Regional Sponsored Visa Program

New Regional Sponsored Visa Program

Two new temporary skilled regional visas are open for application which act as pathways to Australian permanent residency via the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)(subclass 191) visa.

The following new temporary visa subclasses are now open for applications:

  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491); and
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)

The intent of these visas is to encourage skilled migrants to settle in regional areas of Australia and ease “congestion” and population pressure in the capital cities. As part of this program, more occupations are available for skilled workers on the regional occupation list and the areas defined as “regional” have also been increased (essentially, all of Australia aside from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane).

The visas are for up to five years and visa holders have to work and live in the designated regional areas until they are eligible for permanent residency (after three years).

The Government has so far set aside 23,000 under the regional visa program and indicated these applications will receive priority processing.

A closer look – Subclass 491 (Skilled Regional Visa)

Applicants for the subclass 491 visa must:

  • be nominated to apply by a state or territory government agency, or an eligible relative must sponsor the applicant
  • have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
  • be invited to apply
  • satisfy the points test. The points test is now more lenient with more points than previously being awarded for certain STEM qualifications, having a skilled partner, a partner with Competent English or no partner at all or being nominated by a State or Territory Government or sponsored by an Australian relative.

A closer look – Subclass 494 (Sponsored Regional Visa)

Applicants for the new subclass 494 visa must:

  • be nominated by the employer to work in an eligible occupation
  • have at least 3 years relevant work experience in the relevant nominated occupation
  • have a satisfactory skills assessment (unless an exemption applies)
  • work only for the sponsor or an associated entity (unless an exemption applies). A new nomination and visa application must be lodged to change occupations, and the three year regional work/live requirement for a subclass 191 permanent residency visa re-starts
  • be under 45 years of age (unless an exemption applies)
  • have Competent English

New visa conditions

The following new visa conditions have been introduced to ensure regional visa holders are meeting their obligations:

  • Condition 8578: notifying the Department of change of address, contact details and location of work
  • Condition 8579: visa holders must live/work and study only in the designated regional area
  • Condition 8580: if requested, the visa holder must provide residential address, work location or location of studies
  • Condition 8581: visa holder must attend interview with the Department if requested
  • Condition 8608: visa holder to only work in nominated occupation for the sponsor or associated entity

For advice regarding the regional visa framework, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

 

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Labour Agreement Update

Labour agreements for aged care providers

A number of aged care providers care for older Australians from multicultural backgrounds. In these circumstances specialised services may be required, for example, to care for aged Australians with limited English language proficiency or cultural requirements.

Accordingly, aged care providers can request a company specific labour agreement to sponsor skilled overseas workers for a Temporary Skill Shortage(TSS) subclass 482 visa, or an Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa.

The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs has recently agreed to allow aged care providers in multicultural communities to seek the following terms and/or concessions to be included in their labour agreement:

  • a pathway to the permanent residency ENS visa, provided nominees having been employed for at least three years on a TSS visa,
  • an age concession allowing ENS visa nominees to be up to 55 years old, and/or
  • a lower English language proficiency requirement equivalent to the short-term stream of the TSS visa (ie International English Language Testing System (IELTS) component scores of at least 4.5 and an overall IELTS score of at least 5.0).

Labour agreements will only be considered where it is demonstrated that Australians cannot fill skill shortages and standard work visa programs cannot be used.

Changes to Minister of Religion Labour Agreements

The Minister of Religion Labour Agreement (MORLA) settings have recently changed.

  • Religious institutions can now seek a MORLA to sponsor overseas workers under the additional occupation of ‘Religious Assistant’.
  • Thresholds for sponsoring the occupation of ‘Minister of Religion’ have been made more flexible. Previously, the nominee was required to work in the most senior position in a specified location. Under new arrangements, the nominee can work in any senior position.

Sponsors will still need to demonstrate they meet all requirements of the program and have made reasonable efforts to fill positions with Australians.

 

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Visas for General Practitioners

Visas for General Practitioners

The Visas for GPs initiative was announced in the 2018-19 Budget as part of the Government’s Stronger Rural Health Strategy—a 10 year plan to meet health workforce needs across regional, rural and remote Australia. The Visas for GPs initiative is intended to allow the Government to better manage the growth and distribution of the national medical workforce.

From 11 March 2019, a Health Workforce Certificate (HWC) will be required for an employer to nominate a position for the ENS visa (subclass 186), RSMS visa (subclass 187), and TSS visa (subclass 482) in the following occupations:

  • General Practitioner (ANZSCO 253111),
  • Medical Practitioners not elsewhere classified (nec) (ANZSCO 253999), and
  • Resident Medical Officer (ANZSCO 253112).

An HWC is a letter issued by a Rural Workforce Agency confirming the genuine need to fill a primary healthcare position at a given location in Australia by an overseas doctor in the above occupations.

Under this initiative, the number of doctors entering the primary healthcare workforce through the skilled migration program will be reduced by about 200 doctors a year, over a period of four years. This initiative will direct doctors into areas that have lower access to services such as rural, remote and regional areas of Australia.

Importantly, the Department of Home Affairs has warned that nomination applications for doctors that do not contain the HWC will be subject to processing delays and the nomination cannot be approved.

For advice regarding submitting a nomination which requires an HWC, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

 

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

general skilled visa

Return of the Australian General Skilled Visa

With an increasingly restrictive (and soon to be more expensive) permanent Employer Sponsored visa regime, we are beginning to see a return of the Australian General Skilled visa program, which does not require employer nomination or sponsorship, as potentially a more popular visa option for skilled overseas workers.

The Australian General Skilled visa regime was much more expansive prior to the Government’s overhaul back in 2010, when the list of over 400 occupations was reduced to 181. However, it seems that since the Prime Minister’s announcement on 18 April 2017 to seriously restrict Employer Sponsored visas and abolish the subclass 457 visa, the Australian General Skilled visa may need to fill a necessary gap to ensure that Australia is able to continue to build its economy and attract overseas workers in areas where there are skills shortages.

Restrictions to the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Visa

On 18 April 2017 the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced a series of reforms to the Australian work visa program which have restricted and changed the way the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa functions.

Proposed and actual amendments to the subclass 186 visa have included the following:

  • The first change introduced on 19 April 2017, was a stark reduction in the number of eligible occupations for the Direct Entry stream subclass 186 visa.
  • The maximum age limitation for the subclass 186 visa through Direct Entry was lowered on 1 July 2017 from 50 to 45.
  • English language proficiency requirements for the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the subclass 186 visa was increased from ‘vocational English’ to ‘competent English’ on 1 July 2017.
  • Caveats introduced on 19 April 2017 applying to certain occupations within the Temporary Work (Skilled)(subclass 457) visa program now also apply to Direct Entry subclass 186 visa applications from 1 July 2017.
  • The Australian Government has proposed a work visa levy to be introduced in March 2018 which would tax businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million a levy of $3,000 per overseas worker sponsored for permanent residency and businesses with a turnover of more than $10 million a levy of $5,000 per overseas worker sponsored for permanent residency.
  • The Government has also announced that the eligible list of occupations for the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), can be changed every six months, which will lead to increased uncertainty for Australian businesses and visa applicants applying through the subclass 186 visa program.
  • The Government has announced that from March 2018, only those Temporary Skills Sponsored (TSS) visa holders with occupations included on the MLTSSL list will be eligible to apply through the subclass 186 visa Temporary Residence Transition stream. The period of time a TSS visa holder must hold and continue to work for the same employer to be eligible for the subclass 186 visa is set to increase from two years to three years.

Comparison of the Australian General Skilled Visa Program

The Australian General Skilled visa program until recently was more restrictive than the subclass 186 visa, given that a different limited Skilled Occupation List (SOL) applied to Skilled Independent visas whereas the expansive Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL) applied to both permanent and temporary Employer Sponsored visas.

Applying through the General Skilled visa program may now be a more attractive option for skilled overseas workers to remain in Australia permanently for the following reasons:

  1. It may be a less expensive option, especially given that no work visa levy will apply.
  2. Employees previously eligible for the subclass 186 visa may no longer be able to apply based on language restrictions, occupation caveats and a reduction in the number of eligible occupations for the subclass 186 visa. However, the same overseas employee may be eligible for a General Skilled visa.
  3. The eligible occupation list for the Direct Entry subclass 186 visa is now identical to the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) and Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visas. From March 2018, the Temporary Residence Transition stream eligible occupation list will be identical to the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa.

For Australian employers needing to sponsor skilled overseas workers on a permanent basis or overseas employees in Australia seeking permanent residence, the General Skilled visa program may be preferable to the Employer Nomination Scheme, especially going forward if the Government continues to restrict Australian work visas.

Need Assistance?

This is a time of significant change in governmental policy in relation to Australian visas and immigration law. It is critical for Australian businesses requiring skilled overseas workers to remain permanently in Australia that the correct visa pathway is selected.

Contact our firm at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for more information regarding the most appropriate Australian visa strategy for your situation.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Training 457 sponsorship

A Changed Definition of Training for 457 Sponsorship

As part of the bundle of legislative and policy reforms introduced to Australian work visas, including the Temporary Work (Skilled)(subclass 457) visa, on 1 July 2017 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) changed the definition of training for 457 sponsorship.

In applying to register as a 457 standard business sponsor, businesses are required to meet the requisite training benchmark. The training requirements include the following:

  1. For a business operating for less than 12 months, an Auditable Training Plan must be provided.
  2. For a business operating for more than 12 months, the options are as follows:
    1. Training Benchmark A: The business must demonstrate that 2% of payroll was placed in an industry training fund; or
    2. Training Benchmark B: The business can show that 1% of payroll expenditure was spent on training Australian staff.

Outline of the Key Training Definitional Changes

The key changes on 1 July 2017 include clarification of the following requirements:

  1. Definition of what constitutes payroll expenditure for a business; and
  2. Clarification of what can and cannot be counted towards training expenditure in order to meet Training Benchmark B.

What constitutes payroll expenditure?

The Federal Government has clarified that from 1 July 2017 payroll has an expansive definition and is considered to be one of the following:

  • The total amount of wages, remuneration, salary, commission, bonuses, allowances, superannuation contributions or eligible termination payments and payments made to relevant contractors or subcontractors; or
  • If the sponsoring business does not pay wages, contractors and subcontractors then the monetary value of director’s salaries, fees and drawn payments; or the profit of the business.

What Constitutes Training for Training Benchmark B?

The Federal Government has clarified that the following constitutes training for the purposes of Training Benchmark B:

  • for Australian employees to undertake a formal course of study, including any reasonable and necessary associated costs (e.g. costs of travelling to training venue) or access an online learning programme;
  • to RTOs to deliver face-to-face training to Australian employees that will contribute towards an Australian Qualification Framework qualification;
  • to purchase an eLearning platform or standalone training software; or
  • to cover the salary of:
    • Australian employees engaged by the business as apprentices or trainees under a formal training contract;
    • Australian employees who have completed an undergraduate or higher degree in a university within the last 365 days;  or
    • a trainer responsible for training Australian employees on a full time basis.

What Does Not Constitute Training for Training Benchmark B?

The Federal Government has clarified that the following cannot be counted towards training expenditure for the purposes of Training Benchmark B:

  • on-the job-training;
  • induction training;
  • staff completing online training courses;
  • purchasing software for use in normal duties;
  • membership fees;
  • purchasing books, journals or magazine subscriptions;
  • attending conferences for purposes other than continuing professional development;
  • hiring a booth at a trades show, conference or expo
  • training only undertaken by persons who are:
    • not Australian citizens or permanent residents;
    • principals in the business or their family members;
  • training that is not relevant to the industry in which the business operates or has a very low skill
  • level having regard to the characteristic and size of the business.

Proposed Future 457 Sponsorship Training Changes

Significant reforms are currently underway to the Australian visa program and when the new Temporary Skills Sponsored (TSS) visa replaces the subclass 457 visa, the Federal Government has announced that the current training provisions will be replaced by a work visa levy to be paid by standard business sponsors per worker.

Need Assistance?

It is crucial to each standard business sponsorship application that the correct evidence is provided to demonstrate meeting training benchmarks.

For advice and assistance with this process, contact us or email our firm at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

457 Accredited Sponsorship

What’s New for 457 Accredited Sponsorship?

Included in the package of reforms for the Australian work and skilled visa programs which came into effect on 1 July 2017, are new arrangements for 457 Accredited Sponsorship. 457 Accredited Sponsorship was introduced by the Department of Immigration and Borer Protection (DIBP) as a means of expediting Temporary Work (Skilled)(subclass 457) nomination and visa applications for ‘low risk’ Australian businesses who were frequent users of the 457 visa program.

457 Accredited Sponsorship enables Australian businesses sponsoring skilled overseas workers to fast-track applications, thereby enabling workers to commence employment at an earlier date.

A New 457 Accredited Sponsorship System

The DIBP announced an expansion of the 457 Accredited Sponsorship system on 1 July 2017. The new requirements are intended to enable ‘low risk’ Australian businesses needing to sponsor overseas workers access to accreditation to fast-track applications urgent to the operation of the Australian business.

The new 457 Accredited Sponsorship system is intended to reduce subclass 457 processing times overall and is a welcome change by Australian businesses required to fill a skills shortage quickly.

The new accreditation characteristics are divided into four distinct categories:

Category 1

Relates to Standard Business Sponsors that are Australian government agencies (Commonwealth, state and territory).

Requirement:

  • Must have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia.

Category 2

Relates to Standard Business Sponsors that are approved Australian Trusted Traders.

Requirements:

  • Must have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia.
  • Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement).
  • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business.

Category 3

Relates to Standard Business Sponsors categorised as “Low risk” with low volume usage (of the 457 programme) and high percentage of Australian workers (at least 90%).

Requirements:

  • Must be a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least AUD four million annual turnover for the last two years.
  • Have been an active 457 sponsor for at least two years.
  • Must have no adverse monitoring outcomes.
  • Have sponsored at least one primary 457 visa holder in the two years prior to the application for accreditation.
  • Have a non-approval rate of less than 3% for the previous two years.
  • Have Australian workers comprising at least 90% of their workforce in Australia.
  • Must engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement).
  • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business.
  • Have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the Department.
  • Must have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the Department.

Category 4

Relates to Standard Business Sponsors categorised as “Low risk” with high volume usage (of the 457 programme) and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%).

Requirements:

The Characteristics are the same as Category 3 with two differences:

  • The business must have sponsored at least ten primary 457 visa holders in the two years prior to the application for accreditation; and
  • Must have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia.

To qualify for accredited status, a 457 business sponsor must still meet all the requirements for standard business sponsorship and demonstrate they meet the additional characteristics in one of the four categories listed above.

The Benefits of Becoming a 457 Accredited Sponsorship

The DIBP provides benefits to Australian businesses holding 457 Accredited Sponsorship. The benefits provided are as follows:

  • The 457 business sponsorship is valid for six years instead of five;
  • Importantly, priority allocation of all nomination and visa applications is granted; and
  • Additional streamlined processing of certain low-risk nominations is provided.

Existing standard business sponsors holding accredited status will not be impacted by the changes to 457 Accredited Sponsorship introduced on 1 July 2017.

Applying for 457 Accredited Sponsorship

Australian businesses already sponsoring or intending to sponsor overseas employees under the 457 visa program can apply to become a 457 Accredited Sponsor if the business falls into one of the four categories listed above.

For existing Standard Business Sponsors to apply for accredited status, the business will need to lodge a

sponsorship variation application and ask to be considered for Accredited Sponsorship. Additional evidentiary documentation must be provided at the time of application.

Businesses that are not yet registered as Standard Business Sponsors at 1 July 2017 must firstly apply to become a 457 business sponsor before they can be assessed for accredited status.

Need Assistance?

It is our priority to assist in enabling Australian businesses to obtain the workforce they require. We know firsthand that the employment commencement date of a skilled overseas worker can be crucial to the operation of the business and may be critical to fulfilling client contracts.

We therefore encourage businesses meeting the accreditation status criteria to obtain 457 Accredited Sponsorship in order to fast-track 457 nomination and visa application processing.

For assistance with this process, contact our firm at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au and we can advise on your business’ eligibility to obtain 457 Accredited Sponsorship status.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Australian Skilled visa changes from 1 July 2017

Australian Visa Changes from 1 July 2017: Skilled Visas

The Australian Skilled visa program is an important means of growing the Australian workforce and ensuring that labour shortages in particular occupations in Australia can be filled by skilled overseas workers. The Australian visa changes from 1 July 2017 have heralded in an expanded Skilled visa program in terms of eligible occupations.

Australian Skilled Eligible Occupations- 1 July 2017

The Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) will apply to the following classes of visas:

  1. Skilled- Independent (subclass 189) visas;
  2. Skilled-Regional (Provisional)(subclass 489) visas; and
  3. Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visas.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will continue to amend the occupation list, which has been announced will occur on a six-monthly basis.

Additional Occupations for Skilled Visas:

  • chief executive or managing director
  • corporate general manager
  • chief information officer
  • faculty head
  • university lecturer
  • environmental manager
  • musician (instrumental)
  • statistician
  • economist
  • mining engineer (excluding petroleum)
  • petroleum engineer
  • engineering professionals (nec)
  • chemist
  • food technologist
  • environmental consultant
  • environmental research scientist
  • environmental scientists (nec)
  • geophysicist
  • hydrogeologist
  • life scientist (general)
  • biochemist
  • biotechnologist
  • botanist
  • marine biologist
  • microbiologist
  • zoologist
  • physicist
  • life scientists (not elsewhere classified)
  • conservator
  • metallurgist
  • meteorologist
  • natural and physical science professionals (nec)
  • multimedia specialist
  • software and applications programmers (nec)
  • ICT security specialist
  • horse trainer

Skilled Visa Age Requirement- 1 July 2017

The maximum age requirement for Skilled visa applicants has been reduced from below the age of 50 to below the age of 45 for applicants applying from 1 July 2017. An exception to this is the newly created ‘New Zealand pathway’ for Skilled visas.

The new age requirement of below 45 will affect the following visas:

  1. Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa;
  2. Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa; and
  3. Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa.

Skilled Visa- New Zealand Pathway

From 1 July 2017, the Australian Government has introduced an additional pathway to Australian permanent residence as part of the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa for New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holders.

This creates an additional option for New Zealanders seeking Australian permanent residency.

Need Assistance?

For specific enquiries regarding applications for Australian Skilled visas, please feel free to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Employer Sponsored visas

Australian Visa Changes from 1 July 2017: Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas

Included in the Australian Government’s 1 July 2017 Australian visa reform package, are amendments to the employer sponsored visa program, including the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187).

A summary of the changes to the subclass 186 and 187 visa are outlined below:

Eligible Occupation Lists for Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas

For subclass 186 visas – from 1 July 2017 the Combined Eligible Occupation List will apply to the  Direct Entry Stream, which include those occupations listed in the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Relevant caveats specified in these occupation lists will also apply to the subclass 186 visa Direct Entry stream.

Eligible subclass 186 Temporary Residence Transition (stream occupations will be those that were approved for the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa.

The Federal Government has stated that the occupation list changes for 1 July 2017 will not impact the subclass 187 visa which does not utilise the eligible skilled occupation lists.

Caveats for Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas

Caveats which were introduced on 19 April 2017 applying to the Temporary Work (Skilled)(subclass 457) visa program, will also apply to Direct Entry subclass 186 visa applications from 1 July 2017.

Caveats have placed specific requirements on several nominated occupations in terms of minimum salary, business turnover, number of workers employed by the sponsoring business, employment experience of the visa applicant, nature of the business or required location in a regional area.

English Language Requirement

From 1 July 2017, the English language requirement for subclass 186 and 187 visas has now changed for the Transitional visa stream from ‘vocational’ to ‘competent’ English, which requires:

  • A score of 6.0 in each of the four test components of the IELTS test;
  • a score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four test components of an Occupational English Test (OET);
  • A minimum test scores in each of the four test components: 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking, in a Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) test;
  • A test score of at least 50 in each of the four test components (speaking, reading, listening and writing) in a Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic test; or
  • A test score of at least 169 in each of the four test components (speaking, reading, listening and writing) in a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test that has been undertaken on or after 1 January 2015 and prior to lodging the visa application.

The English language requirement of ‘competent’ English for the Direct Entry Stream of subclasses 186 and 187 visas remains the same at 1 July 2017.

Age requirement

From 1 July 2017, the maximum age requirement of below 45 at the time of application will apply to Direct Entry stream applicants for the subclass 186 and 187 visas.

The maximum age requirement of below 50 at the time of application will continue to apply to Temporary Residence Transition stream applicants.

Need Assistance?

For specific enquiries regarding applications for Australian work visas, please feel free to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

457 visas

Australian Visa Changes from 1 July 2017: 457 Visas

The Federal Government has introduced a host of additional Australian visa changes which came into effect on 1 July 2017, impacting the Temporary Work (Skilled)(subclass 457) visa program. The entire 457 visa program will be replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa from March 2018, however in the interim, companies sponsoring workers on temporary visas are still able to utilise the 457 visa program.

The major 1 July 2017 changes to the 457 visa program are outlined below:

Eligible Occupation Lists

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced that it will update the relevant eligible occupation lists on a six monthly basis.

From 1 July 2017, the following changes to the eligible occupation lists occurred:

Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) – Additional Occupations

The following occupations were added to the STSOL on 1 July 2017:

  • research and development manager
  • production manager (manufacturing)
  • production manager (mining)
  • music director
  • music professionals (nec)
  • artistic director
  • aeroplane pilot
  • flying instructor
  • helicopter pilot
  • nurse researcher
  • web developer
  • ICT Support and Test Engineers (nec)
  • ICT support technicians (nec)
  • textile, clothing and footwear mechanic
  • butcher or smallgoods maker
  • retail buyer

Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)- Additional Occupations:

The following occupations were added to the MLTSSL on 1 July 2017:

  • chief executive or managing director
  • corporate general manager
  • chief information officer
  • faculty head
  • university lecturer
  • environmental manager
  • musician (instrumental)
  • statistician
  • economist
  • mining engineer (excluding petroleum)
  • petroleum engineer
  • engineering professionals (nec)
  • chemist
  • food technologist
  • environmental consultant
  • environmental research scientist
  • environmental scientists (nec)
  • geophysicist
  • hydrogeologist
  • life scientist (general)
  • biochemist
  • biotechnologist
  • botanist
  • marine biologist
  • microbiologist
  • zoologist
  • physicist
  • life scientists (not elsewhere classified)
  • conservator
  • metallurgist
  • meteorologist
  • natural and physical science professionals (nec)
  • multimedia specialist
  • software and applications programmers (nec)
  • ICT security specialist
  • horse trainer

Removed Occupations:

The following occupations were removed to the MLTSSL on 1 July 2017:

  • Equipment Hire Manager
  • Fleet Manager
  • Picture Framer
  • Property Manager
  • Psychotherapist
  • Real Estate Agent Principal
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Real Estate Agent Representative
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Ship’s Officer
  • University Tutor

The validity period for subclass 457 visas based on occupations listed on the STSOL are granted for a two year period and are able to be renewed once. The validity period of the subclass 457 visa based on occupations included on the MLTSSL is for a four year period and acts as a pathway to Australian permanent residency.

Mandatory Skills Assessments

Currently, for 457 visa applicants in specific occupations of certain nationalities, a skills assessment is required from Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) or VETASSESS. In addition, case officers from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have the discretion to request a skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority when processing 457 visa applications if they are uncertain whether the applicant meets the definition of the relevant nominated occupation.

From 1 July 2017, additional countries have been added to the list requiring a skills assessment from TRA prior to submitting their subclass 457 visa.

Caveats

From 1 July 2017, caveats on certain occupations introduced on 19 April 2017 have been relaxed in relation to certain occupations. Caveats have placed specific requirements on several nominated occupations in terms of minimum salary, business turnover, number of workers employed by the sponsoring business, employment experience of the visa applicant, nature of the business and/or required location in a regional area.

This is a win for Australian startup businesses requiring the assistance of overseas workers bringing important skills to different industries, since new businesses were unlikely to be able to meet caveats placed on business turnover and employee numbers required previously for certain occupations.

English Language Exemptions

In the past, visa applicants earning over the high income threshold of $96,400 were exempt from providing evidence of English language ability when applying for a subclass 457 visa.

The English Language Salary Exemption Threshold will no longer be available for 457 visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017.

Police Clearance Certificates

From 1 July 2017, subclass 457 visa applicants will be required to provide police clearance certificates at the time of application. This change will affect applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017.

Need Assistance?

For specific enquiries regarding applications for Australian work visas, please feel free to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Australian visa changes

Preparing for 1 July 2017 Australian Visa Changes

As the 1 July 2017 Australian visa changes rapidly approach, we are bracing for the system, financial and regulation modifications that will occur.

System Changes

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced that the lodgement portal will be closed from 9:00 pm (AEST) on 30 June 2017.

Also, on 1 July 2017 new electronic forms will be introduced for all stages of the 457 visa.

The DIBP has instructed that any partially completed, ‘saved’, or ‘in progress’ 457 forms that are not submitted by 9:00 pm on 30 June 2017 will be lost, and the forms will be set to a status of ‘discontinued’ within the ImmiAccount. Therefore, applicants are strongly advised to ensure that any urgent applications are completed and submitted before this date.

From 1 July 2017, applicants will need to start a new 457 sponsorship, nomination of visa application form to continue the visa application process.

Financial Changes

Australian visa application fees will be increasing on 1 July 2017. The Government has published information of the exact changes that will occur.

The new Australian visa application fees can be accessed here.

Regulation Changes

A number of regulation changes will be introduced on 1 July 2017 affecting eligibility criteria for Australian visas.

The changes that have been announced so far include the following:

  • Skilled visas: The requisite occupation lists are expected to change and the maximum age requirement will be reduced from 50 years to 45 years.
  • Temporary Work (Skilled)(subclass 457) visas: A number of changes are expected to occur including changes to the eligible skilled occupation lists, requirement for mandatory police checks for visa applicants, change in the training requirements and changes to English language exemptions.
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa (ENS visa) & Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) visas: The English language requirement will change for the Transitional visa stream from ‘vocational’ to ‘competent’ English, eligible occupation lists will be amended, and the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application will apply to Direct Entry stream applicants and a maximum age requirement of 50 at the time of application will continue to apply to Temporary Residence Transition stream applicants.

We will keep our clients and contacts informed of the upcoming 1 July 2017 changes to the Australian visa program.

For more information on Australian work visas, please feel free to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.