The Government has announced a number of changes in relation to the temporary and permanent skilled migration programmes. This includes changes to the Subclass 457 visa, and the Employer Sponsored Permanent Residence visas.
Subclass 457 - what are the changes?
From March 2018 the Subclass 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with a new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa.
Whilst all new applications lodged from the announcement of these changes up until March 2018 will still be for the Subclass 457 visa, implementation of these changes has begun already.
Only occupations on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) will continue to be eligible for a four year 457 visa. Those occupations listed on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) will only be eligible for a two year visa.
These changes may affect employers looking to sponsor certain occupations that have either been removed from the list, or have additional caveats in place.
Meghan Cemail, Immigration Manager at Robert Walters explains: organisations that require skilled workers need to go through immigration service specialists such as Robert Walters, as we can still sponsor removed occupations through our existing Labour Agreement.
Caveats restrict the ability to sponsor certain occupations.
In addition, further caveats have been introduced for certain occupations. These caveats are additional criteria that need to be met in order to sponsor an individual under the required occupation.
Positions re-introduced to the 457 list.
On a positive note, some previously removed occupations such as Retail Buyer, Web Developer, ICT Support and Test Engineers NEC have now been re-introduced to the eligible 457 list.
Exemptions and mandatory requirements.
Unlike before, the English Language exemption has been removed for individuals earning over $96,400 unless they are coming as part of an intra-company transfer and are earning above this amount. All other English language exemptions still apply.
Mandatory Police clearances are applicable to all applications and skills assessments now apply for certain applications lodged after July 1st 2017.
Permanent employer sponsored skills migration reforms overview.
The subclass 186 visa, more commonly known as path to permanent employer sponsored skills migration, has also been affected by latest visa changes.
New caveats introduced
Caveats to certain occupations, that were previously only applicable to 457 visas, now extend to Subclass 186 visa applications. These only apply to applications lodged under the direct entry Stream. Applications lodged under the temporary transition stream can still apply on the basis that they have held a 457 visa with the same sponsor, in the same occupation, for at least two years.
Direct Entry (DE) and Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Streams
Applicants applying under the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream must be below 50 at the time of application.
They will also need to meet a higher level of English language to show they have ‘competent’ English.
Applicants applying under the Direct Entry (DE) Stream must be below 45 at the time of application. Certain exemptions to this apply, including for specific occupations.
What do the changes mean for employers?
Organisations will be required to show there is a ‘genuine need’ for employees to work in the nominated occupation.
Overall, The Department of Immigration and Border Protection have advised that they will be updating the occupation list every six months, and we will keep you updated of these changes as they are announced.
Final changes from 1 March 2018.
The 457 visa will cease to exist from March 2018 and will be replaced by the TSS visa. This will comprise of two streams:
Under both streams, new eligibility criteria will be introduced including minimum work experience, compulsory Labour Market Testing, police clearances, training benchmarks and market salary rates.
The Short-Term stream will also be limited to renewal only once, and will NOT have a direct pathway to permanent residency.
The Medium-Term stream will allow for renewal and have a permanent residence pathway after three years.
The main changes that will take effect on this date are:
- Only occupations on the MLTSSL will be eligible to apply
- There will now be a minimum salary that visa holders will have to earn
- Age limit will increase to 45
- Applicants must have at least 3 years of relevant experience
- Strengthen training requirement for employers
- Eligibility period extended from two years to three years
To enquire about your visa options and requirements please contact our Immigration Services Team on +61 8289 3100 or via email at email@example.com.