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Australia: Recent changes made in Employer-Sponsored Skilled Visa

November 2017, 20
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Some changes have been done to the skilled visa programs in the permanent employer-sponsored category. They pertain to the requirement of residence, which will increase the period for transitional eligibility.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has presently clarified regarding the changes made in the skilled visa programs to the permanent employer-sponsored category. They had been announced in April 2017. The DIBP has made known the transitional arrangements to allow persons who held the subclass 457 visa or had submitted an application for it on the 18th April 2017. Now they have an access to some of the existing provisions in the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

Starting with the 31st December 2017, the DIBP will start to collect Tax File Numbers for these visa holders, and this data will be aligned to records kept by the Tax Office of Australia. This measure has been undertaken to ensure that the visa holders do not get a reduced pay compared to their nominated salary. If obligations in this provision are violated it can result in sanctions affecting the sponsorship. The DIBP is vested with sufficient powers and can impose a variety of penalties based on the intensity of the said breach or the number of breaches made.

Changes to permanent employer-sponsored skilled visa programs

These changes have been made to the Scheme of Employer Nomination and the Scheme of Regional Sponsored Migration. These will be effective on the 1st of March 2018 and onwards:
  • Occupation Lists will have only the jobs on the Medium and Long-Term Skills List and they will be available on the Direct Entry stream for both ENS and RSMS.
  • Residence Requirement: the eligibility period for transition from Temporary to Permanent Residence stays extended from the existing two years to three years in the future.
  • The Age requirement too has been changed and the applicant, at the time of applying,  must now have an age of below 45 years, instead of the present 50 years, unless there are some transitional arrangements
  • Training Requirement is in place: the employers, who nominate a worker for an ENS/RSMS visa, are now required to pay a contribution in favor of the Skilling Australians Fund. It replaces the present obligatory requirements for training. The contribution has to be paid in full when the worker is nominated. It is AUD 3000 for small businesses that have an annual turnover of below AUD 10 million, and AUD 5000 for other categories of businesses
  • Work Experience requirement stands at three years relevant to the occupation concerned,
  • Paying Minimum market salary rate: now the employers must pay the market salary rate and also meet the Income Threshold meant for Temporary Skilled Migration at AUD 53,900 set in April 2016,

A note: 

  • People who possessed a subclass 457 visa, or had submitted an application for it, on the 18th April 2017, can now access provisions in the stream of Temporary Residence Transition:
  • Occupation requirements remain unchanged and no restrictions have been placed on the condition that the nominated person continues working for the same employer, in the same position, for which approval was given in the subclass 457 visa,
  • The age requirement remains at below 50 years of age. The requirement for work experience and also to have worked for two out of the three years before nomination on a subclass 457, remains at two years,

An advice for employers

  • All Employers stand advised to use the services of a specialist in immigration in order to prepare for and incorporate these changes and to comply with the regulations.

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