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1st July 2017 457, ENS, RSMS and Skilled Migration Legislative Changes
Following on from the April 18th 2017 changes the government has implemented further changes impacting the temporary and permanent employer sponsored visas and the general skilled migration visas.
These are summarised below.
Occupation List Changes
The following instruments specifying relevant occupation for the different visa subclasses:
IMMI 17-060 for 457 visas https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00848
IMMI 17-080 for 186 Direct Entry https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00851
IMMI 17-058 for RSMS Direct Entry https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00847
IMMI 17-072 for GSM https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00850
Certain occupations have been added to lists, others removed and some switched between the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
Occupations added to the lists
12 occupations previously unavailable were added to the MLTSSL.
Life Scientist (General)
Life Scientists (nec)
Natural and Physical Science Professionals (nec)
8 occupations below on the MLTSSL are now eligible for the subclass 186 and 457 programs.
Civil Engineering Technician
Production manager (mining)
Production or Plant Engineer
16 occupations below previously unavailable under the 457 program were added to the STSOL.
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics)
Butcher or Smallgoods Maker
Dressmaker or Tailor
ICT Support and Test Engineers nec
ICT Support Technicians (nec)
Music Professionals nec
Production manager (manufacturing)
Research and Development Manager
Occupations moved between the lists
2 occupations below were moved from the MLTSSL to the STSOL.
Production Manager (Mining)
23 occupations below were moved from the STSOL to the MTLSSL.
Chief Executive or Managing Director
Chief Information Officer
Corporate General Manager
Engineering Professionals (nec)
Environmental Research Scientist
Environmental Scientists (nec)
ICT Security Specialist
Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum)
Software & Applications Programmers (nec)
Occupations removed from the lists
12 occupations entirely removed from the list of eligible skilled occupations. 9 of these were previously eligible for 457 and 186 visas (marked by ^).
Equipment Hire Manager^
Real Estate Agent Principal^
Real Estate Agent^
Real Estate Agent Representative^
Subclass 457 Visa Changes
1. English Language Salary Exemption Threshold (ELSET) Removed
· Previously Subclass 457 Visa applicants who were nominated to a position with a proposed gross base salary equal or greater than $96,400 were exempted from meeting the English language requirements. From July 1st 2017 this exemption has been removed.
· Only sponsored employees of an established business overseas coming to Australia to work for that company or an associated entity and who will be nominated to a position with a proposed gross base salary equal or greater than $96,400 will be exempted.
· The standard exemptions based on visa holders Passport country (USA, UK, Canada, NZ and Ireland) or applicants who can demonstrate having completed a minimum of five (5) years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where the instruction was delivered in English are still available.
2. Widening of the Mandatory Skills Assessments
· Visa Applicants nominated to the occupations Chef or Cook and holding a Passport from Bangladesh, Nepal or Pakistan now also must undertake the Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) 457 skills assessment program.
Certain other Passport holders for other trade occupations assessed by TRA were already required to undertake such assessments. Please see - http://www.tradesrecognitionaustralia.gov.au/Programs/457/Pages/default.aspx
3. Training Benchmarks Instrument Changes
· The new legislative instrument IMMI 17/045: Specification of Training Benchmarks and Training Requirements has codified into law previous DIBP policy in relation to defining recent expenditure, calculating payroll and specifying the types of expenditure on training that are acceptable for the purposes of Training Benchmark B.
This instrument is prospective so it will only apply to nominations or standard business approvals lodged on or after commencement.
4. Mandatory Police Clearance Certificates
· As with permanent residency visas and most other temporary residency visas, applicants will not have to provide police certificates for each country where they have lived in for 12 months or more (cumulatively, not consecutively) , over the last 10 years (calculated immediately before the date the visa application is lodged), since turning 16 years of age.
This will slow down processing as some countries require a Request Letter to be first issued before the applicant can even apply for the Police Clearance Certificate.
5. New Accredited Sponsor Guidelines
· DIBP has expanded the possibilities for low volume Standard Business Sponsors (SBS) to obtain accredited status (thus enabling priority processing and SBS validity for 6 years) under the following categories:
Category 1: For Sponsors that are Australian government agencies (Commonwealth, state and territory)
Category 2: For Sponsors that are approved 'Australian Trusted Traders,' a voluntary trade facilitation initiative that recognizes businesses with a secure supply chain and compliant trade practices http://www.border.gov.au/Busi/cargo-support-trade-and-goods/australian-trusted-trader
Category 3: For sponsors categorised as "Low risk" with low volume usage of the 457 programme (at least one 457 visa in the last two years) and high percentage of Australian workers (at least 90%)
Category 4: For sponsors categorised as "Low risk" with high volume usage of the 457 programme (at least ten 457 visas in the last two years) and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%).
Subclass 186 Visa Changes
1. Age Limit Changes for ENS Subclass 186 Visa Direct Entry
At the time of application, Visa Applicants must be aged less than 45 years (previously 50 years) under the Direct Entry Stream. This applies to visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017.
The current Age requirement for the Temporary Residency Transition (TRT) Stream of under 50 years of age will remain until 1 March 2018 when it will also change to under 45 year age.
2. Genuine need
From 1 July 2017, all ENS and RSMS TRT stream and DE stream nominations must provide evidence of ‘Genuine need’ for the person to work in the nominated position. This will bring ENS in line with RSMS provisions.
This is a slightly different requirement from that of Genuine Position found within the Subclass 457 Nomination and Visa criteria.
3. ATO High Salary $180,001+ English/Skill exemption removed – IMMI 17/058
The new instrument removes the income exemptions from criteria relating to skills and English language ability. Previously applicants for Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 visas were exempted from various skill and English language criteria if the visa applicant’s earnings were to be at least equivalent to the Australian Tax Office’s top individual income tax rate of $180,001.
Age Limit Changes for General Skilled Migration
At the time of Invitation, Visa Applicants for the following subclasses must be aged less than 45 years (previously 50 years):
· Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
· Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)
· Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 489).