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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.

Occupation

ANZSCO code

Biochemist

234513

Biotechnologist

234514

Food Technologist

234212

Geophysicist

234412

Horse trainer

361112

Hydrogeologist

234413

Life Scientist (General)

234511

Life Scientists (nec)

234599

Metallurgist

234912

Microbiologist

234517

Natural and Physical Science Professionals (nec)

234999

Petroleum Engineer

233612

8 occupations below on the MLTSSL are now eligible for the subclass 186 and 457 programs.

Occupation

ANZSCO code

Chemical Engineer

233111

Civil Engineering Technician

312212

Electronics Engineer

233411

Industrial Engineer

233511

Materials Engineer

233112

Production manager (mining)

133513

Production or Plant Engineer

233513

Stonemason

331112

16 occupations below previously unavailable under the 457 program were added to the STSOL.

Occupation

ANZSCO code

Aeroplane Pilot

231111

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics)

323111

Artistic Director

212111

Butcher or Smallgoods Maker

351211

Dressmaker or Tailor

393213

Flying instructor

231113

Helicopter pilot

231114

ICT Support and Test Engineers nec

263299

ICT Support Technicians (nec)

313199

Music Director

211212

Music Professionals nec

211299

Nurse Researcher

254212

Production manager (manufacturing)

133512

Research and Development Manager

132511

Retail Buyer

639211

Web Developer

261212

Occupations moved between the lists

2 occupations below were moved from the MLTSSL to the STSOL.

Occupation

ANZSCO code

Anaesthetist

253211

Production Manager (Mining)

133513

23 occupations below were moved from the STSOL to the MTLSSL.

Occupation

ANZSCO code

Botanist

234515

Chemist

234211

Chief Executive or Managing Director

111111

Chief Information Officer

135111

Conservator

234911

Corporate General Manager

111211

Economist

224311

Engineering Professionals (nec)

233999

Environmental Consultant

234312

Environmental Manager

139912

Environmental Research Scientist

234313

Environmental Scientists (nec)

234399

Faculty Head

134411

ICT Security Specialist

262112

Marine Biologist

234516

Meteorologist

234913

Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum)

233611

Multimedia Specialist

261211

Musician (Instrumental)

211213

Software & Applications Programmers (nec)

261399

Statistician

224113

University Lecturer

242111

Zoologist

234518

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 ^).

Occupation

ANZSCO code

Equipment Hire Manager^

149915

Fleet Manager^

149411

Picture Framer^

394212

Property Manager^

612112

Psychotherapist^

272314

Real Estate Agent Principal^

612113

Real Estate Agent^

612114

Real Estate Agent Representative^

612115

Ship’s Engineer

231212

Ship’s Master

231213

Ship’s Officer

231214

University Tutor^

242112

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).