On 1 July 2017, the Australian Government implemented a number of significant changes to temporary and permanent skilled migration programs, including the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) program.
Changes to lists of eligible skilled occupations
Changes to the list of eligible skilled occupations in which occupations added, removed or moved between lists of eligible skilled occupations. For more information on the current relevant list of skilled occupations, contact us at Chisholm Law;
A number of changes were made to the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), including:
- The English Language Salary Exemption Threshold (ELSET) which exempted applicants (whose salary was over AUD$96,400) from the English language requirement has been removed for applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017. English language test results must therefore now be provided for applications lodged after 1 July 2017, subject to limited exemptions;
- The requirements relating to Training benchmarks will change. From March 2018 sponsors will no longer be required to meet the current training benchmarks requirements with these arrangements to be replaced by a requirement to pay a contribution to the new Skilling Australians Fund (SAF);
- The subclass 457 visa no longer exempt from penal clearance certificate provision. This means from 1 July 2017 all visa applications have a mandatory requirement for penal clearance certificates;
- The requirement for mandatory skills assessment under the Trade Recognition Australia (TRA) has been expanded from 1 July 2017 to include additional nationalities.
Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187)
- Applications for ENS and RSMS made under the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream lodged on or after 1 July 2017 will require, at a minimum, an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 6 in each component (Competent English);
- The English language skills exemption for both ENS and RSMS has been removed for those who have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (AUD 180,001);
- The exemption from a skills assessment for applications made under the Direct Entry (DE) stream of both ENS and RSMS has been removed for those who have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (AUD$180,001);
- From 1 July 2017, applicants for the ENS and RSMS DE stream must be under 45 years of age. This applies to visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017. Current age exemptions will still be available;
- The age requirement for the TRT stream will remain under 50 years of age until 1 March 2018 when the under 45-year age limit will become effective;
- 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.
New Zealand pathway
A further pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holders was introduced. This pathway is included in the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) as a new stream.
Changes for points-tested skilled visas
For the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189), Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190), and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) visa, from 1 July 2017 visa applicants must be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation for these points-tested skilled visas.