work-visa

457 Visa Abolished ?

The Australian Government announced major changes to Australian’s work visa system on 18 April 2017. Some changes have already been made. The 457 visa will be abolished in March 2018.

Audit Soon

The Australian Government will be auditing the pay of work-sponsored visa holders (temporary and permanent) using data from the Australian Tax Office “before December” 2017. They will be checking to see that these people are paid at least as much as the government was told they would be. The government is planning to publish the names of those caught in non-compliance. The consequences of non-compliance are likely to be significant.

Minimum Salary

The TSMIT remains at $53,900 gross (plus super) for now. In all cases it must be proven that a market salary is being paid, so this minimum excludes jobs where an Australian would be paid less than that amount.

Changes to 457 Visas

The jobs lists have changed, from 19 April 2017. A job must be listed to be eligible for a 457 visa. A link below to all jobs lists is below, including the ‘consolidated’ list which is a list of all jobs eligible for employer-sponsored visas.

It appears that

  • People with existing 457 visas (already granted) are not effected.
  • Those planning to transition to permanent residence may still do so. The requirement to work for 2 years before applying for permanent residence, is being increased to 3 years in March 2018. Apply before then (if possible) to avoid the increased requirement.
  • 457 visa applications that have been lodged but are presently undecided are effected. If the job has been removed from the list, the case will be refused. Refunds will be available (no details on that yet).
  • New 457 visa applications:
    • If you are granted a 457 visa after 18 April 2017 and your job is listed on the Medium/Long jobs list, it can be granted for 4 years. You will be able to be apply for a permanent 186/187 visa after 3 years on a 457 visa if that company decides to nominate you.
    • If you are granted a 457 visa after 18 April 2017 and your job is not on that list, it can only be granted for 2 years. There will be a maximum of one further extension allowed after that for another 2 years. You will not be allowed to apply for a permanent 186/187 visa under that occupation (unless it gets added to the Medium/Long jobs list).

Some good news

  • 435 jobs remain on the list, including:
    • Electronic equipment trades worker
    • Sales and marketing manager
    • Marketing specialist
    • Recruitment consultant
    • Most trades – painters, carpenters, chefs, fibrous & solid plasterers, fitters, motor mechanics, tilers, welders, etc.
  • See the ‘consolidated’ list (below) for all the jobs that remain on the list

216 Jobs have been removed from the list, including:

  • Call or Contact Centre Manager
  • Human Resource Adviser
  • Workplace Relations Adviser
  • Training & Development Professional
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Sales Rep (Industrial Products)
  • Sales Rep (Medical & Pharmaceutical Products)
  • many types of engineer

Farming-related occupations – most of these are now only available for approval if the job is located in a regional area.

Immigration has indicated that the jobs list will be reviewed:

  • On 1 July 2017; and
  • every 6 months in future.

If you are considering an application and the job is presently on the list, you can proceed. Be aware that if the job list changes before an application is approved, you will probably be treated the same as currently effected people (refused and given a refund).

You can see all the jobs lists here: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists

The official press release is here: http://www.minister.border.gov.au/peterdutton/2017/Pages/putting-australian-workers-first.aspx

  • The job list was amended.
  • More tradespeople will now be required to provide a mandatory skills assessment from TRA
  • Sponsorship training benchmarks were revised (more specific requirements and less options available). This only effects businesses applying to be a sponsor on/after 1 July 2017
  • English tests are now compulsory for all primary applicants (not partners and children). Exceptions exist for:
    • citizens of USA, UK, NZ, Canada & Republic of Ireland
    • a person who has completed a minimum of five years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where the instruction was delivered in English.
    • persons holding an Australian compulsory occupational license/registration/membership that requires an equal/higher level of English than is required for a 457 visa
    • persons employed by a company operating an established business overseas who are sponsored by that company or an associated entity and will be paid AUD96,400 or more
  • The old English language exemption for other people on high salaries (over AUD96,400) is no longer available.
  • The occupational caveats were revised. This will only impact on new and undecided applications, not existing visa holders.
  • Police clearances may now be required for all 457 visa applicants over 16.
  • The sponsorship accreditation program has been expanded. It is only available to companies that have: a turnover exceeding AUD4million, a staff which is 75% to 90% Australian, an excellent history with Immigration and meet various other requirements.

In March 2018 there will be big changes as the current system is terminated and the new system commences. There are some broad policy statements on Immigration’s website about their intentions (these could change). You can see them here: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/457-abolition-replacement

 

It appears that applicants will need to have 2 years work experience to apply and the job must be listed. If the job is not on the Medium/Long jobs list Immigration must be convinced that the applicant only intends to stay in Australia temporarily.

Changes Effecting ENS (Employer Sponsored Permanent Residence)

The jobs lists have changed from 19 April 2017. The changes are the same as those for 457 visas (refer to that section for details).

It appears that

  • If you currently hold Permanent Residence granted to you under the Employer Nomination Scheme, you:
    • are not effected by the changes.
    • might be effected by the audit (see above ‘Audit Soon’ section)
  • If you have applied for permanent residence (and are awaiting a decision on your application) under the
    • Temporary Residence Transition Stream, you are not effected.
    • Direct Entry Stream, you may be effected. We are awaiting details.
  • New applications, made on or after today via:
    • Temporary Residence Transition Stream, should not be effected (assuming it relates to a 457 visa granted prior to 18 April 2017).
    • Direct Entry Stream will be effected. If your job is not on the new list, you cannot apply.
  • The job list was amended (additions and subtractions). See it here: https://www.border.gov.au/WorkinginAustralia/Pages/summary-of-1-july-2017-changes-to-list-of-eligible-skilled-occupations.aspx
  • An IELTS result of 6,6,6,6 or better is required for all primary applicants (not partners and children). This only effects applications lodged on/after 1 July 2017.
  • The age limit to apply for PR is now 45 for Direct Entry applicants. TRT remains at 50 until March 2018.
  • The age and proof of skill exemptions previously available to high salary earners were removed (effects only new applications).
  • A new requirement has been added. It effects all new/pending ENS applications. You must convince Immigration that there is a genuine need for the company to employ the nominee, as a paid employee, to work in the position under the company’s direct control. This rule allows Immigration to make an extremely subjective judgment about every case.

The Australian Government has issued this broad policy statement:

– For the ENS and RSMS visa: The MLTSSL will now apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers for the RSMS.

– Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold. 1

– Residency: The permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years.

– Work experience: At least three years’ relevant work experience.

– Age: All applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application.

– Training requirement: a strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers.

Other Changes

New Zealand Citizens – A New Option

New Zealand Citizens have a special new stream created for them under the 189 visa.

The requirements are:

  • Lodge an Expression of Interest after 1 July 2017 and receive an invitation to apply.
  • Have 5+ years of usual residence in Australia starting prior to 19 February 2016.
  • The usual public interest requirements apply (including health and character checks)
  • All tax assessments for last 4 income-years must be lodged with the visa application.
  • Meet income requirements throughout those 4 years. The amounts are:

2011-2012       $49 330

2012-2013       $51 400

2013-2014       $53 900

2014-2015       $53 900

2015-2016       $53 900

2016-2017       $53 900

An exception to the income requirement can be made for people who cannot meet it due to the effect of a Family Court Parenting Order, being off work while on injury compensation and for people who take parental (maternity or paternity) leave or carers leave from their work for a period of time.

There does not appear to be an upper age limit.

 

Skilled Migration under the Points Test

People applying for 189, 190 and 489 visas must now be under age 45 at the time they are invited to apply.