Benefits of the RSMS Pathway to Permanent Residence

The RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) has significant benefits as compared to other skilled migration pathways.

However, changes are due to be introduced in March 2018 which will make eligibility for RSMS much more restricted.

This article discusses the benefits of the RSMS program and highlights the changes which are due to be introduced.

RSMS Requirements

The RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) is a permanent employer sponsored visa.
To qualify, you would need to have a job offer in a regional area of Australia. The position must be in an RSMS postcode – this covers most of Australia including the whole of Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania.

The position must be assessed by a Regional Certifying Body (RCB) – this would generally be the state regional development agency or chamber of commerce. The RCB will check that the business and position are genuine and that the employer has not been able to fill the position locally.

When the visa is granted, the holder is required to work for the employer for 2 years, otherwise the visa can be cancelled.

Occupations List

RSMS has the widest occupations list of any skilled migration visa type. Any occupation at ANZSCO skill level 1, 2 or 3 can be used to apply for an RSMS visa. The RSMS Occupations List includes the following occupation categories:
Skill Level 1: Management and Professional occupations requiring a bachelor degree or 5 years of work experience
Skill Level 2: Associate Professional occupations requiring a diploma-level qualification or 3 years of work experience
Skill Level 3: Technician and Trade occupations requiring a Certificate III which includes 2 years of on-the-job training or a Certificate IV
The RSMSOL includes 224 occupations which are not on either the STSOL (used for 457 and ENS visa applications) or the MLTSSL (used for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visas). These include occupations such as:

Various Specialist Managers such as PR managers, Policy and Planning Managers, Production Managers, Procurement Managers, Wholesalers and Importers or Exporters
Hospitality, Retail and Service Managers such as Retail Managers, Call or Contact Centre Managers and Financial Institution Branch Managers
Occupations in the Arts such as performers, authors, directors
Human Resources occupations
Sales Representatives in Industrial, Medical and Pharmaceutical Products
Air and Sea Transport Professionals such as pilots, ships engineers etc
Science occupations such as biochemists, metallurgists, research and development managers
Various engineering professional, technician and drafting specialisations
Office Managers and Practice Managers
Receptionists, secretaries and personal assistants
Child Care Group Leaders
Various trades
From March 2018, the selection of occupations for RSMS will be much more limited. Most applicants will need to have an occupation on the MLTSSL – at 183 occupations, this is much shorter than the RSMSOL which has 673 occupations. Additional occupations may be available for regional positions, but at this stage it is not clear how many extra occupations will be available.
Skill Level

Most applicants only need to meet the ANZSCO skill level for their occupation to meet the skill requirement for RSMS. Either a formal qualification or work experience is generally sufficient to meet the ANZSCO skill level, though registration is also necessary if this would be required for the position.
Unlike general skilled migration or the ENS Direct Entry Stream, a formal skills assessment is not in general required. This would normally only be necessary where nominating a trade occupation and where the applicant does not have an Australian trade certificate.

In terms of minimum work experience, this is currently not required if you hold a relevant qualification. This means that international students can potentially qualify for an RSMS visa without any work experience.

From March 2018, a minimum of 3 years of work experience in the occupation will be required when applying for an RSMS visa.

Training Requirement

Unlike the 457 and ENS programs, the employer does not need to show that they have meet the training benchmarks to be able to sponsor for RSMS. Establishing compliance with the training benchmarks is generally the most involved part of applying for 457 and ENS, so this is of great benefit.
From March 2018, a training levy will be payable when applying for an RSMS visa. For smaller businesses with under AUD 10 million in turnover, the training levy will be $3,000. For larger businesses, the levy will be $5,000. It is not yet clear if this can be paid by the individual applying for the RSMS visa, or whether it must be paid by the employer.

English Requirement

For the Direct Entry RSMS pathway, Competent English is sufficient to qualify (6 in each band) – this is similar to what is required for the ENS visa, but significantly easier than the requirement for General Skilled Migration.
To meet the pass mark of 60 points for General Skilled Migration, many applicants will need Proficient English (7 in each band of IELTS or equivalent). Many applicants in pro rata occupations need 65 or 70 points to receive an invitation for a Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa – these applicants may need to get full points for Superior English (8 in each band or equivalent).

Visa Duration

The RSMS visa is a permanent visa which allows you to live in Australia indefinitely, access to certain government benefits, local student rates for education courses and eventually eligibility for Australian citizenship.
This is more beneficial than the 457 visa, which for most occupations is now valid for only 2 years. It is also more beneficial than the Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa, which is a 4-year visa which requires you to live and work in a regional area for 2 years before being eligible for permanent residence.

Your RSMS visa can be cancelled if you do not commence work with your employer or if you do not stay with the employer for 2 years. However, if this is due to circumstances beyond your control (eg business downturn), your visa is unlikely to be cancelled, particularly if you do continue to live in a regional area.

ENS and RSMS Applicants, Time is Running Out

Changes to be introduced in July 2017 and March 2018 mean that many people will no longer be eligible for ENS and RSMS applications. Application costs will also increase significantly from March 2018.

This article goes through the upcoming changes and highlights the deadlines by which applications will need to be lodged to avoid the changes.

Which Application Types will be Affected?

The upcoming changes will affect permanent employer sponsored visas. The two main types are:
RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme): requires a job offer in a regional postcode
ENS (Employer Nomination Scheme): available for skilled positions in any location in Australia.
There are 3 streams within these visa subclasses:
Temporary Residence Transition Stream: requires you to have worked in Australia for your employer for the last 2 years on a 457 visa – 80% applications for ENS are of this type. This pathway requires Vocational English (5 in each band of IELTS or equivalent)
Direct Entry: allows an application to be lodged without having first held a 457 visa. This pathway requires your occupation to be on a specific list and has a higher English requirement – Competent (6 in each band of IELTS or equivalent)
Labour Agreement: where the employer has negotiated a labour agreement directly with the Department of Immigration – only very few labour agreements have provision for permanent visas.
The ENS Direct Entry option requires you to have an occupation on the STSOL. The STSOL has 432 occupations and covers most management, professional, associate professional and trade occupations, with some exceptions.
You would need to meet one of the following eligibility pathways for the ENS Direct Entry Stream:

Skills assessment and at least 3 years of work experience in your occupation; or
Minimum base salary of $180,000; or
NZ citizen or family member who has worked for their employer for 2 of the last 3 years; or
Nominated for certain scientific or academic positions
The RSMS Direct Entry option requires you to have an occupation on the RSMSOL. The RSMSOL is very broad and has 673 occupations.
Skills assessment is not required in general for the RSMS Direct Entry Stream, unless you have nominated a trade occupation and do not hold an Australian trade certificate. Virtually all RSMS applications are via the Direct Entry Stream.

Applicants Between 45 and 49 No Longer Eligible

Applicants currently need to be under 50 when they lodge to be eligible for ENS or RSMS.
From 1 July 2017, applicants for the Direct Entry Stream of ENS and RSMS will need to be under 45 when they apply. It is possible that exemptions may apply for people 45 or over but are likely to be very limited.

The Department of Immigration has indicated that the age limit for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream will not change until March 2018, so applicants in this pathway should have longer to apply. However, we still recommend lodging without delay as changes could potentially come into effect sooner than indicated by Immigration.

Higher English Requirement from July 2017

Applicants in the Temporary Residence Transition Stream can currently qualify for an ENS or RSMS visa with only Vocational English. From 1 July, they will need Competent English as is already required for Direct Entry applicants.
Increased Work Experience Requirements from March 2018

Work experience requirements will be increased for employer sponsored visas from March 2018 as follows:

A minimum of 3 years of work experience in your occupation will be required to qualify for ENS and RSMS visas. Currently, there is no minimum work experience requirement for many pathways for RSMS and ENS visas.
Applicants for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream of ENS and RSMS will need to show 3 years of work experience with their employer, rather than the current 2 years.
2 years of work experience will be required to qualify for a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa which will replace the 457 visa from March 2018. Currently, if you have a relevant qualification, no work experience is required to obtain a 457 visa.
This will have a significant impact on:

RSMS Applicants: currently, applicants with relevant qualifications can apply for RSMS without needing any work experience
People Currently in Australia on 457s: 457 holders are currently eligible for a Temporary Residence Transition Stream ENS or RSMS visa after 2 years with their employer. This will increase to 3 years from March 2018
International Students and Recent Graduates: many international students and recent graduates are currently eligible for a 457 visa, then for an ENS visa through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream after working for their employer for 2 years. This pathway will no longer be available from March 2018 because 2 years of work experience will be required for the TSS visa
More Restrictive Occupations List from March 2018

From March 2018, only applicants with an occupation on the MLTSSL will be eligible for permanent employer sponsored visas, though it appears that some additional occupations may be available for regional positions.
The MLTSSL has only 183 occupations, mainly in accounting, engineering, IT, medical and allied health and trades. Currently, approximately 70% of ENS and RSMS applications are for people in occupations which are not on the MLTSSL. 60% of 457 visa holders are in an occupation which is not on the MLTSSL.

This change will have a significant impact on applicants for ENS and RSMS, and if you are currently eligible you will need plan to lodge your application prior to March 2018.

Additional Training Levies from March 2018

From March 2018, a training levy will be payable when applying for an ENS or RSMS visa. The amount will be $3,000 for smaller businesses with turnover of less than AUD 10 million, or $5,000 for larger businesses.
It is not yet clear whether this payment can be made by the ENS or RSMS visa applicant, or whether it must be paid by the employer. If it can only be paid by the employer, this could be a significant disincentive to employers in supporting an ENS or RSMS application.

Regardless, the additional cost will be significant – to avoid this, make sure that your application is lodged prior to March 2018.

General Skilled Migration Changes from 1 July 2017

1 July will see a number of changes to the General Skilled Migration program – for instance:

The maximum age for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa will be reduced from 49 to 44
A new permanent residence pathway for NZ citizens will be introduced
The skilled occupations lists are likely to be reviewed
Occupational ceilings will be released
State Migration Plans will reopen
This article goes through each of these changes and explains the likely consequences for applicants.

Changes to Age Limit for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Visas

The maximum age for General Skilled Migration is currently 49. For the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa, this will be reduced to 44 from 1 July.
At this stage, none of the following visa types will be affected by the change:

Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 – maximum age 49
Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 – maximum age 49
The new NZ Citizen stream of subclass 189 – no age limit
According to Department of Immigration figures, only around 1% of applicants for the 189 subclass are between 45 and 49 at present. Whilst the overall impact on program numbers is small, for people between 45 and 49 the effect will be significant because the age limit for permanent employer sponsored is also being reduced to 44.

NZ Citizen Pathway

A permanent residence pathway for New Zealand citizens who have lived and worked in Australia for at least 5 years will be introduced from 1 July 2017.
The pathway will be implemented as a stream within the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa. The NZ citizen stream will be significantly easier to qualify for than the traditional 189 subclass, and in particular:

No skills assessment, English language test, points test or SkillSelect invitation will be required
No age limit
Concessions on the health requirement
Small initial application fee
The Australian government estimates that 60-70,000 New Zealanders may be eligible for the new stream. This may mean that fewer places are available for applicants in the points tested stream. This in turn may affect the occupational ceilings for skilled migration, and result in higher points being required for an invitation through SkillSelect.

Revision of Skilled Occupations Lists

We expect the occupations lists for General Skilled Migration – the MLTSSL and STSOL – to be revised from 1 July 2017.
There are a number of occupations, mainly in the engineering sector, which are on the MLTSSL but not the STSOL. This is unusual and we expect these occupations to be candidates for removal.

The Department of Education maintains a list of “Flagged Occupations”. These could also be considered for removal, but based on previous years, only a few flagged occupations are removed each year.

On the other hand, the changes to employer sponsorship announced on 18 April have resulted in restrictions on sponsoring staff for permanent residence or longer-term 457 visas, unless the occupation is on the MLTSSL. There have also been some unexpected occupations removed from the STSOL (eg Human Resources Advisor, and many science and engineering occupations).

We expect Australian business groups to lobby for critical occupations to be added to the MLTSSL and STSOL. This would also be good for applicants for General Skilled Migration in any of the occupations which might be added.

Occupational Ceilings to be Released

Occupational ceilings play a very important part in managing the General Skilled Migration program. They give a maximum number of EOI invitations which can be issued to Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Skilled Regional Provisional (Family Sponsored) Subclass 489 applicants.
In the last few years, it has become more competitive for people in popular occupations in the accounting, IT and certain engineering specialisations. If the occupational ceilings stay the same or are reduced, we expect it to become even more competitive. This will mean higher points scores may be required for an invitation.

State Migration Plans Reopen

Many states have either closed their state nomination programs or restricted them significantly – examples include Queensland, Western Australia and ACT. Others have reached quotas for popular occupations.
Most states will restart their state migration plans from July. For some states, ACT and South Australia in particular, many occupations fill very quickly after the program reopens. Applicants should make sure that they are ready to lodge for state nomination as soon as possible after they reopen to avoid disappointment.

Posted in GSM

SkillSelect Update April 2017

All pro rata occupations have now been filled for the 2016-17 program year – these occupations will not be available for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 invitations or Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 (family sponsored) invitations until 1 July 2017.

This article looks at the trends for the current program year, and looks at the likely prognosis for the next program year.

Invitations Issued for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Visas

The minimum score required for applicants to receive an invitation for a Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Visa for non pro-rata occupations has been 60 points for all invitation rounds so far in 2016-17, apart from the 1 September round. For most of the year, applicants with 60 points have received an invitation in the next invitation round.
skillselect April 2017- 189 – points and waiting times

The number of invitations issued for the 189 subclass varied considerably for the program year. In the 7 July round, 2202 invitations were issued, with a low number of 606 issued in the 7 December 2016 round.

skillselect April 2017- 189 – invitation numbers

When we look at the number of invitations for pro-rata occupations vs non pro-rata occupations, it becomes apparent that most of the variation in numbers is due to the pro rata occupations. There are generally 400-700 invitations for non pro-rata occupations, with a peak in December which is likely due to international students completing their courses.

The number of invitations for pro rata occupations fluctuates more. There are peaks at the beginning of the year which occur because the occupation has not yet been placed on the pro rata list. There were also peaks in March-April when the Department of Immigration was inviting at double the usual rate for pro rata occupations in an attempt to meet migration program numbers.

skillselect April 2017- 189 – invitation numbers

Pro Rata Occupations

There were 8 “pro-rata” occupations- these are occupations where there are more EOIs lodged than can be accommodated in the occupational ceiling. For these occupations, the number of invitations issued in each round is limited so that the ceiling is not filled too quickly. As a result, the minimum points required for an invitation may be higher or the waiting time longer for an invitation.

Accountants were on pro rata status from the beginning of the program year, eventually settling on a number of 98 invitations per round.
skillselect April 2017- accountants – invitations issued

Minimum score required for a 189 invitation was 70 points for the entire year for accountants. Last year, there were some rounds where accountants were invited on 65 points.

skillselect April 2017- accountants – points and waiting times

Waiting times for a 189 invitation varied – at one point applicants were waiting 22 weeks for a 189 invitation with 70 points. This suggests that unless the occupational ceiling is increased in July, then accountants will still require 70 points and that this may increase to 75 points.

Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers

Auditors were pro rata for the entire program year, with 55 invitations issued in most rounds.
skillselect April 2017- auditors – invitations issued

However, waiting times for auditors were slightly better than for accountants – the maximum waiting time was 13 weeks with 70 points.

skillselect April 2017- auditors – points and waiting times

ICT Business and System Analysts

ICT Business and System Analysts were pro rata the entire program year with 60 invitations issued most rounds
skillselect April 2017- ict-business-analysts – invitations issued

Initially, 70 points were required for a 189 invitation, but this quickly reduced to 65 as the backlog of EOIs at 70 points was cleared. Waiting times got up to 30 weeks, so we expect this to be a competitive occupation in 2017-18. If the occupational ceiling stays the same next year, it is quite likely that the required points for a 189 invitation will be 70 points for several invitation rounds, before settling back to 65 points.

skillselect April 2017- ict-business-analysts – points and waiting times

Software and Applications Programmers

Also pro rata from day one, 230 or 225 invitations were issued for most months.
skillselect April 2017- software-engineers – invitations issued

Minimum score was 65 for the entire year, and waiting time gradually increased at this score, but was still only 5-6 weeks for most months with this score. We expect this occupation to still require 65 points in 2017-18, assuming no major change to the occupational ceiling.

skillselect April 2017- software-engineers – points and waiting times

Computer Network Professionals

This occupation was not immediately put on pro rata status, with the result that large numbers of invitations were issued in the first two rounds. Eventually, this settled down to 50 invitations per round.
skillselect April 2017- computer-network-professionals – invitations issued

Initially, 60 points were required for a 189 invitation, and this soon increased to 65 points. We expect the minimum score to be 65 points in 2017-18.

skillselect April 2017- computer-network-professionals – points and waiting times

Electronics Engineers

This occupation was not changed to pro rata status until 23 November 2016. The pro rata rate was 29 invitations per round.
skillselect April 2017- electronics-engineers – invitations issued

60 points were sufficient for most of the year and waiting times were short. The points required went to 65 for a few rounds in November/December, but quickly went back down to 60.

skillselect April 2017- electronics-engineers – points and waiting times

In 2017-18, we expect 60-65 points will be required for this occupation – it may not be placed on the pro rata list immediately.

Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers

This occupation was not changed to pro rata status until 23 November 2016. By this time, most places had been allocated and so only a small number of invitations were issued per round – 17.
skillselect April 2017- industrial-mechanical-production-engineers – invitations issued

As a result, until November 2016, 60 points were sufficient and waiting times were short. From November, due to the low number of available places, the minimum score went to 70 but then down to 65. Waiting times at 65 points got up to 20 weeks.

skillselect April 2017- industrial-mechanical-production-engineers – points and waiting times

We expect this occupation to require between 60 and 65 points in 2017-18, and expect it to be on the pro rata list a lot earlier than this year.

Other Engineering Professionals

This occupation includes Engineering Technologists, Aeronautical Engineers, Agricultural Engineers and Biomedical Engineers. The occupation was not pro rata for the first two rounds, resulting in a high number of invitations being issued at 60 points.
skillselect April 2017- other-engineering-professionals – invitations issued

Points required quickly went to 65, and due to relatively low numbers of invitations available (28 per round), waiting times increased to 10 weeks.

In 2017-18, we expect this occupation to be pro rata from the beginning of the year, and 65 points will be required, assuming a similar occupational ceiling to the 2016-17 year.

skillselect April 2017- other-engineering-professionals – points and waiting times

Subclass 489 – Family Sponsored

The number of invitations issued to family sponsored 489 applicants has increased significantly as compared to the 2015-16 program year. Initially, 10 invitations were issued per round – this quickly used up the backlog of applicants at 65 and 60 points. By the 12 October round, the backlog had been used up and the number of invitations per round started to fall to a steady 25-30 per round.
skillselect April 2017- 489 – invitations issued

Minimum points required for the 489 family sponsored program started at 65 but quickly reduced to 60 points. Applicants with 60 points would expect an invitation next round.

skillselect April 2017- 489 – points and waiting times

The future of the family sponsored 489 program is not clear for 2017-18.

Because the 189 is prioritised for invitations over the 489 family sponsored program, it is very unlikely that someone with a pro rata occupation will receive a 489 invitation.

If the Department of Immigration sees it as a good way to increase General Skilled Migration options, they could exclude the 489 program from the occupational ceilings. This would result in much higher numbers of invitations in pro rata occupations.

Otherwise, we expect it to contribute low numbers in 2017-18 – with 25-30 invitations per round and 60 points required.


Posted in GSM

South Australia State Nomination Opportunities

The South Australian Government is highly supportive of skilled migration to their state. With skilled migration getting more competitive, this can be a good option for many applicants.

This article discusses the criteria for state nomination by South Australia for General Skilled Migration visa subclasses – including the Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 visa and Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa.

Visa Options Available

Immigration South Australia is active in sponsoring for both the Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 visa and the Skilled Regional Sponsored Subclass 489 visa.
Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 visa

This is a permanent visa and allows you to live anywhere in South Australia. You are expected to stay in South Australia for your first 2 years of residence in Australia and answer surveys during this time. You can potentially nominate any occupation on the STSOL when applying for the 190 visa. 5 points are available for state nomination for a 190 visa.
Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa

There are two eligibility pathways for the 489 visa:
State Nominated: this option requires state nomination and you can nominate any occupation on the STSOL.
Family Sponsored: if you have an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident family member who lives in a designated area, they can sponsor you for a 489 visa. The whole of South Australia is a designated area for the purposes of the 489 visa, and you must nominate an occupation on the shorter MLTSSL.

The 489 visa is a 4-year provisional visa. You and your family members can only live, work or study in a regional area of Australia. To qualify for the Permanent Skilled Regional Subclass 887 visa, you must work full time for 12 months and live for 2 years in a regional area. 10 points are available for either family sponsorship or state nomination for a 489 visa.
Some occupations on the SA List are limited to only 489 applicants – examples include Cafe or Restaurant Manager, Customer Service Manager, Welfare Worker, Motor Mechanic, Baker, Chef, Pastry Cook, Cook, Veterinary Nurse, Enrolled Nurse and Community Worker.

Occupations Lists for South Australia

The State Nominated Occupations Lists are published on 1 July each year by Immigration SA. There are two lists:
State Nominated Occupations List (SNOL): occupations which are in high demand in South Australia
Supplementary Skilled List (SSL): all other occupations on the STSOL. Requirements for state nomination in these occupations are higher than the State Nominated Occupations List
Work Experience Requirement

South Australia requires most applicants to meet a general work experience requirement. Applicants must in general show that they have worked in skilled employment for at least 12 months in the last 3 years. Where this work experience is in Australia, at least 6 months of the work experience must be in South Australia or at least 3 months for people currently working in South Australia.
Some occupations on the SNOL require more work experience – examples include Finance Managers, Registered Nurses (3 years), Social Workers, Community Workers and Welfare Workers, Bakers, Pastry Cooks and Chefs (2 years).

English Requirement

In general, South Australia requires only Competent English for state nomination purposes – this is the same as the threshold requirement for General Skilled Migration.
Some occupations require higher than Competent English:

Proficient or Proficient Plus Overall (average of 7.5 in IELTS or equivalent): Managers, Health Professionals, IT Professionals
Competent Plus (minimum of 6.5 in IELTS or equivalent) or Proficient Overall (average of 7): Agricultural Managers, Hospitality and Service Managers, Welfare and Community Workers
Advantages for South Australia Graduates

If you have completed a course taking at least 46 weeks of study in South Australia, you will have certain advantages when applying for South Australia state nomination. In some cases this may include:
Waiver of the work experience requirement – this may include both the usual 12 month work experience requirement and additional work experience requirements for certain occupations
Ability to nominate occupations on the “Special Conditions Apply” or “Supplementary Skills” Lists
Waiver of higher English requirement
Ability to qualify with lower points for certain occupations
Students completing vocational qualifications receive less benefit, and you would ideally study at the Bachelor level or higher.

High Performing Graduates may enjoy additional advantages – this includes those completing a Bachelor degree with a GPA of at least 6.0, graduates with First Class Honours, PhD or Masters by Research qualifications.

SA Planning Levels for Occupations

A planning level applies for each occupation on the SNOL. Once this is filled, the occupation is flagged as “Special Conditions Apply”. This will mean that the criteria for state nomination are similar to Supplementary Skilled List occupations.
The South Australia state nomination program opens on 1 July each year – it is not uncommon for occupations to be filled within an hour or two of the program opening so it is essential to be well prepared and ready to submit if you are in a popular occupation.

Additional Requirements for Supplementary List and Special Conditions Apply Occupations

Applicants with an occupation on the Supplementary Skilled List or which is flagged as Special Conditions Apply must be one of the following to obtain state nomination from South Australia:
South Australia Graduates: see above
Currently working in your occupation in South Australia: either 12 months if working in Greater Adelaide or 6 months if in a regional area
Chain Migration: where you have a close relative living in South Australia. Certain occupations are excluded.
High Performing Graduates: see above
High Points Score: at least 85 points including state nomination. Certain occupations are excluded.
Special Requirements for Certain Occupations

On top of these requirements, certain occupations have additional requirements for South Australia nomination. Examples include:
IT Professionals: currently require at least 70 points to receive a state nomination from South Australia – this includes the points from state nomination.
Accountants and Auditors: are on the Supplementary Skills List and require South Australia graduates to be working in their occupations for at least 12 months in South Australia.

Budget 2017-18: Immigration Changes

The Commonwealth 2017-18 Budget was handed down last night. Important initiatives affecting visa applicants were announced:

Employers who sponsor employees for temporary and permanent visas to pay a training levy
More details on temporary parent visas to apply from 1 November 2017
Visa application charge increases to apply from 1 July 2017
Training Levy for Employers Sponsoring Staff

From March 2018, employers will pay a training levy which will go towards the Skilling Australians Fund. The Skilling Australians Fund will fund training of Australians in apprenticeship and trainee programs to develop skills of local workers.
This will replace the current training benchmarks for employers using the 457 and ENS programs. This is likely to make it more straightforward for employers to comply with the training obligation, albeit somewhat more expensive.

The amount payable will depend on the size of the business, with those with turnover of at least $10 million will pay more. They payments will apply to both the Temporary Skills Shortages (TSS) visa and permanent employer sponsored visas (ENS and RSMS).

The payment for TSS visa holders will apply on an annual basis per employee. It is not yet clear how the fee will be collected – it could either be paid upfront with the visa application charge or an invoice might be issued at the end of each financial year. It appears that the fee will apply based on each sponsored employee based on the proportion of the year the employee was working for the employer.

For permanent employer sponsored applications, the fee will be a one-off fee and is likely to be collected on application.

The training levies are summarised below:

Small Business Large Business (turnover $10m or more)
TSS $1,200 $1,800
RSMS/ENS $3,000 $5,000
We now also have full details of the fees for the new Temporary Skills Shortages Visa – these are in line with expectations and are summarised below:

Stream Main Applicant Dependent 18 or Over Dependent Under 18
Short-Term Stream (2 year validity) $1,150 $1,150 $290
Medium-Term Stream (4 year validity) $2,400 $2,400 $600
Temporary Sponsored Parent Visas

More information on the new temporary sponsored parent visas was made available.
The new visas will be introduced in November 2017 and will require sponsorship by an Australian permanent resident or citizen child. It is quite possible that the parent would not be required to meet the balance of family test, unlike other parent visas.

The visa will be valid for either 3 years, or 5 years. The application fee for the 3-year option will be $5,000 whilst the 5-year option will cost $10,000. It will be possible to renew the visa, but this will need to be done from outside Australia. A stay of up to 10 years will be allowed in total.

Parents on the new visas will not be eligible for Medicare and the sponsoring child will be liable for any medical expenses, including aged care.

15,000 of the new temporary sponsored parent visas will be available each program year. This is a big increase from the current allocation of 8,675 places for parent visas. Accordingly, we would expect waiting times to be considerably less than contributory parent visas (2 years+) and non-contributory parent visas (30 years+).

The current parent visa categories will remain open to applications. Holders of the new temporary parent visas will not be able to apply onshore for permanent parent visas, but it is possible they might be able to lodge an application offshore. We will need to wait for details of how many places will be available for permanent parent visa categories and this is likely to have a significant impact on waiting times.

It is not yet clear whether the additional 15,000 places will be considered part of the migration program or not. Overall, the migration program will remain at 190,000 places. Interestingly, the Minister for Immigration in his Budget announcement has indicated that this is a ceiling for the program and he may well accept a program outcome lower than this.

Visa Application Charge increases

Visa Application Fees will be increased on an annual basis in line with inflation. This restores the previous practice which applied prior to 2007.
The new fees will apply from 1 July 2017 – for most visa types, the increase is around 2%. Changes for some common visa types are below:

Visa Type Current Fee From 1 July 2017 % Increase
Student $550 $560 1.8%
General Skilled Migration $3,600 $3,670 1.9%
Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 $1,470 $1,500 2.0%
Partner Temporary $6,965 $7,000 0.5%
Parent (Contributory) $3,695 $3,945 6.8%
457 $1,060 $1,080 1.9%
ENS/RSMS $3,600 $3,670 1.9%
Visitor $135 $140 3.7%
Bridging B $140 $145 3.6%
Business Migration $4,780 $4,875 2.0%
Significant Investor Visa (SIV) $7,010 $7,150 2.0%
Applicants for contributory parent visas will be glad to hear that the increase to the application fee is only 6.8% from 1 July – previous indications suggested that fees might be increased significantly.

The fact sheet on fee increases also states that the fee increases do not apply to Second Visa Application Charges. The second Visa Application Charge for contributory parent visas is significant (currently $43,600 per parent).