Is Canada a viable option for applicants struggling to get PR in Australia?

 

Following the recent changes to Australia’s visa system, there are many skilled migrants who are struggling to get Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia. But can immigration to Canada be an option for these applicants?

If you are a skilled worker with the right experience, skills and background, you may be able to make Canada your permanent home through its Express Entry Program.

Like Australia, Canada’s skilled migration program is also a points-based system which is designed to attract highly qualified and experienced professionals to best meet its skills needs.

Following the recent changes to Australia’s visa system, there are many skilled migrants who are struggling to salvage their dream of becoming Australian permanent residents*.

Migration experts believe the ‘visa changes’ have adversely affected the chances of these applicants in the skilled visa categories.

Many applicants who are struggling to meet the desired standards for PR in Australia now aim to move to Canada. But is Canada a viable option for these applicants?

A migration agent in Melbourne says many of his clients are worried due to these changes.

“The visa sector has seen huge changes in the last two years. Some of our clients are now extremely distressed about their prospects in Australia and aim to apply for Canada in high hopes,” he told .

“We’ve seen an impact due to the changes to the skilled occupation lists and state nomination criteria. Some applicants also had their hopes shattered due to the abolition of 457 visas and more recently, due to an increase in points threshold from 60 to 65 for skilled visas.”

He suggested that Canada’s skilled migration program is quite similar to Australia.

“There is not much difference in terms of the point system designed for various skill subsets, job experience and the English language capacity of the prospective applicant,” he says.

“But there are certain occupations that are in high demand where applicants can or may benefit from Canada’s Express Entry program.

“For an example, the transport industry is in a booming stage in Canada so potentially experienced truck drivers should explore this promising opportunity.”

Australia can be a bigger country’: Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration

Australia can be a bigger country’: Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration

Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration
New Minster for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge has outlined his plan for immigration policy which focuses on a ‘bigger Australia’ with more decentralised population areas.

‘My view has always been that Australia can be a bigger country. But ideally you have a broader distribution rather than very rapid growth in some areas,’ Mr Tudge told.

New Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mr Tudge are shifting the focus away from reductions to immigrant numbers and towards a redistribution of where they are settled.

Mr Tudge has said that he is in favour of population growth, however, the areas where new immigrants are settled must be broader and not focused in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne

‘I’m not suggesting that for a second that it’s migrants’ fault – not at all,’ he said.

‘If you’ve got regions that can’t find workers and smaller states that want more people, then the immigration program is something that should be looked at.’

He did, however, not comment on a specific plan that would require new migrants to settle in regional areas for five years as a condition of their visas.

A decision on the time period for mandatory settlement was due to go to the Turnbull cabinet last week, but the leadership spill put that discussion on hold, The Australian reported on Wednesday.

The proposal has yet to be put to Scott Morrison’s new cabinet, and the prime minister’s office would not comment on the development of the policy.

It is understood a new visa class would apply to the skilled and family migration program but could also apply to refugees.

Almost 90 per cent of new migrants are settling in metropolitan areas such as Melbourne and Sydney.

A population package put before Government before last week’s leadership spill included the proposal for new migrants to be settled in regional areas for a period of up to five years – after this migrants could choose to relocate.

The newly appointed PM has created a separate portfolio of population to be lead by former Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge.

Department of Home Affairs figures revealed by The Australian showed that of the 112,000 skilled migrants that arrived in the country over the previous financial year, 87 per cent settled permanently in Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Tudge has previously said that the number of incoming migrants was not the only factor in growing population pressures, but rather where these migrants were settling and the distribution being focused in major cities.

‘If the population was distributed more evenly, there would not be the congestion pressures that we have today in Melbourne and Sydney,’ Mr Tudge told a forum in Melbourne.

‘Nor would there be if the ­infrastructure was built ahead of demand,’ he said.

The coalition is putting the early squeeze on foreign workers

The 457 visa for temporary workers won’t be officially abolished until March 1, but the number granted has already fallen by more than a third – heralding a squeeze on foreign workers by the coalition.

Australian National University researcher Henry Sherrell has found the number of primary 457 visas granted in the 2017 September quarter was down by 35.7 per cent on the same period of 2016.

And the dive was not because some jobs – most famously, “goat farmer” – have been ruled ineligible. In a paper published by the Parliamentary Library, the ANU Development Policy Centre research officer reports only a fifth of the decline in 457s came from the scrapped occupations.

Eight of the top 10 occupations for primary 457 visas had significant double-digit declines. Developer programmers were down by 42 per cent to 350 in the quarter, ICT business analysts plunged 49 per cent to 238, resident medical officers dropped 18 per cent to 436 and the top 457 job, cook, was off 29 per cent to 452.

Given the near-record employment growth last year, the sharp reduction in 457s appears to have nothing to do with demand for labour, but a response by employers and would-be employees to hiring and gaining permanent residency being made more difficult and expensive.

The size of the fall and the breadth of occupations to experience it during a period of very fast employment growth should raise some interesting questions about the nature of the Australian workforce and how 457s have been used.

From March 1, the 651 occupations eligible for 457 visas will be formally replaced by 435 occupations eligible for Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa, which comes in two flavours: a two-year visa that can be extended only once and offers no pathway to permanent residency; and a four-year visa that can lead to permanent residency. There are only 183 occupations eligible for the four-year visa.

The possibility of permanent residency seems to make an immediate difference to applications. Sherrell notes that while cook 457s plunged, visas granted to chefs rose slightly. Chefs are in the pot for four-year visas, cooks are left in the two-year pan.

“The increase in chefs could reflect genuine growth in employer demand for chefs,” Sherrell writes. “However, it may also reflect employers who previously nominated cooks now nominating chefs as this is a more advantageous occupation for migrants and employers given visa conditions. If the job being performed in the business has not changed, this might be called ‘occupational inflation’, as employers upgrade their occupations to take advantage of more beneficial immigration policy settings.”

Visa requirements tighten further from March. For the shorter TSS, applicants will need at least two year’s work experience – wiping out many of the foreign students and backpackers that have been transitioning. Employers will be subject to greater scrutiny, higher visa costs and a new training levy. There are stricter English language requirements and a lower maximum age for the four-year visas.

Sherrill notes a lack of other useful data on 457s, such as salary figures and the number of applications that are rejected, and warns that isolating the effects of specific policy change is difficult amidst multiple factors, but he suggests the eligibility changes could further reduce demand for TSS visas.

Before anyone gets too excited thinking fewer overseas workers will mean higher wages, Sherrell’s isn’t the only interesting paper to consider. Slate.com reports an American study that has relevance here on why workers aren’t getting decent wage rises despite jobs growth and falling unemployment.

The study suggests it’s not so much a matter of an excess of workers holding down wages, but a shortage of employers.  The idea is that in various geographical areas and fields, hiring is concentrated among a relatively small number of businesses resulting in a monopsony problem – a lack of competition among employers.

“Monopsony is essentially monopoly’s quieter, less appreciated twin sibling,” Slate explains. “A monopolist can fix prices because it’s the only seller in the market. A monopsonist, on the other hand, can pay whatever it likes for labour or suppliers, because it’s the only company buying or hiring.”

Given the limited number of players in key Australian industries, it’s not impossible to think monopsony develops whereby it’s not in those players’ interests to compete too hard for workers, or to at least not compete on price.

Meanwhile, back at the 457s, Sherrell says there’s a lack of analysis of the changes but cites an August report by the Australian Population Research Institute’s Bob Birrell – a campaigner against present migration levels.

Birrell called the 457 changes “the first serious sign that either major political party is prepared to tackle the immigration issue”.

“Make no mistake about the significance of the rest,” he wrote. “When fully in place from March 2018, the flagship ENS (employer nomination scheme for permanent residency) program will fall to less than a third of its recent size of 48,250. The number of TSS visas will also fall sharply relative to the current number of 457 visas being granted.”

Birrell expects further reforms by the government to make their immigration policy change more obvious to the public.

The apparent contradiction here is that while fewer 457/TSS visas would mean a relatively small reduction in the number of people in the country, there’s been no sign of a change in the permanent visa quota of 190,000, plus humanitarian admissions. Family reunions – mainly spouses – get 60,000 places and skilled migrants and their families the rest.

Whether the 130,000 should come as “newbies” based on their qualifications or those given a trial run through temporary work is a matter of further debate.  The Productivity Commission has argued that temporary workers here should not be given an advantage in the selection process, but the Lowy Institute’s Peter Mares makes a casefor the two-step temporary-to-permanent pathway having significant benefits for productivity because it facilitates better matching of skills to positions.

“Before the introduction of 457 visas, skilled migrants would often be granted a permanent visa before arrival in Australia,” Mares wrote. “Visas would be issued under the points system, which was the government’s attempt to match the annual skilled migration intake to its expectation of the number and types of professionals the economy would need in the year ahead. Migrants would often land in Australia and then search for a job to match their qualifications.

“Frequently, however, they might end up taking a position in which their skills were not well utilised. (We are all familiar with the scenario of engineers driving cabs, for example.) This might have been because government assumptions about the labour market were incorrect, or because those assumptions had been overtaken by a change in business conditions.”

p.s. despite the crackdown on goat farmers and kennel handlers,  the list or eligible skilled occupations for foreigners remains somewhat curious. It includes “journalists and other writers”. Anecdotal evidence would point to no shortage.  At least “federal politicians” doesn’t feature.

Employer Sponsorship (457 Visa) Update

Employer Sponsorship – Update 15 January 2018

Since the Government’s announcement on 19 April 2017 there have been a number of changes to the employer sponsored program, with more to take effect as early as January 2018 and in early March 2018.

The relevant legislation hasn’t been released but, Immigration recently issued their January Skilled Visa E-news to help understand some of these arrangements.

New Occupations Lists from January 2018
Immigration have indicated the changes to employer sponsored occupations lists for temporary and permanent skilled visas will be introduced around 17 January 2018.
We have been advised these changes will not impact undecided applications, providing they were lodged before the change takes effect. Given the severe impact similar changes had to temporary residents last year, this is a welcomed approach.

Further information is expected to be released in the coming days.

457 Visas Replaced by TSS Visas from March 2018
The 457 Visa will be replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa in early March 2018.
TSS Validity Period
Currently, a 457 visa granted on or after 19 April 2017 is valid for:
Up to 2 years if the nominated occupation is on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), unless exempt by an international trade obligation), or
Up to 4 years if the nominated occupation is on the Medium to Long-Term Strategic Skilled List (MLTSSL)
This arrangement will continue when the TSS is introduced.

Police Clearances
In July, Immigration introduced the requirement for 457 applicants to provide police clearance certificates for each country they spent more than 12 months in. This will continue with the TSS Visa.
Labour Market Testing
In March 2018, Labour Marketing Testing (LMT) will be required on all TSS applications where international trade obligations don’t apply. Currently, LMT applies when nominating trade, nursing, or engineering occupations.
If LMT is introduced for all cases, this could delay the lodgement of a TSS application and impact the Sponsor’s ability to urgently fill their vacant position.

Further details on the TSS including streamlined initiatives for processing applications will be announced by Immigration in February.

Employer Sponsored Permanent Residence
In March 2018, further changes are planned for employer sponsored permanent residence as outlined in our article 14 November 2017.
In Immigration’s January Skilled Visa E-news they advised the transitional arrangements, or grandfathering provisions, for certain 457 visa holders and 457 applicants as at 18 April 2017, were subject to final approval.

More details are to be announced in February.

Conclusion
Many are unsure whether they should use a Migration Agent to lodge their visa application.
Since 19 April 2017, obtaining an employer sponsored visa has become more complex and slower than was previously the case. More changes are in the pipeline and much of the information circulating about Immigration’s announcements may be confusing.

Employers should also be aware of upcoming changes in January 2018 and March 2018 and where possible, applications should be lodged before these critical dates to ensure that the impact of the changes is minimised.

MY VISA ONLINE can assist with ensuring that an employer sponsored visa is lodged prior to any critical dates. We can also ensure that it is lodged as a “decision ready” application, and so can be processed as quickly as possible.

If you are an employer and would like advice on sponsoring staff, please call our consultant on 03 9670 1010.

If you are looking at your own visa options and want to know more about the changes to employer sponsorship, please book a consultation at MY VISA ONLINE. As always we are HAPPY TO HELP.

Australian visas: What to expect in 2018?

From implementation of TSS visa, change in Occupation Lists to mandatory provisional visa before permanent residency, take a look at significant changes and what is in pipeline in 2018.

457 visa will be replaced with Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (R) has defended the decision to scrap the 457 visa program.
From March 2018, the current 457 visa program will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.

The TSS visa will be comprised of a Short-Term stream allowing stays of up to two years, and a Medium-Term stream allowing stays of up to four years.

The Short-Term stream visa is renewable only once. The STSOL occupation list will apply for Short-Term Stream applicants.

The Medium-Stream visa holders may renew their visas onshore and may apply for permanent residence pathway after working for three years in Australia. The MLTSSL occupation list will apply for Medium-Stream visa applicants. This stream is relatively similar to the current 457 visa.

Tighter Regulations for both streams:

Increased Work Experience Requirements
Higher English Language Levels Requirements
Mandatory Labour Market Testing
Set Australian Market Salary Rates
Additional Character, Anti-Discrimination and Training Requirements
More information: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/WorkinginAustralia/Documents/abolition-replacement-457.pdf

Changes to Occupation lists in 2018

Skill Migrant
A number of changes were made to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) in April 2017 and again in July 2017.
Though the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skill List (MLTSSL) is likely to remain the same, the STSOL which is a list of occupations nominated for temporary and short-term visas is likely to see some changes.

Some of the occupations flagged for removal from the Short-term Skilled Occupation List are Accommodation and Hospitality manager, Hair or Beauty Salon Manager, Recruitment Consultant and Building Associate..

University Tutor, Psychotherapist, Property Manager, Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Representative may be added to the list.

It is also likely that Skilled Occupations List will include Airline Pilots in 2018 to address the shortage of pilots in Australia. Following lobbying from the peak body for regional airlines, SBS Hindi reported the Skilled Occupations List will be revised to allow foreign pilots to come to the country on a two-year work visa.

Plans to introduce mandatory provisional visas before permanent residency in Australia and reducing the number of visas from 99 to 10

Getting permanent residency in Australia
The Government undertook public consultation to transform Australia’s visa system in 2017.

The Australian government discussed plans to introduce mandatory provisional visas where migrants may need to spend a certain period of time before they are granted permanent residency and also to reduce the number of visas from 99 to 10 to simplify the process.

The Department received 255 submissions and approximately 184 representatives of industry, academia, community and government participated in roundtables across the country, with an additional 60 industry representatives participating in immigration reform workshops.

In December 2017, the department in a consultation summary said while approximately 55% opposed a provisional period, among those who supported the principle of provisional residence, a provisional period of a minimum of two years was most popular.

88% of the submissions supported visa simplification with suggestions that importance be given to transparency around decision making, reduced processing times and a system that was easier to understand and navigate.

The department though has not set a timeline for its implementation and says, ‘This is a long-term programme of improvement to the way we deliver our services. There is no immediate impact for visa applicants or holders. The first step will be broad consultation with the market on the design and build of a new visa processing platform.’

Temporary sponsored parent visa

parent visa
The image is for representation only.

In the 2017-18 federal budget, a new temporary sponsored parent visa was announced – to be available from November 2017. However, the new visa which will allow migrants’ parents to stay in the country for extended periods has been delayed.

The Bill enabling the new visa to come into effect has not yet been approved by the Senate.

Here are the six must know facts about the new long stay visa for parents.

 

3-year-visa will cost $5000, a 5-year-visa will cost $10,000 and a 10-year-visa will cost $20,000, with the opportunity of a single renewal for another five years at the same price.
15,000 people each year will be granted this long stay parent visa.
Children/Sponsors will be required to pay for their parents’ private health insurance. The children will also need to act as financial guarantor on any extra healthcare costs their parents rack up in Australia.
Those on the new visa will not be allowed to work, however, the government hopes they will take on family roles which would see “reduced pressure on childcare facilities.”
Those sponsoring their parents for the new visa need to be Australian citizens or permanent residents, or “eligible New Zealand citizens”.
The visa-holders would not be allowed to reapply beyond the 10 years and would have no pathway to permanent residency.

Partner Visa
Wedding
Proposed changes to Partner Visa were expected in 2017 but it has been deferred to 2018.

This is because the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 (Cth) (“the Bill”) is still before the Senate and has not been enacted.

If the Bill is enacted, it will establish a sponsorship framework for partner visas, placing more focus on the assessment of sponsors.

In particular:

 

The sponsorship assessment would be separated from the visa application process
Sponsors would need to be approved before visa applications are made
Legal obligations would be imposed on approved sponsors
If sponsors fail to meet their obligations, sanctions may be imposed
In certain circumstances sponsors can be barred from sponsorship

The new regulations propose partner visa sponsorship applications would need to be lodged under stricter criteria and approved before the overseas partner visa application could be lodged.

The new two-step process is expected to delay the lodgement of the overseas partner application and require the overseas partner to have a valid visa until a visa application for the overseas partner can be lodged.

Changes to Apply from March 2018 to ENS and RSMS

The main changes Changes to Apply from March 2018 to ENS and RSMS which will apply from March 2018 are as follows:

Occupations List

Applicants must in general have an occupation on the shorter MLTSSL (Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List) to apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa from March 2018. Extra occupations will be available for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), but it is not yet clear which occupations these will be. If your occupation is not on the MLTSSL, you may no longer be eligible for permanent residence through the ENS or RSMS program from March 2018
Age

Applicants for ENS and RSMS must be under 45 at the date of application from March 2018. Currently, 457 holders applying for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream can be under 50 when applying
Minimum Salary

From March 2018, applicants must have a base salary of at least Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT – currently $53,900) to qualify. There is currently no minimum salary applicable to ENS and RSMS visas.
Work on 457 Visa – TRTS Requirement

Currently 457 holders who have worked for their employer in their position for the last 2 years may be eligible for ENS or RSMS through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS). The TRTS is a streamlined pathway which may not require the same skills assessment, age, English language ability and health requirements as the Direct Entry Stream. From March 2018, 3 years of work experience on a 457 will be required instead of the current 2 year requirement
Training Levy

A training levy will be applicable to all ENS and RSMS applications. The amount will depend on the turnover of the sponsoring business and will be $3,000 for small businesses and $5,000 for businesses with turnover of $10 million or more.
Grandfathering Provisions for 457 Holders or Applicants as of 18 April 2017

The Department of Immigration has announced that 457 holders and applicants as of 18 April 2017 will not need to meet all of the new requirements.
These “grandfathered” 457 holders have access to transitional provisions which would preserve their eligibility for ENS and RSMS through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream.

To be eligible for the transitional provisions, you must either have:

Held a 457 visa as of 18 April 2017; or
Have a pending 457 visa application as of 18 April 2017, and this application was subsequently granted
Grandfathered applicants will not need to meet all the new requirements when applying for Temporary Residence Transition Stream ENS and RSMS visas from March 2018, and in particular:
Occupation: grandfathered applicants will be able to apply even if their occupation is not on the MLTSSL
Age: they will be able to apply providing they are under 50 years
Work Experience on 457 Visa: they can qualify once they have worked in their occupation for their employer on a 457 visa for 2 years

Grandfathered applicants will still need to meet the requirements for minimum salary (TSMIT) and payment of the training levy from March 2018.
RSMS Postcodes

A new legislative instrument has been released yesterday which specifies the postcodes for RSMS, as well as the Regional Certifying Bodies. The Perth Metropolitan Area is now excluded from the RSMS program, though it is still possible to apply if your position is located in a postcode specified in the instrument.
The instrument comes into effect on 17 November 2017.

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).

457 Visa to be Abolished – Replaced by Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa from March 2018

The 457 Visa is to be abolished from March 2018, and replaced by a new temporary work visa called the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa.

This initiative was announced on Facebook by Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Some information on the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa are now available on the Department of Immigration website.

Changes to the occupations list for 457 visas will come into effect from 19 April 2017 – with some sources suggesting that up to 200 occupations will be removed from the approved list.

The changes will also impact on people applying for permanent residence through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa.

New Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa

There is some information on the requirements for the new temporary work visa replacing the 457 visa.
The main points are as follows:

Occupations List

From 19 April 2017, a shorter list of occupations will be allowed for the 457 visa – some sources suggest that up to 200 occupations will be cut.
We would expect that the shorter list would also apply to the new TSS visa.

A change to the approved list for 457 visas could also impact on the ENS direct entry visa, the Occupational Trainee Stream of the Training Subclass 407 visa, and state nominated General Skilled visas (ie the Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 and Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa).

Work Experience

A minimum of 2 years of work experience will be required to meet the requirement for the visa. The skill level for a 457 visa can currently be met without any work experience, providing the applicant has relevant qualifications.
This change will impact significantly on those without work experience in the occupation – particularly international students completing studies in Australia.

Labour Market Testing

Labour Market Testing would require employers to show that they have advertised the position to be filled and show that a local is not available to fill the position.
Currently, Labour Market Testing is only required when nominating trade occupations, nursing or engineering occupations for a 457 visa. The announcement indicates that Labour Market Testing will be required in all cases when applying for a TSS visa, except when exempted by international trade agreements.

If Labour Market Testing is required in most cases when applying for a TSS visa, this could significantly delay lodgement of the visa application – particularly important when filling an urgently required role or where the applicant’s visa is expiring.

Visa Period

There will be 2 streams for the TSS visa – a short-term stream of 2-years and a medium-term stream of 4-years.
The short-term stream can only be renewed only once.

The medium-term stream is likely to have higher requirements (eg English language ability, shorter occupations list) and can be renewed or may also lead to a permanent visa.

Police Clearances

Police clearances will be required for the TSS visa. Depending on the country of residence, these can take several months to come through. Police clearances are not required for 457 visas, unless the applicant has a criminal record.
Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas

Changes have also been outlined for permanent employer sponsored visas – this would potentially affect both the ENS and RSMS visas. It is not yet clear when these changes would come into effect – most likely this would be March 2018.
Likely changes include:

Work Experience: 3 years of work experience will be required to apply for permanent employer sponsored visas in general.
Transition from 457: for the ENS and RSMS Temporary Residence Transition stream, applicants must currently show that they have worked for their employer on a 457 visa for 2 years. 3 years of work for the employer on a TSS will be required going forward
Age: applicants for permanent employer sponsored visas will need to be under 45 when applying. Currently, it is possible to apply for ENS and RSMS up to the age of 50, and a few concessions exist to waive the age requirement. This change would have a significant impact on older applicants.
Regional Concessions

The announcement indicates that certain concessions will be retained for regional employers. These may include:
Occupations List for Temporary and Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas: a wider range of occupations may be possible for both the 457/TSS and RSMS visas for regional employers.
Age Exemptions for Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas: age waivers are currently possible for the ENS and RSMS visa for certain occupations – this includes medical practitioners, academics and staff at Government scientific agencies. These concessions will be retained for regional employers, and might also be expanded

https://www.facebook.com/malcolmturnbull/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/457-abolition-replacement

http://www.minister.border.gov.au/peterdutton/2017/Pages/putting-australian-workers-first.aspx

Migration to Australia for Nurses

Nursing is one of the most favourable occupations for migration to Australia. This article goes through the most important things you need to know if you are looking to migrate to Australia as a nurse.

Nursing Specialisations on the Skilled Occupations List

The most commonly used nursing specialisation when applying for migration to Australia is the occupation of Registered Nurses NEC (Not Elsewhere Classified). This occupation is on the Skilled Occupations List and is usually the most straightforward nursing specialisation to apply for skills assessment in.
Most nursing specialisations are on the Skilled Occupations List – for example Aged Care, Critical Care and Emergency, Mental Health and Surgical nurses. These would generally require evidence of work experience in the relevant field for a positive skills assessment.

Whilst Nursing Clinical Director is on the SOL, other senior nursing occupations such as Nurse Educator, Nurse Researcher and Nurse Manager are not on the SOL, but are on the CSOL (Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List). This means that state/territory and employer sponsored visas are still a good option.

Enrolled Nurses and Mothercraft Nurses, similarly, are on the CSOL, but not the SOL.

Nursing Support workers – which includes the specialisations of Assistant in Nursing (AIN), Nurses’ Aide and Paramedical Aide are not on the CSOL and so are difficult occupations to apply for migration in.

Application Pathways for Nurses

1. General Skilled Migration

This option would require you to pass skills assessment in your occupation and to receive an invitation through SkillSelect.
Many nurses apply through the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa. This is where you are not sponsored by a state/territory government or a relative, and requires at least 60 points in the skilled migration points test for an invitation.

Those will lower levels of English or who are older may not be able to achieve 60 points independently. In this case, many consider either state nomination or family sponsorship.

If sponsored by a state or territory government, this gives an extra 5-10 points and also gives you higher priority in SkillSelect. Nurses are in demand in most states and territories.

Family sponsorship is only possible if you have an Australian permanent resident or citizen living in a designated area. In this case, you would apply for a Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489 visa, and the family sponsorship will give you 10 extra points.

Employer Sponsorship

Nurses are often sponsored by employers for visas – possible options include:
457 Visa: This is a 4-year temporary visa, which requires a minimum base salary of at least $53,900 and for the employer to be an approved sponsor
ENS Visa: This is a permanent visa, most commonly applied for once you have worked for your employer for 2 years. It is also possible to apply directly if you have a skills assessment and at least 3 years of work experience in your occupation
RSMS Visa: This option requires a job offer in a regional area. Employers need to meet lower requirements, and there is a wider range of occupations which are possible. No formal skills assessment is required in general for the direct entry option, so it is a good option if you do have a job offer in a regional are
Working as a Nurse in Australia

To work as a nurse in Australia, you must be registered through AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).
If you are applying for an employer-sponsored visa, you will need to either hold registration or be eligible for registration on arrival in Australia.

Registration would require you to have a recognised Australian or overseas qualification, and to meet the English requirement.

Recognised Overseas Nursing Qualifications

Bachelor-level qualifications from the following countries are likely to be recognised by AHPRA: Belgium, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Ireland, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore UK and the USA.
If your qualification is not recognised, you may need to undertake a bridging course in Australia to convert your qualification to the Australian equivalent.

English Requirement

AHPRA will require you to show that you meet their English language requirement.
This will often require completion of an English language test. AHPRA accepts the IELTS, OET, PTE Academic, and the TOEFL iBT. It is possible to use 2 different test sittings to meet the English requirement – these need to be done within 6 months of each other. Test results are valid for 2 years.

Exemptions from English testing apply if your initial qualifications, schooling or tertiary qualifications were done in certain English-speaking countries.

Skills Assessment for Nurses

You will require a skills assessment if you are applying for general skilled migration, or for the direct entry stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa.
The skills assessment for nurses is through ANMAC (Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council). There are 3 main eligibility pathways for skills assessment as a nurse:

1. Registration in Australia

If you are registered as a nurse in Australia through AHPRA, you can apply for a “modified skills assessment”. This would require you to show evidence of your registration and your entry-level qualifications. If you have been registered overseas or have been an enrolled nurse in Australia, you’ll also need to show documentation about this.
Note that AHPRA registration in itself is not sufficient for skills assessment – you will need to go through ANMAC if you need a migration skills assessment.

2. Initial Qualifications in Recognised Overseas Country

This would require you to have your initial nursing qualifications and registration in Canada, European Union, Hong Kong, Singapore or United States.
You would also need to meet the English requirement for ANMAC skills assessment. This may require you to undertake an English test – but you would to be exempt from testing if you have studied for 5 years or more in certain English-speaking countries.

3. Registration in Recognised Overseas Country

This option is similar to the “Initial Qualification” pathway, but would apply if you currently have registration in the UK, Ireland, USA or Canada only. In this case, your initial nursing qualifications can be done elsewhere, but you’ll need to show you have been working full time in nursing for at least the last 3 months in one of these countries.

Employer Sponsorship – Recent Developments Feb 2017

Employer sponsorship has been controversial in recent times and the Department of Immigration continues to make changes.

This article goes through some of the recent trends we have encountered in the 457 and other employer sponsored programs, and also flags some possible changes which may come into effect in 2017.

Cancellations of 457 Visas

Immigration has stepped up its compliance operations and is now much more likely to cancel visas where:
An employee has ceased work; or
In the case of dependent partners, where the relationship has ceased
A typical scenario would be where a spouse relationship has broken down. If this is reported to Immigration, the dependent partner will receive a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC). Whilst the partner can put forward reasons for not cancelling the visa, this is happening more often – even if a new visa application has been lodged.
Cessation of employment – 60 rather than 90 Days

Since November 2016, employee who have ceased employment for more than 60 days are considered to be in breach of visa conditions. The 60-day timeframe applies to 457 visa granted on or after 19 November 2016.
The timeframe was previously 90 days, so this means 457 holders have less time now to find a new 457 sponsor if they finish employment.

457 holders who cease employment for more than 60 days are now more likely to face cancellation, so it’s very important to be aware of this if ceasing employment.

Possible Changes to Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL)

The Minister for Immigration has indicated on a number of occasions that he is looking to reduce the number of occupations on the approved list for 457 sponsorship, the CSOL.
The Minister has said that this will happen “very soon” but there is no clear timeframe on when this would happen.

The Minister has tasked the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM) to review the 457 list and their report is due in the first half of 2017.

If a change is made, the most likely date would be 1 July 2017, but the list could be changed at any time by issuing a new Legislative Instrument.

Possible Increase to Minimum Salary for 457 (TSMIT)

The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) is the minimum a 457 holder can be paid. The current minimum salary is $53,900 and has been at this level since July 2013.
A review of the TSMIT was commissioned by the Minister in December 2015, and was to report to Government in April 2016. To date, we do not have any information on recommendations, or when they would be implemented.

However a recent report from the Australian Population Research Institute suggests that a large number of IT workers are paid at the lowest possible rate, which suggests an increase might be warranted at least for the IT sector.

ENS/RSMS Processing Times – Impact on Training Requirement

Processing times for the permanent Employer Nomination Scheme and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme are now 8 months in most cases. Because of the long processing time, we are starting to see Immigration requesting updated training information – for the period between lodgement and prior to grant of the ENS nomination.
As a result, it is more important than ever to ensure that the business complies with its 457 training obligation at all times.

Conclusion

Employer sponsorship continues to be under the spotlight.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-20/government-cutting-457-job-list-for-skilled-migrants/8040548