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.

Increase to the financial requirements for certain Student Visa applications

This article explains the changes, potential impact on visa applications and why using an expert of your choice may be beneficial.

Increase to the financial requirements for certain Student Visa applications

Sufficient funds for cost of living
In certain instances student visa applications must be submitted with evidence the applicants have sufficient funds available whilst undertaking studies in Australia.
Today, the Department of Home Affairs announced the minimum funds required will increase on 1 February 2018 – the increase will start at around 2.3% and will continue to change in line with Australia’s consumer price index (CPI).

From 1 February 2018:

Main Student or Guardian: $20,290
Partner or Spouse: $7,100
Per Child: $3,040

Conclusion
Many changes to the migration portfolio and the various types of Australian visas have come into effect over the last 6 – 8 months. Some of these changes are still in place and some have been disallowed subsequently reverting back to the original requirements.
More changes to the migration program are scheduled to take place over the coming months and are likely to create a surge in the number of visa applications being lodged before those changes take effect.

With that in mind, this is a timely reminder that the Department of Home Affairs may make decisions on visa applications based on the information submitted and in many instances are not required to ask for further supporting evidence.

In light of the above, the chances of lodging an invalid application and risking your immigration status, or having a visa application refused is a real possibility.

MY VISA ONLINE has many years of experience and is ready and able to assist you to achieve your migration goals.

If you would like to work with us, the best way to proceed is to book a consultation with our advisor. Aside from outlining your migration options in writing, you will be able to judge for yourself what it’s like to work with MY VISA ONLINE and whether we are the right experts for you.

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.

Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa – Closure of ACT Migration Program to overseas applicants

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa – Closure of ACT Migration Program to overseas applicants
Effective immediately (23 August 2017 at 9.30 am AEST) the ACT Migration Program is now closed to overseas applicants.
• If your client is living overseas you will not be able to commence an application for ACT nomination of a Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa until the Program reopens in 2018.
• If you have started an application for ACT nomination prior to closure of the program, and the status is ‘in progress’, the application must be submitted, and the service fee paid before 11.59 pm (AEST) Thursday 24 August 2017.
o You must submit a complete application e.g. all supporting documents attached, as additional documentation will not be accepted after lodgement.
o The application must meet ACT nomination criteria as you will not be contacted to provide additional supporting information.
o If the application is not submitted, and the $300 service fee paid by Thursday 24 August 2014 (AEST), the application will automatically lapse.

CLOSE TIES TO CANBERRA
This action does not affect overseas applicants with close ties in Canberra. If your client has close ties (either family or genuine job offer) in Canberra; OR they have completed a PhD at an ACT university, they are still eligible to apply for ACT nomination
CANBERRA RESIDENTS
This action does not affect Canberra based applicants. If your client is living in Canberra and working in a skilled occupation, the program is still open. You are still able to lodge an application for ACT nomination of the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa if your Canberra based client meets the current nomination criteria.

TAS Sponsorship New Guidelines

 

From 1 July 2017:
 New Category for overseas applicants (489 visa only): A new Category for the
Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) has been introduced for
Tasmanian Government state nomination. Overseas (offshore) applicants will be
eligible to apply under this new Category.
 Changes to eligibility for ‘Category 3 – Family in Tasmania’: Applicants with
eligible family members residing in Tasmania will only be eligible for Skilled Regional
(Provisional) visa (subclass 489) nomination.

From 1 August 2017:
 Labour market testing for ‘Category 2 – Job Offer’ (489 visa only): For Skilled
Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) nomination, employer offering
employment for a position at ANZSCO skill level 4 or below will need to provide
evidence of genuine attempts to recruit workers from the domestic labour market.

From 1 October 2017:
 Three months prior employment requirement for ‘Category 2 – Job Offer’
(BOTH 190 and 489 visas): Onshore applicants with employment in Tasmania will
only be eligible for nomination if they have been working in Tasmania for 3 months
prior to lodging their application for state nomination.
[12:37 PM, 9/13/2017] +61 404 490 111: From 1 January 2018:
 Two year study requirement (190 visa only): Applicants will need to have
completed two years of study at a CRICOS-registered Tasmanian tertiary institution
instead of one year.
 Please refer to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
Australian study requirement as to what constitutes two years of study. If the
applicant is claiming regional study points with DIBP, they would meet the two year
study requirement.
 One year study requirement remains in place for provisional visa nomination
(489 visa).

TAS Sponsorship New Guidelines

https://www.migration.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/151775/Fact_Sheet_-_Reforms_to_Tasmania_s_state_nomination_policy_-_6_July_2017_-_FINAL.pdf

Keep up with the latest changes and news from Engineers Australia!

Keep up with the latest changes and news from Engineers Australia!

English Language Test
From the 1st of November 2017, Engineers Australia will be accepting the Pearson’s Test of English (PTE) (Academic) for Migration Skills Assessment as well as for Membership assessment purposes. Applicants submitting their application after the 1st of November will be able to use either the IELTS, the TOEFL iBT or the PTE (Academic) to demonstrate their level of English in an assessment application.
Applicants must show a minimum score of 50 in each of the 4 modules (Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking).

Abolition of the RMA profession? Part 2

 

The bill: Migration Newsletter 630 discussed how the unfair Migration Amendment
(Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2017 could be part of a long-term plan to
abolish the RMA profession.That discussion implied that only some RMAs would be immediately impacted upon
by the bill. Actually, most RMAs could well be immediately impacted upon.
Here is why. Lawyers would no longer be subject to the Code of Conduct for RMAs (Code).
As a result, many lawyers could well be tempted to freely unfoundedly market
themselves as providing superior immigration assistance compared to RMAs.
Even lawyers with no experience in migration law could well be so tempted.

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017B00136

Changes to migration rules will reduce the annual migration intake significantly

A story written by Adam Creighton and published in The Australian on 9 August
2017 reports on claims by a researcher that changes to migration rules will reduce
the annual migration intake significantly.
The research was conducted by Bob Birrell – a long term opponent of the migration
program.
An extract from the article:
The study, by the Australian Population Research Institute, suggests such a move
could ease congestion and house price growth. Demographer Bob Birrell says the
number of Australia’s permanent employer sponsor visas will plummet by “at least
two-thirds” and the number of temporary 457 visas issued will fall by “up to half”,
particularly as the government’s changes from March 2018 make it harder for foreign
students to stay on after their studies. The report says the number of permanent employer-sponsored visas will fall by twothirds,
given 250 occupations would in effect no longer be eligible. Employers will be
less interested in sponsorship, too. “They will have to pay additional visa costs and
training levies and they will have to provide evidence that they have labour-market
tested,” the report says, referring to minimum salaries of $53,000 for visa holders.
A link to the full report:

http://tapri.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/immigration-reset-7-August-2017-

final.pdf

General Skilled Migration Update August 2017

The article looks at recent developments in General Skilled Migration such as:

Policy change for Graduate Diplomas in meeting the 2-year study requirement
Processing times
State Nomination Update
Occupational Ceilings/SkillSelect Update
Graduate Diplomas – Policy Change for 2-Year Study Requirement

The Australian Study Requirement (usually referred to as the 2-Year Study Requirement) is relevant for the following visas:
Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas
General Skilled Migration – awarding points for Australian study
Postgraduate Diplomas are listed in the Migration Regulations as being an eligible qualification in assessing the 2-year study requirement. Whilst they are not eligible qualifications for the 485 Post Study Work Stream, it has previously been possible to use them for the points test and applying for the 485 Graduate Work Stream.
The Department of Immigration policy document for the 2-year study requirement was recently updated, and it indicates that a Graduate Diploma would not count towards the Australian Study requirement.

If you are completing a Graduate Diploma you must be aware that your eligibility may be affected.

Policy would appear to be in conflict with the Migration Regulations in this matter, and you may need some professional assistance in establishing that you meet the Australian Study Requirement.

Occupation Ceiling and SkillSelect Update

The Occupation Ceilings for General Skilled Migration were released by the Department of Immigration on 3 August and were revised on 7 August.
Last year, the Department initially gave an increased occupation ceiling for accountants which was then hastily revised downwards to 2,500. This year, the ceiling has increased significantly (to 4785 places). Thus far, the ceiling has not been revised downwards, so the situation looks positive for accountants for the time being at least.

We now have a ceiling number for ANZSCO 2621 Database and Systems Administrators and ICT Security Specialists. This will be good news for ICT Security specialists with an allocation of 2391 places for 2017-18.

We now have statistics for the 12 July and 26 July invitation rounds. Required points for all occupations remain high (70 points minimum for a 189 invitation, with some occupations requiring 75). However, we see waiting times reducing, which suggests that Immigration is working through a backlog of EOIs with 70 or more points and that required points for 189 invitations will reduce over time.

We can see that about 10% of the occupation ceiling was used up for pro rata occupations, which suggests that Immigration may be allocating up to 5% of the ceiling for these occupations each invitation round.

The table below summarises the following for pro rata occupations:

Points required for the two invitation rounds in July 2017
Points required in the 2016-17 program year
Percentage change in the occupation ceiling between 2016-17 and 2017-18
Likely points required for a 189 invitation in the 2017-18 program year
Whilst it is impossible to give any certainty on the points required for an invitation, we have made a prediction based on the occupation ceilings and number of EOI lodgements remaining stable.

Occupation July 2017 Points 2016-17 Points Change in Ceiling 2017-18 Prognosis
2211 Accountants 75 70 91.4% Increase Points required likely to reduce to 70 or 65
2212 Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 75 70 6.1% Decrease Points likely to be 70-75 for 2017-18
2334 Electronics Engineers 70 65 No Change Points likely to reduce to 65
2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 70 60-65 41.5% Increase Points likely to reduce to 65
2339 Other Engineering Professionals 70 60-65 No Change Likely to reduce to 65
2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts 75 65 6.2% Increase Likely to reduce to 70 or 65 points
2613 Software and Applications Programmers 70 65 9.5% Increase Likely to reduce to 65 points
2631 Computer Network Professionals 70 60-65 7.6% Decrease Likely to reduce to 65 points

Processing times have been updated and for General Skilled Migration, the Department of Immigration is indicating a processing time of 6-11 months. This is longer than was previously the case, but allocation dates would seem to indicate that applications are being allocated quite quickly. It appears that processing itself has slowed down, and this is possibly due to numbers for the 2016-17 filling early:

Application Type 75% finalised within 90% finalised within
Skilled Independent Subclass 189 8 months 11 months
Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 9 months 13 months
489 – State Nominated 8 months 14 months
489 – Family Sponsored 6 months 9 months
485 – Post-Study Work 79 days 4 months
485 – Graduate Work 4 months 4 months

State Migration Plans Updated for Most States and Territories

All states and territories have now updated their State Migration Plans for the 2017-18 program year, apart from NSW and NT.

Tasmania is one of the best states for state nomination, but will be increasing their requirements in the coming months (for instance, amount of time required to work or study in Tasmania).

West Australia is one of the more difficult states as their list is quite limited and minimum work experience and job offer requirements apply.

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/485-

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/189-

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/190-

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/489-

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Allocation-dates-for-General-Skilled-Migration-applications