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.

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.

State Nomination Update August 2017

State Nomination is very beneficial when applying for General Skilled Migration.

Even though the State Migration Plans only reopened in July 2017, there have already been some changes announced by various states and territories.

This article explains some of the recent changes

ACT Offshore Program Closed

Effective 23 August 2017, the ACT offshore program will be more limited.
If you are living overseas, you will need to show “close ties” to the ACT – this could be either:

A job offer in your nominated occupation in the ACT; or
Close family living in the ACT for the last 12 months and who are Australian permanent residents or citizens.
People who are resident in the ACT can still apply for ACT nomination, as can people who have completed a PhD within the last 2 years from a University in the ACT.
Queensland Suspends Processing State Nominations in 24 Occupations

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) announces on 21 August that they would temporarily suspend processing of nominations in 24 occupations.
The suspension will be until further notice, so it is not yet clear if processing will recommence at some stage during the 2017-18 program year.

Occupations were removed in the following fields:

Accounting
IT
Hospital and Retail Pharmacists
Mechanical Engineers
Public Relations
Interior Designers
Insurance Agents
It is not yet clear if the suspension also applies to PhD graduates from Queensland.

South Australia Program Filling Fast for Popular Occupations

South Australia has been very active in nominating applicants. There are a number of IT specialisations which are now on the “Special Conditions Apply” list – this means that they are only available if you have close ties to South Australia:
261111 ICT Business Analyst
261112 Systems Analyst
261313 Software Engineer
263111 Computer Network and Systems Engineer
Other occupations which are now on the “Special Conditions Apply” list include:
224712 Organisation and Methods Analyst
232311 Fashion Designer
312211 Civil Engineering Draftsperson
312912 Metallurgical or Materials Technician

http://www.canberrayourfuture.com.au/

https://migration.qld.gov.au/latest-news/bsmq-update-removal-of-occupations/

http://www.migration.sa.gov.au/skilled-migrants/lists-of-state-nominated-occupations

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.

https://www.border.gov.au/WorkinginAustralia/Documents/reforms-australia-permanent-employer-sponsored-migration-programme.pdf

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).

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

The Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training reviews the skilled migration program’s Skilled Occupation List each year based on certain criteria e.g., demand and supply or the amount of training needed etc., and flags certain occupations for future removal. Today was the last day for submitting feedback to the Minister for Immigration for consideration in March. The final list will take affect from 1st July next year.

The current list includes 183 occupations and is used to determine the eligibility for Australia’s permanent skilled migration scheme. There is another list which is longer, called the Consolidated Skilled Occupation list, which is for temporary work visas under 457 visa scheme.

Right now, the following occupations have been shortlisted for potential removal from Skilled occupation list.

  • Production Manager (Mining)
  • Accountant (General)
  • Management Accountant
  • Taxation Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Land Economist
  • Valuer
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Ship’s Officer
  • Surveyor
  • Cartographer
  • Other Spatial Scientist
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Structural Engineer
  • Transport Engineer
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Production or Plant Engineer
  • Aeronautical Engineer
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Engineering Technologist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Naval Architect
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • Veterinarian
  • Medical Diagnostic Radiographer
  • Medical Radiation Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • General Practitioner
  • Anaesthetist
  • Cardiologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Intensive Care Specialist
  • Paediatrician
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Medical Practitioners (nec)
  • Barrister
  • Solicitor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Psychologists (nec)
  • Chef*
  • Boat Builder and Repairer
  • Shipwright

http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/punjabi/en/article/2016/11/21/52-jobs-may-get-removed-skilled-occupation-list

Coalition opens way for foreign chefs, brickies

THOUSANDS of foreign chefs, bricklayers and tilers will no longer have to be sponsored by employers to obtain permanent visas, as the Abbott government eases skilled migration rules to address alleged labour shortages.

Under changes backed by business groups, the three professions have been added to the Skilled Occupation List from July, meaning these workers will be able to apply for a permanent visa without requiring a sponsor.

Unions attacked the changes as unjustified given employers had recently said there were having “little difficulty’’ finding workers in the building industry.

Documents seen by The Weekend Australian also show the agency that recommended the changes acknowledged the inclusion of chefs could result in “exploitation of the training system for permanent residency’’.

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said the tourism sector faced labour and skills shortages, with an additional 56,000 workers required by next year, including 26,000 skilled positions.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash said the addition of the three professions would be welcomed in regional areas where there was increased demand for these jobs but “a decrease in apprenticeship completions’’.

“As an island nation with a small population, a sustainable human capital strategy for Australia must be readily available to safeguard business from labour and skills shortages,’’ Senator Cash said.

“However, it would be simplistic to say that there is always an Australian willing and available to fill a particular position in various geographical locations within Australia, and it is the role of the skilled migration program to fill the gap.’’

Under the general skilled migration program, professionals and other skilled migrants can enter Australia without being sponsored by an employer. While they have to nominate an occupation on the skilled occupation list, there is no obligation for them to work in that occupation.

The government has capped the program at 43,990 skilled visas next financial year. For each of the professions on the list, the number of positions available is capped at 6 per cent of the occupation’s workforce.

Senator Cash said the government had decided to set the cap for chefs at 3 per cent for an initial six months.

According to the ABS Labour Force survey, about 76,100 chefs, 23,360 bricklayers and 15,800 floor and wall tilers work in Australia.

Under the 3 per cent cap, up to 2283 overseas chefs could apply for a place in the program, rising to 4566 if the cap went to 6 per cent. For bricklayers, the maximum number would be 1401, and 948 for floor and wall tilers.

Senator Cash stressed the changes would not result in thousands of extra foreign workers coming to Australia. Given total places remained capped at the same level, the entry of additional chefs, bricklayers and tilers would result in less places being approved among the existing 188 occupations on the list.

United Voice, the union representing chefs, said it did not accept there was a “skills gap’’ among chefs.

“The industry has got no problems attracting staff in Australia, the industry has a problem keeping staff,’’ said the union’s acting national secretary, David O’Byrne. “It has high turnover, low wages and highly casualised labour.”

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union pointed to the latest national survey by the Master Builders, which found the degree of difficulty in finding employees and subcontractors decreased in the March quarter.

“All categories are close to record lows with little difficulty finding employees or subcontractors in the building industry,” the survey said.

Dave Noonan, the national secretary of the CFMEU’s construction division, said the policy change “again demonstrates that the Abbott government does not have the interests of working Australians at heart’’.

Master Builders acting chief executive Richard Calver said the survey also showed “strong growth in the residential construction sector’’.

In recommending the changes, the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency said the inclusion of chefs “presents risk in terms of exploitation of the training system for permanent residency purposes’’ as had occurred prior to 2010. It said the risk had been diminished by policy changes.

Mr Robb said the changes would ensure Australia could fill the workforce needs of the “next wave of tourism infrastructure’’.

At Crown casino in Melbourne, Mark Holmes, general manger of food and beverage, said Crown gave priority to recruiting locally and had a program to train Australian chefs. “But we still currently have a number of local chef vacancies which have taken much longer than usual to fill,’’ Mr Holmes said.

 

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/coalition-opens-way-for-foreign-chefs-brickies/story-fn59noo3-1226946439974