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.

From 1 February 2018, Immigration SA High Points category will increase to 85 points.

The High Points category has been successful in attracting high quality applicants to South Australia.

From 1 February 2018, Immigration SA’s High Points category will increase to 85 points.

Applicants who can achieve 85 points or higher (including state nomination points) can gain access to the Supplementary Skilled List (SSL) and occupations on the State Nominated Occupation List which are listed as ‘Special Conditions Apply’. Applicants must meet all other South Australian state nomination requirements to qualify.

Quotas apply to nominations in the High Points category. Once this quota is reached, applications under this category may be closed for certain occupations

http://www.migration.sa.gov.au/skilled-migrants/nomination-process/skilled-nomination-requirements/high-points

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.

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.

SkillSelect and State Nomination Update April 2017

More popular occupations filled or are almost full for the 2016-17 program year in the last SkillSelect invitation round.

There are also updates for South Australia and Western Australia state nomination criteria.

This article explains the most recent changes.

SkillSelect Update – March 2017

The results of the 29 March SkillSelect round have been published.
The occupational group ICT Business and System Analysts is now full. Accountants and Software and Analyst Programmers are over 99% full, with most other pro-rata occupations likely to be filled by the end of April.

Once these occupations are full, no further invitations can be issued for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa or Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489 family sponsored stream until 1 July 2017 when the program re-opens.

This will most likely result in a backlog of EOIs in these occupations. Unless occupational ceilings are increased, we can expect minimum points or waiting times for invitations to increase when the program reopens.

New occupational ceilings are due to be published in July 2017, and will be important in understanding how many points will be required in pro rata occupations going forward.

Occupation/Subclass Points Required Waiting Time Invitations – 15 Mar Running Total Target Places Remaining % Filled
Accountants 70 22 weeks 196 2492 2500 8 99.70%
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 70 13 weeks 110 1375 1413 38 97.30%
ICT Business and System Analysts 70 Next round 42 1482 1482 0 100%
Software and Applications Programmers 65 3 weeks 450 5648 5662 14 99.80%
Electronics Engineer 60 15 weeks 58 937 1000 63 93.70%
ndustrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 65 19 weeks 34 1501 1539 38 97.50%
Other Engineering Professionals 65 12 weeks 0 1018 1000 0 101.80%
Computer Network Professionals 65 8 weeks 0 1482 1426 0 103.90%

State Nomination Update – South Australia

South Australia has announced that its high points scorer pathway will now requires 85 points, rather than 80 which was previously the case. The high points scorer pathway allows applicants to apply for SA state nomination if their occupation is on the Supplementary List or with “Special Conditions Apply” classification.
The high points scorer change will come into effect on 19 April 2017 – applications lodged prior to this date will not be affected, so please contact us if you would like assistance with applying prior to the cut-off date.

Certain occupations are no longer be eligible for the high points scorer or chain migration exemptions – this includes the following occupations:

221111 Accountant (General)
223111 Human Resource Adviser
225113 Marketing Specialist
225412 Sales Representative (Medical and Pharmaceutical Products)
242111 University Lecturer
242112 University Tutor
251511 Hospital Pharmacist
251513 Retail Pharmacist
This change came into effect on 5 April 2017. The chain migration exemption also allows applicants with relatives in South Australia to apply for SA state nomination in occupations which are on the Supplementary List or with “Special Conditions Apply” classification.
State Nomination Update – Western Australia

Western Australia suspended its state nomination program in March 2017 pending review of the WASMOL.
The WA program is now re-opened but is open only to certain medical practitioners and sonographers.

A revised list is due to be released in late May 2017.

 

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

State Nomination Occupation List for Victoria

Victoria has reopened state nomination for IT professionals from 1 January 2015.

IT professionals have been suspended from the Victorian State Migration Program since October 2014, and it is reopened in Jan 2015

Applicants can be nominated by Victoria for either of the following visas:

  • Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 - a permanent state sponsored visa
  • Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 - a 4-year temporary visa leading to permanent residence after 2 years

Applicants must generally have work experience or proficient in English – below is a link  main criteria for nomination by Victoria for IT professionals:

http://www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au/visas-and-immigrating/occupation-lists/state-nomination-occupation-list-for-victoria

NSW SOL Oct 2014 list

http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/25147/NSW-State-Occupation-List.pdf

NSW is pleased to announce that the October 2014 intake for the Skilled – Nominated (subclass 190) program will open on 22 October, 10:00 AEDT (UTC+11 hours). This intake will be open for 1,000 applications.

When the intake opens the link to the application form will appear on this page.

NSW is a highly attractive and competitive destination for skilled migrants. In 2014, NSW implemented a number of measures to maximise the 190 program’s effectiveness, flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of the NSW economy. This includes staggered application intakes and regular revision of the NSW Skilled Occupations List (NSW SOL)

NSW has modified the occupations eligible for nomination in the October 2014 intake. This is to ensure that the Skilled – Nominated program is a balanced intake of skilled migrants from a range of occupational groups that will meet NSW medium and long term skills needs.

Occupations listed below will not be considered for the October 2014 round of applications.

Occupations temporarily suspended from  the SOL for October 2014 intake
ANZSCO code Occupation Occupation group
221111 Accountant (General) Business & Finance
221112 Management Accountant Business & Finance
221113 Taxation Accountant Business & Finance
261111 ICT Business Analyst ICT
261112 Systems Analyst ICT
261311 Analyst Programmer ICT
261312 Developer Programmer ICT
261313 Software Engineer ICT
262113 Systems Administrator ICT
263111 Computer Network & Systems Engineer ICT
263311 Telecommunications Engineer ICT
263312 Telecommunications Network Engineer ICT

 

NSW – SOL 22 Oct 2014

The second round of applications for NSW State sponsorship for Subclass 190 visas will open on 22 October 2014 at 10 am.  NSW Trade and Investment has temporarily suspended some occupations for this round, in an effort to ensure a more equitable spread of occupations.

The suspended occupations are:

  • 221111 Accountant (General)
  • 221112 Management Accountant
  • 221113 Taxation Accountant
  • 261111 ICT Business Analyst
  • 261112 Systems Analyst
  • 261311 Analyst Programmer
  • 261312 Developer Programmer
  • 261313 Software Engineer
  • 262113 Systems Administrator
  • 263111 Computer Network & Systems Engineer
  • 263311 Telecommunications Engineer
  • 263312 Telecommunications Network Engineer

 

ACT SOL Update list 1 Oct 2014

http://www.canberrayourfuture.com.au/portal/migrating/article/guidelines/

 

The ACT Occupation List and 190 nomination criteria, has been updated effective 1 October 2014

Please read the nomination guidelines carefully as there are significant changes, including:

All occupations which were previously ‘limited’ are now closed.

Verification: you are no longer required to verify closed occupations.

Closed Occupations: Canberra residents and Canberra graduates are not required to be working in the nominated occupation as long as they are working in a skilled occupation (with ANZSCO skill level 1 to 4). However, interstate graduates must still meet the six (6) months employment in the nominated occupation criteria.

Overseas residents require close ties before applying for a closed occupation. The definition of ‘close family has been tightened to only include parents, brother, sister, grandparents, step parents, step siblings of the main applicant or spouse / partner.  

Assessment: The assessment of the application for ACT nomination will be based solely on the supporting documents provided at the time of application. Additional documents will not be accepted after submission The case officers will not be requesting further information. If the application is incomplete, or it does not meet the nomination criteria, the application will be refused.

Applications submitted and lodged prior to 1 October 2014  will be assessed against the August 2014 criteria.  Limited occupations previously verified will also be honoured as long as the applications are lodged within 14 days of verification.