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New Changes on Employer Sponsorship

Further to our recent live chat with Marney Richardson, a migration Agent here at EMSA, we have prepared a brief overview of legislation changes and give you a chance to ask some questions at the end. Please note, that I am giving a general overview of changes, and if you have questions about your specific circumstances/case, it is best to book an appointment and come in for a full assessment of your case. So let’s first start with changes of the permanent visas: the 186 or Employer Nomination Scheme and the 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme or RSMS.

Changes being introduced on Employer Sponsorship on 18 March 2018

The key changes being introduced in March 2018 for the ENS and RSMS visa programs

Skilled occupation lists

The MLTSSL will apply to the ENS and the RSMS, with additional occupations available through the RSMS to support regional employers

Notes: No occupations have been removed or added to the lists of occupations eligible for RSMS visas.

Salary arrangements

The new market salary framework planned to be introduced for the TSS visa will also apply to ENS and RSMS, including Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) requirements.

Notes: Currently this TSMIT is $53,900 but if the annual market salary amount is higher, your salary will need to be at a higher rate.

Residency

The eligibility period to transition to permanent residence will be extended from two to three years

Notes: Unless you applied for or were granted your 457 visa prior to 18 April 2017. You can only transition to PR if your occupation is on the MLTSSL. If your occupation is on the short list or STSOL (Short term skilled occupation list) you will not be able to transition to PR.

Work experience

At least three years’ work experience relevant to the particular occupation will be required

Notes: this is a big change for the RSMS visa, as for many occupations previously no work experience was required if the qualification criteria as per ANZSCO was met. This new requirement rules out new graduates for direct employer sponsorship. There still may be other options for you through general skilled migration (depending on your circumstances, please make an appointment to see us if you are now no longer eligible for RSMS and we will assess you options).

Age

All applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 years at the time of application.

The Skilling Australia Fund which is basically a levy to employers is likely to be applicable to the 186 and 187 moving forward – which will be a one of payment of $3000 for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million and $5000 for businesses with an annual turnover of more than $10 million (additional to other Department application fees)?

I will now move onto 457 visa changes. The 457 visa will be abolished on Sunday and replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (or TSS for short). The new number for the subclass is 482. After Sat midnight you will no longer be able to apply for the 457 visa.

There will be three streams of the TSS visa – the short term stream, the medium term stream, and labour agreement stream. I will discuss the short term and medium term streams as these are likely to be the most common streams for all you listening.

Short-term stream criteria

Occupation Lists

These occupations are listed on the Short-Term Skills Occupation List (STSOL).

English Requirements

Applicants must score at least 5 overall (for IELTS), with a minimum of 4.5 in each category or equivalent for other English tests.

Genuine Entry

Applicants must meet a genuine temporary entrant requirement. Notes: Home Affairs will need to be satisfied that you plan to come to Australia temporarily to work and plan to depart back offshore once the period of work is over.

Timeframe

This is a two year visa, with the possibility of only one renewal for two years. PLEASE NOTE: if you have an occupation on the STSOL there is no pathway to PR through TSS.

Visa Fees

Main applicant: $1,150

Medium-term stream criteria (4 years)

Occupation Lists

These occupations are listed on the Medium-Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL).

English Requirements

Applicants must score at least 5 in each category (for IELTS) or equivalent for other English tests.

Timeframe

Is 4 years and a permanent residence pathway after 3 years

Visa Fees

$2400

Eligibility criteria for both streams

Work Experience

All applicants require 2 years minimum of relevant work experience – this is one of the biggest changes in requirements compared to the 457 visa. However the department have said they will be more flexible in policy for what 2 years relevant work experience will constitute. Further details will be in policy after 18th March.

Other Employer Sponsorship changes include

  1. Your employer is now able to become a standard business sponsor for 5 years rather than 3 years, with potential to automatically renew their standard business sponsorship.
  2. Stricter requirements for mandatory Labour Market Testing – in terms of advertising and length of advertising (i.e. likely to be no more advertising on gumtree).
  3. Police Clearances are required.
  4. Employers must meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) requirements and pay the Australian market salary rate.
  5. Training Requirements: Instead of having to meet training benchmark A or B – there will be a SAF levy (which is basically an upfront fee) and the amount for the whole period of sponsorship (please note that the SAF is before the Senate and has not been introduced yet). Employers are still required to meet training benchmark A or B prior to this being legislated and introduced. Once the SAF has been introduced they are likely to be required to pay SAF fees for each nomination lodged.

New SAF levys

For businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10m

An upfront payment of $1,200 per employee, per year of intended employment will be required.

For businesses will an annual turnover of more than $10m

An upfront payment of $1,800 per employee, per year of intended employment will be required.

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