Government Reform : Changes to Working Skilled Visa March 2018
As of the 18th of March 2018 the Australian Government announced new Reforms and changes to working skilled visa.
Changes is made for both temporary and permanent working and skilled visa programs.
These reforms aim to ensure that Australian workers are given priority over overseas workers when it comes to filling shortages in skilled Australian based occupations.
The Government announced that these changes are designed to ensure a fair and reasonable structure and system for bringing skilled overseas workers to Australia whilst also ensuring priority for Australian workers.
Changes to working skilled visa programs include the following:
Abolishment of the 457 visa
One of the most talked changes to working skilled visa is the abolishment of popular 457 visa.
The working visa 457 is no longer available and has been replaced by the new Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482). No further applications for the 457 can now be lodged.
The applicants age requirement has been changed to maximum age requirement of 45 years and under for the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa (ENS visa) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) visa (RSMS visa)
Number of years work experience required
A minimum of 3 years work experience is required for the Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa (ENS visa) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) visa (RSMS visa) and a minimum of 2 years for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482).
Stricter Employer obligations
Employers must have applied for and been approved as a sponsor prior to nomination and employers must pay the employee the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.
Employers nominating a worker for an ENS or RSMS visa will be required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund
Higher English language ability
Applicant will be subject to stricter English language ability results
Skills Assessments required
All applicants for a RSMS visa under the DE stream will be required to have their skills assessed.
Changes to the list of eligible occupations
Only occupations on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL) are available for the Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa (ENS visa).
Many occupations have now been removed from this list.
Changes regarding renewal of visas or new applications onshore
Applicants are allowed one onshore visa renewal only for those who have applied under the short term stream of the new Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482).
For those who have applied under the medium term stream the opportunity to apply for permanent residence eligibility has been changed to after three years
Direct Entry stream nominations will still need to meet the training benchmark requirements.
TRT stream nominations will still need to meet training compliance requirements
Labour Market testing
Labour Market Testing is required for all nominations and is also required to be completed within the six months prior to lodging a nomination.
The nominated position must have been advertised and a minimum of two advertisements must have been published.
The advertisments must have been published or advertised on either a recruitment website, newspaper, radio or on company website (Only if the company is an accredited sponsor)
Applicants and their dependents if any, that are sponsored by an accredited sponsor, must attach a reference from their accredited sponsor confirming that they are of good character and that they have not been convicted of any criminal offences.
So what does this changes to working skilled visa mean for current working visa holders?
In most cases these changes will not affect a current visa holder provided that they are not applying for a new visa, or changing employers.
These changes will only effect a current holder once their current visa ceases to be valid or where they are changing employment.
For Employers or sponsors the new regulations and requirements will take effect when an employer wishes to sponsor a new applicant or when current sponsorship expires.
An Australian business sponsor who does not apply for sponsorship renewal before their current sponsorship ceases, will need to lodge a new sponsorship application.
This means tighter obligations and requirements must be met by the employer.
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