Updates on the Changes Happening on 1 July 2017 

Employer sponsored visas (subclasses 457, 186, 187)

What’s being covered in this release:

  • Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa changes
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) 186 and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) 187 visa changes
  • Changes to training benchmarks
  • Changes to the online application system – applications saved but not completed or lodged before 1 July 2017 will be lost
  • New sponsorship accreditation arrangements

 

Read: Major Changes to Occupation Lists and Employer Sponsored Visas

Read: Q&A – Recent Changes to the 457 / 186 / 187 Visas

Read: 16 Restricted Occupations

 

457 visa changes

Occupation lists

Changes to the occupation lists are to be released on 1 July 2017. The new list will take effect immediately, and will affect any 457 visa application that is applied for on 1 July, as well as applications that have been applied for but have not been finalised before 1 July.

 

Skills assessments

From 1 July 2017, a select number of existing occupations will expand to include more nationalities. This affects applications lodged on or after 1 July. If the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has suspicions that an application that was lodged before 1 July but has not yet been finalised, they hold the right to request for a skills assessment.

 

Character requirements

457 visa applicants will, from 1 July 2017, need to provide police certificates from each country that the applicant has lived in for an accumulated 12 months or more in the last 10 years before the date of application, starting from when the applicant turned 16. Military service records or discharge papers will also be required for any service done in any country. This impacts visa applications made on or after 1 July 2017.

 

English language salary exemption threshold

The current English language salary exemption threshold where applicants who are to be remunerated at a salary exceeding $93,000 will cease to exist for applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017.

 

ENS and RSMS visa changes

Toughened English requirement of meeting “competent” level scores are to come into effect from 1 July 2017 for both temporary residence transition (TRT) stream and direct entry stream applicants.

The requirement for 3 years of relevant work experience will not take effect from 1 July 2017 but will instead come into effect in March 2018.

 

Direct entry stream

  • Changes in occupation lists will affect direct entry scheme applicants
  • Direct entry stream applicants will also face a tightened age limit of 45 years of age from 1 July 2017

 

Changes to training benchmarks

An interim legislative instrument will be released to take effect on 1 July 2017 as a bridge between the current training benchmarks requirements and the replacement of the requirement with a contribution to a new “Skilling Australians Fund (SAF)”. The SAF will commence March 2018. The interim instrument will apply to applications lodged on or after 1 July.

There are no significant changes in the interim legislative instrument, but will provide clarification as to what is acceptable or not acceptable training expenditure, as well as include some new limitations on what would be considered acceptable expenditure.

 

Changes to application system

457 visa applications will, from 1 July 2017, implement a few new questions surrounding:

  • The sponsoring business
  • Training expenditure
  • Sponsor and applicant relationship
  • Market salary rate
  • Labour Market Testing (LMT)
  • Location in which the applicant will be working
  • Character requirements and travel history

IMPORTANT: Applications that are currently saved and have not been lodged will need to either be lodged by 30 June 2017 or the application will not be recoverable

 

Changes to sponsorship accreditation arrangements

Affecting new and applied for but not granted Standard Business Sponsorship applications, 1 July 2017 will see an expanded list of criteria for being an accredited sponsor and separate them into four different categories based on the nature of the business. Existing Standard Business Sponsors will not be affected by changes on 1 July.

The accredited status is approved on the business meeting all the previous requirements in become a Standard Business Sponsor as well as meeting the additional requirements laid out in the categories below.

 

Category 1:  

  • Standard Business Sponsors that are Australian government agencies (Commonwealth, state and territory)

 

Category 2:

  • Standard Business Sponsors that are approved as Australian Trusted Traders
  • Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement) (see 1 below)
  • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business (see 2 below)

 

Category 3:

  • “Low risk” Standard Business Sponsors have low use of the 457 programme and a high percentage of Australian workers (90% and above)
  • Be a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least AUD$4 million annual turnover for the last two years
  • Have been an active 457 sponsor for at least two years
  • Have no adverse monitoring outcomes
  • Have sponsored at least one primary 457 visa holder in the two years prior to the application for accreditation
  • Have a non-approval rate of less than 3% for the previous two years
  • Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement) (see 1 below)
  • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business (see 2 below)
  • Have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the department (see 3 below)
  • Have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the department (see 4 below)

 

Category 4:

  • “Low risk” Standard Business Sponsors have high use of the 457 visa programme and a medium percentage of Australian workers (75% and above)
  • Be a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least AUD$4 million annual turnover for the last two years
  • Have been an active 457 sponsor for at least two years
  • Have no adverse monitoring outcomes
  • Have sponsored at least ten primary 457 visa holder in the two years prior to the application for accreditation
  • Have a non-approval rate of less than 3% for the previous two years
  • Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement) (see 1 below)
  • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business  (see 2 below)
  • Have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the department (see 3 below)
  • Have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the department (see 4 below)

 

Supporting documentation

  1. Contract and National Employment Standard: Copy of a template contract used for this purpose must be attached to the application
  2. Enterprise Agreement or internal salary statement: Copy of the Enterprise Agreement or internal salary table must be attached to the application in addition to evidence and a description of how the business used the evidence to determine that the salary rates contained in the document reflect the current market salary rates for occupations in their business (e.g. Awards, remuneration surveys, job advertisements, the Australian Government’s Job Outlook)
  3. Details of all business activities: Evidence relating to the other business activities must be attached to the application (e.g. profit/loss statements, Business Activity Statements, annual reports)
  4. Details of all Principals / Directors of the business: If the business is a company, a current/historical extract from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission must be attached to the application

 

So there you go! Stay with us for more updates or book an appointment with us to find out exactly how all this affects you. Call (02) 9729 1991 or book online at www.australiavisa.com


 

IN THE NEWS..

The Australian: Small changes to 457 visas will hold big sway with students

The Australian: VC’s new life down under turned upside down

SMH: Get Qualified Australia consumers still out of pocket despite court action

 

 
 
  Jee Eun Han
  Senior Migration Agent, Australian Immigration Law Services
  MARN 0850073 

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