Australia Immigration Changes that affect 457, ENS and RSMS visas
The recent announcements back to back by the Department of Home Affairs have created a lot of confusion amongst the potential applicants of migration and temporary visa for Australia.
Here, we highlight the changes that came into effect and are anticipated in 2017, the new skilled occupation lists, and how the changes would affect you. Note the major changes in 457 Visa, Employer Nomination Scheme visa (ENS) and Regional Skilled Migration Sponsor Visa (RSMS). Also find the answers for the several questions that might concern you!
Recent changes in the month of April, 2017 regarding 457 Visa
People holding 457 visa are unaffected by the changes and can apply for the ENS as long as they complete their 2 years before March 2018.
Introduction of additional requirements (caveats) to be met to apply for different occupations on both the list.
For Example: for a Beauty Salon manger occupation, the business must have minimum 5 employees (part-time & full-time combined). For a Hair dresser occupation you must have a minimum of 2 years’ experience.
Major Changes as per the announcement on July 1, 2017
Skilled Occupation lists (MLTSSL & STSOL) are updated. Department of Home Affairs will be assessing and updating it every 6 months.
If occupation falls on MLTSSL then you will still be able to apply for ENS but if it falls under STSOL, there will not be any PR options for you.
If you are an existing 457 visa holder and want to apply for ENS Visa:
Mandatory IELTS with minimum score of 6.0 bands each. (previously there was an exemption that was if your employer offered higher package then it is exempted i. e high income earners)
If you have already applied for 457 visa and it is not granted yet:
Application after 1 July 2017 will have to undergo mandatory skill assessment which will depend on the country of your residence and the occupation you apply for.
Compulsory submission of police clearance certificate (PCC) from home country or country where you have stayed for last 3 months.
Training benchmark will be applicable.
Changes that are expected to be in effect from December 2017 (i.e re-assessment after 6 months)
Department of Home Affairs would ask for TFN (Tax File Number) to be submitted along with the application.
Department of Home Affairs would be publishing the results for all the sponsors who has not met the requirements in the past, have been blacklisted and upon investigation have not complied with the sponsorship requirements. The list will have the names of the businesses with the reason of the ban mentioned.
Increase in the fee structure of visa application: Current charges for 457 Visa is AUD 1060. From Mar’18 it will be AUD 1150 for short term. For medium term the fee will be AUD2400.
For 457 Visa, as long as you are completing your 2 years before Mar 2018, you should be able to apply for the ENS visa.
For the STSOL occupation, there will only be one more chance for the renewal of the 457 visa. However, there will be no pathway under ENS scheme towards Permanent Residency (PR). For example: Profession of a cook falls under STSOL. You can get an extension for next two years but cannot apply for visa under ENS scheme.
For the occupation listed on MLTSSL, there is still a pathway to Permanent Residency (PR).
IF you want to apply for PR and your occupation list falls under STSOL then you might still be eligible to apply under General Skilled Migration (GSM).
457 Visa will continue till Mar 2018 only.
English Language Requirement:
For the occupations on STSOL, the English language requirement is the same. i.e of 4.5 bands in each module and 5 bands overall or PTE equivalent.
For occupations on MLTSSL, you require minimum 5 bands each for IELTS or PTE equivalent.
For TSS Visa, ENS Visa (Subclass 186) & RSMS Visa (Subclass 187)
Not many options available for applications holding student visa.
To apply for RSMS, you would require minimum 3 years of relevant full-time experience. Thus, it is better to apply for RSMS before Mar 2018 for the applicants who are eligible/ have the option to do so.
Currently there is no minimum salary that is applicable for RSMS. For the 457 visa the min package is of AUD 53900. And this will be implemented for RSMS as well.
The training benchmark criteria are currently applicable to only 457 visa and not RSMS visa. From Mar 2018, you have to meet the training requirements. It is not exactly a benchmark, but more like a training levy.
To apply for TSS visa from Mar 2018, your employer or the business needs to meet the requirement of the training levy which basically means that they have to contribute to the Australian Training Fund so that it can be used to train other Australian PR and citizens. They have to contribute every year until their visa gets approved.
To apply for TSS visa, if the business turnover is less than 10 million AUD, then the training levy will be AUD 1200 per applicant.
To apply for TSS visa, if the turnover is more than 10 million AUD, then AUD 1800 will be the training levy.
For ENS and RSMS, if it is a business with turnover of less than 10 million AUD, the training levy would be around AUD 3000 & for more than 10 million AUD it would be around AUD 5000. Applicable to the direct entry stream of both.
There are lot of applicants on the 457 visa for like 10-15 years, and never applied for the ENS visa. The new changes from Mar 2018 will restrict the age as well. The max age is 45. For applicants aged above 45, you would not eligible to apply for ENS or RSMS.
If you are under 50, you can apply for ENS and RSMS before Mar 2018.
If you want to apply for TSS visa, you must have min 2 years of experience. It does not have to be same as the occupation but should be highly relevant to it depending on the case. For RSMS, you would require 3 years’ min experience.
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