As the Australian DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Patrol) removes the 457 visa in March 2018 to replace it with the new TSS (Temporary Skills Shortage), the ENS (Employer Nomination Scheme) and RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visas will also be reformed, limiting eligibility criteria for future visa applicants.
As per the DIBP’s new announcement to these changes on 8 – 10 November at the National Migration Conference, the TSS visa will be enforced within the first fortnight of March 2018.
The TSS visa will be of two types – the STSOL (Short-Term Skilled Occupations List) and the MLTSSL (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List). Occupations that would be included in the STSOL are Advertising Specialist, Advertising Manager, Finance Manager, Human Resource Manager, Management Consultant Research and Development Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager and others.
According to lexology.com, the Department of Employment will update the occupation lists every six months, as the next review is slated to take place in January 2018. The MLTSSL will not, however, see any changes during the January 2018 review as per the Department of Employment’s indications.
On the other hand, it is being suggested adding five occupations to the STSOL and expel four occupations from it. The occupations that could be removed include Accommodation and Hospitality Managers, Building Associate, Recruitment Consultant and Hair/Beauty Salon Manager.
With the TSS visa, an intention is being shown to allow visa applicants flexibility to change employers during their visa tenure.
Meanwhile, occupations belonging to the STSOL qualify for a two-year visa, with plans for only one onshore renewal to be made available for an additional two years. The DIBP has hinted that if one applies to renew offshore, the one-time restriction will not be applicable. Occupations falling under the MLTSSL qualify for a four-year visa.
Only people working on the MLTSSL will be eligible for a pathway to permanent residency after they complete three years.
Subject to ratification by Parliament, employers would need to pay a levy to the Skilling Australians Fund per person annually from March 2018. It would require employers having annual revenues of less than AUD10 million to pay AUD1, 200 per year. Employers earning more than that would need to pay AUD1, 800 per year. In other words, employers nominating people for four-year visas must pay fourfold the yearly levy entirely at the time of nomination.
Only the training levy needs to be paid by employers who will be holding their Standard Business Sponsorship for less than twelve months in March 2018. For less than a year, they will not be required to provide evidence of meeting the training requirements.
In occupations belonging to the STSOL, a minimum score of 5 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or equivalent test, with at least 4.5 in each component is necessary. In occupations falling under the MLTSSL, in IELTS or equivalent test, a minimum score 5 in each of the test components is required.
Two years of work experience appropriate to the particular occupation is needed for applicants. Flexibility would be exercised by the DIBP to assess what is applicable.
It is required that employers pay applicants the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold and the market salary rate, which was fixed in April 2016 at AUD53, 900.
It will be ensured that employers will not discriminate against native Australians.
For existing holders of 457 visas, the DIBP has announced that people who had held, or were applicants for a 457 visa on 18 April 2017 and who intend to apply through the Temporary Residence Transition stream for permanent residency, the age limit will still be 50, no restrictions will be placed on occupations, provided applicants are holding the same position and are working with the same employer as their 457 and their required work experience will continue to be two years.
Eligible for the ENS Direct Entry stream March 2018 onwards will only be occupations on the MLTSSL.
March 2018 onwards employers will need to pay a levy of AUD5,000 per year to the Skilling Australians Fund, if they have an annual turnover of more than AUD10 million. Businesses with annual revenues of less than AUD10 million need to pay only AUD3,000 per year.
All existing 457 visa holders also need to score a minimum 6 in each of the components of IELTS exam or equivalent test. It has been raised from the previous minimum of 6, and also the waiver will be removed for applicants earning an income of more than AUD180, 000.
In addition, applicants need to have three years of work experience appropriate to the particular occupation from March 2018.
The maximum age for Direct Entry should be 45 at the time of application between 1 July 2017 and March 2018. The applicants should be aged less than 45 at the time of application from March 2018.
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