Occupation ceilings reached

The SkillSelect round results for 15 March 2017 have been released and the intake allocated for Other Engineering Professionals [2339] and Computer Network Professionals [2631] has been exceeded. There will be no more invitations issued for these two occupations groups for the rest of the programme year 2015/16, which ends in June.


News from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)

Student visas

Visa processing

The DIBP is experiencing an exponential increase in the volume of student visa applications this March. It is advised that applications are lodged well in advance of visa expiry dates. Applications that are invalid and lodged at the last minute may result in the applicant being without a visa which can have heavy consequences for future applications.


Immigration risk rating

In the new simplified student visa framework (ssvf), documents required are dependent on a combination of the applicant’s country of passport and he education provider. Both country and education provider are assigned risk ratings.

Learn: Student Visa (Subclass 500)

These risk ratings are not privy to the public, and will be updated on 31 March 2017. For those preparing documents based on the checklist provided before 31 March, be aware that the documents required to successfully lodge your application after the date might be changed. Just so you know, these risk ratings are due to change again in September 2017.


Did you know?

Commonwealth sponsored students – students who receive partial or full funding under a training scheme approved by the Commonwealth Government of Australia – are not required to pay the visa application charge (VAC).

Evidence of the scholarship showing funding by the Australian Government is required for the application to be valid. This information is typically present in the Confirmation of Enrollment (COE) letter.


457 visas

Salary and hours for 457 holders

Part time work

457 nominations generally cannot be approved for part time work unless the conditions of market salary rate and Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) requirements continue to be met despite the hours of work not being full time.

Part time arrangements may also be approved where nominated earnings are at least $250,000. Labour agreements cannot be approved for part time work as the labour agreement is restricted to full time arrangements.


Change in circumstances

A reduction in hours after the grant of the visa will result in a reduction in earnings which equates to a breach in conditions, as sponsors are obligated to provide the terms and conditions of employment offered and approved at the application stage.

It is reasonable for hours to be reduced only (perhaps the applicant is returning from maternity leave) when the hourly rate of the approved nominated salary is not reduced and they are still paid at market salary rate, the roles and duties remain the same, and this arrangement is mutually agreed (written evidence) upon by both the sponsor and the visa holder.

Learn: Market salary rate

Part time arrangements may also be approved where nominated earnings are at least $250,000. Labour agreements cannot be approved for part time work as the labour agreement is restricted to full time arrangements.


Change in salary

A 457 visa holder’s salary may increase, and must, should market salary rate rise in this time, as the sponsor is obligated to maintain a salary that is no less than equivalent to what an Australian worker would receive for the same work in the same location. However should the market salary rate fall, the 457 visa holder’s hourly rate at well as annual rate cannot follow this decrease, as the sponsor is also obligated to maintain pay at promised at nomination stage.

A decrease is permissible where the visa holder was earning $250,000 or more.


Store manager positions

Store manager positions a.k.a by ANZSCO definition, Retail Manager (General) [142111] is not on the consolidated sponsored occupation list and is not eligible for the 457 visa programme. Such positions should not be applied for under the guise of an eligible occupations (e.g. customer service, sales and marketing, and specialist managers).

The DIBP will take a flexible approach to such positions in the situation where a company intends to open up a new series of stores in Australia and wishes to employ an individual experienced to do so. This work goes beyond what is usually required of a store manager. In such cases, the applicant will apply under Specialist Managers NEC [139999]. The final option is for the company to pursue a labour agreement, in which the company will need to present a very strong case on its need to employ foreign labour and exceptional circumstances that may apply.


Skills assessments

Exemptions for Program or Project Administrators [511112] and Specialist Managers NEC [139999] will cover applicants who are applying for a repeat 457 application and have completed a VETASSESS Skills assessment for their previous visa for the same occupation, or are nominated as intra-company transfers and employed in a similar occupation for the same company overseas.

Other circumstances in which a Program or Project Administrators [511112] and Specialist Managers NEC [139999] applicant may obtain an exemption are if the applicant holds significant formal qualifications and/or work experience, are being remunerated a $180,000 or more or is being hired under an accredited sponsor.


Accredited sponsors

457 sponsors who have a long history of good dealings with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) are able to apply to become ‘Accredited Sponsors’ – with their sponsorship then valid for six years, and visa and nomination applications receiving priority processing.

In the News..


Mr. Edward Kang’s trial has finally come to a close; today he faced his sentencing. It isn’t good news for Mr. Kang and we hope some of his victim will find closure with the results. Tune in tomorrow for a full report.

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