As you know the final stages of the staggered release of changes to employer sponsored visas – Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) 186 visa, Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) 187 visa – will be happening in March 2018. Let’s take a look at what’s about to come.
The 457 visa programme will cease, applications for the 457 visa will be accepted up to March 2018. The Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa will commence. We will write about the new TSS visa in our next article, so check back in on Thursday evening!
Approved 457 sponsors will be able to sponsor an employee under the TSS visa from March 2018 as long as their standard business sponsorship is valid.
ENS 186 visa
Direct entry stream ENS visa applicants will only be able to nominate an occupation from the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
Find: Occupation lists
RSMS 187 visa
From March 2018, the MLTSSL will apply to the RSMS visa, with additional occupations available to support regional employers.
Temporary residence transition ENS/RSMS applications
Held or applied for a 457 visa before 18 April 2017
Special arrangements have been made for those who have applied for or held a 457 visa before 18 April 2017, before the announcements to the changes where made.
- Must be in the same occupation for the same employer
- Cannot have turned 50 years of age
- Must have worked 2 years out of the 3 years whilst holding a 457 visa before application
New eligibility criteria, such as raised English requirements, must be met. The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), which currently only applies to the 457 visa, will be implemented in the ENS 186 and RSMS 187 visa programs.
Read: Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
Applied for 457 visa after 18 April 2017
Must meet the new eligibility criteria for your ENS 186 or RSMS 187 visa. This includes being under the age of 45 before the time of application, unless you qualify for an age exemption.
You will must also have worked in your occupation on your 457 or Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa for at least 3 years.
Age exemptions may be available if you:
- Nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia (Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry streams)
- Nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist by an Australian government scientific agency, including State and Territory government scientific agencies (Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry streams)
- Applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream, who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a subclass 457 visa for the last four years and whose earnings were at least equivalent to the Fair Work Australia High Income Threshold* for each year over that period
- Nominated as a medical practitioner (ANZSCO Minor Group 253) applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream:
- who have been working in their nominated occupation as the holder of a subclass 457 visa for at least the four years immediately before applying, this employment was located in regional Australia for at least two of these years, and whose nominated position is located in regional Australia
- for the Direct Entry stream:
- New Zealand citizens and non-New Zealand members of the family unit of New Zealand citizens who hold Subclass 444 or 461 visas who have been working for their nominating employer in their nominated occupation for at least two years (excluding any periods of unpaid leave) in the last three years immediately before making their visa application
From March 2018, training benchmark requirements replaced with the requirement to contribute to the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF). The contribution must be paid for at the time of lodging a nomination application for the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa as well as the ENS 186 and RSMS 187 visas.
Transitional arrangements are yet to be finalised but it is expected that sponsors will not be required to meet training benchmarks for any period during which the SAF charge has commenced.
Read: English Requirements and Exemptions From 1 July 2017
Read: 457, ENS, RSMS Updates From the Department (29 September 2017)
Read: Skilling Australians Fund