April 11, 2012

The changes to the permanent employer sponsored visas (ENS and RSMS) coming in on 1 July 2012 are quite significant. One of the main intentions behind the changes to the ENS/RSMS programs is to streamline the process of applying for permanent residence whilst holding a 457 visa.

People will be affected differently by the new changes depending on their circumstances. This article goes through the main winners under the new system.

ENS/RSMS Eligibility Streams

The requirements for ENS and RSMS vary depending on which “eligibility stream” you apply under from 1 July. To appreciate the impact of the changes, it’s important to have an understanding of the eligibility streams:

Temporary Residence Transition:

where applicants have worked with the employer on a 457 visa for the last 2 years. Applicants in this category have a streamlined pathway onto permanent residence through ENS and RSMS from 1 July.

Direct Entry Stream:

for applicants who have not worked in Australia, or who have worked in Australia on a visa other than a 457 visa. Criteria for these applicants are higher – for ENS they must have a skills assessment and 3 years of work experience in their occupation, and RSMS applicants must get approval from a Regional Certifying Body and may also require skills assessment.

Agreement Stream:

for applicants whose employer has a Labour Agreement. Labour agreements are special arrangements individually negotiated with the Department of Immigration, and allow sponsorship in a wider range of occupations and are required for the “on-hire” or “labour hire” industry.

1. People on 457 visas in non-ENS occupations

There are many people on 457 visas who have been sponsored in an occupation which is not on the current ENS Occupations List.

Examples of such occupations include:

  • Cafe or Restaurant Manager
  • Customer Service Managers
  • Various IT specialisations
  • Intermediate service managers (eg
  • Divers and Diving Instructors
  • Farmers

People sponsored for 457 visas in these occupations are currently on a “road to nowhere” – they can stay in Australia on 457 visas, but have limited options in applying for permanent residence.

From 1 July 2012, there will be a single consolidated list of occupations which applies to 457, ENS and State/Territory Sponsored Skilled Visas.

As a result, people already on a 457 visa will be able to look at an ENS visa once they have worked with their employer on a 457 visa in their occupation for 2 years, even if their occupation is not on the current ENS list.

2. Applicants between 45 and 50 years of Age

The age limit for ENS and RSMS visas will increase from 45 to 50 from 1 July 2012.

As a result, applicants between 45 and 50 will be able to qualify for an ENS or RSMS visa without needing to show Exceptional Circumstances.

3. Applicants over 60 years on 457 visas

Under current arrangements, it is extremely difficult for applicants aged over 60 to obtain an ENS or RSMS visa. Under current DIAC policy, applicants must show that they will make a significant economic contribution to Australia and have a very high salary level ($213,000 or more).

From 1 July 2012, applicants who have worked for their employer for the last 4 years on a 457 visa and who have a salary of over $118,000 should be eligible for an exemption to the age requirement.

This will make it far more possible for applicants over 60 to qualify for migration under the Employer Nomination Scheme.

 

February 7, 2010

On 8 February 2010, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced the following changes to the General Skilled Migration program:

  • the outcomes of a review of the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL)
  • the replacement of the current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) in the second half of 2010
  • offshore GSM visas made before 1 September 2007 would be capped and ceased
  • priority processing arrangements
  • skills assessment requirements for GSM applicants nominating a trade occupation.

 

Australian government will tighten the list of target occupations and focus instead on healthcare, engineering and mining. The changes aimed at making skilled migration to be more effective to Australia’s needs.

 

The government will also abolish the current Migration on demand list (MODL) and publish a new Skill Occupation List (SOL).

 

The Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, said Australia needed a program that ”delivers the skills that are actually in demand in the economy, not just the skills that applicants present with”. ”If hospitals are crying out for and willing to sponsor nurses then of course they should have priority over the 12,000 unsponsored cooks who have applied and who, if all were granted visas, would flood the domestic market,” Senator Evans said.

 

”In recent years, the skilled migration program has been skewed as the pool of applicants has become dominated by a handful of occupations.” The current points system puts an overseas student with a short-term vocational qualification gained in Australia ahead of a Harvard-educated environmental scientist.

 

The bar was being raised for applicants without an Australian employer prepared to sponsor them. There were many occupations where the supply of qualified young Australians was adequate. But there were some jobs where there was a high demand for skills such as for hospital nurses, country doctors and resource sector employees.

 

Yesterday the Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, warned against a dramatic migration drop. The need for doctors, nurses, mining engineers, and IT specialists from overseas was ”crucial to our economy”, he told Channel Ten’s Meet the Press.

 

More information is available on the department’s website.

See:
Changes to the General Skilled Migration Program (362KB PDF file)
Outcomes of the Migration Occupation in Demand List Review – Frequently Asked Questions (373KB PDF file)
Onshore International Students (435KB PDF file)
Changes to Offshore General Skilled Migration Visa Applications Received Before 1 September 2007 (409KB PDF file)
Changes to the Current Skilled Occupation List (368KB PDF file)
Revoking the Critical Skills List (337KB PDF file)
Changes to Priority Processing Arrangements – Frequently Asked Questions (406KB PDF file)
General Skilled Migration (GSM) Points Test Review (377KB PDF file)
Changes to the Skills Assessment Requirements for GSM Applicants Nominating a Trade Occupation (417KB PDF file)

 

1 January 2010 legislative change – suitable skills assessment as a validity requirement for onshore GSM visas

Pre 1 January 2010, applicants applying for permanent migration based on one of the onshore General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa subclasses were required, at time of application, to provide evidence that they had applied for a skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority. At time of decision, a suitable skills assessment was required.

From 1 January 2010, applicants applying for one of the following onshore GSM visa subclasses will be required to have obtained a suitable skills assessment prior to applying for migration in order for the application to be valid and assessed by the department for a decision:

More information is available online. 
See: Skills Assessment Criterion as a Validity Requirement from 1 January 2010 for Onshore GSM Visas( 49KB PDF file)

 

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