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.
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
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.