“1 July 2017 changes to skilled visa programmes”

In addition to the reforms which have already been implemented on 19 April 2017, there are a number of further changes which will take effect on 1 July 2017. These changes will specifically impact on the following temporary and permanent skilled migration programmes:

List of eligible skilled occupations
As foreshadowed, additional changes have been made to the list of eligible skilled occupations.

For further information about the impacted subclasses, occupations, related caveats and arrangements according to the date of lodgement see list of eligible skilled occupations.

Visa validity
Visa validity policy may be clarified further for certain visas granted on or after 1 July 2017. These changes are expected to have a positive impact on a small cohort of applicants only, with the maximum four year visa period generally still only available where the primary applicant’s occupation is on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). For further information see: Combined list of eligible skilled occupations.

 

Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187)
A number of reforms for July 2017 were previously announced in Fact sheet two: Reforms to Australia’s permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programme (615KB PDF).

The information below elaborates further on these reforms as well as additional changes which come into effect on 1 July 2017 for the permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187).
English language requirements
Applications for ENS and RSMS made under the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream lodged on or after 1 July 2017 will require, at a minimum, an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 6 in each component (Competent English). For more information see English language requirements.
The English language skills exemption for both ENS and RSMS has been removed for those who have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (AUD 180,001). This will also apply to all applications including those lodged before 1 July 2017 that have not been finally determined.
Skill exemption
The exemption from a skills assessment for applications made under the Direct Entry (DE) stream of both ENS and RSMS has been removed for those who have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (AUD$180,001). This will also apply to all applications including those lodged before 1 July 2017 that have not been finally determined.
Age
From 1 July 2017, applicants for the ENS and RSMS DE stream must be younger than 45 years of age. This applies to visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017. Current age exemptions will still be available.
The age requirement for the TRT stream will remain at less than 50 years of age until 1 March 2018 when the less than 45 year age limit will become effective.
Genuine need
From 1 July 2017, all ENS and RSMS TRT stream and DE stream nominations must provide evidence of ‘Genuine need’ for the person to work in the nominated position.
Nominee to be identified
From 1 July 2017, ENS and RSMS DE nominations must include information about the identity of the nominee.
New Zealand pathway
An additional pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holders has been introduced. This pathway is included in the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) as a new stream, and applications can only be made online. For more information – see An additional pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand citizens.

Changes to points-tested skilled visas
From 1 July 2017, visa applicants must be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation for the following points-tested skilled visas:

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489).
Further information regarding these changes is available on the individual visa programme web pages above, as well as within SkillSelect.

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