1st July 2017 changes to skilled visa programs

(A)  Changes made to the lists of eligible skilled occupations for Australia’s skilled visa programs

  • 12 occupations added into the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MTLSSL)
  • 23 occupations moved from Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) to MTLSSL
  • 2 occupations moved from MTLSSL to STSOL
  • 16 occupations added into the STSOL
  • 12 occupations being removed from the list
For the summary of the changes please click here.
For further information about the impacted subclasses, occupations, related caveats and arrangements according to the date of lodgement see lists of eligible skilled occupations by the Australian Government click here.

(B) Changes to the Temporary Work (skilled) Visa (subclass 457)

  • English Language Requirements
    The English Language Salary Exemption Threshold (ELSET) which exempted applicants with salary was over AUD$96,400 from the English language requirement has been removed.

  • Training Benchmarks
    From March 2018 sponsors will no longer be required to meet the current training benchmarks requirements with these arrangements to be replaced by a requirement to pay a contribution to the new Skilling Australians Fund (SAF).

  • Character
    Penal clearance certificates are now mandatory for all visa applications.

  • Mandatory Skills Assessments
    The Department of Education and Training’s Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) 457 skills assessment program will be expanded to include some additional nationalities for a small number of existing occupations.

  • Visa Validity
    Visa validity policy now specifies that a subclass 457 visa may be granted for up to 4 years for occupations listed on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) if requested by the sponsor and required to meet international trade obligations.

  • New Sponsorship Accreditation Arrangements
    The characteristics for sponsorship accreditation approval will be expanded to accommodate certain low risk sponsors who only use the subclass 457 program occasionally. This will ensure that gaining access to regular priority processing will no longer only favour large volume users of the program.

(C)  Changes to the ENS visa (subclass 186) and 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). 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).

  • 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).

  • Age
    Applicants for the ENS and RSMS DE stream must be under 45 years of age. The age requirement for the TRT stream will remain under 50 years of age until 1 March 2018 when the under 45 years of age limit will become effective.

  • Genuine Need
    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 1st July 2017, ENS and RSMS DE nominations must include information about the identification of the nominee.

(D) An additional pathway to PR for New Zealand (Special Category Visa) (SCV) holders

  • 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.

(E) Changes to points-tested skilled visas

Contact details.

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Worldlink Business Consultants Pty Ltd

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