CLARITY AROUND VISAS AND IMMIGRATION
Australia… one of the world’s most desirable counties to live in and now, one of the hardest to obtain residency in due to the recent changes around visas, announced in April 2017 (Cheers Malcolm!). Numerous changes were introduced, including creation of separate occupation lists for different visa subclasses, occupations being added and removed from lists, changes to the Training Benchmark system, and removal of some exemptions. Throw in some retrospective legislation and the Department has gone a long way towards delivering all the drama and suspense of a blockbuster television series.
Here we try to help you navigate the ever- changing world of the immigration scape across Australia. Keep in mind we are NOT migration agents – we have an awesome professional partner to help you through all the tough stuff!
TEMPORARY WORK (SKILLED) VISA 457
He announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa which will support businesses in addressing genuine skill shortages.
The new TSS allows skilled workers to enter Australia for an approved business for either;
- 2 years if your occupation is on the STSOL (Short Term Skill Occupation List) or
- 4 years if your occupation is on the MTLSSL (Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List)
For the combined list of eligible skilled occupations please follow this link:
CONCESSIONS FOR REGIONAL AUSTRALIA WILL CONTINUE TO BE AVAILABLE
- Employers in regional Australia will continue to have access to occupations under the temporary and permanent visas, to reflect their skills needs.
- Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will be retained. Consideration will be given to expanding the occupations in regional Australia that are exempt from the age requirement.
HOW CAN I STAY IN AUSTRALIA?
186 Visa – The Employer Nomination Scheme (186) gives you (and any family members) permanent residency. There are two Employer Nomination Scheme (186) streams.
APPROVAL TO SPONSOR
You must be sponsored by an eligible employer. The employer will need to meet the training benchmark. The employer must be on the Employer Nomination Scheme (186). Your employer can be located anywhere in Australia to sponsor you on this visa.
ELIGIBILITY FOR THE EMPLOYER NOMINATION SCHEME
You must meet the requirements around age, English skills and skill (work experience and/or qualification). The job must be at the correct salary level, full time and be offered for at least two years. Please note that the age limit for Direct Entry on a 186 visa is dropping to under 45 years on 1 July 2017. The age limit will remain at under 49 years for the Temporary Residency Transition stream, but only until March 2018.
187 Visa (RSMS Visa)The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (187) gives you (and any family members) permanent residency. There are two Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS Visa) streams.
TEMPORARY RESIDENT TRANSITION
If you currently hold a 457 visa, and have done so for at least two years (with the same 457 sponsor), you are eligible through the Temporary Resident Transition stream of the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (187). NOTE: Based on recent changes, you may require a higher English test score. Additionally, if you do NOT reach your two years of work on your 457 visa prior to March 2018, you may need to consider other options.
If you have not been working on a 457 visa for two years (with the same employer), but you can hold a qualification that is relevant – and at the correct skill level – you are eligible through the Direct Entry stream of the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (187). NOTE: If your occupation is NOT on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), you are ONLY eligible to lodge a 187 Direct Entry visa before March 2018. Some occupations on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) may be exempted but Immigration has confirmed which occupations.
APPROVAL TO SPONSOR
You must be sponsored by employer located in a designated regional area.These areas include all of South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania. Employers in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales must be located outside the metropolitan areas. Employers sponsoring on the Temporary Resident Transitions stream need to meet the training benchmark requirement. The nomination must be approved by the relevant Regional Certifying Body.
ELIGIBILITY FOR THE REGIONAL SPONSORED MIGRATION SCHEME (187)
You must meet the requirements around age, English skills and skill (work experience or qualification) in an occupation on the Regional Skilled Migration Skilled Occupation List (RSMSOL) . The job must be full time, offered for at least two years and meet market salary rates.
190 VISA – APPLYING FOR A SKILLED – NOMINATED (190 VISA)
This is one of the most well-known visa processes. Your application will be considered through a points-based system, which analyses what you have to offer to Australia once you move here. You could be considered for a 190 visa if:
- You are working in a profession that is listed as in shortage
- You reach the standard necessary for points-based applications. This will be based on your age, English competence, training and work experience.
- You are sponsored by a state or territory.
GAINING STATE SPONSORSHIP
Each state has its own unique requirements. Some may be lacking skilled workers in a particular trade and as such, you may have a better chance of gaining residency if you choose your destination carefully. Occupation shortages change a lot, so it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of Australia’s needs, or work with a registered migration agent who can advise and assist. It may also be the case that one state has a higher English test score standard than the next, so it’s important to weigh up your options. There is no set formula for success to gain state sponsorship. Once you’ve been granted a 190 visa you’ll be able to:
- Work in any industry upon arrival
- Study at an Australian school or university
- Receive subsidised healthcare through Medicare
- Begin your journey to full Australian citizenship
- Sponsor others for permanent residency
WHAT IS THE AUSTRALIAN SKILL ASSESSMENT?
Depending on which authority you’re dealing with, the Skill Assessment can be complex. When making a visa application, there is no room for error. You may be required to provide documents of your training, detailed reports and references from the duration of your career.
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
Once you hold a positive skill assessment, you’ll need to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI). Once this has been completed, you’ll be added to a pool of other hopefuls. You will then be invited to apply for a visa.
PASSING THE AUSTRALIAN VISA ENGLISH TEST
As a skilled – nominated 190 visa applicant, you may be required to take an English language test.
489 VisaLike all skilled visas, the Skilled – Nominated or Sponsored (489) visa is a points-based application. There are two pathways for the 489 visa:
STATE SPONSORSHIP ON A 489 VISA
The Skilled Sponsored (489) visa requires sponsorship by an Australian state or territory. Each state has unique skill shortages and thus occupations appear at different times on different lists. Each state varies in its specific requirements. Some states require applicants to have higher English scores; others require more work experience or detailed evidence of the applicant’s assets. You must live in a regional area of the state that sponsors you. This includes all part of South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania. If you are sponsored by Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia or New South Wales you must live and work outside the metropolitan area. The ACT does not have a Skilled Sponsored (489) visa program.
RELATIVE SPONSORSHIP ON A 489 VISA
If your nominated occupation is on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)you can be sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated areaYour relative must be a permanent resident or citizen of Australia or an eligible New Zealand citizen. This includes your sibling, parent, child, aunt, uncle, cousin or grandparent. Your relative can be living in any part of Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania. If your relative lives in Queensland or New South Wales, they must live outside the metropolitan area. You must live in the same designated area as your relative.
PATHWAY TO PERMANENT RESIDENCY
The Skilled – Nominated or Sponsored (489) visa gives you and your partner full work rights and starts you on the pathway to permanent residency. The Skilled – Nominated or Sponsored (489) visa is a four year provisional visa. Once you have lived in the designated area for two years (and worked for 12 months of this, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency and live in any part of Australia.
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
Under Australia’s SkillSelect (skilled migration visa) program, you are required to lodge an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI). This places you in a pool to be invited to apply for a visa.
Most Skilled – Nominated or Sponsored (489) visa applicants need to sit an English test to meet the score required for this visa.
SUBCLASS 189 SKILLED INDEPENDENT VISA
To apply for this visa, you’ll need to be working in a job on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and be able to meet the skill assessment requirements for your occupation. Eligibility for the 189 visa is based on a point score, taking into account age, qualifications, work experience and English competence. As you are working in a role on this list you don’t need sponsorship from a relative or state, and you can live in any part of the country.
WHEN YOU’RE GRANTED A 189 VISA:
- You and your partner can work in any job on arrival
- You can study at one of Australia’s fantastic schools or universities
- You can start your journey towards Australian citizenship
- You can sponsor others during their own permanent residency applications
- You’ll receive subsidised healthcare through Medicare
You should be aware that you’ll need a range of paperwork, which may include detailed references and training certificates
ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEST
All applicants are required to take an English test called IELTS