Recent Changes to Australian Visas

Listed below are some changes recently announced by the Federal Government and the new arrangements for the skilled migration visa applications.

Changes to point-based skilled migration

Australia’s skilled migration program is a points-based system designed to attract highly qualified and experienced professionals to best meet Australia’s skills needs.

There are a number of skilled migration visas that require applicants to score a minimum number of points to qualify for permanent skilled migration (subclass 189, 190 & 489 visas).  

The government announced that from 1 July 2018 the points threshold will now be increased from 60 to 65 for skilled – independent, nominated and regional sponsored visa categories. 

Increase in visa fees

Government application charges for most Australian visas were increased on 1 July 2018.

The government is hoping to generate $410 million dollars over a four-year period from 2017 to 2021.

In partner visa applications, the prospective applicant will now need to pay $7,160 instead of $7,000.

The fee for Business Innovation and Investment (Subclass 188 Provisional) visa in the Premium Investor stream will record the highest hike of $190. Applicants will now have to pay $8,770 instead of $8,580.

Global Talent Visa scheme

The Global Talent Scheme will commence in July 2018 on a trial basis for 12 months.

More information can be found on the Department’s website here - https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/work/skilledvisas/visas-for-innovation.

The visa scheme aims to attract highly skilled workers to deliver innovation to Australia’s tech industry. It consists of two streams - start-up stream and established business stream.

  1. Established Business stream allows employers who are accredited sponsors to employ highly-skilled individuals with cutting-edge skills to contribute to innovation in an established business, and help make Australian businesses and their Australian employees the best at what they do. 
  2. Startup stream allows employers to sponsor highly-skilled individuals with cutting-edge skills to contribute to Australia's startup ecosystem and bring new ideas, new jobs, new skills and new technology for Australia. This stream is for startups operating in a technology based or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related field. Startups must be endorsed by the independent startup advisory panel.

In both instances, a four-year Temporary Skill Shortage visa will be issued with the option to apply for permanent residence after three years.

Employers will be required to demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians and that there will be skills transferred to Australian workers as a result of the person being granted a visa.

It may have been introduced to complement skill shortages resulting from reduced occupations eligible for the Temporary Skills Shortage (subclass 482) visa scheme.  

If your business meets all of the above criteria for the stream you are interested in, email globaltalentscheme@homeaffairs.gov.au with the following information:

  1. Business name and ABN/ACN
  2. Description of the positions required not available or are restricted on the eligible skilled occupations lists. 

Changes to employer sponsored visas

Government plans to implement the Skilled Australians Fund for employer sponsored visa categories. This will be followed by the introduction of training levy also known as Nomination Training Contribution Charge (NTCC) for the respective sponsors.

Employers and businesses seeking to nominate a worker will need to pay NTCC for the following visas: Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (Subclass 482) visa, which is replacing visa subclass 457; Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Subclass 186) visa; and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (Subclass 187) visa.

For an 482 visa, an annual fee of $1200 would be implemented for each nomination for a business that has a turnover of less than 10 million dollars.

A fee of $3,000 is set for an employee on a permanent skilled visa (186 and 187 visa).

Spike expected in General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa applications

General Skilled Migration Visa is designed for skilled workers who are willing to live and work in Australia on a permanent basis. This visa is also applicable to those individuals who can get sponsorship of an Australian employer.

Increasingly there are very few options available for international students under the Employer Nominated Scheme (TSS, ENS, RSMS) due to minimum work experience requirements and as a result this is likely to lead to increase lodgement of General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas (489, 189, 190 and 887).

 

Acknowledgement: Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)