Also announced on 18 April 2017 are changes to the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa ('ENS' visa) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) visa ('RSMS' visa).
While the changes will mainly impact the ENS and RSMS, future applicants for the Skilled visas (subclass 189, 190 and 489) may also be affected by changes to the occupation lists.
Changes from April 2017
From 19 April 2017, for new applicants for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programmes:
Occupation lists: The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will be significantly condensed, with 216 occupations removed, and access to 24 occupations restricted to regional Australia (e.g. occupations relating to farming and agriculture). The CSOL currently underpins the Direct Entry stream of the ENS visa.
The CSOL will also be renamed the new Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and will be updated every six months based on advice from the Department of Employment.
The other occupations list used for skilled migration, the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) will be renamed the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
Changes from July 2017
From 1 July 2017, for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programmes:
Occupations lists: The STSOL will be further reviewed based on advice from the Department of Employment. The MLTSSL will be revised based on outcomes from the Department of Education and Training’s 2017-18 SOL review.
English language requirements: A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 6 in each component.
Age: A maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application will apply to Direct Entry stream applicants. A maximum age requirement of 50 at the time of application will continue to apply to Temporary Residence Transition stream applicants.
Changes by December 2017
Before 31 December 2017, for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programmes:
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) will commence the collection of Tax File Numbers for these visa holders, and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
The Department will commence the publication of details relating to sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulation 1994 and related legislation.
Changes from March 2018
From March 2018, for ENS and RSMS:
For the ENS and RSMS visa: The MLTSSL will now apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers for the RSMS.
Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, currently $53,900.
Residency: The permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years.
Work experience: At least three years’ relevant work experience.
Age: All applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application.
Training requirement: a strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers.