Clarifying changes to employer-sponsored permanent visas

The AFR today reported that recent changes to some employer-sponsored visas would mean hundreds of visa applications made before 1 July are now invalid.

The business community should be assured that changes to the exemption to English language and skills assessment requirements for employer-sponsored permanent visas will not be applied to applications lodged before the changes came into effect on 1 July 2017.

The Government is removing the exemption for applicants earning over $180,000 per year for English language and skills assessments for the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187).

In implementing this change, the Department will ensure it only affects applications lodged from 1 July.

The removal of the exemption is designed to prevent misuse of the program by individuals inflating their income to avoid having to undertake an English test or a skills assessment.

Applications lodged before 1 July will continue to be assessed on merit, and anyone suspected of inflating their incomes will be subject to further scrutiny in the application process.

The reduction in the age limit for some permanent employer sponsored visas from 50 to 45 also only applies to direct entry visa applications lodged after 1 July.

It does not apply to current subclass class 457 visa holders applying under the transition stream.

The restoration of the age limit to 45 years responds to a recommendation of the Productivity Commission to ensure migrants make a sufficient contribution to the Australian economy before moving into retirement.

Exemptions to the age limit remain in place under certain circumstances.

The Government remains committed to maintaining the integrity of Australia’s migration programs and improving systems and processes.

These changes are designed to protect Australian workers, while allowing employers to recruit overseas workers in occupations which are known to be in high demand and face skills shortages in the Australian labour market.

Further information is available on the Department’s website.