Australia – Immigration Updates

Changes to Occupation Lists

What has changed

As expected, Australia has revised its occupation lists which specify which occupations are eligible for certain temporary and permanent Australian visas.

The changes to the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) mean that some occupations which were previously eligible will no longer be, while others have been added or moved between lists. Moving from STSOL to MLTSSL is positive in that it means visa applicants in those occupations are now eligible for a work visa lasting four (4) years, rather than two (2), and also have a clearer pathway to permanent residence if those occupations remain on the MLTSSL.

There are some positive impacts from the changes, including the move from STSOL to MLTSSL for occupations such as Chief Executive, Corporate General Manager, Economist, Mining Engineer and ICT Security Specialist, amongst others. On the other hand, some occupations have been removed from lists entirely, including Property Manager, Real Estate Agent and University Tutor. The Government will continue to review the occupation lists regularly.

Who is affected?

  • Clients hiring foreign nationals
  • Foreign nationals seeking employment in Australia

What you need to do

Planning ahead

  • Clients should be checking the eligibility of incoming assignees or newly-hired foreign nationals prior to making irreversible plans for them to work in Australia. Temporary visa holders in Australia who are planning to seek permanent residence should also re-confirm how changes effect them prior to proceeding with any permanent visa application.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

Changes to English Language and Skills Assessment Exemptions for Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas

What has changed

Effective immediately, the Australian Government has removed exemptions from skills assessment and English-language requirements for primary Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 visa applicants whose earnings would be equal to or greater than the Australian Tax Office’s top individual income tax rate of A$180,000. The skills assessment requirement is applicable only to applicants in the Direct Entry stream.

This change adds expense and uncertainty, as well as elongating the process significantly. This change will impact applications for these visas which are currently on hand.

Also, from 1 July applicants in the Direct Entry stream of this visa type must be aged under forty-five (45), although very limited exemptions from this are still available.

Who is affected?

  • Current and future Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 primary visa applicants with earnings equal or greater than the Australian Tax Office’s top individual income tax rate of A$180,000
  • Direct Entry stream Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 visa applicants aged forty-five (45) and over

What you need to do

Planning ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

Confirmation of Changes to Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 Visas

What has changed

Effective immediately, police clearances are required for Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visas applicants. Applicants aged seventeen (17) and above must obtain a clearance from each country they have resided in within the last ten (10) years for twelve (12) months or more and since turning sixteen (16). English language testing exemptions for subclass 457 visa applicants earning above A$96 400 per year who are not transferring from an overseas entity to an Australian entity of the same company have now been removed.

Adjustments have been made to the Training Benchmark criteria which have restricted some of the expenditure types which could be claimed as a training expense. For example, salaries of Australian staff who provide training can only be claimed if those employees’ sole duty is related to training and staff development.

Who is affected?

  • Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa applicants aged seventeen (17) and older
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa applicants earning above A$96,400 per year

What you need to do

Planning ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.