AUSTRALIAJuly 22, 2014

Historically the 1st of July is the date on which the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) implements most changes to their immigration system. Although indeed this year changes were implemented again on this date, they were uncommonly few, and with relatively little impact. Visa application fees have not been increased across the board, nor have salary requirements been increased for the Subclass 457.

The most relevant July 1 changes are the following:

• Limitation on Skill Assessment Validity
A skills assessment is mandatory as part of the application for various visa schemes, including for most applications for the Direct Entry Stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186 for permanent residency). As of July 1 a skills assessment will only be valid until the expiry date specified on the assessment, but with a maximum of 3 years.

• Changes to 186 Temporary Residence Transition Stream
457 visa holders may qualify for a 186 permanent residence visa through the 186 Temporary Residence Transition Stream, if having been employed continuously for at least 2 years in the same position at the same sponsoring employer. As of July 1st a takeover, merger, or restructuring of the sponsoring company will not automatically impact the continuous employment requirement, as long as the job description has not significantly changed, the employee still reports to the same management structure or the employer keeps the same name and business, although being a new legal entity.

• Changes to Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List
In order to sponsor an applicant for a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) or the Training and Research visa (subclass 402) the nominated position must be included in the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). As of July 1 the positions of Hydrogeologist and Exercise Physiologist have been added to this list, and two positions have been renamed: Ship’s Surveyor has been renamed Marine Surveyor and General Medical Practitioner has been renamed General Practitioner. Additionally, new assessing authorities have been specified for several Nurse related positions, and for the position of “Marine Transport Professional not elsewhere classified”.

Note that Subclass 457 is currently undergoing a review, so changes might be implemented to this Subclass before July of next year. Based on the pro-business attitude that the current administration has shown so far, it is generally expected that any changes that might be proposed based on the current review will be of a positive nature from an employer’s perspective.

Pro-Link GLOBAL will continue to monitor Australian immigration regulations and provide updates on any relevant changes.