June 30, 2010

The Australian Department of Immigration & Citizenship is introducing several important corporate immigration changes effective July 1, 2010.   These include increased salary requirements, a change in how occupations are classed (and therefore skills assessed), and increased government fees.  A summary of the changes follows.

Increase in Minimum Salary for Employer Nomination Scheme (Residency)

The Australian Government has increased the minimum salary level for the Employer Nomination Scheme to AUD$47,480 (previously AUD$ 45,220) for all approved occupations except for Information Technology & Communication occupations which have a minimum salary of AUD$65,020 (previously AUD$61,920).

Increase in Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold for 457 Visas

One of the requirements for a 457 visa application is that the applicant’s salary must be at Australian market rates.  The Australian Government introduced the concept of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) in September 2009.  If the market rate for an occupation is below the TSMIT then the occupation cannot be approved under the 457 visa scheme.

The TSMIT increases to A$47,480 (previously A$45,220) on July 1, 2010.

Pro-Link GLOBAL advises our clients to monitor market rate salaries for positions which may be filled by employees requiring 457 visas.

ASCO to ANZSCO 

From 1 July 2010, The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) will replace the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) as the standard used by the Department of Immigration & Citizenship for information about occupations in all visa categories.

ANZSCO has been developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations.  ANZSCO is an improvement on the out of date ASCO.  ANZSCO and ASCO are similar but there are some differences in terms of occupation codes and job descriptions in a number of occupations, including information technology & communication occupations and accounting occupations.

Information on transitional arrangements relating to ANZSCO and ASCO has been announced by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Transitional Arrangements from Skill Authorities Associated with ANZSCO

Effective July 1, all visa categories will be assessed under ANZSCO.  We expect that there will be transitional arrangements for skill assessments that were completed prior to July 1.

The Australian skill authorities will provide further advice in the near future, and we will keep you updated.

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Occupation List

The ENS list is effective July 1.  The new list specifies occupations, ANZSCO codes, base annual salaries and relevant assessing authorities.  The occupations on the list have not changed from the previous list except they are now under ANZSCO as opposed to ASCO.

457 Occupations List and 442 (Occupational Trainee) Occupation List

The new list of occupations allowed for nomination for these visas is effective July 1.  The occupations listed are unchanged from the previous list except they are now under ANZSCO as opposed to ASCO.

New Salary level for 457 English Language Exemptions

Effective July 1 applicable applicants are required to receive base salary of at least AUD$85,090 (previously AUD$81,040) in order to be exempt from themEnglish language test requirement.

Applicants exempt from the langage test requirement in all cases include:

  • Holders of a passport from Canada, New Zealand,  Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States- where the nominated occupation does not require a level of English language competency for registration, license or membership;
  • Non-trade applicants where the nominated occupation does not require a level of English language competency for registration, license or membership;
  • Trade applicants who are nominated in an occupation that does not require a level of English language competency for registration, license or membership and who have completed at least 5 consecutive years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution instructed in English.

Increases in Australian Government Visa Application Charges Effective July 1

Government fees in the 457 category have increased by AUD$5 (for each stage of the application, i.e. business sponsorshoip, business nomination and the 457 personal visa).  Fees in other visa categories have also increased, by between AUD$5 and AUD$50, depending on the visa category.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Pro-Link GLOBAL will advise our clients on a case by case basis regarding the   July 1 changes, however, employers should note that:

  • Minimum salary requirements for 457 applications have been increased
  • Minimum salary level for English language exemption under the 457 route has also been increased
  • Government fees have been slightly increased in several visa categories, including the 457 category
  • Occupations for all visa categories will now be classed by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) rather than the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO).

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.

Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with pur PLG|KGNM correspondent office in Australia to provide this Global BRIEF alert to you.