AUSTRALIAApril 23, 2015

As reported in our Global Brief from March 20, 2015, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, confirmed on March 18 that the Australian government supported a majority of the conclusions from the Subclass 457 independent review. She also announced that, as a result, changes would be implemented to the program shortly.

This week the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) confirmed that many of the announced changes as described in our previous alert have now indeed come into effect:

• The list of accepted English language providers has been expanded and now consists of the following providers:

· International English Language Testing System (IELTS test);
· Occupational English Test (OET);
· Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT);
· Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE);
· Cambridge English: Advanced test (CAE), where the test was completed on, or after 1 January 2015.

• Acceptable overall test scores, with minimum scores for each of the four test components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) have been defined for each test provider and apply as of April 18;

• Proof of 5 years of cumulative study in English at secondary or tertiary level now qualifies for an English test exemption, instead of 5 consecutive years;

• Standard Business Sponsorships (SBS) are now issued with 5 years validity instead of the previous 3 years (18 months instead of 12 months for startup businesses);

• The market salary exemption threshold has been lowered to AUS$ 180,000, from the previous AUS$ 250,000;

• The notification deadline for sponsors has been extended from 10 working days to 28 calendar days.

Readers should note that no changes have been implemented yet to the Training Benchmark, and there is no news currently on the announced reduction of the burden for employers related to the Labor Market Testing requirement.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

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