Australia: Reforming Temporary Business Entry, Employer-Nominated Permanent Residence Schemes
Important immigration-related changes in Australia came into effect on 1 July 2012, under both the Temporary Business Entry (subclass 457 visa) and the Employer Nomination Scheme (‘ENS’). The new rules will help tighten up and simplify the path to permanent residence for foreign workers holding a sub-class 457 visa, the principal temporary work visa category.
The Department of Immigration & Citizenship (‘DIAC’) has now released the Consolidated Skilled Occupation list, which is to be used for Temporary Business Entry, ENS, as well as state nominated General Skilled Migration. This list increases the number of eligible occupations that are available, as well as providing more streamlined eligibility for ENS based on the individual’s occupation.
Under the Temporary Business Entry scheme, the new Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold that subclass 457 visa applicants must now meet is A$51,400.
The ENS and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (‘RSMS’) have been the subjects of substantial review by DIAC, culminating in the changes that are now in place as of 1 July 2012. The ENS is now a subclass 186 visa and the RSMS is now the subclass 187 visa.
Key features of these new visas include the following:
• Requirement for the business to show that the terms and conditions of employment are no less favorable than what it would offer an Australian employee.
• Removal of a minimum salary with legal award being the salary floor.
• Training requirements for the business being brought in line with the Temporary Business Entry scheme.
• Removal of an onshore or offshore distinction for applications allowing applicants to be either in or outside of Australia both at the time of lodgement and time of decision.
• Increase in the English language requirements for applicants.
• Age limit for applicants now increased to 50 years of age with only very limited exemptions available.
• Visa applicants now able to use the new SkillSelect system to locate an employer to nominate them under these schemes.
The changes around ENS and RSMS have largely sought to bring the program more in line with Temporary Business Entry and to bring more stringent criteria around the program more generally.