Immigration News

  • Changes to Permanent Employer Sponsored & General Skilled Migration Visas


    There have also been changes to the ENS (Subclass 186), RSMS (Subclass 187) and General Skilled Migration visas as follows:

    • Raising English language requirements to "competent" level (IELTS 6), consistent with TRT and Direct Entry requirements
    • Upper age limit of 45 for Direct Entry applicants. ENS (Direct Entry) will also be affected by the skilled occupation lists amendments;
    • Occupations will be limited to those on the relevant Skills Occupation List (grandfathering arrangements anticipated for applicants who held a 457 visa on April 18, 2017); and
    • Upper age limit for General Skilled Migration (subclasses 189, 190 and 489) to decrease to 45.
    • From March 2018, payment of Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) Levy:

    o    Costs for Permanent visas (ENS & RSMS, Subclasses 186 & 187):

    §  $3,000 one-off per nominee for small business; and

    §  $5,000 one-off per nominee for larger businesses i.e. defined as $10 million and over.

    Disclaimer: Specific applications may vary due to a number of factors, including complexity of individual cases, perceived risk factors and processing priorities. Please contact us for current information regarding a particular type of visa subclass before making an actual application. 




  • Skilling Australian Fund (SAF) Levy

    It is highly recommended for employers to review their current inventory of 457 visa holders, and if possible consider lodging permanent visas before the March 2018 changes to avoid the SAF 

  • The New TSS Visa


    The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa will consist of two streams:

    1)      Short-Term Stream which provides up to two years; and

    2)      Medium to Long-Term Stream providing up to 4 years visas


  • The End of An Era – The Abolition of Subclass 457 Visa


    The Subclass 457 visa will cease as of March 2018. How will this affect the current holders of the visa and their sponsors? This remains to be unveiled by newly created Department of Home Affairs. However, there has been some insight into some of the changes that will take place.

    Essentially, people who held a Subclass 457 visa, or made an application, on 18 April 2017 will still be able to access certain existing provisions under the ENS (Subclass 186) visa and RSMS (Subclass 187) visas (Temporary Transitional Streams). The guidelines to determine whether an applicant is still eligible for this visa are as follows:

    1.       Occupation requirements remain the same. The nominated employee continues to work for the same employer in the same position as approved by their current Subclass 457 visa grant;

    2.       The age requirement will remain at less than 50 years of age.

    3.       Work experience remains at a minimum of 2 years together with the requirement to have worked for at least 2 years out of 3 prior to the nomination of the Subclass 457.


  • Construction Industry Poised for Major Growth


    Strong projected growth for the construction industry due to huge public spending on transport infrastructure projects and increased levels of private sector investment in commercial buildings.

  • 457 Visa Changes Effective 1 July 2017


    Eligible Skilled Occupation List

    In conjunction with the government's 457 visa announcement on 18 April, further changes will apply on the skilled occupation list from July 1, 2017. Amendments include the introduction and removal of occupations, as well as changes and caveats on some occupations.
    The updated list of eligible occupations will apply to new and pending undecided subclass 457 applications. Changes are reflected on Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website.
    Please note that applications for other visa subclasses will be affected by the occupation list changes, but the lists are confusing so please contact us for specific advice.
    To know occupations listed on Medium to Long Term Shortage List (MLTSSL), Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and 457 Caveats, download the latest skilled occupation list. Occupations on the MLTSSL are eligible for a 4 year 457 visa, while occupations on the STSOL are eligible for 2 years initially and can be renewed for a further 2 years. MLTSSL occupations are eligible for pathways to Permanent Residency, but STSOL occupations are not at this stage. Great care needs to be taken to evaluate each case, particularly now, where there can be many pitfalls, and applying the caveat exemptions is extremely complex.

    Mandatory Skills Assessment

    TRA 457 skills assessment programme will be enhanced to include additional nationalities for few of the existing occupations:

    Character Changes

    Applications for 457 visa will no longer be exempted from the standard policy on penal verifications. The applicant is asked to present a police certificate from each country in which the visa applicant has resided for a cumulative period of at least a year or over the last 10 years since turning the 16 years of age.

    If the applicant has served in the military, military service record or discharge papers for each person who is/has served in the armed forces of any country in the last 10 years will also be required - as well as police certificates for the countries of service.
    The new e457 visa application form instructs additional details and attachment of police certificates. 

    English Language Exemption

    The English Language Salary Exemption (ELSET) has been removed for applications submitted on or after 1 July 2017.  Hence, English language results must be included in 457 visa application requirements with the following exemptions:

    • the applicant is an employee of an overseas company who is coming to Australia to work for that company or their associated entity and they have at a nominated base pay rate of $96,400 minimum
    • the applicant holds a passport of any of the following countries: UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland.

     New 457 Sponsorhip Accreditation

    Current Standard Business Sponsors (SBS) can apply for accredited status by lodging a sponsorship variation application.

    They can request for a sponsorship accreditation online and they must provide extra evidentiary information at the time of application.

    The new sponsorship accreditation has four categories:

    Category 1: Relates to Standard Business Sponsors that are Australian government agencies

    (Commonwealth, state, and territory)

    Category 2: Relates to Standard Business Sponsors that are approved Australian Trusted Traders

     Category 3: Relates to Standard Business Sponsors categorised as "Low risk" with low volume usage

    (of the 457 program) and a high percentage of Australian workers (at least 90%)

     Category 4: Relates to Standard Business Sponsors categorised as "Low risk" with high volume usage (of the 457 programme) and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%).

    For more information on the required characteristics and evidentiary documentation, download the updated sponsorship accreditation arrangements.

    Businesses that are not Standard Business Sponsors as of 1 July 2017 must apply to become a sponsor first before they request for an accreditation assessment. Application for a Standard Business Sponsorship should register online via the Department's website.

    Existing Accredited Sponsors will not be affected by the 1 July 2017 changes. They will continue to access priority allocation and streamlined processing arrangements as usual.

    Training Benchmarks Modifications

    Business operating for at least a year must demonstrate that they are able to meet a training benchmark to receive business sponsorship approval.

    Businesses have two choices to meet the training benchmark: 

    1. Payment to an industry training fund of at least 2% of payroll

    2. Expenditure of at least 1% of payroll on training employees

    Training includes: 

    a. paying for a scholarship for formal study at TAFE or University

    b. paying for formal courses of study or training provided by an RTO, which is considered a step to formal qualification

    c. employing apprentices, trainees or recent graduates in the business

    d. hiring a training officer

    e. attending conferences for CPD purposes

    f. eLearning or training software

    Training excludes the following activities: 

    a. on-the-job or induction training

    b. undertaken by the principals of the business or their family members

    c. membership fees, books, journals or magasine subscriptions

    d. not releveant to the business industry 

    The business must provide proof of recent expenditure at the required level, and commit to maintaining this level of funding for each 12-month period following approval of the sponsorship. 

    Companies operating less than a year must show they have an auditable plan to meet the benchmarks. 

    Permanent EMPLOYER SPONSORED Visa Updates 

    • Raising English language requirements to "competent" level (IELTS 6), consistent with TRT and Direct Entry requirements
    • Upper age limit of 45 for Direct Entry applicants. ENS (Direct Entry) will also be affected by the skilled occupation lists amendment
    • Upper age limit for General Skilled Migration (subclasses 189, 190 and 489) to decrease to 45.



  • 2017 Updates on Australian Citizen Application


    The government announced changes that will apply to citizenship applications received on or after 20 April 2017.

    The new Citizenship legislations will be introduced by the end of 2017. 


    The changes include:


    • Minimum of 4 years' permanent residency prior to application
    • English competency. Demonstrate English listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. Applicant is required to pass an English language test equivalent to IELTS level 6
    • Strengthening Australian Values Statement. Reinforce Australia values by undertaking to integrate and contribute to the Australian community
    • Strengthening Australian Citizenship Test. Addition of new test questions about Australian values, privileges, and responsibilities
    • Demonstration of integration into Australian community by providing evidence of:

    1.       Work experience.  If the applicant is not working, he or she is actively looking for work or getting education

    2.       Active participation in community or voluntary organizations

    3.       Correct payment of taxes

    4.       Applicant's children are attending school, if applicable

    5.       No criminal records

    6.       Compliance with social security laws

    • Strengthening the Pledge of Commitment. Individuals below 16 years of age and over 60 years of age to make the Pledge of Commitment to all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption, and resumption.


    For more information, read the whole report  




  • Changes to Employer Sponsored Visas including Replacement of 457 Visa


    There have been some significant changes to employer-sponsored visas announced on 18th April 2017. Some of these changes take immediate effect, and others will be rolled out between now and March 2018. While Regulation and policy are still being finalised, below is a snapshot of some of the major changes:


    457 VISAS

    • 457 visa applications can still be applied until February 2018. However, the list of approved occupations has been reduced from 651 to 435 occupations effective immediately. This new list is called the Combined List of Eligible Skilled Occupations, incorporating a Medium and Long Term Strategic List (MLTSSL), and Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). The combined list, i.e. of eligible 457 occupations can be viewed here.
    • For the updated Medium and Long Term Shortage List, see MLTSSL's (i.e. list of occupations for 4 year 457's). For the list of "removed occupations, see it here
    • Some occupations (59) will have additional caveat requirements. Konnecting has drafts of these caveats and will advise clients on a case by case basis.
    • Pending 457 cases are impacted by the changed occupations lists. If a pending case with occupation on old CSOL but now removed from combined list, then the Department will provide an opportunity to withdraw, and request refund of Visa Application Charges. Details TBA.
    • From July 1, 2017, further changes to English levels (removal of high salary exemption)occupation review, minor changes to training benchmarks and character requirements. Details TBA.
    • Some good news! DIBP advice for 457s, "Processing times continue to improve with initial assessments now generally occurring 24 days after lodgement for most the caseload - and still within 2 days for accredited sponsors".



    Effective March 2018, TSS replaces 457 Visa. 


    • Minimum two years' work experience
    • Labour market testing is required for all occupations covered by TSS, except those exempted by international trade agreement
    • Pass the mandatory criminal checks

    A. Short-Term TSS Visa

    • Valid for two years
    • Targeted occupations reduced to 200 from the estimated 650 classifications previously covered by 457 Visa
    • Optional two-year extension available before a visa holder must leave the country to apply again.
    • Offer no prospect of permanent residency
    • Application fee: $1150

    B.  Medium-Term TSS Visa

    • Valid for four years
    • Targets higher skilled workers from 183 classifications
    • Workers can apply for permanent residency
    • Requires higher English language proficiency
    • Application fee: $2400

    For more details about TSS, visit



    • From 19th April 2017, the occupation lists for permanent employer sponsored PR visas changes from the old CSOL list to the STSOL.
    • From July 1, 2017, a maximum age limit of 45 at the time of application for Direct Entry streams, and 50 for Temporary Residence streams.
    • Pending ENS/RSMS cases - waiting on finer detail before we can advise on these.
    • From March 2018, the MLTSSL list will apply and at least 3 years' work experience will be required. Salary must meet TSMIT including RSMS (currently set at $53,900). 3 years' residence to apply for PR under 457 transition.
    • Some Regional Area concessions will apply (TBA)
    • Employer Training requirements to be strengthened (details TBA).


    Change of occupation lists affecting subclasses 189, 190, 489, 485. Contact us for details.



    For existing clients, particularly with pending cases we are reviewing the new Regulations and Policy for each case and will advise accordingly. As you can imagine with such mammoth changes, we are fielding a lot of enquiries, so your patience is appreciated.


  • Updates on 457 Visa Programme


    The 457 visa policy supports Australian businesses employing skilled overseas workers to fill vacancies for short durations of time (3 months to 4 years). The program also ensures 457 workers are placed in good working conditions and are only employed when local workforce cannot fill the shortage.  The goal of the visa policy is to supplement for the Australian manpower.

    New 457Sponsorship Accreditation Process

    New sponsorship accreditation arrangements by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)was released on 1 July 2016. The 457 sponsorship for Accredited Sponsors is valid for 6 years. Once accredited sponsorship is approved, the visa and nomination applications will receive priority processing.   Initial assessment takes place in 5 working days only compared to 40+ days for non-accredited sponsors. Moreover, less supporting documentation is needed and the  possible decision can be made during the initial assessment.

    To be qualified for accredited sponsorship, the sponsor must:

    1.              Be a government agency, publicly-listed or private company with at least $4 million annual turnovers for the                           last three years;

    2.              Has an active 457 visa sponsorship for at least 3 years. Break should be less than 6-months in the past 36                             months, without warnings or sanctions;

    3.              Have at least ten457 nominations approved in the 24 months;

    4.              Have submitted an agreed level of decision-ready applications for the past two years;

    5.              Be less than 3% non-approval rate for the past three years;

    6.              Have75% Australian staff in the workplace;

    7.              Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment;

    8.              Provide the Department with a copy of the template contract (or letter) that they use;

    9.              Make sure all Australian employees' salaries should comply with Enterprise Agreement or current market                              pay rates;

    10.          Disclose all business operations. This includes the following

    • Profit/loss statements
    • BAS (Business activity statements
    • Annual reports
    • Detailed information about the Principals and/or Directors
    • Current/historical extract from ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission)

    Risk Factors in 457 Nomination Rejection

    On the other hand, an application can be rejected if DIBP assesses the position was only created to secure a migration outcome.

    DIBP considers the following factors in evaluating the authenticity of the position nominated:

    1.              The nominee is related or considered a personal associate of an officer sponsoring the business;

    2.              The nominee is a director or owns the sponsoring business;

    3.              The immigration history hints on the main motive of the nominee is to stay in Australia for any type of visa;

    4.              Business is operating for a very short period of time;

    5.              Salary is either significantly higher or lower than industry standards;

    6.              Business has relatively small turnover, which could mean difficulty in supporting a number of employees;

    7.              Proof that nominee was paying the business to lodge the nomination

    In addition, DIBP also considers whether the duties of the position matches with those duties of the nominated occupation as indicated on ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations). The evaluation takes into account whether the nominee will actually perform the duties listed and whether the business context is pertinent including the location where the nominee will work, position in the organisation structure, proposed duties and duties performed by current workers of the business.

    Another thing that DIBP regards is whether the position nominated reflects the nature of the business. DIBP looks where there is an overlap between the positions being created or tasks are misaligned. DIBP also finds remarkable inconsistencies which indicate the nominee is unlikely to perform duties specified due to the business' range of activities or size/turnover rate. 


    Amendments to the 457 Visa programme streamlines the process of skilled manpower migration. Furthermore, the update also limits the influx of unwanted overseas workers competing with Australian employees.

    For more information on either migrating to Australia or recruiting staff from overseas, call us at 1300 131 131 or send us an email at

    Receive the latest news on skilled recruitment and migration. Join our newsletter. 





  • 2016 -2017 Skilled Occupation List and Consolidated Skilled Occupation List

    The annual release of the Australian Government Skilled Occupation List gives an indication of future trends in employment. By definition, these occupations are the focus of the Government to fill expected future gaps. The Australia's Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP) released the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and Consolidated Skilled Occupation (CSOL) list for 2016-2017.

    The SOL are for occupation on the national skill shortage, and most desperately in shortage. For this SOL DIPB have added orthopedist, prosthetist, and audiologist in its list. However, the following occupations were removed: mining engineer, petroleum engineer, metallurgist, environmental health officer, occupational health and safety adviser, dental hygienist, dental prosthetist, dental technician and dental therapists. The mining-related occupations are obvious given the most recent downturn in this industry.

    In its annual review, it was found out that there were a number of occupations that have excess supply in the labour market, which could lead to potential elimination from the list in the future.

    For CSOL, candidates are eligible if they are nominated by a State or Territory Government (Subclass 190), a direct entry stream via Employer Nomination Scheme visa (ENS), Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa, or Training and Research Visa (Subclass 402). 

    For more details on 2016 SOL and CSOL, download the complete 2016 Skilled Occupation List and Consolidated Skilled List.

    For more information to see how Konnecting can help your business solve your skill shortages, contact us for an assessment. 

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