Immigration News

  • 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".

     

    TEMPORARY SKILL SHORTAGE (TSS) VISA

    Effective March 2018, TSS replaces 457 Visa. 

    Eligibilities:

    • 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 https://www.border.gov.au/WorkinginAustralia/Documents/abolition-replacement-457.pdf

     

    PERMANENT EMPLOYER SPONSORED VISAS (ENS & RSMS)

    • 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).


    GENERAL SKILLED VISAS (INDEPENDENT & STATE SPONSORED)
     

    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 recruit@konnecting.com

    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. 

  • New Entrepreneur Visa to boost Australia's entrepreneurship and innovation

    The Department of Immigration & Border Protection has launched a new Entrepreneur Visa to support the country's National Innovation and Science Agenda.This new visa demonstrates the long-term intentions of the Australian Government on an overall national focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

    The new visa stream aims to attract talented and enterprising applicants, with financial aid from a third-party, to set up scientific and technological ventures in Australia. The visa stream will be included within the existing Business Innovation Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) and the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).

    Consistent with this goal, the government also updated the General Skilled Migration (GSM) points test to entice highly-skilled graduates in the fields of science, technology engineering, mathematics (STEM) and information and communication technology to work and live in Australia. The government will award extra points to these candidates to strengthen their pathways to Australia's permanent residency. To be eligible, candidates in the above-mentioned fields should have at least completed two full academic years of post-graduate studies at doctoral or masters (research) level, at an Australian Institution where that degree included a study for at least two academic years, and where the field of education is specified.

     

    The following educational qualifications are nominated to be accepted under this update as outlined by Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS):

    Engineering and Related Technologies:

    • Aerospace Engineering and Technology;
    • Civil Engineering;
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Technology;
    • Engineering and Related Technologies;
    • Geomatic Engineering; Manufacturing and Engineering Technology;
    • Maritime and Engineering Technology;
    • Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Technology;
    • Other Engineering and Related Technologies; 
    • Process and Resources Engineering.

    Natural and Physical Sciences: 

    • Biological Sciences; 
    • Chemical Sciences;
    • Earth Sciences;
    • Mathematical Sciences;
    • Natural and Physical Sciences;
    • Other Natural and Physical Sciences;
    • Physics and Astronomy.

    Information technology  

    • Computer Science;
    • Information Systems;
    • Information Technology;
    • Other Information Technology.

    The new Entrepreneur visa will be available in November 2016 and the enhanced visa pathway for STEM post-graduate research graduates will be introduced in December 2016. For more information, on the government plans for innovation visit www.innovation.gov.au

  • WARNING: Fake Job Offers

     

    Dear customers, please be wary of fraudulent activity from someone unauthorised representing to

    be an agent of Konnecting.

  • Konnecting Celebrated Lunar Chinese New Year with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

    Konnecting Skilled Migration and Recruitment celebrated Lunar New Year 2016 with local Australian-Chinese community at Rhodes Phoenix. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Reid MP Craig Laundy joined us in making this event a successful one.

  • China Added to Eligible Countries for ‘Work & Holiday’ Visa

    Australia has added China to the list of countries whose citizens are eligible for Work and Holiday Visas.

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