Skilled Migration Program
As announced previously as of July 1 all skilled visa applicants require 65 points to qualify. This is an increase from formerly 60 points across all visa sub-classes: s/c 189 Skilled Independent; s/c 190 Skilled Nominated, s/c 489 Skilled Regional Provisional.
Applicants who intend to claim points for their spouse skills will face a new age limit of 45 years for spouses, who wish to claim points for their qualifications and work experience.
To date, no changes have been made to the skilled lists. However, a number of occupations have previously been flagged for removal, so there may well be a change later this month.
A new visa 'The Global Talent Scheme' will be trialled for the next 12 months.
This new visa has similar requirements as the existing s/c 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa. Employers seeking to sponsor overseas candidates will also need to prove a track record of hiring and training Australian staff. However, the new 'Global Talent Scheme' is predominantly aimed at highly skilled workers with innovative ideas and techniques. There will be two streams: The 'Start-up' and the 'Established Business' Stream.
Changes to employer-sponsored visas
The widely discussed 'Skilled Australians Fund' has not yet been established. However, it is in planning and will be established as soon as possible. Once the fund has been established employers seeking to nominate an overseas worker, will have to pay a training levy for each nominee they seek to sponsor.
Affected are the following visa sub-classes: Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) s/c 482; Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) s/c 186; and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) s/c 187.
The Department of Home Affairs announced plans to reinforce Sponsors accountability to financially support their partners. There are plans to divide partner visa applications into two separate processes. If implemented, the Sponsor's ability to meet their obligations will be assessed separately, raising concerns that this will result in further delays of visa processing.
It goes hand in hand with a proposal to increase waiting times for permanent residents to access certain Centrelink payments. To date new arrivals with permanent visas have to wait for two years, however, in future permanent residents may well have to wait four years.
While none of these changes passed parliament in time to be implemented by July 1, these changes are not off the table and will be introduced once an agreement has been reached.
There was a lot of talk about increasing the residency requirement for citizenship applicants, however, these changes have not yet passed through the Senate. So there are no changes at this stage, however, the government appears committed to increasing the residency requirement as well as introducing a new English language requirement. So, watch this space!
If you are not quite sure whether any of the above changes affect you, or what exactly these changes mean for your plans to move to Australia, don't hesitate to contact our Registered Migration Agent for a confidential consultation.