Major changes to employer sponsored visa programme announced

by Ray Clancy on March 15, 2012

in Australia Immigration

Reforms will create a fast track from 457 visa to permanent residence

The Australian government is to cut red tape for businesses sponsoring visas for overseas workers needed to address critical skills gaps, immigration and citizenship minister Chris Bowen has announced.

It will simplify the permanent employer sponsored visa programme by introducing a consolidated skilled occupation lists and establishing a fast track from the temporary skilled subclass 457 visa to permanent residence.

The aim is to allow skilled migrants to settle and work in regional and metropolitan Australia.

‘These reforms will make it easier for businesses and potential migrants to navigate the permanent employer sponsored visa programme, while ensuring the integrity of our visa system,’ he said.

Around four in five permanent employer sponsored visa applicants previously held a 457 visa and the majority of them stay with the same employer doing the same job.

‘Skilled migrants deliver major benefits to the Australian economy in terms of contributing to economic growth and offsetting the impacts of an ageing population. We know these workers can do the job and are ready to make a commitment to Australia, so it makes sense to streamline their pathway to permanent residence,’ explained Bowen.

The government will replace the current six permanent employer sponsored visas with two new visas and consolidate the existing three sponsored occupation lists, that is subclass 457, employer nomination, and state and territory sponsored general skilled migration lists, into one list.

The reforms to the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) will take effect from 01 July 2012.

Permanent employer sponsored visa places currently account for 39% of the total skilled migration programme for 2011/12, including 16,000 places through RSMS. The programme allows Australian employers to sponsor workers for permanent residence to fill skilled full time job vacancies in their businesses.

According to KPMG the move will create a clearer permanent residence pathway for 457 visa holders. ‘The current use of three skilled occupation lists has meant that uncertainty has surrounded 457 visa holders entering Australia who could be adversely affected by changes to permanent residence skilled occupation lists in the event of their occupation being removed,’ said a spokesman.

Under the changes all applicants will need to be under 50 years of age unless exceptional circumstances apply. This is increasing from the age of 45.

Distinctions between onshore and offshore applications will be removed to reduce administration complications and confusion.

KPMG said that companies bringing in expats through employer nominated permanent residence without first holding a subclass 457 visa for two years can expect greater independent verification of their credentials by the department of immigration.

Direct applicants will now require assessment of their skills and qualifications as well as higher English language requirements.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: