Ensuring You are Prepared for July 1 2017
2017 has been a year of incredible change to Immigration legislation and policy. It all began in April when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a massive overhaul of the previous immigration policy, particularly in regards to skilled worker migration, permanent resident and citizenship requirements.
First Round of Changes: 19 April 2017
The first change occurred on the 19th of April 2017, affecting applicants of Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visas, General Skilled Migration visas, and Permanent Employer Sponsored visas. Most importantly, the changes included a review and overhaul of the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) as well as the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL). As such, the focus that the government aimed to perpetuate in making these changes is a priority towards increasing the level of skilled workers in Australia, prioritising certain jobs which require commercialisation through importation of skilled migrant workers.
In place of the SOL and CSOL, the government introduced a Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) as well as a Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). The MLTSSL can be thought of as the long term pathway for migrants that the government believes can provide skilled work that Australia itself is unable to supply. As such, skilled workers whose professions are on the MLTSSL will be able to work in Australia for four years after the grant of application. The STSOL, on the other hand, only provides a list of occupations that allow migrants to work for two years.
For a list of the occupations on the MLTSSL, look to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website.
Changes from 1 July 2017
From 1 July 2017, the MLTSSL and the STSOL will be again reviewed, further prioritising the types of skilled occupations that migrants are allowed to bring to Australia. Other changes that will occur will include changes to citizenship and permanent residency requirements, as well as a change in the threshold of requirements for various visas and citizenship applicants. Some of these changes will include:
- English language requirements: higher earning 457 applicants (earning of AUD$96,400 or more) will no longer be exempt from the standards of English language proficiency that other applicants are subject to. They will now be required to have the same standards as all 457 visa applicants.
- English language requirements: the standard of English language proficiency will be higher for permanent visa applicants (specifically permanent employer-sponsored skilled visa applicants), with all applicants being required to have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6 in each component, or equivalent in a similar exam.
- Police Clearance Certificates (PCCs): All applicants for subclass 457 visas as well as their accompanying families, who apply after the 1st of July 2017 or whose applications have not been adjudicated before 1st of July 2017, will no longer be exempt from doing a PCC, and will further be required to supply a PCC from each country where they have resided.
- Visa Application Charges (VACs): there will be an increase in VACs from 1 July. The list of changes can be found
- Passenger Cards: outgoing Passenger Cards will no longer be required for travellers exiting Australia.
- APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTCs): These will now be obtainable online for eligible Australian citizen business travellers. Details are available on the DIBPs website.
- Lower Maximum age requirement: for Subclass 189 (Skilled-Independent) visas and Subclass 186 (Direct Entry) visas; being set to 45 years at the time of application.
Further changes are set to take place in December of 2017 as well as further into 2018. With all of these changes, it is important to both stay updated, and to seek advice. An Immigration Lawyer who is also a registered migration agent, such as the lawyers at Immigration Solutions Lawyers, is the number one person to seek advice on as they have knowledge, not just of the policy, but of the legal effects that all of these changes will have, not just now but into the future.
For further information on changes and how Immigration Solutions Lawyers can help you, visit our website, or contact us on 1300 428 472.