Fact sheet two: Reforms to Australia’s permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programme


The purpose of this fact sheet is to advise the general public about the scope and implementation timeframes for reforms to the following permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programmes:

- Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa (ENS visa)

- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) visa (RSMS visa).

Implementation of these reforms will begin immediately and be completed by March 2018.

These reforms complement associated changes to Australia’s temporary employer sponsored skilled migration programme. See fact sheet titled: Reforms to Australia’s temporary employer sponsored skilled migration programme — abolition and replace ment of the 457 visa.

What is changing?

Changes from April 2017

From 19 April 2017 , for new applicants for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programmes:

- Occupation lists: The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will be significantly condensed, with 21 6 occupations removed , and access to 24 occupations restricted to regional Australia (e.g. occupations relating to farming and agriculture) . The CSOL currently underpins the Direct Entry stream of the ENS visa.

- The CSOL will also be renamed the new Short - Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and will be updated every six months based on advice from the Department of Employment.

- The other occupations list used for skilled migration, the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) will be renamed the new Medium and Long - term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). This list will contain occupations that have been assessed as being of high value to the Australian economy and aligning to the Government’s longer term training and workforce strategies.

Changes from July 2017

From 1 July 2017 , for permanent emp loyer sponsored skilled visa programmes :

- Occupations lists: The STSOL will be further reviewed based on advice from the Department of Employment. The MLTSSL will be revised based on outcomes from the Department of Education and Training’s 2017 - 18 SOL review.

- English language requirements: A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) s core of 6 in each component .

- Age: A maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application will apply to Direct Entry stream applicants. A maximum age requirement of 50 at the time of application will continue to apply to Temporary Residence Transition s tream applicants.

Changes by December 2017

Before 31 December 2017 , for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programmes:

- The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) will commence the collection of Tax File Numbers for these visa holders, and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.

- The Department will commence the publication of details relating to sponsors sanctioned for fai ling to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulation 1994 and related legislation.

Changes from March 2018

From March 2018 , for ENS and RSMS:

- For the ENS and RSMS visa: The MLTSSL will now apply, with additional occupations available to suppor t regional employers for the RSMS.

- Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.

- Residency: The permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years.

- Work experience: At least three years’ relevant work experience.

- Age: All applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application.

- Training requirement: a strengthened training requirement for employers to co ntribute towards training Australian workers .

Why are these changes being made?

The Government is changing the eligibility requirements for some permanent skilled visas to better align the permanent and temporary programmes.

These measures will sharpen the focus of Australia’s skilled migration programmes to ensure they better meet Australia’s skills needs, increase the quality and economic contribution of skilled migrants and address public concerns about the displacement of Australian workers.

Who is affected?

Those affected are prospective permanent employer sponsored visa applicants and businesses sponsoring skilled migrants.

While the changes mainly impact the ENS and RSMS, existing and prospective applicants for the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa, the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa, and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa will also be affected by some changes to the occupations lists.

The changes to the occupations lists for skille d migration will reduce the number of occupations accessible under these visas.

More information

More information about these reforms is available on the Department’s website at www.border.gov.au