Today I’m joined by Katie Malyon, who’s a Principal at Katie Malyon & Associates. Katie welcome back to BRR Media.
Now Katie the Government’s announced reforms to employer nominated permanent residence programs, which are coming in from July 1. Can you tell us what has actually been announced and why?
Yes Kate, the Government has announced some fairly comprehensive changes to the permanent residence employer nominated scheme, so that covers the ENS scheme, the Employer Nomination Scheme for permanent residence, the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, but also the permanent Labour Agreement Program. So the three main programs initiated by employers has been in place pretty much for the last 9, 10 years and so all of those will be subject to change with effect from 1 July. Basically the thrust is to simplify the six visa subclasses into just two, and streamline the transition from the very popular 457 visa program, through to permanent residence. It certainly is the fastest growing component of the skill stream of the migration program, the Employer Nominated Scheme, and very successful from all accounts. You know 96% of migrants who are granted an Employer Nominated visa work full time and earn a medium income in excess of $77,000, so it’s great for the country, it’s great for the bottom line, and it’s good for business.
Yes certainly. And Katie you mentioned of course that it’s going to streamline the visas that are in operation now. What are some of the other key changes that will be coming through?
There are a number of changes, so many in fact Kate I’ll just run through some of the key reforms. Firstly, moving away from multiple lists for occupations, so we’ll end up with a single consolidated list of occupations which will greatly streamline things, from that perspective. For the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, the occupation list – a separate list with a REMS program will include all Australian, New Zealand standard classification of occupations in skill level 1 to 3. Right now there’s a requirement for diploma level, with exceptional circumstances applying, and that’s been very generously interpreted in policy to include most trades. Semi-skilled occupations won’t be included in that skill level 1 to 3 but they’ll be able to access the Labour Agreement Program, or Regional Migration Agreement Program. Couple of other changes, market salary will be introduced as a requirement for all employer nominated applications, currently there’s a skill migration threshold applicable. There is also going to be a requirement that employers need the same training benchmarks that are now required for the 457 visa program. The 457 visa program has very prescriptive requirements, you need to demonstrate that you’ve spent at least 1% of gross payroll training your Australian staff, or that you’ve paid 2% into an industry training fund or to a university. Another change has been the increase in age limit from under 45 to under 50, a possible; you know incentive for some people to get their application in now. A very clear pathway has been for people on 457 visas who’ve spent at least 2 years in Australia including one year with their nominating employer, that’s going to change, they’ll now be required to spend at least 2 years with their nominating employer. The direct entry program, so if people aren’t transitioning from a 457 visa, but coming in directly, then they will need to have at least a skills assessment and 3 years’ experience, or be paid in excess of the executive salary level currently set at $250,000 or working in one of the yet to be announced occupations, and we think they’ll include occupations such as research scientists with CSIRO or ANSTO, or Ministers of Religion. The other big one is the English language; for people applying directly they’ll need to meet the higher standard of competent English measured in the International English Language Testing System at 6 compared with the current arrangements of 5 which applies for 457 visa holders, transitioning across.
And Katie it’s a 1 July start date which is coming round the corner fairly quickly this year, so what are your tips for employees and employers?
Well I think people need to look at the new thresholds and see whether it’s actually better to apply now, or wait until after 1 July. People who might want to consider applying now would include people who are 50 years or more of age, people who are already in Australia for 2 years, but only one year with their current employer. People who might have difficulty meeting the IELTS 5 band if they’ve been in Australia for at least 2 years, but may be concerned about meeting the English language test, for whom if they’re applying directly it will be 6. I guess the other group of people who might want to consider, are the people on other 400 series visas because the changes will impact only on the 457 visa holders. So the Kiwis, Kiwi partners will need to consider going down the 457 path or applying directly. Certainly in terms of those employers who are having to deal with regional certifying bodies it will increase the processing time, when you’re having to get approval from a regional certifying body and then lodge at the Department. And I guess the final changes, good news, this is all going electronic. The Department of Immigration is moving to electronic lodgement for the new employer nominated visas, which is very good to hear.
Well lots of changes and lots of things for both employees and employers to consider. Katie once again thank you for sharing with us some of the details.
Thank you Kate.
That was Katie Malyon, who’s a Principal at Katie Malyon & Associates. Listeners if you have any questions for Katie send them through either using the panel on your screen or otherwise via email to email@example.com.