Skilled migration program changes to Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 from March 2018

The government announced significant changes to the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa Subclass 186 and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa Subclass 187 in April 2017 with the major changes coming into effect from March 2018 to these permanent employer sponsored visas.

The actual date in March has not be determined but it is thought it will occur in mid-March.

How will these migration program changes impact employees and employers?

Age – Applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application.

Occupation Lists – New occupation lists have already been implemented. The Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) now applies to the Direct Entry stream for both the ENS and the RSMS. Further occupations will be included for the RSMS to support regional employers.

Minimum market salary rate – Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), currently $53,900.

Subclass 457 residency requirements for transitional applicants – The eligibility period to transition to permanent residence will be extended from two to three years. This means Subclass 457 visa holders will be required to work for the same company for at least three years before becoming eligible to apply for a permanent residency visa in the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

Work experience – Visa applicants will need to demonstrate at least three years’ relevant work experience prior to lodging a visa application.

Training requirement -Employers nominating a worker for an ENS or RSMS visa will be required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund. The contribution will be payable in full at the time the worker is nominated as follows:

  • $3,000 for small businesses (those with annual turnover of less than $10 million); and
  • $5,000 for larger businesses (annual turnover greater than $10 million).

Grandfathering arrangements

The above changes will be overridden by “Grandfathering” arrangements, when applying for permanent residency under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, but is only applicable to people who held, or had applied for, a Subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017.

For these applicants the occupation requirements remain the same, the age will still be 50 years and the work experience and residency requirements will stay at out of the three years prior to nomination on the subclass 457.
If you wish to find out more about the migration program changes or would like to begin your visa application, please contact our team of Registered Migration Agents today.

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