1st of July visa changes

There were many immigration legislative changes which were implemented on the 1st of July 2017.  I will not discuss all the changes in this article.  I will only choose a few that I believe has most impact on future visa applicants. This article intends to explain five immigration law changes and how it affects visa applicants who have submitted their visa application on or after the 1st of July 2017.

  1. Applicants should be younger than 45 years old at the time of application.

This affects the General Skilled Migration visas (189,190 and 489), Employer Sponsored visas (ENS 186 Direct Entry and RSMS 187 Direct Entry).  This means that if you are 45 years old and over, you are not eligible to apply for these visas. This new policy excludes applicants for 189 visa New Zealand pathway (see item number 5 below).

  1. Caveats implemented on the 19th of April 2017 for 457 visa applications now applies to ENS 186 DE applications.

Caveats are additional requirements set for some roles on the skilled occupation lists (MLTSSL and STSOL).  I have here an example of caveats for four specific roles as shown below.

Cook (ANZSCO 351411) and Chef (ANZSCO 351311)

Excludes positions involved in mass production in a factory setting or positions in a limited service restaurant. A limited service restaurant includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • fast food or takeaway food services
  • fast casual restaurants
  • drinking establishments that offer only a limited food service
  • limited service cafes including, but not limited to, coffee shops or mall cafes
  • limited service pizza restaurants.

This means that if you are working as a cook in a factory or in a restaurant where table service is not provided or you work in pub, café, or pizza places with limited food items on their menu, you will not be eligible for a 457 visa or 186 DE visa even if your employer is willing to sponsor you.

Marketing Specialist (ANZSCO 225113)

Excludes any of the following positions:

  • based in a front-line retail setting
  • predominately involve direct client transactional interaction on a regular basis
  • with businesses than have an annual turnover of less than $1Million
  • have a nominated base salary of less than AUD$65,000.

This means that the 457 and 186 DE visas are only available for Marketing Specialists working for companies with annual revenue of at least $1M, with a salary of at least $65,000, those who do not work in retail, and are not mostly involved with regular transactions with clients.

Web Developer (ANZSCO 261212)

Excludes positions that do not require a minimum of two years relevant work experience.

This means that you should have at least 2 years of work experience to be eligible for a 457 and 186 DE visa.

  1. Higher English score requirement

The ENS 186 TRT and the RSMS 187 TRT visas now require an English language score of at least 6.0 of IELTS or equivalent in each band.  Before the 1st of July 2017, the requirement was at least 5.0 of IELTS or equivalent in each band.

This means that applicants who have an IELTS score below 6.0 or equivalent in each band should retake any acceptable English exam and make sure they achieve at least 6.0 in each band of IELTS or equivalent to be eligible for ENS 186 TRT and RSMS 187 TRT.

  1. Removal of English requirement exemptions (high salary)

Before the 1st of July 2017, some people can be exempted from the English requirement for a specific salary amount per visa class shown below.

  • For 457 visa, you can be exempted from showing any English capability evidence if your salary is at least $96,400 a year.
  • For the ENS 186 visa and RSMS 187 visa, if your salary is above $180,000 a year, you can be exempted from the English requirement.

All these exemptions were taken out from the 1st of July 2017.  However, the 457 English exemption can still apply for visa applicants who are sponsored by an overseas company.

This means that even if your salary is higher than the above listed salaries and you are not sponsored on by an overseas employer (for 457 visa applicants), then you are still required to show an English capability evidence.

  1. New Zealand Citizens’ easier PR visa pathway.

I have covered this in full detail in the June edition of Philippine Times.  This previous article is also available on http://bridgeaus.com.au/easier-pr-visa-pathway-for-new-zealand-citizens/.

New Zealand citizens who arrived on or before the 19th of February 2016, who have stayed in Australia for at least 5 years from the time of visa application, and who have been earning at least $54,000 in the last 5 years are eligible to apply for the 186 visa New Zealand Citizen pathway.  There is no age, work experience, education, and English language requirement for this new visa pathway.

In summary, all these changes on age, English requirement, introduction of caveats on employer sponsored visas, and implementation of the 189 visa for New Zealand citizens, affects specific types of visas and applicants.   The Australian immigration law will continue to change and if you are applying for a visa on your own, you have to be very careful and you should review any visa changes before you submit your application.

If you are overwhelmed with all these changes and need guidance on how it affects your current situation, I suggest you ask guidance from Immigration Lawyers or Registered Migration Agents recognised by the MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority).  You can find the list of licenced agents at https://www.mara.gov.au/.