Department of Immigration Releases Discussion Paper on Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas

By Mark Webster
22 August 2011

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship released a discussion paper on the Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas on Friday the 19th of August. The following visa types are under review, and Immigration is seeking feedback from stakeholders:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclasses 121 and 856
  • Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclasses 119 and 857
  • Labour Agreement (LA) Subclasses 120 and 855
The Department of Immigration is currently in the consultation phase of the review and is seeking feedback on the following issues:
  1. Which pathways are appropriate for semi-skilled workers
  2. How to ensure sponsored workers perform well
  3. What concessions are appropriate for regional visas
  4. How to streamline the process of applying for permanent residence when holding a temporary work visa (such as a 457)
In particular, the Department of Immigration is considering whether to change the following aspects of the permanent employer sponsored program:
  • Whether to abolish the Labour Agreement subclasses
  • English language requirement for ENS and RSMS
  • Salary level for ENS and RSMS
  • Skill level for ENS and RSMS
  • Age requirement for ENS and RSMS - quite possibly raising the limit from 45 to 50
  • The level of discretion in considering exemptions for the above criteria
  • The level of concessions for the above criteria for regional positions
  • Whether a provisional visa should be introduced to encourage migration to regional areas
  • The list of approved occupations for ENS may be linked to the 457 occupations list
  • The role of Regional Certifying Bodies in approving positions for RSMS
  • E-lodgement of ENS and RSMS visa applications
This is a significant review of the ENS and RSMS visa subclasses and employers and visa applicants are encouraged to read the discussion paper and provide feedback to Immigration.

Note that the requirements for 457 visas are not being reviewed as part of this process. However, 75% of the applications for permanent employer sponsored visas are from current 457 holders, so changes could have a significant impact on people currently holding a 457 visa.

Submissions must be provided to the Department of Immigration by the 16th of September 2011 so a quick response is essential.

Feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss how the proposed changes may affect you or your business.

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