On 9 Mar 2012, Minister Bowen announced reforms to the permanent employer sponsored visa program to come into effect from 1 July 2012. The announced reforms include:
- Merging six existing visa subclasses into two by removing on- and offshore distinctions and absorbing separate Labour Agreement subclasses within streams of the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Subclass 186) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (Subclass 187) classes;
- Changing key visa criteria including English language and skills requirements;
- Introducing a streamlined pathway to residency for eligible Subclass 457 visa holders;
- Raising the upper age limit to less than 50 years;
- Refocussing the Regional Certifying Body (RCB) network to the Direct Entry stream of RSMS;
- Introducing a new single sponsored occupation list to replace the current three lists used for the subclass 457, ENS and state sponsored General Skilled Migration program; and
- Integrating ENS and RSMS within SkillSelect, also to be launched 1 July.
Within ENS (Subclass 186) and RSMS (Subclass 187) there will be the following three streams:
1. Temporary Residence Transition Stream
For Subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for their employer for at least the last two years and the employer wants to offer them a permanent position in that same occupation.
The applicants with 457 visas must have an average IELTS 5.0 or to be exempt when they apply for ENS and RSMS after 1 July 2012.
The applicants with 457 visas will not be required a formal skills assessment when they apply for ENS and RSMS after 1 July 2012.
2. Direct Entry Stream
For applicants who are untested in the Australian labour market and have not held a subclass 457 for at least the last two years or are applying directly from outside Australia.
The applicants without 457 visas must have minimum IELTS 6.0 in each test component or to be exempt when they apply for ENS and RSMS after 1 July 2012.
The applicants without 457 visas must have a positive skills assessment and three years work experience unless exempt when they apply for ENS after 1 July 2012.
The applicants without 457 visas need relevant Australian or equivalent overseas qualification, unless exempt when they apply for RSMS after 1 July 2012. Visa applicants in trade occupations at skill level 3 who have overseas qualifications will need to have their skills assessed by Trades Recognition Australia. Other tradesperson will need an AQF Certificate IV or an Ausrtalian Trade Certificate.
3. Agreement Stream
For applicants who are being sponsored by an employer through a highly scrutinised and negotiated labour agreement or regional migration agreement
(Source from MIA Notice released on Issue 2012.10 – 9 March)
More Information about Permanent Employer Sponsored Visa Program Reforms on DIAC Website.