Further updates have been announced by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) on 18 November 2017 which we have summarised here.

Regional Boundaries update

Perth is longer classified as a regional area for the purposes of a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 visa which means employers within this area no longer have access to this program. This will not apply retrospectively.

The whole of the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Northern Territory remain ‘designated regional areas’ for the purposes of the RSMS. For Western Australia areas excluding metropolitan Perth will still have access to the RSMS program. For New South Wales, areas excluded from the RSMS program include Sydney and Wollongong. As for Victoria, it excludes metro Melbourne. Finally, for Queensland, the RSMS option remains available to areas outside of Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

457 insurance cover

From 18 November 2017, 457 applicants no longer need to provide proof of their insurance cover. Instead, applicants only need declare that they are aware of this criteria and will make their own arrangements as part of the conditions applicable to grant of the visa.

Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) to supersede Training Requirement

From March 2018, businesses no longer need to satisfy the training requirement when submitting an Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or 457 visa. Businesses will instead need to satisfy the SAF requirement where a contribution is made to the SAF. The contribution amount is dependent on the duration of the sponsorship and turnover of the business.

Clients are reminded that the SAF is subject to the parliamentary process and we will provide further updates once this has been finalised.

Condition 8602 – Public Health Debt

DIBP have introduced a new condition 8602 where an applicant must not have an outstanding debt while in Australia. This condition applies to skilled, student, business and tourist visas. Visa holders must extinguish such a debt to be compliant with their visa conditions. This condition does not apply where the costs are covered by their insurer or Medicare.

Reviewing the list of occupations for 457 Sponsorship

Occupations which appear for sponsorship list are reviewed by the Department of Education and Training every 6 months. They are now trialling a ‘traffic light’ management system where occupations are flagged before the list is updated. Occupations which appear green will remain, blue occupations will be introduced for sponsorship and red occupations will be removed.

The aim of this is for businesses to better manage their resourcing needs and not be caught out by changes to the program. Occupations which have been flagged for potential removal in January 2018 are Accommodation Managers, Hair or Beauty Salon Managers, Recruitment Consultants and Building Associates. Businesses opposed to these changes are welcomed to provide submissions against them which we are able to assist with.