Changes to immigration laws have now taken effect. These include the following: 

  1. Police clearance requirement – All 457 visa applicants are required to have Police Clearance Certificates for any country where they have lived for at least 12 months in the past 10 years 
  2. English language requirement – High earning applicants of 457 visas who earn $96,400 are no longer exempt from English Language proficiency standards. 
  3. Stricter English language requirements – All applicants of permanent employer-sponsored skilled visa streams will be subject to a higher language standard to meet the minimum English language requirements
  4. Visa application charges (VAC) to increase – VACs have been increased effective from 1st July 2017
  5. Permanent visas for New Zealanders – A new route to permanent residency has been created that will allow New Zealand nationals who have resided in Australia on or before 19th February 2016 and have continued to reside in Australia for a minimum period of five years and meet minimum salary requirements.
  6. Amendments to the 457 permit occupations lists – The Federal Government has released updated skill lists for the employer sponsored visa programmes in Australia. These lists are effective from 1 July 2017.  Twelve occupations have been removed from the occupations list. There are now 36 additional occupations available for the 457/186 program.