20/11/17 - Reforms to Australia’s Permanent Skilled Migration Program

From 19 April 2017, reform changes to Australia’s employer sponsored skilled visa programs are the following:

For new ENS applicants:

  • Occupation Lists: The Occupational list for the employer nomination scheme (ENS) has been drastically reduced by 216 occupations removed and 24 occupations restricted to regional Australia (e.g. occupations relating to farming and agriculture)
  • The consolidated sponsored occupation list (CSOL) was renamed the new short term skilled occupations list (STSOL).
  • The Skilled Occupations List (SOL) was renamed to the New medium and long-term strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). The list contains occupations that are of high value demand for the Australian economy.
  • The lists mentioned above will be under continuous review every six months from 1 July 2017.

Intended Changes in December 2017 / January 2018:

  • Before 31 December 2017, for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programs:
  • Tax File Number Collection: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (The Department) will commence the collection of Tax file Numbers of these visa holders, and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
  • The occupation lists will be reviewed by the Department of Employment in January 2018.

Changes from March 2018

  • Occupations Lists: The MTSSL will now apply to the Direct Entry Stream for both the ENS and RSMS to support regional employers.
  • Residency: The Eligibility period for transition to permanent residence will be extended from two to three years.
  • Work Experience: At least three years of work experience relevant to the particular occupation.
  • Age: All applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45
  • Training Requirement: Employers nominating a worker for an ENS or RSMS visa will be required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund. The contribution will be:
    • Payable in full time the worker is nominated
    • $3,000 for small businesses
    • People who held, or had applied for, a subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017 will be able to access certain existing provisions under the Temporary Residence Transition stream:
      • occupation requirements remain the same (i.e. there are no restrictions as long as the nominee continues to work in the same position for the same employer as approved for their subclass 457 visa)
      • the age requirement will remain at less than 50 years of age; and
      • the work experience requirement, and the requirement to have worked at least two out of the three years prior to nomination on a subclass 457, will remain at two years.


Most important information has been selected and extracted from the official immigration fact sheet report, November version 2017)


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