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Migration Newsflash: Policy updates on employer sponsored visa reforms

Migration Newsflash: Employer sponsored visa reforms

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has provided updated policy guidelines in relation to recent changes impacting employer sponsored visas.

Belinda Wright

Partner, National Leader, Immigration Services

KPMG Australia


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The Department’s policy guidelines are intended to provide clarity around the caveats imposed on occupations eligible for nomination under the 457 visa and Employer Nomination Scheme, the application of the revised training benchmarks in place from 1 July 2017 and labour market testing requirements.

In this edition of the Newsflash we explore the following:

  • Caveats on eligible occupations
    At the outset it should be noted that no exceptions can be made by the Department to the caveats imposed on the list of eligible occupations as specified in the relevant legislative instruments. However, there is some level of flexibility afforded in terms of how the caveats can be interpreted particularly in its application to overseas based businesses operating in Australia. In this edition of the Newsflash we provide a summary of how certain caveats will apply.
  • Training Benchmarks
    The tightening of the definition of acceptable training expenditure for the purpose of training benchmarks for the 457 visa and employer sponsored programs came into effect from 1 July 2017. We summarise the Department’s clarification of the application of these revised training benchmarks in this edition.
  • Labour Market Testing
    Evidence of labour market testing (LMT) continues to be required where a nominated occupation is subject to LMT provisions and an employer needs to demonstrate that the nominated position cannot be filled from within the local labour market.
  • 4-year visa grant under International Trade Obligations
    From 1 July 2017, a 4-year grant period will be available for certain occupations that are listed on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) if it falls under Australia’s international trade obligations.

Key considerations for business

Employers need to be aware that the caveats which are essentially ‘inapplicability conditions’ specifying the thresholds and circumstances in which an eligible occupation would be restricted from being nominated for employer sponsored roles.

While the revised training benchmarks will apply to new Standard Business Sponsorship and ENS Direct Entry applications post 1 July 2017, these benchmarks will be replaced by the new training fund levy in March 2018.

The phasing out of the Domestic Recruitment Summary Table means that evidence of job advertising and payment for such advertising must be duly recorded and retained for submission to the Department.

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