In accord with our most recent alert, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, has now announced changes to the subclass 457 programme.

Following independent review of the 457 programme, the Government is expected to:

  • streamline the processing of sponsorship, nomination and visa applications to reward low risk applicants and refocus compliance and monitoring activities on high risk applicants;
  • increase the sponsorship approval period from 12 to 18 months for start-up businesses, to give start-ups more time to make their businesses sustainable;
  • provide greater flexibility in relation to English language testing and skill requirements for 457 applicants, to ensure that the standards required are appropriate for the industries and occupations being sought; and
  • retain the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold at $53,900.00, ahead of a review within the next two years.

Whilst no date of implementation has been announced, it is expected that the Government will provide further details in the weeks ahead.

Significant Investor Visa Changes

The Government has also announced plans to expand and improve the Significant Investor Visa programme.

At present, SIVs are available for applicants having an eligible investment in Australia of A$5 million, for a minimum of four years.

Changes to the SIV programme are expected to include:

  • Streamlining and speeding up visa processing, further promoting the programme globally and strengthening integrity measures, to increase the attractiveness of investing and settling in Australia while ensuring Australia’s interests are protected;
  • aligning the criteria for eligible investments with the Government’s national investment priorities. The investment eligibility criteria will be determined by Austrade in consultation with key economic and industry portfolios;
  • introducing a Premium Investor Visa (PIV), offering a more expeditious, 12 month pathway to permanent residency than the SIV, for those meeting a $15 million threshold; and
  • tasking Austrade to become a nominating entity for the SIV (complementing the current State and Territory governments’ role as nominators) and to be the sole nominating entity for the PIV.

The changes to the SIV are expected to take effect during 2014-15, with the PIV coming into effect on 1 July 2015.

NSW 190 Nominations

The NSW intake for Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) progrramme will open on 22 October 2014.

In an effort to ensure a balanced intake of occupations, the NSW government has temporarily suspending the following occupations:

  • 221111 Accountant (General)
  • 221112 Management Accountant
  • 221113 Taxation Accountant
  • 261111 ICT Business Analyst
  • 261112 Systems Analyst
  • 261311 Analyst Programmer
  • 261312 Developer Programmer
  • 261313 Software Engineer
  • 262113 Systems Administrator
  • 263111 Computer Network & Systems Engineer
  • 263311 Telecommunications Engineer
  • 263312 Telecommunications Network Engineer

Illegal Workers Bust in Regional NSW

A record number of illegal workers in a single location have been found on a citrus farm in southern NSW this year.

The 37 illegal workers were found during a compliance operation undertaken by the immigration department, after a tip-off from the community.

It is believed the group comprised of both men and women from south-east Asia, and they have been transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre for further processing.