July 1st 2017 – Changes
** Reforms being implemented on 1st July 2017 **
- The introduction of mandatory penal clearances checks – we envisage that this will likely start causing big delays to the processing of 457 visas for applicants who need penal clearances from countries where processing times are lengthy, for example US and Canada who have 4-6 months processing times for police clearances. We have been advised by the DIBP that any application lodged and in the pipeline before 1st July 2017 will NOT need to provide police clearances – therefore a 457 visa application will benefit from being lodged prior to 1st July 2017.
- Removing English language exemptions based on salary – currently there is an exemption from evidencing English language proficiency for applicants who earn a base of over $96,400 plus super – this is only for applicants who do not hold a UK, NZ, Ireland, Canada or USA passport. This exemption is being removed on 1st July 2017. Therefore if you have any applicant who is going to need evidence but it earning over $96,400, we strongly advise lodging their application before 1st July 2017 otherwise they will need to sit an English language test.
- Occupation Lists changed again – the STSOL (short term skilled occupation list) will be reviewed based on advice from the Department of Employment and the MLTSSL (medium to long term skills shortage list) will be reviewed based on outcomes from the Department of Education and Training review.
- Expanding mandatory skill assessments – the skill assessment requirements are being considered for expansion to cover a small number of cohorts of concern, for example where a particular combination of occupation and nationality have been identified as an integrity risk – this is likely to be in the trade occupations and migration agents will be advised of these changes proposed prior to 1 July 2017 so we will of course advise you in turn.
- Tightening of existing training benchmarks – policy for training benchmarks requirements are being clarified and tightened setting out the types of training funds eligible for training benchmark A and the types of expenditure on training that are acceptable for training benchmark B – again we do not have confirm of this as yet and will advise once this has been confirmed.
- VAC increase – Unsurprisingly, VAC will increase come 1 July 2017. All current VACs will be indexed annually in line with the forecast Consumer Price Index (CPI).
We would also like to advise you that First Class Migration Australia will be reviewing our legal fees for 457 nominations, which are affected by caveats, and for 457 visa applications – these new fees will be implemented from 1st July 2017 but we assure you they will be kept to a minimal in line with our policy of providing a professional, efficient, personal and cost effective service to our clients. We will be contacting each client to advise of these fee changes.
If you have any questions about the 1st July 2017 changes, or any of the changes which have been implemented already, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team.