Changes made to Aussie migration programmes

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has introduced some changes which came into effect at the beginning of this month.

One of the most important changes sees some slight amendments made to the country’s Skilled Occupation List (SOL) – a list which features occupations all applicants applying for a federal skilled visa must have skills and experience in – and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL), which features occupations applicants who are nominated by a State or Territory Government, or for a direct entry stream Employer Nomination Scheme visa, a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) or a Training and Research Visa must have experience in.

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The occupations of Hospital Pharmacist, Retail Pharmacist, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics), Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical), and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Structures) have all been removed from the SOL (but remain on the CSOL), while Anatomist or Physiologist has been removed from the CSOL.

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However, seven occupations have been added to the CSOL. They are: Procurement Manager, Nutritionist, Intellectual Property Lawyer, Archaeologist, Hydrographer, Kennel Hand and Registered Nurse (Paediatric).

Aside from the amendments made to these two lists there have also been some changes to temporary visa fees. The Temporary Work 457 visa application fee will increase from AUS$85 to AUS$330 in order to reflect the real cost of processing and administering nominations.

Other changes to the 457 visa system will see greater emphasis start to be placed on an applicant’s English language ability, restricted terms of sponsorship for start-up businesses and a condition that means visa holders must commence work within 90 days of being awarded their visa, or face being made to leave the country.

The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) has also been increased from AUS$51,400 to AUS$53,900 a year. This means that where the market rate for a position is less than AUS$53,900 that position cannot be nominated under the subclass 457 programme.

Elsewhere, a new online eVisitor (subclass 600) visa has been introduced that will replace the Tourist (subclass 676) visa, the Sponsored Family Visa (679) and Business Short Stay Visa (456). If you have one of these visas, it will still be valid for the period you were given when the visa was granted.

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