As of 17 November 2017, a new legislative instrument (IMMI/059) commenced. This amends the geographic boundaries for RSMS to exclude Perth and surrounding area. The list of Regional Certifying Bodies (RCBs) has also been updated. Due to these changes, employers can no longer utilise this visa program for positions in Perth and surrounding area. The following Western Australia postcodes will remain eligible:
Only applications lodged on or after 17 November 2017 are affected to these changes. Current applicants must be aware that the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development (Perth RCB) stopped processing RCB assessment requests submitted on or after 13 March 2017. This is only applicable for nominated positions within the Perth Metropolitan Area. The Department is unable to approve nominations for which there is no RCB advice.
Please be reminded that this change may affect age exemptions for applicants in the Temporary Residence Transition stream, as this requires certain nominated positions and employment to be located in regional Australia. Further information is available at Age skill and English language exemptions – Permanent Employer Sponsored programme.
This is a reminder to agents that the definition of regional Australia for RSMS purposes impacts regional caveats for visa program subclasses 457 and 186. As a result, employers cannot utilise any occupations affected by these caveats for positions located in Perth and surrounding area. This affects applications lodged on or after 17 November 2017. Caveats on occupations are available here.
As of 18 November 2017, visa subclass 457 applicants are no longer required to provide evidence, or a letter from an insurer to confirm their health insurance coverage as part of the visa application process.
Applicants now only need to indicate in their online application form that they have made adequate arrangements for health insurance for their intended period of stay in Australia. The online visa application form has been updated to reflect this.
This requirement applies to the following:
As of 18 November 2017, the new visa condition below shall be added to Schedule 8 of the Migration Regulations.
“You must not have an outstanding public health debt while in Australia including the cost of any health related services received in Australia. This does not include health costs otherwise covered, such as by health insurance, Medicare (if eligible), or treatment for certain community health risks such as tuberculosis. If you incur a debt that is left unpaid, your visa eligibility may be affected.”
Outstanding public health debt – a debt involving public health or aged care services, which has been reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as outstanding by a Commonwealth, State or Territory health authority. This is made through an agreement between the authority and the Department.
If a visa holder or applicant has an outstanding public health debt, they will need to contact the relevant health provider to clear the debt. Arrangements to pay the debt can only be agreed between the parties to the debt. If a person breaches condition 8602, the power for visa cancellation action will be enacted. The ideal outcome is for this debt to be repaid as soon as possible. This will prevent any visa cancellation options or visa processing delays.
Visas granted in the subclasses below where the application was lodged on or after 18th November 2017 will be imposed with Condition 8602.
Agents must provide the following details if seeking a letter from the Department to initiate penal clearances from certain countries:
Not providing all of this information with your request will slow down processing times.
Visa subclass 457 applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017 must provide police certificates for every country the applicant/s has lived in for a cumulative period of 12 months or more, within the past 10 years, since turning 16 years of age, if their planned stay in Australia will exceed 12 months.
Applicants for visa applications subclass 457 are required to provide the following:
For applicants with extensive travel histories, completing the travel forms can be arduous, especially for travel that does not reach the 12-month threshold. Taking this into account, the Department from now only requires applicants for skilled visa programs to manually enter these details of countries in ImmiAccount, where the 12-month threshold is likely to be met.
Applicants must still provide a full list of their complete travel history with all dates, to all countries within the past 10 years, in a separate document and attach it to ImmiAccount.
Not providing all of this information with your request will slow down processing times, reflecting a failure to declare all relevant information to the Department.
Separate documentation must not be emailed to the Department.
There have been concerns raised by some agents that their skilled visa applications may be considered ‘incomplete’ and refused if they have not provided a character clearance upfront at the time of application. These will not be considered an incomplete application if an explanation and other required documentation are provided.
Further information will be provided on the penal clearance waiver process for visa subclass 457 later.
As of 18 November 2017, new changes regarding Character integrity will come into effect, enhancing visa integrity and clearly communicating what is expected from temporary visa holders while in Australia. These include:
These changes impact visa subclasses lodged on or after 18 November 2017.
Currently, RSMS and ENS processing times are affected by some factors including:
Processing has never stopped on these cases, and the Department continues to work with the caseload as fast as possible.
Other Australian laws may impose labour market testing requirements for particular industries. This is to ensure that priority is given to Australian workers. This is aside from the immigration visa application context.
Singapore–Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA)
October 2016 – The governments of Singapore and Australia agreed to amend the SAFTA. This is expected to come into force on 1 December 2017, and Singaporeans will be exempted from labour market testing under visa subclass 457 program. The commencement date of the amended SAFTA will be available on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website shortly.
Additional changes to visa program subclass 457 are due to be implemented before 31 December 2017, subject to legislation passing. These include:
The above reforms are included in the Migration and Other Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Integrity) Bill 2017, which was presented into parliament on 16 August 2017.
There have been some questions put forward by agents about how recent reforms would impact visa subclass 457 holders who are applying for permanent residence after March 2018. Additional questions and answers relating to these arrangements have been added at: Impacts for existing 457 visa holders wishing to apply for permanent residence (250KB PDF)
Note: Advice on transitional Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream arrangements for individuals who have held, or applied for a subclass 457 visa, on 18 April 2017. This includes information relating to age requirements and the length of time required on subclass 457 visas, prior to changing to permanent residence.
Subject to the passing of legislation, current ‘training benchmark’ requirements will cease in March 2018, with a contribution to the SAF required to be paid instead at the time of lodging a nomination application for the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS), subclass 186 and 187 visas.
Some agents have enquired about transitional arrangements relating to the SAF payment, particularly on how sponsorship applications lodged before March 2018 will be assessed.
Arrangements have yet to be finalised and are subject to agreement by Government. Transitional arrangements are expected to provide that sponsors will not be required to meet the training benchmarks for periods where SAF charging has begun.