2017 AND THE YEAR AHEAD

The time has finally come! The second month of 2017 is upon us and we are edging closer to drastic changes to migration law. In this article, we present the most likely and relevant changes to your visa  situation.

 

EMPLOYER SPONSORED VISAS

457 Visas at Risk

It is no secret that the Turnbull Government has been planning a crackdown on Australian immigration for a significant amount of time. One of the more notable changes will be the impending removal of several occupations from their listing on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) and the Consolidated Skills Occupation List (CSOL). If you are applying or wish to apply for any employer-sponsored visa, including the 457 Visa, it is strongly recommended you do so at the earliest stage possible so as not to have your application hurt by future reductions to either the CSOL or the SOL. Keep in mind that by guaranteeing yourself a 457 Visa, you can protect yourself against change for up to four years.

Raising the TSMIT

The TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold) provides a minimum base wage rate for 457 and employer-sponsored visa holders. The threshold is intended to allow visa-holders to be paid an acceptable market rate so as not to be taken advantage of. Currently the threshold sits at $53,900, and may be raised in the coming year resulting in a positive change for visa holders.

Training Requirements to be changed

In addition to the likely raise to the TSMIT, we believe that training benchmark requirements for employers are also likely to change. Although we are uncertain as to when the changes will occur, they are likely to result in employers paying a fee-per-employee as opposed to the current investment 1% of payroll to training costs.

Reducing the RSMS Eligible Areas

There is talk that the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme eligible areas may be reduced. In particular, parts of Perth face the highest scrutiny and are likely to no longer be regarded as regional areas. If this turns out to be true, it will pose adverse effects to those applying for General Skilled Migration in the affected areas.

See our article on how living in a major city can give you the vital points to secure an invitation to apply for a GSM visa.

Work Restrictions

Another potential positive step for 457 visa holders will be the potential loosening of work restrictions. As things currently stand, a visa holder has 60 days to organise sponsorship before being deported. However, the Government is currently contemplating allowing a 457 visa holder to move to a new employer before the new nomination is improved. This change, if implemented, will bring a sigh of relief and make the lives of many employer-sponsored visa holders a lot less stressful.

Business Visas

…are also amongst the areas to be changed. Although we do not know what changes may arise, there are certain changes to be made within the next 24 months. This is all part of the Government’s commitment to maintain strong and sound investment from overseas business within Australia. Keep an eye out for updates in this area on the PAX Migration Website.

 

FAMILY VISAS

Parental Visas to be Overhauled

Much has been said about the prospects of the Government to remove the Subclass 804 Aged Parent Visa. This visa allows older parents to live in Australia on a permanent basis, provided they are parents of an Australian citizen. Currently, however, waiting periods have the potential to last up to 30 years. Parliament has been in a process over the past three years of contemplating a change, but it is almost certain that this year will see its removal.

This change is based on the back of a Turnbull Government pre-election promise to introduce a Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa. The introduction of the visa is understood to be a positive step in the direction of allowing parents and grandparents to be rekindled with their children. This move is likely to be welcomed by current prospective visa applicants, especially in consideration to the difficulties and substantial waiting periods surrounding many family visas.

Contributory Fee Increase

Among the changes are also likely changes to the Contributory Fee payable for parent visas. Currently sitting at just shy of $50,000, there is a lot of talk that the fee may even double.

Partner Visa Process Update

Changes to the partner visa process have also been flagged as a potential update to the visa in 2017. The Government has proposed changes to the partner visa process whereby sponsorship must be approved before applying for the visa. This means that the process may become far more lengthy before an application can be made. Our advice is clear – plan your application well in advance to give you time for additional steps. This will avoid unnecessary visa refusals and costly Tribunal appeals due to applying for a partner visa after the expiry of a previous visa.

 

Final Word

With Donald Trump now officially sworn in as the President of the United States, the populist movement has gained more momentum following the Brexit vote in mid-2016. The new political sphere will certainly mean drastic changes for Australian politics, especially with regard to the Turnbull Government’s reaction to changes from Congress in America.

There is no doubt a lot of change will come, and the vast majority of changes will not be in your favour. You are strongly advised to be a forward-thinker and be prepared. The fact of the matter is that no visa is secure at the moment. If you at all can, get your visa application in sooner rather than later!

Call and speak with a migration agent at PAX Migration to secure your peace of mind for 2017 and many more years in the future!