On 11 March 2019, the Department of Home Affairs (Department) announced various updates including:
- changes to the relevant occupation lists;
- the introduction of a “Health Workforce Certificate” for certain medical practitioners;
- a new category for businesses to become “Accredited” Business Sponsors; and
- Labour Agreement updates for:
- Aged care providers; and
- Minister of Religion labour agreements.
Below is our summary of the announced changes.
Changed Occupation Lists
Following consultation with the Department of Jobs and Small Business, the skilled occupations lists were amended for the first time since the rollout of the TSS visa. Certain occupation caveats were also amended.
A copy of these lists and a summary of these changes can be read on the Department’s website here.
We recommend that anyone pursuing a TSS visa double check their occupation and which occupation list it corresponds with prior to lodgement.
Visas for General Practitioners Initiative
To regulate the number of doctors entering Australia through the skilled migration program, a Health Workforce Certificate (HWC) will be required for an employer looking to nominate any of the following occupations:
- General Practitioner (ANZSCO: 253111);
- Medical Practitioners nec (ANZSCO: 253999); and
- Resident Medical Officer (ANZSCO 253112).
The HWC must be issued from the relevant State/Territory organisation and will required for employer nominated positions for both the TSS visa, and both employer sponsored options being the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187.
Accredited Sponsor Scheme
Accredited Business Sponsors have access to streamlined processing arrangements for TSS visas. The existing 4 categories, and the benefits of this scheme were previously outlined in a blog here.
A new category has been introduced for companies who have made a major investment of at least AUD 50 Million which has directly generated Australian employment. A measure of whether it amounts to a “major investment” would be assessed by reference to:
- A lasting contribution to Australia, including: the value of the investment, the company’s pattern of investment, jobs created, export outcomes generated, tax contribution; or
- Innovative business practices/technologies including: introducing new skills and capabilities, setting up research activities in Australia or collaborating with Australian research institutions, commercial partnerships; or
- Supporting exports and expansion of Australian industry within global supply chains, particularly in high value-add areas.
Other criteria required to be met include:
- Not being a sole trader or partnership;
- Having been a standard business sponsor for at least one year;
- Have nominations approved for at least 1 primary TSS/457 visa holder in the last year;
- Have had more than 97% of your nomination applications approved in the last year;
- Have no adverse monitoring outcomes;
- Have paid all Australian employees in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates; and
- Engage all TSS/457 visa holders as employees under a written contact that meets the National Employment Standards (NES).
Aged care providers who were previously able to access ‘company specific’ labour agreements to enable them to sponsor aged care workers will be pleased to learn that further concessions were granted to them enabling:
- Pathways to employer-nominated permanent residency via the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) where they’ve been employed for at least 3 years on a TSS visa;
- Age concessions up to 55 years of age;
- Lower English language proficiency (equivalent of IELTS 4.5 minimum in all four assessed bands with an overall score of 5.0).
The Minister has also agreed to changes to the Minister of Religion Labour Agreements (MORLA) which will allow religious institutions to sponsor overseas workers under the additional occupation of “Religious Assistant”. The threshold for “Ministers of Religion” will also be more flexible, allowing the nominee to work in any senior position (where previously the nominee was required to work in the most senior position).
If you’re a current or prospective 457/TSS visa holder seeking clarification about these changes, we’d love to put your mind at ease. Contact us by email at [email protected] or phone +61 3 9016 0484 to obtain further guidance.