2017 ENS & RSMS Visa Changes You Need to Know About

changes to the EMS and RSMS

There’s a lot going on in 2017 for foreigners that want to work in Australia. Big changes are happening, and they could affect eligibility for many. The updates include changes to the rules of the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 visa. If you hold or plan to apply for either of these visas, then you need to read the information provided below.

changes to the EMS and RSMS

Why is the Government Changing Visa Programs?

There’s always room for improvement, especially when it comes to how we are governed. After a lot of public discourse and consideration, the Australian government has decided to make changes to its visa programs to improve the workforce and give citizens a better chance at employment. The updates are intended to focus on skilled migration programs to improve quality and economic contributions. They are also designed to alleviate concerns about foreigners displacing Australian workers.

Who Will the Changes Affect?

There are two groups of people that the 2017 change will affect. They include any prospective permanent employer-sponsored visa applicants and any business-sponsored skilled migrant workers.

What Visa Changes Should I Expect?

The ENS and RSMS visa changes will roll out in four phases. One already happened on 19 April 2017. The updated removed 216 occupations from the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) as well as restrictions for some professions. The CSOL was renamed the Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and will be maintained with updates every six months. The old Skilled Occupations List (SOL) will now be the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Future changes include:

  • July Visa Updates

Another review of the STSOL will happen with possible changes rolled out in July. An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or equivalent score of six in every component will be required. The Direct Entry Stream will have a maximum age of 45 at the time of application.

  • December Visa Updates

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will begin collecting Tax File Numbers for each visa holder. This data will be compared to data maintained by the Australian Tax Office to ensure that workers are paid their nominated salary.

  • 2018 Visa Updates

The last set of changes is scheduled for March of 2018. At this time, the MLTSSL will apply to the RSMS and ENS. Employers will be required to pay market salary rates to migrant workers and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold. The residency eligibility period will increase from two to three years. A minimum of three years’ work experience that is relevant to the worker’s occupation will also be required.

If you are uncertain about changes to ENS and RSMS visas, get in touch. Emergico’s staff of registered migrant agents is available to answer questions and help you work through the 2017 and 2018 updates. Give us a call or visit our website to complete a visa eligibility assessment.

Leanne Stevens

CEO, Emergico // Registered Migration Agent (#1171279)