The Australian government has announced reforms to the permanent entry employer-nominated visa program to be introduced on July 1, 2012.
Key reforms include:
- removing the existing distinction between applications with respect to whether they are made by applicants who are in or out of Australia
- replacing the current requirement of paying nominated permanent resident applicants at least the Minimum Salary Level (MSL) of $67,556 for IT-related occupations and $49,330 for other occupations with the need to pay the market salary
- raising the upper age limit to less than 50 years; exceptions will apply for certain occupations and persons working in Australia for more than four years who were paid more than A$118,100 as of July 1, 2011
- increasing the English-language IELTS test result to 6 for all applicants except those already in Australia and working for their nominating employer for the last two years; exceptions will apply for certain occupations, and nationals of five English-speaking countries (United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand)
- introducing a single consolidated nominated occupation list (NOL) to replace the current sponsored employee 457 occupation list, the Employer Nomination Skilled Occupation List, and the State and Territory Sponsored Occupation List
- integrating the permanent employer nominated visas with the skilled independent migrant selection model SkillSelect to be launched on July 1, 2012. Intending migrants who complete an Expression of Interest in migrating to Australia in SkillSelect can also indicate whether they are prepared to be sponsored for temporary residence or nominated for permanent residence by an employer.