- Sponsorship caps for future and in-progress 457 sponsorship applications;
- Legal obligations on sponsors to comply with their commitment to training as well as their obligation to keep training records;
- Stronger market rate provisions to give assessing officers more discretion to investigate genuine market rates;
- Extended English language requirements for 457 visa applicants unless they are exempt under certain passports, can evidence five years of consecutive education in English, or will earn a base salary of AUD96,400 and it is in the interests of Australia to grant the visa;
- Assessing officers given powers to investigate the genuineness of a nominated role;
- Increase of Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) to AUD53,900;
- Increase of market rates exemption from AUD180,000 to AUD250,000; and
- Policy direction to request skills assessments for the occupations of Specialist Manager not elsewhere classified and Program and Project Administrator, unless it is an intra-company transfer.
Another change to the 457 visa program has been the introduction of Labour Market Testing (LMT). This is likely to come into effect around November 2013 and – prior to applying for a 457 visa application (unless given exemption by the Minister) – will require companies to advertise roles locally and show there is no suitable Australian, permanent resident or working holiday maker that can fill the role.
Occupations in engineering and nursing will require LMT.
These changes will impact Australian businesses as they will no doubt negatively impact on the time required to process applications compared to recent past practice.
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