Employer Sponsored Migration
The Australian government offer a range of Employer Nominated visa options which enable Australian employers to fill skills shortages with skilled workers from overseas.
These include the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) subclass 482, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 and the Regional Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 visas.
Subclass 482 (Temporary Skills Shortage) TSS Visa
The TSS visa is designed to enable employers to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian. The TSS visa facilitates the targeted use of overseas workers to address temporary skill shortages while ensuring that Australian workers get priority.
There are three streams available under this visa program:
- Short-term stream – this stream is for employers to source highly skilled overseas workers to fill short-term positions in a range of occupations for a maximum of two years (or four years if an international trade obligation [ITO] applies);
- Medium-term stream – this stream is for employers to source highly skilled overseas workers to fill medium-term critical skills needs for up to four years, with eligibility to apply for permanent residence after three years; or
- Labour Agreement stream – this is the temporary visa product utilised where an employer has executed a labour agreement with the Commonwealth to source skilled overseas workers, where there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and the standard TSS visa program is not available.
Visa applicants with occupations on the Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) may be eligible for a four year TSS visa and will be eligible to apply for Employer Nominated permanent residence (Subclass 186 or 187 visas) after a period of three years. Those with occupations on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) are eligible to apply for a total of two x two year TSS visas within Australia, and cannot transition to permanent residence.
SAF (Skilling Australia Fund) Levy for the Subclass 482 (Temporary Skills Shortage) TSS Visa
Small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million per annum must pay a levy of AUD1200.00 per year of the sponsored applicants visa that is sought. Large businesses with a turnover of more than $10 million per annum must pay a levy of AUD1800.00 per year or part thereof for each year the sponsored applicant’s visa is sought.
For example – a company with a turnover of more than $10M per annum wishing to sponsor an applicant on a 4 year TSS visa will need to incur a levy of $7,200 at the time of application. The levy will not be refunded by the Australian government in the event of an unsuccessful outcome.
Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme) Permanent Visa
The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) allows employers to sponsor foreign workers for permanent residence to fill genuine vacancies in their business. The ENS program comprises a single visa (Subclass 186) where applicants may qualify under three streams:
- Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream
- Direct Entry (DE) Stream
- Labour Agreement Stream
The TRT stream is for Subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for their employer for at least the last 2 years out of 3 before being nominated for a permanent position with their sponsoring employer, and/or Subclass 482 (TSS) visa holders who have worked for at least the last three out of four years before being nominated and the employer wants to offer them a permanent position in that same occupation.
The DE stream is for visa applicants who are untested in the Australian labour market and are applying for a Subclass 186 visa from outside Australia or are applying from within Australia but do not qualify under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream.
The Labour Agreement stream is for visa applicants who are being sponsored by an employer who is a party to a labour agreement that is in effect.
SAF (Skilling Australia Fund) Levy for the Subclass 186 (Employer Nominated) Permanent Visa
Small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million per annum must pay a levy of AUD3000.00 at the time of nomination. Large businesses with a turnover of more than $10 million per annum must pay a levy of AUD5000 when the employer’s nomination is lodged.
The SAF levy is not refundable in the event of an unsuccessful visa outcome.
Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) Permanent Visa
The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) helps businesses in regional, remote or low population growth areas, outside the major metropolitan centres of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne and Perth, to recruit skilled workers to fill positions that are unable to be filled from the local labour market.
The Subclass 187 RSMS visa has two main streams, the Temporary Residence Transition Stream and the Direct Entry stream.
The RSMS Temporary Residence Transition stream is for Subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for their Australian employer on their 457 visa for a minimum of two years and whose employer is now prepared to nominate them for a Subclass 187 visa to work for their business in a Regional Area of Australia.
The RSMS Direct Entry stream is for visa applicants who have not worked for their nominating employer for two years on a Subclass 457 visa but have sufficient qualifications and/or experience to meet the skill requirement for the RSMS permanent visa. Visa applicants must be nominated by an Australian employer to work in a position with their business in a regional area of Australia.
Eligible Regional Areas – Important Update
The Australian government is redefining the meaning of ‘Regional Australia’ across all skilled visas. The definition of Regional Australia will be simplified and expanded in November 2019 to include all Australia except for the following metropolitan areas: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth.