Time is Running Out for ENS and RSMS Applicants
By Mark Webster
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Which Application Types will be Affected?The upcoming changes will affect permanent employer sponsored visas. The two main types are:
- RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme): requires a job offer in a regional postcode
- ENS (Employer Nomination Scheme): available for skilled positions in any location in Australia.
- Temporary Residence Transition Stream: requires you to have worked in Australia for your employer for the last 2 years on a 457 visa - 80% applications for ENS are of this type. This pathway requires Vocational English (5 in each band of IELTS or equivalent)
- Direct Entry: allows an application to be lodged without having first held a 457 visa. This pathway requires your occupation to be on a specific list and has a higher English requirement - Competent (6 in each band of IELTS or equivalent)
- Labour Agreement: where the employer has negotiated a labour agreement directly with the Department of Immigration - only very few labour agreements have provision for permanent visas.
- Skills assessment and at least 3 years of work experience in your occupation; or
- Minimum base salary of $180,000; or
- NZ citizen or family member who has worked for their employer for 2 of the last 3 years; or
- Nominated for certain scientific or academic positions
Applicants Between 45 and 49 No Longer EligibleApplicants currently need to be under 50 when they lodge to be eligible for ENS or RSMS. From 1 July 2017, applicants for the Direct Entry Stream of ENS and RSMS will need to be under 45 when they apply. It is possible that exemptions may apply for people 45 or over but are likely to be very limited. The Department of Immigration has indicated that the age limit for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream will not change until March 2018, so applicants in this pathway should have longer to apply. However, we still recommend lodging without delay as changes could potentially come into effect sooner than indicated by Immigration.
Higher English Requirement from July 2017Applicants in the Temporary Residence Transition Stream can currently qualify for an ENS or RSMS visa with only Vocational English. From 1 July, they will need Competent English as is already required for Direct Entry applicants.
Increased Work Experience Requirements from March 2018Work experience requirements will be increased for employer sponsored visas from March 2018 as follows:
- A minimum of 3 years of work experience in your occupation will be required to qualify for ENS and RSMS visas. Currently, there is no minimum work experience requirement for many pathways for RSMS and ENS visas.
- Applicants for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream of ENS and RSMS will need to show 3 years of work experience with their employer, rather than the current 2 years.
- 2 years of work experience will be required to qualify for a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa which will replace the 457 visa from March 2018. Currently, if you have a relevant qualification, no work experience is required to obtain a 457 visa.
- RSMS Applicants: currently, applicants with relevant qualifications can apply for RSMS without needing any work experience
- People Currently in Australia on 457s: 457 holders are currently eligible for a Temporary Residence Transition Stream ENS or RSMS visa after 2 years with their employer. This will increase to 3 years from March 2018
- International Students and Recent Graduates: many international students and recent graduates are currently eligible for a 457 visa, then for an ENS visa through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream after working for their employer for 2 years. This pathway will no longer be available from March 2018 because 2 years of work experience will be required for the TSS visa