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Important Australian Immigration Updates from April 2011 Everyone Should Know

10th May 2011
By Sally Webster in Immigration Law
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Salary Increase!
The most important change for Australian and overseas company sponsors who have 457 visa holders in their employ, is the increase in the base salary for one of the three pathways to permanent residency under corporate sponsorship. Up until December 2010, it was possible to apply for permanent residency if the employee had a base salary of AU$165,000.00. This has now increased to a base salary of AU$250,000. If you have employees who no longer meet the new salary criteria, then they can consider working in Australia on their 457 visa for 2 years, or, alternatively, to have their skills assessed. Of course, there is always the possibility of a healthy pay rise!

Changing Occupations
The 457 visa “occupations list” has undergone changes and these seem to be occurring at regular intervals. For example, on 15 February 2011, a claims assessing officer in the insurance industry was removed from the list. In view of Australia’s recent widespread catastrophic floods, cyclones and the WA bushfires, this may need to be re-visited!

English and Salary levels
There has also been an increase in the salary threshold for 457 visa holders if English language testing is to be waived. English testing does not apply across the board to all 457 visa applicants. It applies to certain occupations only. If the employee is engaged in one of the prescribed occupations and is not a native English speaker, then the requirement for IELTS testing can be waived, provided the employee is paid more than AU$85,090.00 as a base salary.

Decision Ready Applications
DIAC has instituted decision-ready applications for 856 visas (employer sponsored permanent residency visas). What this means is that DIAC will only accept applications that are complete, and perfect at the time of lodgement. The level of paperwork is high in order to meet this requirement. DIAC wants to see, at the time of application, all relevant company information including up-to-date financials and evidence of the training of Australians.

A new arrangement will be introduced for the very large Australian resource projects. This arrangement will be called an Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA). Multiple employers engaged on a mega project will be able to gain the benefit of a single EMA instead of arranging their own Labour agreements or SBS’s. Rather than each employer on a project negotiating its own Labour Agreement with DIAC, those employers would be pre-qualified under the EMA. The EMA would be negotiated by the project owner or contractor responsible for selecting construction contractors on the project.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this in detail please contact Global Immigration Services.

Unless you are well-versed in immigration law, and you want to know which visas you are eligible for, you should probably hire an> immigration agent instead of representing yourself. For more information go to <> Global Immigration Services website.
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