Following major migration reforms implement by the Commonwealth Government in both April and July this year, there are many people now left asking, where do I stand?

Changes to the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) include:

1.    A reduction of the upper age limit for applicants from 50 years of age to 45 (the age remains 50 for Temporary Resident Transition (TRT) stream applicants but is now 45 for Direct Entry (DE) stream applicants);

The 50 years of age requirements for TRT stream applicants will be reduced to 45 on 1 March next year (2018)

2.    Updated occupation lists for the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL).

Some occupations that were on the previous lists have been removed, including Equipment Hire and Fleet Managers, Real Estate Agents, Ship’s Master, Ship’s Engineer, Ship’s Officer and others.

3.    Some occupations have also had caveats applied to them, including Chief Executives, Managing Directors, Corporate General Managers and Accountants.

Chief Executives, Managing Directors and Corporate General Managers must have a nominated base salary higher than AUD$180 001, while accountants must be employed by a business with an annual turnover higher than AUD$1 million, and with more than 5 employees.

Changes to the ENS and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) include:

4.    Removal of the English language exemptions. Previously, if an applicant was earning more than $180 001, they did not need to meet the minimum English language requirement.

This is no longer the case and ALL applicants for subclass 186 (and 187) visa MUST meet the minimum English language requirement of Competent English (IELTS 6.0).

5.    The requirement for a skills assessment, where ALL applicants under the DE stream must now undertake a skills assessment, regardless of their income. The previous income-based exemption is no longer available.

Interestingly, both these changes have been applied to all applications that were still being processed on 1 July and any applications lodged on or after 1 July. There should be no surprise to learn that many clients have expressed significant concern and nor have we seen further information from the Department of Immigration to clarify the changes.

If you are considering applying for a visa under either the ENS or RSMS schemes and are concerned about all the changes, give the team at Alliance International Migration Services a call and arrange consultation with one of our Registered Migration Agents.

AIMS consists of a team of expert migration agents and solicitors and specialise in 457 employment visa, we can advise you on your options and assist you in securing the right visa.  For more information or to set up a consultation with one of our agents, give AIMS a call on 03-9078 6819 or email us at