Changes to Australia's employer-sponsored visa program from 1 July 2012

18 April 2012

Several significant changes will go into effect 1 July 2012 in order to simplify the process of applying under Australia's permanent employer-sponsored visa program. Australian immigration said the reforms will improve the program's ability to meet Australia's economic needs and respond quickly to labour market demand.

Currently, the permanent employer-sponsored visa program consists of six subclass visas:
This will be changed so that the six existing visa subclasses will be reduced to two. This means combining the permanent labour agreement visa with the ENS and RSMS. There two subclass visas will be:
The ENS allows employers to sponsor foreign workers for permanent residence to fill vacancies within their business. While The RSMS helps businesses in regional areas outside the major metropolitan centres to recruit the skilled workers they need.

Within each of these visa subclasses there will be three streams:
Further changes to the programs include:
The immigration department plans to integrate the new ENS and RSMS visas with the skilled migrant selection model, SkillSelect, which will also be put in place from 1 July 2012. In order to apply for SkillSelect, you will have to submit an Expression of Interest. The system will work as an electronic two-stage process where prospective visa applicants first submit a claim for skilled migration through an online Expression of Interest. Following this, applicants may then be invited to submit an Australian visa application on the basis of their Expression of Interest.

If you wish to apply for a skilled immigration visa you should start preparing now so that you are ready to submit your application before 1 July 2012.

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