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Saturday, 01 July 2017 20:46

Skilled Visa Changes 2017

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1 July 2017 Skilled Visa Changes

The Australian visa program is frequently reviewed by the Australian Government based on the perceived needs of the Australian economy and society. Changes to the visa program are generally scheduled to take effect on 1 July and 1 November each year.

VisAustralia is pleased to advise you of changes to the Skilled visa program that took effect on 1 July 2017 and to summarise the occupations that continue to be in demand. We encourage you to read them carefully and to contact us should you require clarification or further advice.

Size of the program in 2018

The Australian Government determines the size of the migration program each year based on a range of economic and social factors. The migration program has recently been re-set at 190,000 places for 2017-18, unchanged from 2016-17.

This represents an affirmation of the overall success of the visa program both for Australia and for people seeking to reside permanently in Australia.

Quickening of visa processing

Towards the end of each financial year, visa processing by the Department of Immigration historically slows down as it nears the quota of 190,000 visa grants. Particular occupations may become subject to a quota and other occupations may require a higher points test result to apply for the visa. Australian state governments, who play a critical role in the Skilled visa program, also reach quotas and either remove occupations from their lists or close their programs entirely prior to re-opening their programs with re-stocked lists in early July.

Many people have been waiting for the visa program to re-set and for the new lists of occupations to be announced.

This has now occurred and we can expect visa processing to move forward in 2017 without delay.

Changes to the Skilled visa

On 1 July 2017 the Australian Government made minor modifications to the Skilled visa program.

1. Lowering of age requirement

On 1 July 2017 the Australian Government lowered the age limit for applying for a Skilled visa from 50 years to 45 years of age. There are no exceptions to this rule.

This may affect some people who started work on their visa application but were not yet ready to apply before the law changed. This change is unexpected and we can see no policy reason for it except perhaps the intention to reduce the pool of potential applicants.


To apply for a Subclass 189 or 190 visa without coming to Australia to study you need to start the visa process at least 12 months before you turn 45 years old. If you need to study in Australia for 12 months under the ACT Plan or Tasmania Plan you need to start work on your application at least 2 years before your birthday. If you need to study for 2 years in Australia to apply for the Skilled visa you need to start work on the process at least 3 years before your 45th birthday to allow time to complete your course and apply for the Skilled visa.

If you have any doubts about these timeframes we invite you to contact VisAustralia immediately.

2. Changes to occupation lists
The Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List replaced the Skilled Occupations List. This is the Federal Government list of occupations in demand all over Australia. There are 173 occupations on this list down from 183 occupations.

The Short-term Skilled Occupation List replaced the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List. People with occupations on this list can apply for a permanent Subclass 190 visa or provisional State Nominated Subclass 489 visa subject to state nomination. There are 253 occupations on this list down from about 400 occupations.   

Reflecting these changes, Australian state governments have also re-issued their state nomination lists.

Occupations in demand

The following list includes a selection of occupations actively in demand in Australia. If you have qualifications and experience in an occupation on the following list we invite you to immediately contact VisAustralia to commence your visa process.

Accountants, Actuaries, Auditors, Management Consultants, Organisation and Methods Analysts, Psychologists, Counsellors, Engineers, Computer Professionals, Architects, Construction Project Managers, Interior Designers, Industrial Designers, Graphic Designers, Sales and Marketing Managers, Corporate Services Managers, Advertising Managers, Finance Mangers, Supply and Distribution Managers, Human Resource Managers, Hotel Managers, Records Managers, Quality Assurance Managers, Specialist Managers, Customer Service Managers, Facilities Managers, Fashion Designers, Illustrators, Copywriters, Editors, Journalists, Public Relations Professionals, , Child Care Centre Managers, Social Workers, Welfare Workers, Teachers, Nurses, Social Professionals, Community Workers, Program or Project Managers, Contract Administrators, Dentists, Agricultural Scientists, Agricultural Consultants, Mathematicians, Medical Administrators, Property Valuers, Chefs, Cooks, Bakers, many Trades and Technical workers including Welders, Carpenters, Plumbers, Mechanics, Hairdressers etc.

If an occupation is not on this brief list it may still be in demand and you may still be able to apply for a visa.

For example, there are many occupations not listed here that will enable people to apply for a visa after studying in Australia for 12 months. This includes a range of diverse occupations , for example: Marketing Specialists, Librarians, Pilots, Private music and arts tutors, English teachers, Music Professionals, Video Producers, Financial Investment Advisers, Brokers, Geologists, Health Promotion Officers, In-house Legal Officers, Sound Engineers, Massage Therapists, Diving Instructors, Sports Coaches, Retail Buyers, etc.

Removed occupations

Occupations that have been removed include Mining Engineers, Petroleum Engineers, Geophysicists, Life Scientists, Microbiologists, Real Estate Agents, Food Engineers, and University Lecturers. If an occupation has been removed a person may still able to apply for a visa after studying in Australia for 2 years.

Permanent employer nominated visas

Changes to the permanent employer nominated visas are as follows:
•    The English language requirement has increased to an IELTS score of 6 out of 9 on each part of the test;
•    The age limit for Direct Entry stream applicants has dropped to 45 years;
•    The age limit for Subclass 457 visa holders transitioning to a permanent visa through the Temporary Residence Transition stream applicants remains at 50 years.

Subclass 457 changes

Following the intervention of the Prime Minister in April 2017 a number of changes have been made to the temporary employer sponsored visa program.

These include:

•    Expanding mandatory skills assessment;
•    Introducing mandatory penal clearance checks;
•    Tightening existing training benchmarks;
•    Removing English language exemption based on a skilled migrant’s salary.

For further information about how to sponsor an employee for a temporary work visa please contact VisAustralia.

Read 11481 times Last modified on Wednesday, 26 July 2017 19:36

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