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11th March 2012
Volume 212

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In This Issue
Student Visa Requirements
Dear students, 


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Employer Sponsored Visa Reforms


DIAC announced on 9th March 2012 that they will implement some changes to their permanent employer-sponsored program from 1st July 2012. They will simplify the current visa structure within the program and introduce changes in visa criteria including English language and skill requirements. They will also lift the upper age limit to less than 50 years of age, which used to be less than 45. These reforms will benefit subclass 457 visa holders as the changes will simplify the pathway to get permanent residency after working for their employer sponsor for at least 2 years.



New Visa Structure


There are 6 visa subclasses within the current visa program. From 1st July 2012, the following two visas will replace them:


1. Employer Nomination (Class EN) Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)


2. Regional Employer Nomination (Class RN) Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187)



Within each of these visa subclasses there will be three streams:


a) Temporary Residence Transition stream

- for subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for their employer for at least the last 2 years and the employer wants to offer them a permanent position in that same occupation.


b) Direct Entry stream

- for applicants who are in Australia but not holding a subclass 457 or have not held it for the last two years or those who are applying from overseas.


c) Agreement stream

- for applicants who are being sponsored by an employer though a Labour or Regional Migration Agreement which provides a permanent residence option



In this newsletter, we will focus on Direct Entry stream for those who are not holding subclass 457 and thinking to apply for ENS or RSMS visa. This is what most current and former international students are interested in.



ENS Direct Entry


You can refer to our newsletter < Volume 181> as we explained about current 457 visa and ENS requirements.




A new sponsored occupation list will be introduced from 1st July 2012. All the current Employer Nomination Scheme Occupation List (ENSOL), subclass 457 occupation list and the State and Territory Skilled Occupation List will be integrated into one single list. More occupations are currently listed in 457 list than ENSOL. At this moment, there is no words from DIAC which occupations will be carried on or removed in the new list.



English Language Capability


Current ENS applicants need to demonstrate their English language proficiency with vocational level (IELTS test score of 5 in each component). From 1st July 2012, you will need at least competent English; that is, a minimum IELTS score of 6 in each component. There will be some exemptions for certain occupations.



Skills Requirements


You need to provide a positive skills assessment and have 3 years work experience unless you are nominating certain occupations (such as Ministers of Religion, researchers and scientists employed by the CSIRO or ANSTO) or you are getting paid an executive-level salary, which is currently $250,000.





From 1st July 2012, your employers will need to pay the market rate as for ENS. Please refer to the above salary section for ENS.



Training requirements


Current ENS nominating employers have to demonstrate that they are providing training to their existing employees or that they are committed to providing training to their employees. After the reforms, they will need to meet the requirements that are used for 457 visa criteria.




The big major change here concerning international students is the requirement of the 3 years of work experience. Since there does not seem to be a possible exemption from this requirement for the Direct Entry mode, students are going to find this nearly impossible to meet. This will force them to go onto the 457 visa first if an employer wants to sponsor them. If you need to gain an exemption of this 3 year experience level as now exists, get your application lodged before the 1st July!


The English requirement is going into line with the current 485 visa anyway so for fresh students this will not be an issue. Some of the students who have held a 485 visa under the old rules of vocational English and cannot get the 6.0 on each need to act quickly.


The training requirements are going to make things as complicated as the 457 visa is now so this will be a pain in the neck for small businesses to get sponsorship approval.


The new requirement of Market salary and no set minimum may be a huge benefit for the trade occupations.



RSMS Direct Entry


For the current RSMS visa requirements, please read our newsletter <Volume 209>.




The changes bring a good news for RSMS applicants. There will be more occupations accepted for RSMS. Now you have to have an occupation at ANZSCO skill levels 1 and 2 but you will be able to nominate an occupation from the skill levels 1 to 3. ANZSCO skill level 3. You can search the ANZSCO dictionary for the occupations and skill levels, click here



English Language Capability


Current RSMS applicants need to demonstrate their English language proficiency with Functional level (IELTS test average score of 4.5), but after the changes, you will need an IELTS score of 6 in each component (Competent level).



Skills Requirements


You don't need to provide a skills assessment. You only need to have an Australian or comparable overseas equivalent qualification which is relevant to your nominated occupation.

If you have a trade occupation at ANZSCO skill level 3 and don't have an Australian trade qualification or certificate, then you will need to go through TRA skills assessment.



Training requirements


Current rules will apply and there won't be any legislative training requirements for RSMS nominators.




Before this DIAC announcement there were many rumours of RSMS requiring a skill assessment to be necessary. Thank goodness this did not occur.


Market salary is going to be painful rather than the current award wages technique since you may have to show for some regional areas what the average wage actually is. Keep the local rag advertisements for this one!


Reducing down to skill level 3 will be a bonus for sum but skill level 4 would have been better.


The relevancy issue is new but overall people do not usually nominate an occupation they have no qualifications in.


<DIAC Links>


Diagram of changes:


Comparison chart:


 DIAC Frequently asked questions pages click here 

Archives, some light reading

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Try one of our historical newsletters to read, that will do the trick.


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For the recent ones using the new newsletter format, they can be found here;





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Kind regards,


Karl Konrad: Managing Director and

Jee Eun HAN, Executive Manager     

Australian Immigration Law Services

MARN: 9904238, 0850073 

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 At Australian Immigration Law Services (AILS), we offer professional advice and practical solutions to all migration matters. Our team of licensed agents and consultants specialise in various areas of immigration law, such as skilled migration, business, family, and reviews.











The ENS and RSMS visa programs have become the tools of choice for immigration to Australia by both the liberal and labour governments. 


It is understandable why. 


The employer sponsored PR pathway is the most effective way of being sure applicants are job ready for the work force or otherwise an employer wouldn't be bothered to sponsor them in the first place.


With the RSMS visa the employers have some security that an employee won't pack up and leave them when the applicant has been granted their permanent residency. Unfortunately the ENS program does not have that same benefit for those supplying the sponsorship.


Under the current legal system once applicants gain their PR under the ENS program there is nothing stopping them from packing their bags and moving to another employer the next day. Oh sure there may be some contractual obligations in the three year contract they signed to get the visa but that in reality is little comfort to the employer and rarely any advantage in pursuing it in the civil courts.


Readers may say, hey don't spoilt it by telling everyone, but in reality the ENS program is not operating at tis full potential for this reason alone. 


An employer would have to be nuts to sponsor for an ENS visa when the 457 TR visa program offers at least some security that employees can't leave just because they can get a few dollars extra elsewhere.


Many former international students are missing out on the ENS program because the employers are reluctant to sponsor.


The ENS system should bring in the same condition as the RSMS on the applicants visa that they must stay with the employer for the next two years when the visa is granted. This will then give employers incentive to sponsor more people for they can see at least two years of value out of it.


I think most former international students who are out there looking for employment and sponsorship would gladly commit to an employer for that two year period if it meant being sponsored.


Such a system would also reduce the likely hood of it being abused with applicants who have no intention to stay with the employer once the PR has been granted for the ENS program.


Many employers have been burnt on this ENS issue and when they have been they will never sponsor for ENS again. It is up to DIAC to change the system which will in turn open up more places for those looking for sponsorship.



Karl Konrad

Managing Director 

Karl Konrad



Han Photo with Jacket
Executive Manager
Jee Eun Han





Australian Immigration Law Services  

phone: 61 2 92791991 | fax: 61 2 9279 1994
email: | website: 


 Level 13, 37 York Street Sydney NSW 2000

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