Part 1 - The Applicant
In broad terms the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) is relatively simple, you need a business in Australia to sponsor you and the visa you obtain from this sponsorship is Permanent Residence. Private individuals cannot sponsor for this visa, hence the term "employer".
It has now been divided into 3 distinct streams; Temporary Residence Transition, Direct Entry and Agreement. We will outline the important parts for each being the applicant for an ENS visa.
Temporary Residence Transition (TRT)
If you have been sponsored and hold a 457 visa for the last two years then this is most likely the stream for you. Those who have gone through the process of being sponsored by an employer under the 457 temporary residence visa system will have a very good idea of what sponsorship is all about and also their employer will be well versed to prepare for the permanent residency ENS visa. The type of documentation the business and the applicant needs to provide is very similar to the process for the 457 visa. In fact in our opinion it is simpler for there is no need to prove the market salary rate as is necessary for the 457 approval.
DIAC is looking for those who have already been sponsored by their employer for the last two years and now the same employer is going to sponsor them for permanent residency. As DIAC states in one section of it's guidelines;
"the Temporary Residence Transition stream is 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"
In another section of PAM's it sates;
"The Temporary Residence Transition stream provides a streamlined pathway to employer sponsored permanent residence for persons who have been employed by the nominating employer in the nominated occupation for at least 2 years in the period of 3 years immediately before the nomination."
We mention this for we get many enquiries from those on a 457 visa for the last two years and they have a business willing to sponsor them, however they have only worked for this sponsor for the last twelve months or so. The old ENS visa did allow to split up the two years of being on a 457 visa with different employers as long as in the last twelve months before applying you had worked for the employer sponsoring for you on the ENS visa. The new guidelines definitely are looking for two years with the same employer sponsoring for the ENS visa, so be careful.
The other component is that these two years of employment must have been in the same occupation that they are being nominated in the ENS visa. There are slight variations of different ANZSCO codes permitted if they fall within the same occupation group however caution is advised to be sure if the variation is permitted.
It is important to mention here that the rules for
A formal skill assessment is not necessary for the TRT stream for DIAC accepts if you have been employed for the last two years in Australia for the company that is sponsoring you then is a reasonable assumption that the applicant has the skills required for the job.
For most occupations the English requirement is the "Competent Level". There are exemptions to accept a lower English ability for the occupations listed here.
Direct Entry (DE)
This stream is designed for applicants who yer while they are in Australia but either have not spent 2 years on their 457 visa with the sponsoring employer or may hold some other visa such a student or graduate visa or may have never been in Australia at all.
All applicants who need to use the DE stream need to have a skill assessment for their occupation and this result must be in existence before the application is made. If an application is made without a positive assessment result, such as the application for skill assessment has been submitted only, then the ENS applicant will fail. The good news is however that expired skill assessments are accepted according to DIAC policy. For example many skill assessments issued currently for Accountants have a validity period of only two years. Some of the older ones state 5 years, and some do not state any expiry period. In any case they can all be used for an ENS application.
Demonstrating 3 years of full time work experience in your nominated occupation is also a requirement for DE. In this case if must be 3 years of paid employment (not voluntary) at the skilled level (not pre-graduation) of at least 35 hours per week. DIAC PAM's states;
"Under policy the applicant should have worked full-time for at least three years however the period of work does not have to be continuous, or be immediately before the visa application was made. In order for the work to qualify as full-time, the applicant should have worked for at least 35 hours per week."
We understand there is some confusion about the hours per week needed for some other GSM applications only 20 hours per week is sufficient to qualify to gain points. However the ENS visa does not work on a points system and any weeks worked at less than 35 hours can mean that it cannot be counted to accumulate the 3 years of work experience required.
Just to clarify about pre-graduation work experience, it means that you must be qualified for the occupation you are being nominated for before the 3 years begins to be counted.
For example if you have worked as a bookkeeper while studying your Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, then it would not be regarded as the required skill level, not to mention the fact that the occupation skill set is not the same as an accountant anyway. However if you had already obtained a Bachelor degree then worked as an Accountant whilst studying your Masters degree then the skill requirement would be met. The other issue to cover of course would be that when working and studying at the same time it may be difficult to prove the minimum 35 hours per week requirement if you are trying to use this period to make the 3 year requirement.
The English requirement for the DE stream is the same as the TRT so please read above for notes on this.
This stream does not often come to the attention of city dwellers like us. It is designed for applicants sponsored by employers through a DIAC authorized labour agreement or a regional migration agreement. Big mining companies or certain regional districts may lobby, negotiate and apply to DIAC for one of these schemes to be approved.
The whole system seems like a secret witches brew which to be honest, is a little on the nose for many Australians. However it does exist and those lucky enough to have an employer approved under this system, make sure they don't turn you into a toad.
One main issue is one that is highlighted in the regulations;
"The terms and conditions applicable to the position must be no less favourable than the terms and conditions that are or would be provided to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident for performing equivalent work in the workplace to which the application relates at the same location".
Interestingly regarding the applicants English ability for this stream, it can be negotiated in the labour agreement. This means the collective farmers association of the Ding Dong Valley region can ask DIAC that their workers need no English at all to pick the highly prized honeydews that crocodiles love to lay their eggs next to. Understandable I guess.