On 2 September 2020, the Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, and the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, announced the introduction of a new priority skills list and strengthened labour market testing requirements.
Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List
The occupations included on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) were identified based on advice from the National Skills Commission, and in consultation with other relevant Commonwealth agencies, and will be reviewed regularly.
Existing skilled migration occupation lists will remain active and applications will still be processed, but priority will be given to those relating to occupations on the PMSOL. Prioritisation of applications relating to PMSOL occupations will only apply to employer sponsored visa programs.
The PMSOL is published on the Department’s website here.
Ministerial Directions pursuant to section 499 of the Migration Act 1958
To prioritise processing occupations on the PMSOL, Ministerial Directions 87 and 88 have been effected and can be found here.
Enhanced labour market testing
Current labour market testing (LMT) requirements have been enhanced to ensure that Australian workers are prioritised for job opportunities in Australia.
The existing instrument LIN 18/036: Period, manner and evidence of labour market testing has been amended to reflect these enhancements. The amending instrument can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation.
As a result of the amendment, businesses that are considering employing overseas skilled workers on a Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa, Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa, or Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional)) visa, will be required to advertise their vacancies on the Jobactive website (http://www.jobactive.gov.au) in addition to the two other advertisements that must be published in line with existing requirements.
The enhanced labour market testing requirements apply to nominations lodged on or after 1 October 2020 to ensure that appropriately skilled Australian citizens and permanent residents are given work opportunities before overseas workers when a business nominates a vacancy.
The amendment will not affect nominations lodged prior to 1 October 2020, or nominations for a select occupation or a select position to which alternative evidence arrangements apply.
Registered migration agents are asked to advise their clients of the new requirements as a matter of urgency to allow advertisements for upcoming positions to be placed on Jobactive, with applications for the positions able to be accepted for at least four weeks as per existing LMT requirements.
Nominations lodged on or after 1 October 2020 without evidence of a Jobactive advertisement that satisfies all existing LMT requirements, such as those in relation to position details and duration, cannot be approved. There are no provisions in regulation 2.73AA or 2.73C that allow for refunds of the nomination fee or Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy where a nomination is refused or withdrawn due to failure to satisfy the LMT requirement.
Given the economic impacts of COVID-19, registered migration agents are also advised that the Australian Government has an expectation that positions will be advertised on Jobactive before seeking to nominate an overseas worker for a permanent employer sponsored visa (subclass 186 or 187), in order to demonstrate that there is a genuine need for an overseas worker to fill that position.
In addition, to ensure that job opportunities for Australian workers are being prioritised, the Department will be further scrutinising ENS and RSMS nominations in relation to Australian workers employed by the business in similar occupations, including:
- recruitment of temporary visa holders beyond the ordinary scope of the business.
- retrenchments in the previous 12 months
- reduction of hours worked during the previous 12 months
- reduction in pay and conditions within the previous 12 months
- employment of a temporary visa holder on conditions less favourable than Australians
Further information can be found on the Department’s website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/employing-and-sponsoring-someone/sponsoring-workers/learn-about-sponsoring
The relevant procedural instructions will be updated to reflect the new arrangements in due course.
For offshore visa applicants, Australia’s international border restrictions remain in place (currently only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families are permitted to enter unless an exemption is granted).
Temporary skilled visa applicants or current visa holders, who are working in a PMSOL occupation, will be eligible to request an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions online at: https://travel-exemptions.homeaffairs.gov.au/tep.
Individuals do not need to hold a current visa to lodge a travel exemption request.
To apply for a travel exemption, applicants need to apply via the Department’s website and must include:
- traveller details: name, date of birth, visa type and number, passport number
- proposed residential address and phone number in Australia
- your reasons for coming: why you should be granted an exemption
- a supporting statement: setting out how you meet one of the grounds for an exemption
- accompanying evidence.
If an applicant has lodged a visa application, evidence provided as part of the visa application can be used for the travel exemption request.
On arrival, a mandatory 14-day quarantine period is required to be undertaken at designated facilities in the port of arrival.
Please refer to the Department of Home Affairs’ covid19 webpages for current international traveller arrangements: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/coming-australia