We received several great questions from HR professionals and business owners at our recent seminar on the 457 visa changes. Here’s a few of our Q&A’s regarding the new English requirements, which you may find useful.
One question posed to us was: “Is the Government essentially saying that if you can’t pass the English test you won’t get a visa?”
During the seminar we explained that from 1 July 2017, there would be mandatory English requirements for a 457 visa, however generally speaking, the new English requirements won’t apply for applicants from native English speaking countries for example the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and the US.
There is also an exemption to the 457 visa English requirement for ‘intra-company transferees’ where the 457 applicant is an employee of your business overseas and will be coming to Australia to fill a position with a salary over $96,400.
This is a welcome exemption as the government did not indicate that salary related exemptions would be retained in any form. Other exemptions are provided for diplomats and individuals that have completed a minimum of five years full-time study in English.
Business owners and HR professionals will also need to factor in the time it takes applicants to book and sit the English test, as this may impact lead times to secure an applicant for a role.
Another question about the new English requirements was: “Is the Immigration Department looking at introducing the new English requirements for permanent resident applications as well?’
The answer to this is yes – the English requirements for permanent residence are more stringent from 1 July for those applying under the Short Term Stream and the Medium to Long Term stream for a 186 or 187 visa. All streams for these visas now require the primary applicant to have ‘competent English’.
The change to the English requirement has had an unexpected impact on some unfinalised applications in the Direct Entry stream of the 186 and 187 visa. The high income English and skills exemption has been removed, therefore applicants that relied upon this exemption to lodge their visas appear to no longer be eligible for the grant of the visa. The Department of Immigration is yet to advise how the affected applications will be managed.
We will be posting additional questions from our business migration seminar over coming weeks. If you have any queries about how the 457 visa changes impact your business, we encourage you to contact Interstaff’s registered migration agents at [email protected] or on +61 8 9221 3388 (or National Free Call 1800 449 858).