The Australian government announced changes on two visa programs taking effect next year – the sponsorship visa (subclass 457) and the investor visa.
Sponsorship visa (457 subclass)
Generally, it should become easier for the business to hire overseas workers on a sponsorship visa. The processing of all three parts – sponsorship, nomination and visa applications will be streamlined and the focus will be on monitoring strictly the high-risk applicants and giving more credit to the low-risk applicants. The pay rates and the work conditions remain the same as well as the minimum salary of AU$53,900 ensuring that foreign workers are paid at least the Australian market rates. The minimum wage amount might be reviewed in the next two years. The English language requirement will be more flexible depending on the industry and occupation of the applicant. The sponsorship approvals will extend from 12 to 18 months for start-up businesses.
The idea is to help Australian business find qualified workforce faster as the scheme is too burdensome for the employers at the moment.
The other change concerns the Australian investor visa. Next year, Australia will introduce a new Premium Investor Visa giving residency after one year to those who invest $15 million. This visa program actually exceeds the current Significant Investor Visa (SIV) giving permanent residency to those who invest $5 million in Australia for at least four years. The investment eligibility criteria will be determined by Austrade in accordance to those areas and sectors of higher priority to the Australian economy.
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