The Australian Government has recently announced significant changes that will affect potential applicants under the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) and Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS), as follows:

Age Requirements

At present, applicants need to be aged under 50 when they lodge their application under the ENS or RSMS.

From 1 July 2017, applicants under the “Direct Entry Stream” of either of these visas will need to be aged under 45 when they make their application, unless an exemption applies.

The Australian Government has indicated that the current age limit of 50 years will remain for applicants under the “Temporary Transition Stream” of these visas until March 2018. Even if this remains the case, eligible applicants should apply as soon as possible in case the government’s position changes.

English Language Requirements

From 1 July 2017, applicants under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream of these visas will need to prove “Competent English” rather than “Vocational English”, in line with the English language requirements for applicants under the Direct Entry Streams of these visas.

Competent English can be demonstrated by providing the results of an IELTS test dated no more than 3 years prior to making the application, with a score of 6.0 or more on all four components of the test. The previous benchmark was 5.0 in all four test components.

Work Experience Requirements

From March 2018, applicants applying under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream of these visas will need 3 years of work experience with their Australian employer, rather than the current 2 years.

Occupation Requirements

From March 2018, generally only applicants with an occupation on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) (accessible at will be eligible for permanent residence employer sponsored visas. If your occupation is not on the MLTSSL, but rather on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) (accessible as above), you may be eligible for further temporary employer based visas in the future, but there will be no pathway to permanent residency.

Training Levy Requirements

From March 2018, a “Training Levy” of either $3,000 (for businesses which an annual turnover of less than AUD$10m), or $5,000 (for businesses with an annual turnover of more than AUD$10m) will be payable when lodging an application under the ENS or RSMS. It is likely that these payments will have to be borne by the Australian employer and not the visa applicant.


You should lodge your application for either of the visas as soon as possible if you are currently eligible. Please contact us if you need assistance or further information about the changes outlined above.

We will continue to update our news page as further developments occur.


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