Regional Australia employer sponsored skilled visa a top priority

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Several skilled visas have hit the top of the government’s priority list after changes to how applications for the employer-sponsored visa in regional Australia are processed.

A Ministerial Direction went into effect in December with faster processing times for the Temporary Skills Shortage visa (Subclass 482), Employer Nomination scheme (Subclass 186) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 494) visa.

Applications for skilled visas in the healthcare and education sectors will continue to be the Department of Home Affairs’ first concern and the change to processing priorities will have an effect on the time it takes for these applications to be processed.

Businesses which sponsor skilled visas can apply for accreditation and the direction outlines the priority given to these businesses will continue. To become an accredited sponsor, businesses must first be a Standard Business Sponsor (SBS).

This costs A$420 to apply for and once granted, gives skilled visa applications sponsored by the business priority processing, accredited status further raises this priority but businesses must fulfil criteria such as a minimum turnover of $A2 million per year over the last two years and a 75-85% Australian workforce.

The direction has also removed the priority processing for applications of offshore applications. They will now be treated the same as onshore ones and prioritised as per the day of lodgement. Priorities for Hong Kong nationals and British Overseas passport holders have been removed.

The new processing priorities reflect the government’s shift away from temporary visas with no clear pathway to permanent residency. Late in 2023, a new visa aimed at attracting skilled migrants to industries in Australia still experiencing crippling skills shortages was announced.

Despite record migration, the country is still struggling to find enough workers to fill roles involving specialist skills and has defied expectations by retaining a very low unemployment rate.

Australia’s inflation rate continued to fall in the second half of 2023 and the country managed to avoid an economic recession as it continues to recover from 2 years of border restrictions and a falling population. Call Easy Migrate to find out more about employer sponsored skilled visas and how your business can take advantage of the new processing changes.