The Skilled Work Regional Visa program in Australia has undergone several changes that impact the eligibility criteria, occupation lists, and visa conditions for skilled workers seeking to live and work in regional areas of the country. These changes aim to reflect the federal government’s ongoing commitment to promoting regional development and encouraging skilled workers to settle in areas where they are most needed.
As of January 2023, the definition of ‘regional Australia’ has been further expanded to include all areas of Australia outside of the major metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. This change means that skilled workers are now encouraged to settle in a broader range of regional areas across the country, which will help to support economic growth and development in these areas.
Another significant change to the Skilled Work Regional Visa program is the introduction of a new priority processing system for certain visa applications. As of January 2023, skilled workers who have a nominated occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) may be eligible for priority processing of their visa application. This means that these applicants will have their applications processed faster than other applicants, which will help to ensure that skilled workers in critical occupations can enter Australia as quickly as possible.
In addition to the new priority processing system, the government has also updated the occupation lists for the Skilled Work Regional Visa program. As of January 2023, the occupation lists have been updated to reflect the changing needs of regional areas across the country. These updates include the addition of several new occupations, such as agricultural scientists, civil engineers, and social workers, to the eligible occupation lists for the visa program. These changes will help to ensure that skilled workers in a broader range of occupations can enter Australia and contribute to regional development.
Another important change to the Skilled Work Regional Visa program is the introduction of a new English language requirement for visa applicants. As of January 2023, skilled workers who apply for the visa program must demonstrate ‘proficient’ English language proficiency, which is equivalent to a score of 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This change reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring that skilled workers can effectively communicate with their colleagues and contribute to the development of regional communities.
In addition to the new English language requirement, the government has also introduced changes to the visa conditions for skilled workers who are granted a Skilled Work Regional Visa. As of January 2023, skilled workers must now live and work in a designated regional area for at least three years before they are eligible to apply for permanent residency. This change is designed to ensure that skilled workers are committed to living and working in regional areas and will encourage them to become active members of their new communities.
Finally, the government has introduced changes to the minimum salary requirements for skilled workers who are sponsored by employers under the Skilled Work Regional Visa program. As of January 2023, employers must pay skilled workers a salary that is at least equal to the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) for their occupation and location. This change is designed to ensure that skilled workers are paid a fair wage for their work and will help to prevent employers from using the visa program to undercut wages or exploit workers.
In conclusion, the changes to the Skilled Work Regional Visa program in Australia in 2023 reflect the government’s ongoing commitment to regional development and encouraging skilled workers to settle in areas where they are most needed. These changes include the expansion of the definition of ‘regional Australia’, the introduction of a new priority processing system, updates to the occupation lists, new English language requirements, changes to the visa conditions, and updates to the minimum salary requirements for sponsored workers.
To find out whether you will be impacted by these changes, contact our Senior Migration Consultant, Jeffrey Stone, today at email@example.com
Disclaimer: This publication contains comments of a general and introductory nature only and is provided as an information service. It is not intended to be relied upon as, nor is it a substitute for specific professional legal advice. You should always speak to us and obtain legal advice before taking any action relating to matters raised in this publication.