Age skill and English language exemptions - Permanent Employer Sponsored programme

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Exemptions for age, skills and English language ability are available under the Temporary Residence and Direct Entry streams of both the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa programmes. Exemptions are based on a person's nominated occupation, salary or the length of time they have been employed with their nominating employer and will be determined by the type of application or stream they are applying for.

Applicants who are unable to meet the higher benchmark for the Direct Entry stream, and are not exempted, have an alternate permanent residence pathway. If they are eligible for a subclass 457 visa, after two years work in Australia, they will be eligible to qualify for the streamlined Temporary Residence Transition stream.

Concessions sought under a labour agreement must be negotiated in the existing way.

Age exemptions

On 25 June 2013 exemptions for age were expanded with a view to creating greater flexibility to applicants who meet the specified criteria for exemption.

Applicants must be less than 50 years of age or exempt. Exemptions are now available to applicants who are either:

  • nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia
  • nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist by an Australian government scientific agency, including State and Territory government scientific agencies
  • applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream, who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a subclass 457 visa for the last four years and whose earnings were at least equivalent to the Fair Work Australia High Income Threshold* for each year over that period
  • nominated as a medical practitioner (ANZSCO Minor Group 253) applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream:
    • who have been working in their nominated occupation as the holder of a subclass 457 visa for at least the four years immediately before applying, this employment was located in regional Australia for at least two of these years, and whose nominated position is located in regional Australia 
    • who have been working for their nominated occupation as the holder of a Subclass 422 visa before becoming a holder of a Subclass 457 visa for the prescribed period of two years in the four years immediately before applying, this employment was located in regional Australia for at least two of these years, and whose nominated position is located in regional Australia.
    • for the Direct EntryStream:
      • New Zealand citizens and non-New Zealand members of the family unit of New Zealand citizens:
        • who hold Subclass 444 or 461 visas who have been working for their nominating employer in their nominated occupation for at least two years (excluding any periods of unpaid leave) in the last three years immediately before making their visa application; or
      • nominated as a medical practitioner (ANZSCO Minor Group 253):
        • who have been working for their nominated occupation as the holder of a Subclass 422 visa for at least the four years immediately before applying, this employment was located in regional Australia for at least two of these years, and whose nominated position is located in regional Australia
        • who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 422 visa before becoming a holder of a Subclass 457 visa in the four years immediately before applying, this employment was located in regional Australia for at least two of these years, and whose nominated position is located in regional Australia.

    * The current Fair Work Australia High Income Threshold is AUD136 700, as at 1 July 2015.

    Skill exemptions

    Skill exemptions only apply to the Direct Entry streams of the ENS or RSMS.

    Visa applicants applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream will not need to have their skills assessed as they are considered to have met the skill requirement based on the time they have spent working on their subclass 457 visa in their nominated occupation for their nominating employer.

    Exemptions for the ENSDirect Entry stream will require applicants to:

    • be nominated as an academic by a university in Australia
    • be nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist by an Australian government scientific agency, including State and Territory government scientific agencies
    • have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate**
    • be in Australia as the holder of a subclass 444 or 461 visa and have worked with their nominating employer in their nominated occupation for the last two years (not including any period of unpaid leave) in the period of three years before the visa application is made.

    Exemptions for the RSMSDirect Entry stream will require applicants to:

    • have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax bracket**
    • reside in Australia as the holder of a subclass 444 or 461 visa and have worked with their nominating employer in their nominated occupation for the last two years (not including any period of unpaid leave) in the period of three years immediately before the visa application is made.

    ** The current top individual tax income tax bracket is AUD180 001 as at 1 July 2015.

    English language exemptions

    Applicants are required to show that they have the required English language proficiency for the visa they are applying for, or be exempt.

    Applicants are required to have at least vocational English or competent English depending on the stream they are applying for.

    To be considered exempt from the English language requirement, an applicant must be:

      • have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate**
      • applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and they have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where all of the tuition was delivered in English.

      ** The current top individual tax income tax bracket is AUD180 001 as at 1 July 2015.

      Further information

      More information about the Permanent Employer Sponsored Programme is available on the department's website.
      See:
      Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)
      Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187)

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