A SYDNEY immigration lawyer has warned that employers who hire foreign nationals to work in Australia and sponsor them for permanent resident visas need to decide whether the visas should be applied for now or after changes to the criteria for permanent residence come into force in April.
Under the current law, employer-sponsored employees can apply for permanent resident visas by demonstrating high level skills. However, after April 2 this year, applicants must have been employed in Australia on a specified temporary visa for at least two years, one of which has been spent as an employee with their nominating employer in the nominated position.
As well, employees have to have their skills formally tested by an independent body and have at least three years’ experience in their nominated occupation, said Australian Business Lawyers partner, Katie Malyon. And employees need to occupy senior management positions earning a base salary of as least $151,000 per annum.
Malyon said employers should decide when to apply after an expert assessment of the qualifications and experience of those foreign nationals they employ.
“Even if attaining permanent residence appears to be only a matter of course, applicants and their sponsors need to know the time frame that will be involved and this can only be done by having their qualifications and experience assessed,” Malyon said.
Employers and individuals who lodge their applications for permanent resident visas before April 2 will be assessed under the existing law, said Malyon, even if their applications initially lack some necessary documentation such as country of origin police checks.