The Department of Immigration and Border Patrol has updated the methods for demonstrating functional English for para 5(2)(b) of the Act.
The Instrument also adds that holders of valid passports from the following countries also meet the level of functional English: United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland.
For subsequent visa applicants (dependent on a subclass 186 visa) this is important. Your test must have been taken within 12 months of the visa application.
The Government will reform the 457 visa programme for skilled migrants, while maintaining strong safeguards against abuse.
The 457 programme must be a means of filling genuine skills gaps in the local labour market while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business.
An effectively managed skilled migration programme ensures foreign workers supplement rather than substitute Australian workers. A business that is forced to close because it is unable to access the labour that it requires employs no-one. That is a lose–lose situation for both employers and employees.
Following an independent review of the 457 programme, the Government will:
Safeguards will remain in place to ensure that the 457 visa programme is not rorted. It will continue to be a requirement that a foreign worker receives at least the same market rates and conditions that are paid to an Australian doing the same job in the same workplace.
The Government will also expand and improve the Significant Investor Visa programme.
At present, SIVs are available for applicants having an eligible investment in Australia of A$5 million, for a minimum of four years.
The Government will reform the programme to encourage more high net worth individuals to make Australia home and to leverage and better direct additional foreign investment, while maintaining safeguards to ensure the migration programme is not misused.
Changes will include:
The changes to the SIV will take effect during 2014-15, with the Premium Investor Visa to be introduced from 1 July 2015.
The Government will soon make further announcements on the recommendations of reviews into both the 457 and SIV programmes.
14 October 2014