Migration Services Update:

Navigating the increasingly restrictive immigration landscape

11 November 2020

Maria Jockel, Global and National Immigration Leader, Legal Principal, Accredited Specialist, Immigration Law |

Changes to the Labour Market Testing requirements

The Department of Home Affairs continues to focus on its economic recovery plan with a carefully managed migration program which aims to help Australia’s economy rebound from COVID-19.

It also continues to undertake reform initiatives focused on skilled migration, data matching and analytics in the new age of data sharing, regulatory compliance and enforcement.

Additional Labour Market Testing requirements now apply to all subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage nomination or subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) nominations.

Employers must advertise the position on JobActive and place at least two advertisements published in any of the below:

  • on a prominent or professional recruitment website with national reach that publishes advertisements for positions throughout Australia
  • in national print media (that is, newspapers or magazines with national reach that are published at least monthly and marketed throughout Australia)
  • on national radio with national reach
  • on the business' website if the sponsor is an accredited sponsor.

Read our summary of the current Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirements.

As there are reports of delays between posting the advertisement on JobActive and it going ‘live’, the LMT period only commences once the advertisement is live.

You should check that each of the three advertisements meets the requirements before they are posted to avoid delays in the completion of LMT.

Many nomination applications are refused because the LMT requirements have not been met in full. In that case, the Skilling Australians Fund Levy will not be refunded and any visa application will be refused unless it is withdrawn.

Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)

The Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs has issued Direction no. 88 as to the order in which applications lodged with the Department of Home Affairs are to be processed.

The new Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) prioritises 17 occupations in the health care, construction, and information technology sectors which are considered critical to Australia’s COVID-19 response.

Priority processing is no longer available for occupations not on the PMSOL.

The PSMOL occupations (ANZSCO code) are:

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioner nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)
  • Maintenance Planner (312911).

The Ministerial direction provides that other subclass 482 applications will be processed in the following order:

  1. Nominations lodged for an occupation within a Critical Sector.
  2. Nominations lodged in relation to an occupation to be carried out in regional Australia.
  3. Nominations lodged by approved sponsors with Accredited Status not covered above.
  4. Nominations lodged by a party to a labour agreement.
  5. All other nominations lodged in relation to the Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa program, including those relating to existing Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa holders.

There are currently processing delays of up to five months with subclass 482 Skill Shortage (TSS) nomination and Visa applications.

Travel exemptions

Travel exemptions continue to be required for temporary visa holders entering Australia or Permanent Residents and citizens wishing to depart Australia.

Additional guidelines have been published by the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force in response to the significant number of refused travel exemption requests.

To date, all travel exemption applications we have lodged for our discerning clients have been approved.

Read our information on obtaining a travel exemption & travel exemption flowchart

Department of Home Affairs/Australian Taxation Office data matching program

The Department of Home Affairs continues to advance its digital processing model, including with online lodgement of applications which allow for an integrated approach to information, data sharing and predictive analytics.

The Department of Home Affairs, together with other prescribed agencies, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), continue to collect a vast array of personal and business information.

The management of Australia’s borders and regulatory compliance continues to be shaped by a whole-of-government approach, digitalisation, automated analysis of data, and data-matching program protocols with the ATO.

Data–matching is increasingly used to effectively detect and deal with compliance risks through use of risk detection models and to improve decisions, services and compliance.

The ATO will continue to access visa data from the Department of Home Affairs for 2020-21 through to 2022-23. The data items include:

  • Address history for visa applicants and sponsors
  • Contact history for visa applicants and sponsors
  • All visa grants
  • Visa grant status by point in time
  • Migration agents (visa application preparer who assisted or facilitated the processing of the visa)
  • Address history for migration agents
  • Contact history for migration agents
  • All international travel movements undertaken by visa holders (arrivals and departures)
  • Sponsor details
  • Education providers (educational institution where a student visa holder intends to undertake their study)
  • Visa subclass name

The ATO estimates records relating to approximately 10 million individuals will be obtained each financial year.

The ATO advised that the data matching program from 2017 to 2020 resulted in the total number of records exceeding 20 million individuals.

Visa data is made available to ATO compliance staff to support risk profiling and trend analysis of the visa population. The data is matched against ATO records to ensure visa holders, visa sponsors and migration agents are meeting their tax and superannuation obligations.

Visa data for 1 March 2020 to 28 March 2021 will be used to assist in confirming eligibility for the Government's COVID-19 economic response, the novel JobKeeper measure. The data will support pre-issue and post-issue compliance checks enabling the ATO to follow up and action potentially false or misleading declarations.

Data is the new oil, and in our increasingly interconnected and hyper-connected world, the growth of new technologies and data sharing and analytics underpins regulatory compliance and enforcement.

Data sharing continues to play a critical role as businesses adjust operating models for higher levels of digital engagement.

One Touch Payroll data provides access to real-time data to the ATO, and in turn enables data sharing to be used to assist the ATO, Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and the Fair Work Ombudsman identify non-compliance with employer-related obligations, including obligations under taxation and superannuation laws.

Need more information?

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