Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Dispatch: Australia, Ghana, New Zealand, and Russia
Key changes to immigration regulations in Australia, Ghana, New Zealand, and Russia.
Russia: Federal Migration Service reorganized and merged into Ministry of Internal AffairsEffective 5 April , 2016, per the President of Russia’s order, the Federal Migration Service (FMS) has been abolished and its functions incorporated into the Ministry of Internal Affairs. There will be a thirty per cent reduction in FMS staff when the transition is finalized later this year (expected June 1). The Ministry of Internal Affairs will now oversee all facets of Russia’s immigration policies.The President does not expect any delays or issues during this transition. Regardless, delays are expected until everything is settled, but to what extent is currently unknown. Pro-Link GLOBAL will keep you updated on further developments on this situation as they are made public.
Australia: Updates for Subclass 457 and Temporary Work Visas
Subclass 457 Visa Program: New Attestation and English Language Requirement ChangesEffective 19 April, 2016 the government implemented changes to the subclass 457 visa application process. The changes demonstrate ongoing amendments to the subclass 457 visa including ensuring fair employment for the local labor market, streamlining the application process, and doing away with required language proficiency testing for some applicants.Currently, employers must attest to having a history of hiring local residents without discrimination to any applicant. However, with the amendments, this attestation is taken one step further in that employers must state these facts in writing acknowledging they will make every effort to employ those in the local labor market and not discriminate against them. Any employers not complying with this rule or discriminating (based on immigration status or citizenship) against applicants will be fined. To maintain integrity in this process, it is recommended that employers keep records for how subclass 457 visa holders were recruited.In addition, the English language requirement is being waived for those who previously met the language requirement to attain a job license or registration. Authorities do not expect this to negatively impact the English proficiency levels.
Increased Application Scrutiny Causing Delays for Temporary Work VisasDue to heightened security measures, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is currently experiencing delays in processing temporary work visas. Some applications are taking 8-9 weeks to process as opposed to the usual 4-6 week timeframe.These delays may, in part, stem from a recent trend of application denials based on the authorities’ claims that a job title does not match the job requirements provided in the application. It is recommended that you begin the application process as soon as possible and please contact a Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist with any questions or concerns.
Ghana: Petroleum Commission plans Work Permit application changesThe Petroleum Commission (PC) of Ghana has published initial, internal guidance outlining two new changes to work permit applications filed in the Oil & Gas sector. A public announcement of these changes has yet to be issued.Effective 4 April, 2016 the PC requires a new “Information Gathering Sheet” to be attached to all Oil & Gas work permit applications. An email version of the form is available and the PC expects it to be accessible on their web site in the upcoming weeks. The information sheet will request general information regarding the employee, assignment, and sponsoring company specifics (including plans for the sponsoring company to fill the position with a local Ghanaian citizen). This form is expected to streamline the application process and expedite processing times.The other new requirement for applications in the Oil & Gas sector is a USD $100 application fee will be part of the process for each initial, renewal, or appeals work permit application (Regular or Rotators—those who work on rigs for only 28 days/temporary work). This new administrative fee will be paid at the PC Finance Department upon filing of any work permit application.Companies should plan for the additional expense associated with the new application fee for each submitted application.
New Zealand: Essential Skills in Demand Lists updatedEffective April 11, 2016 the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment implemented changes to the Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) Lists. These lists outline the occupations for which the New Zealand authorities have determined there is a “skills shortage” in the local labour force. Qualified foreign workers filling these positions will be eligible for a streamlined immigration process that includes an exemption to local labour market testing requirements. These changes affect new hire foreign applicants only.The ESID encompasses the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) and the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL).The LTSSL lists occupations that have confirmed shortages in New Zealand and world-wide. Some recent updates for the Long Term Skill Shortage List include:Removal of Social Worker and Statistician/Fisheries Modeller as there are no longer shortages.The ISSL lists jobs that have an immediate shortage both in New Zealand as a whole and regionally within the country. Some recent updates for the Immediate Skill Shortage List include:
- Addition of Glazier (Auckland and Canterbury only), Sheet Metal Trades Worker, Metal Fabricator and Surveying or Spatial Science Technician (Building Information Modelling Professional)
Removal of several occupations in the Oil & Gas sector: Chemical Plan Operator, Occupational Health and Safety Advisor, Gas or Petroleum Operator, Production manager, Geologist, Safety Inspector, Geophysicist and Petrophysicist
Removal of Accountant, Photographer (Medical), Chemist (including Analytical Chemist), Rheumatologist, Orthopedic Surgeon and Science Technician (Flat Weaving Specialist/ Technologist) from the list as there are no longer shortages in these professions