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Permanent Visas will now be much more difficult for Religious Ministers and more flexible for General Medical Practitioners

Permanent Visas will now be much more difficult for Religious Ministers and more flexible for General Medical Practitioners


The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced changes affecting the Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186 Visa) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187 Visa). Two occupations – Ministers of Religion and Medical Practitioners, are affected by the changes announced.

Ministers of Religion (ANZSCO 272211) now required to sign-up to Labour Agreements

Ministers of Religion are now no longer eligible for the Direct Entry and Temporary Residence Transition stream of subclass 186 and 187 visas, as well as the Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visas. Religious organisations are now required to have an Industry Labour Agreement in place before they submit nominations under the 186, 187 and 457 visas.

Exemptions to age, skill and English language are no longer available to Ministers of Religion. Applicants must meet the requirements outlined in the Ministry of Religion Industry Labour Agreement. Follow this link to learn more about requesting for labour agreements.

Age Exemption now available for eligible medical practitioners in regional Australia

Medical practitioners who work in regional Australia and wish to apply for the subclass 186 and 187 visas now have easier access to exemptions for the age requirement if they are 50 years of age or over. Medical practitioners working in regional Australia seeking for the age exemption will no longer require employment with the same employer while holding a subclass 457 visa or a Medical Practitioner (Temporary) Subclass 422 Visa. They will instead need to:

  • Demonstrate at least four years of employment in the nominated occupation
  • Demonstrate that at least two out of the required four years of employment were located in regional Australia
  • Ensure that the nominated position is located in regional Australia

For more information about exemptions, visit the Department webpage here.

Comments by Chris Johnston – Principal Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent at Work Visa Lawyers

More changes are expected at the turn of the new fiscal year and it is important that applicants are aware of the implemented changes that can affect your Australian visa eligibility. In this case Ministers of Religion are now subjected to stricter requirements while medical practitioners in regional Australia effectively gain a lower requirement for the age criteria when applying for the subclass 186 or 187 visas.

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This information is accurate on 1 July 2015

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