The following content has been written by Simon Earles, a MARA registered migration agent that I have been working closely with on this website since March 2014. Simon has already helped hundreds of my readers to move to Australia through our Visa Assessment Service.
This is the third of his regular updates on all the latest news with regards to visas, options and eligibility. The Australian government can change the rules at any time, so these updates will appear as and when required.
We hope you find this service useful.
1. Potential new entrepreneur visa for South Australia
South Australia has allocated $400,000 to implement a pilot program for a new visa for start-up entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in the state. The visa was first announced in March this year, before the SA state election.
Giving an undertaking to the South Australian Liberals to pilot the visa from SA before its national rollout in 2019, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said it would foster business growth and investment in Australia.
The Government said it would increase job opportunities and boost the economy by attracting start-ups to establish operations in Australia.
This visa will be different from the existing Entrepreneurial and Business & Innovation visas as it will not require any mandatory funding outlay and an applicant only needs to demonstrate vocational English language proficiency.
With the new visa, foreign entrepreneurs and investors with an innovative idea and a supporting business plan will be able to apply for a temporary visa to establish their venture in Australia.
Interestingly, it is not yet mentioned on their website!
2. New partner and citizenship regulations
There has been no movement on the passing of new partner visa regulations requiring the sponsor to be pre-approved before an application can be lodged, or changes seeking to tighten up Citizenship law and regulations.
As with any change, in our experience it is advisable, if eligible, to apply under existing rules rather than take a chance on incoming rules, which generally restrict existing capacity.
3. New short term 5 and 10 year parent visas
Similarly, there has been no indication of when the proposed new temporary 5 & 10 year parent visas will be approved and passed into law.
4. Migration in the news
It is perhaps no coincidence that with the emergence of the Trump effect and the rise in populist fervour in the run-up to the coming election, that the issue of migration has come to the fore.
Here is a brief timeline of those events:
- first, in November 2016, opposition leader Bill Shorten vowed that Labor would put Australian jobs first
- five months later in April 2017, in an apparent response to Labor’s campaign, the then Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, abolished 457 visas
- in February 2018 (another) former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, called for a massive reduction in immigration numbers
- the very next day, the then Treasurer Scott Morrison (now Prime Minister, keep up) slapped down the immigration cut calls
- then in March 2018, ABC’s 4 Corners program, an investigative documentary TV show similar to Panorama, aired a program called Big Australia: Are we ready? about the rising population in Australia
- in September of this year, planning expert Shane Geha suggested doubling immigration to save Australia’s choking cities
- then just a couple of weeks ago, on 9 October, the government unveiled a proposal to force new migrants to live outside of Sydney and Melbourne
So, as you can see, immigration is very much a current political hot potato and subject of much discussion here in Australia.
A perceived view that Australia cannot cope with the incoming flood of migrant has led to the term immigration crisis. It is perhaps more accurate to call it an infrastructure crisis! But the fact that there is a generally held view that housing, traffic and public services are coming under pressure because of the influx of immigrants is a sign that those marshalling against continuing Australia’s life-blood are winning the PR battle.
Australia since its early days has been a migrant country and will continue to be so, despite the political posturing and finger pointing at migrants as a soft target. With our population ageing and local birth rates at their lowest point in more than 10 years, the only way Australia will continue to grow to provide the revenue and services for its existing population and to cater for incoming contributing migrants is to continue this model, but in a more targeted way.
Shutting the door is fanciful.
One of the dangers with even flirting with this xenophobic approach is that other first world countries such as Canada and the US will prove to be a more attractive option. Once there is a perception of migrants not being welcome in Australia or of uncertain outcomes is created, it will be difficult to attract them later when we need to.
I believe the position will change after the coming election. Thankfully, the current government understands the economic benefit brought by the migration program, and even though Labor are making noises at this stage, I believe they realise it too.
5. Proposal to move migrant to regional areas
As a flow on from this populist pre-election pork barrelling, one proposed solution is to require intending migrants to settle in regional areas. While the extent of these regional areas have not been finalised, it should be noted that much of Australia which is deemed regional, is developed.
The issue which is not quite so clearly explained is how migrants sent to regional areas will secure employment, housing and other services, which are quite often not provided for the current regional population. There are no doubt areas which will benefit from a keen and motivated labour force, but it is not simply a matter of imposing conditions requiring them to stay in those areas. To do so is to set up the system to fail.
This initiative can only work if it is effected and marketed in an integrated way with other government support and most definitely decentralisation of services.
The take-away here is if you are eligible to apply for a visa now, whatever that visa might be, then you should apply now, rather than face a more uncertain future in terms of changes to policy and regulations of the sort noted above.
Also, occupation lists and point scores are subject to change, every 6 months for the former. So, if you are currently eligible for a points tested visa then it may be in your interest to take advantage of that now in case there are changes. If you require points from states and territories in order to qualify, then do your homework on where you may want to live.
States and territories expect you to have done your research and my tip is to pick your preference rather than selecting a number of states or territories, as that will be viewed negatively by the nominating authorities.
We will keep you posted.
- Click here if you would like to read the Previous Visa News Update: July 2018
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How frequent are these changes in the visas? I wanted to start applying in 4 years, but should I hurry now?
Changes to the visas can happen at any time, and without warning, at the whim of the government. If they are not urgent changes though, they usually happen on 1 July each year.
My migration agent always advises people that if they do qualify now, get it done, because you will end up kicking yourself if a rule change happens before you put your application in that means you can’t qualify.
Once you have a visa approved, it doesn’t mean you have to come here straightaway, there will be a period of time during which it will remain valid. A MARA registered migration agent can discuss that with you if you want to get the ball rolling now.
Hope that helps, Bob
No news on the false points threshold then. There are huge discrepancies between the amount of people they are willing to accept in theory (the ceiling) and how many people are invited to go forward. Quite why they encourage applications at 65 points is beyond me.
Yes, my migration agent talked about the raising of the points for the skilled visas in his last update, there is a link at the bottom of the above article to that one. I’m not sure it’s a ‘false threshold’, being as they are openly published online, but they are certainly higher than they used to be.