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 fourth of his regular Australian Visas – News Updates with 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. Visa charges to increase
Base Government Visa Application Charges (VAC) for all visa subclasses, except the Visitor Subclass 600, will increase by 5.4% from 1 July 2019.
2. Skilled Migration – Recent changes to the skill lists
The following skilled occupation lists…
- Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL),
- Short term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and
- Regional Occupation List (ROL)
…for the main visa sub-classes were recently up dated and came into operation from the 11 March 2019 – see below.
(a) General Skilled Migration (GSM) – Points tested visa sub-classes (SC189, 190 & 489 visas):
36 occupations have been added to the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) Restrictions on 3 other occupations were relaxed.
27 occupations have been removed from Short term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) or moved to the MLTSSL or Regional Occupation List (ROL)
18 occupation have been added to the ROL
(b) Temporary Short Term (TSS) (Sponsored) SC482 visa:
27 occupations have been removed from the STSOL (visa length 2 + 2 years)
8 occupations have been moved to MLTSSL (visa length 4 years)
18 occupations have been moved to the ROL
Caveats (inapplicability conditions) have also changed.
c) Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS)(Permanent) SC186 visa:
8 occupations have been added to the MLTSSL
Some inapplicability conditions have changed.
(d) Regional Sponsored Skilled Migration (RSMS) (Permanent regional) SC187 visa:
8 occupations moved to MLTSSL
It is important to note that the lists will change periodically so as a common theme, if your occupation is on the lists for the visa that you desire, then act now, or risk that occupation being removed or transferred to less beneficial visa sub classes.
To find out more about which skills are on these lists, Google “homeaffairs skilled occupation lists” for the latest information from the Australian Government.
All visa assessments requested after this commencement date will factor in the new lists.
3. New short-term temporary parent visa
The new short-term parent visa which has been reported on previously have been approved and will commence on the 17 April 2019.
The key takeaways are:
- Parents must be sponsored by a biological, adoptive or step-child who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The sponsoring child must be 18 years old or older, must have lived in Australia for at least 4 years, must meet a household income requirement (see below), must meet character requirements, and must accept legal liability for any debt owing for care in the public health system that the parent may incur during their stay in Australia;
- The visa application process will involve two stages, with sponsors and parent applicants being assessed separately, and with approval of the child-sponsor required before a visa application can be made by the sponsor’s parents;
- Applicants will be required to obtain and maintain health insurance for the entire period of their stay in Australia;
- The “Balance of Family Test”, which has previously applied to other kinds of parent visas, will not be a criterion of the new temporary parent visa;
- The visas will be valid for a period of either 3 or 5 years, with the Visa Application Charge for the 3-year visa being $5,000 and the charge for the 5-year visa being $10,000;
- The Taxable Income Threshold required to sponsor parents for this visa will be $83,454.80.
4. Partner visa alert
As you can see, this particular update has been crossed out. It’s all explained in the additional update added 15.4.2019 below.
The date of proposed Partner changes have now been announced and again, as with the Parent visa above, it’s 17 April 2019. Under the proposed new rules, partner sponsorship applications must be approved before a partner visa application can be lodged. Until this law changes, sponsor and visa applications can be lodged together and without waiting for approval of the sponsorship application. A sponsor must currently be able to prove financial capacity to support an incoming partner, but that is different to a preliminary or formal step (which can be failed) before visa lodgement. The devil will be in the detail, so as advised earlier, if you qualify now, then you should consider applying now, and perhaps gain the benefit of the current rules.
BREAKING NEWS! Partner provisions – now NOT commencing 17 April 2019
Changes to the partner visa provisions requiring sponsors to be assessed BEFORE visa applicants can lodge a visa application, have not at this stage been extended to other family visas requiring sponsors (i.e. parent and partner visas).
Prior approval for Sponsors will only apply to the new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas, so the current arrangements for existing visas, including partner visas, will continue to operate from 17 April 2019.
This delay provides an opportunity for applicants to continue to lodge sponsorships and partner visa applications together on-shore to get the benefit of bridging visas pending a decision. As I have said before and while in no way intending to panic clients, if you satisfy the rules now, apply now, because saying that there is no time-frame doesn’t mean there won’t be one, it just hasn’t been released it yet!
5. New skilled regional provisional visas – November 2019
The Migration Program planning ceiling for 2019-20 is 160,000, with a continued focus on skills. More than two thirds of the Program are allocated to the Skilled stream, with a focus on categories that allow employers or states or territories to nominate skilled migrants.
There will be two new skilled regional provisional visas introduced in November 2019:
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa:
for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia.
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa:
for people who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.
Under these new visas – one sponsored and one independent – migrants will be required to live and work in a regional area of Australia for at least three years before they are eligible to apply for permanent residence. December 2022 will be the earliest an application for a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa can be made.
The current Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) SC187 visa and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (State and Territory Nominated) SC489 visa will go to make way for these two new regional visas in November 2019. Visas will be granted with a validity period of up to five years.
The introduction of the two new regional visas will not impact people who already hold existing permanent skilled visas. Applications lodged prior to November 2019 will continue to be processed as normal.
The allocation of approximately 30,000 places to these two new visas, means a reduction of the usual general skilled visas (SC189, SC190 etc). So as a common theme, if you qualify now, apply now before this new program starts which will affect the overall availability of places in the independent and nominated skilled visa space.
6. New definition of Regional Australia after November 2019 (see above)
In November 2019, the definition of Regional Australia for all skilled visas will be simplified and expanded to include all of Australia except for the following metropolitan areas:
- Gold Coast
Areas within the new regional definition will have access to the two new skilled regional provisional visas noted above, which enable migrants to access a wider range of occupations as well as receiving priority processing.
Need professional assistance?
Simon is ready and available to help you with any migration issues related to these points of interest or any other, through our Visa Assessment Service.
To get started immediately, visit our Visa Assessment Service page, purchase an assessment and follow the instructions. As soon as you have completed your questionnaire and returned it to Simon, you will have direct access to him and he will be able to assess your options. In a follow-up Skype or telephone call, Simon can answer any relevant questions you might have.
Full details of the service are available on the page.