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Immigration News

The complex laws of Australian migration are constantly changing.

See them here.


 

Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship Bill FAILS – October 2017

The proposed Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017  has been struck from parliamentary business, effectively defeating the proposed amendments.

All applications for Australian Citizenship lodged from 20 April 2017 will be processed under the existing laws.


Working Holiday Visa Age Increased!

Finally some good news in the myriad of immigration changes....

The eligible age for Subclass 417 Working Holiday and Subclass 462 Work and Holiday visas will be increased from 31 years to 35 years!

This applies to applications made after 1 July 2017.

Please be aware however that some countries will have conditions on this age requirement, thus the increase of 35 years may not apply to all applicants. Please contact KTA Migration should you have any queries.


Subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa Age Lowered

Effective 1 July 2017, the maximum age under the Subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa will be lowered from 50 years to 45 years.

Transitional arrangements are in place - the amendment does not apply to applications made in response to an invitation by the Minister given before 1 July 2017 and the application is made on or after 1 July 2017; or, the applicant claims to be a member of the family unit of the primary applicant and is making a combined application with the primary applicant.


Changes to the Subclass 457 visa program and Occupation Lists: 19 April 2017

Subclass 457 visa program abolished

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday announced a number of changes in relation to the temporary and permanent skilled migration programmes, including the abolishment of the Subclass 457 visa program.

The implementation of these reforms will begin immediately, effective from today, 19 April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

The announcement can be viewed here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-18/government-abolishing-457-visas/8450310

The Government will replace the Subclass 457 visa program with a Temporary Skills Shortage Visa which has 2 streams – a Short Term stream for a period of 2 years; and a Medium Term stream for a period of 4 years.

Each stream is governed by an occupation list, which, also effective from 19 April 2017, have undergone changes.

We understand that further changes include an increase to previous work experience, increased English language skills, increased Labour Market testing and no access to a pathway for permanent residence for those eligible only under the 2 year Short Term Stream.

For those visa holders currently on a Subclass 457 visa, there will be grandfathering arrangements and you will continue under the conditions of your visa.

We are awaiting the release of Legislation and DIBP Policy governing these changes and hope to update you in more detail in time.

Occupation Lists Amended

As of 19 April 2017, the lists have been re-named:

• the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL); and

• the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) is the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
Further:
• 216 occupations have been removed from the list of eligible occupations for nomination under the Temporary Skills Shortage visa; and

• caveats have been added to 59 other occupations for nomination under the Temporary Skills Shortage visa.

Occupation lists are available to view on the Department of Immigration and Border Protections (DIBP) website here: https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists

Should you have any queries in regards to your immigration situation, please get in touch with KTA Migration


Changes to the WA RSMS Migration Program: March 2017 

The WA government suspended the certification of all new applications for RSMS Nominations on 13 March 2017. The WA government has since re-opened certification for the following regions: Gascoyne; Great Southern; Kimberley; Mid-West; Peel; Pilbara; South West; and Wheatbelt.

New applications for the Perth region remain suspended.

See http://www.migration.wa.gov.au/services/regional-sponsored-migration-scheme

Further, the State Nomination Migration Program and the WA Skilled Migration Occupation List (WASMOL) are undergoing a review. An interim WASMOL is in place whilst we await the final list to be released in late May 2017.

See http://www.migration.wa.gov.au/services/skilled-migration-western-australia/occupations-in-demand


New Regulations regarding Family Violence: Changes for Sponsors of Partner and Prospective Marriage visa applicants

The Australian Government is committed to reducing violence in the Australian community, including family and sexual violence. As part of this commitment, amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 introduced through the Migration Legislation Amendment (2016 Measures No. 3) Regulation 2016 have come into effect from 18 November 2016.

Sponsors of Partner and Prospective Marriage visa applicants who lodge a visa application, on or after 18 November 2016, will be required to:
• provide Australian or foreign police checks to the department when requested; and
• consent to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) disclosing their convictions for relevant offences to the visa applicant(s).
The changes do not affect visa applications lodged before 18 November 2016. The changes only apply where the visa application is made on or after 18 November 2016.

The Regulations will also make it mandatory for the Department to refuse a Sponsorship application under a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa if the Sponsor has been convicted of a “relevant offence or offences” or if the Sponsor has a “significant criminal record”.


New Opportunities for Work and Holiday Subclass 462 visa holders!

From 19 November 2016, Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa holders who undertake three months (88 days) work in the tourism and hospitality or agricultural industries in northern Australia – comprising all of the Northern Territory and northern areas of QLD and WA above the Tropic of Capricorn - will acquire eligibility for a second Work and Holiday visa. Get in touch with KTA Migration to check your work duties and locations to see if you are eligible!


Condition 8107 change: Subclass 457 Temporary (Work) Skilled program 

A reminder that from 19 November 2016, the period that a primary Subclass 457 visa holder can remain in Australia after their employment ceases will reduce from 90 days to 60 days. This change will apply to Subclass 457 visas granted on, or after, 19 November 2016.


Working Holiday Visa program: Backpacker Tax


The controversial Backpacker Tax has passed in the Senate in early December 2016. The tax is 15%.


Partner Visa Program: New Legislation and Penalties for Fraudulent Relationships

Recent legislative changes of Subdivision B--Offences relating to abuse of laws allowing spouses etc (Sections 237 – 245) have been inserted into the Migration Act 1958 and are directed at persons who enter into sham relationships for migration purposes. These persons may find themselves facing criminal charges, those too that support the fraudulent relationship, such as through arranging and supporting a fraudulent relationship or providing false statements. Penalties are as high as $100,000 or imprisonment for 10 years, or both. Penalties start from 12 months imprisonment or a $12,000 fine. 

The reason for the insertion is that, under the regulations, a person satisfies a criterion for certain visas that give, or might lead to, authorisation for the person's permanent residence in Australia if the person is the spouse or de facto partner of, and has a genuine and continuing relationship, involving a shared life to the exclusion of all others, with either an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia; and some persons attempt to get permanent residence under the regulations by entering into a married relationship that is not intended to be a genuine and continuing relationship involving a shared life to the exclusion of all others; or pretending to be a de facto partner of another person. This Subdivision B (Sections 237 - 245) Migration Act 1958 applies to applications in and outside Australia; and applies to marriages solemnized outside Australia as well as those solemnized in Australia.


Partner Visa Program: New Regulations regarding Family Violence

DIBP has adopted new Regulations which will give the Department authority to refuse applications for sponsorship of temporary partner visa applications in circumstances where the proposed Sponsor has been convicted of an offence involving family violence, or of other “relevant offences”. The new Regulations have been introduced through the Migration Legislation Amendment (2016 Measures No. 3) Regulation 2016 and are scheduled to come into force on 18 November 2016.

The clear intention of these new Regulations is to protect prospective visa applicants and their children from unknowingly coming to Australia under the sponsorship of a person who has a history of offences involving family or other violence and then being subject to the risk of violence at the hands of that person. In 2015-16, 529 Partner visa applicants claimed they were victims of family violence, compared to 458 claims made in 2014-15.

The Regulations will be introduced and apply to Prospective Marriage (Subclass 300); Partner (Provisional) (Subclass 309); and Partner (Temporary) (Subclass 820) visa applications and will make it mandatory for the Department to refuse a Sponsorship application for these visas if the proposed Sponsor has been convicted of a “relevant offence or offences” or if the sponsor has a “significant criminal record”.

The new Regulations also give DIBP the authority to request all Sponsors to provide Police Clearances. Currently, only when children are included in the application will Sponsors be required to provide Police Clearances.


Temporary Activity Visa changes


Following the Skilled Migration and Temporary Activity Review undertaken by the Department in December 2014, it has been announced that a new Temporary Activity Visa framework will come onto effect on 19 November 2016. In summary, there will be 4 new visa subclasses following the repeal and restructuring of 7 existing 400 series visas and the creation of 2 new visas. The existing sponsor classes will be replaced by a single Temporary Activities Sponsor class. The new Temporary Activity Visa framework will include the following visas:

• Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400) visa;
• Temporary Work (International Relations) (subclass 403) visa;
• Training (subclass 407) visa; and
• Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa.


Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa: Condition 8107 change


DIBP have notified that, subject to the approval of necessary changes to the Migration Regulations 1994 and approval by the Governor–General, from 19 November 2016 the period that a primary Subclass 457 visa holder can remain in Australia after their employment ceases will be reduced from 90 days to 60 days. This change would apply to Subclass 457 visas granted on, or after, 19 November 2016.


New Skilled Occupation Lists


A new SOL and CSOL has been released for the 2016 - 2017 migration year. This will come into effect from 1 July 2016. New occupations added to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) are:
251912 Orthotist or Prosthetist
25 2711 Audiologists


Partner Visa Application Fees to Increase from 1 January 2015 


DIBP have announced that the Visa Application Charges (VAC) for Partner visas will increase from 1 January 2015. Proposed VAC will be:
Subclass 309/100 Offshore Currently $3085 increased to $4627.50
Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Offshore Currently $3085 increased to $4627.50
Subclass 820/801 Onshore Currently $4575 increased to $6865.50


TSMIT Not Indexed for 2015-2016 


The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) under the Subclass 457 visa program remains at AUD$53,900pa.

 


Resident Return Visa - Changes to Validity Period

 

On 15 February 2012, the Australian Government announced that the validity period for Resident Return visas will be reduced from five (5) years to one (1) year where the Applicant has not been physically present in Australia for more than two (2) years of the last five (5) years. To obtain a five (5) year renewal of your travel validity period, Applicants must have been physically present in Australia for a total of at least two (2) years in the last five (5) years. Applicants who cannot meet this requirement will have their travel validity period renewed for one (1) year only, provided they can demonstrate substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties which are of benefit to Australia. Further, the Applicant must not have been absent from Australia for five (5) years or more, unless there are compelling reasons for this absence.