Australian Immigration Changes from 1st July 2019

From 1st of July there have been increases in government fees for almost all Australian visa fees. It was previously announced that there will be a 5.4 percent increase in visa application charges but the increase has been more in most visa subclasses such as the partner visa.

Fees in 2019

The department of Home Affairs has announced an increase in visa Application Charges (VAC) increase in fees will apply to applications made on or after 1 July 2019 on most visa subclasses. 

Visa Type Pre July Fee From 1 July 2019
Student $575 $620
General Skilled Migration $3,755 $4,045
Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 $1,535 $1,650
Partner $7,160 $7,715
Parent (Contributory) first instalment $340 to $3,855 $365 to $4,155
TSS STSOL $1,175 $1,265
TSS – MLTSSL $2,455 $2,645
ENS/RSMS $3,755 $4,045
Business Migration $4,985 $5,375
Significant Investor Visa (SIV) $7,310 $7,880

The Second Visa Application charge for the Contributory Parent visa (143 visa) will remain the same. The subclass 600 Visitor visa fee will increase to 145 for offshore applications and 355 for onshore applications.

New Regional Visas with PR pathways

2 new regional visas which will be available from November 2019 and a permanent visa pathway from November 2022.

The two new regional (provisional) visas and permanent visa pathway are:

  • Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa: Substituting the current 489 visa and commencing November 16, 2019 this visa has 14,000 places allocated per year. This is a skilled migration (points tested) visa which requires either state government nomination, or sponsorship by an eligible family member who is settled in a designated regional area. The age limit for this visa is 45 and you must have a positive skills assessment.
  • Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored: Substituting the current 187 (RSMS) visa and commencing November 16, 2019 this visa has 9,000 places allocated per year. It requires employer sponsorship and the position must be likely to exist for 5 years. It has a 45 year age limit, competent English, RCB advice and must meet the AMSR. Visa applicants must have a suitable skills assessment and at least 3 years’ skilled employment (unless exempt).
  • Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional): To meet the requirements of the permanent visa (from November 2022) applicants must have held a subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years, have complied with the conditions on that visa and have met minimum taxable income requirements.

5 year Sponsored 870 Parent visa (Temporary)

Sponsorship applications for the new temporary sponsored parent visa for bringing in overseas parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents was open from 17 April 2019. From 1 July 2019 the visa application component will be open meaning that visa applications can be lodged. 15,000 visas will be made available annually. The visas will be valid for 3 or 5 years at a cost of $5,000 and $10,000 respectively.  The new parent 870 visa will be renewable for a combined maximum of 10 years.

Sponsors can only sponsor two parents at any one time and have a minimum household taxable income threshold of $83,454.80 and have no debts to the Commonwealth or outstanding public health debts.

The programme is set annually, with the total places available capped at 190,000 for 2018-19 to be lowered to 160,000 for.

The government will cap permanent migration intake at 160,000 per year over the next 3 years, including refugee cap of 18,750 new migrants. 70 per cent will be in the Skill stream and 30 per cent in the Family stream.

  • Number of Employer Sponsored skilled visas to 39,000 places in 2019-20.
  • State/Territory Nominated category to 38,968 places in 2019-20, providing states and territories a greater say in migration.
  • Global Talent – Independent program on 1 July 2019 aimed at attracting the very best talent from around the world, with 5,000 places allocated in the 2019-20 Migration Program.
  • No change to the Family stream of the program, with 47,732 places available in.

7 DAMA agreements as of 1 July 2019

Up to now the below regions have signed DAMA agreements with the Department of Immigration:

Read more here.

Updated occupation ceilings

The Department of Home Affairs updated their data on occupation ceilings for the program year for each occupation on the list of eligible skilled occupations by four-digit ANZSCO code unit group.

An ‘occupation ceiling‘ might be applied to invitations issued under the independent, skilled regional (provisional) visas. This means there will be a limit on how many EOIs can be selected for skilled migration from an occupation group. This ensures that the skilled migration program is not dominated by a small number of occupations. Once this limit is reached, no further invitations for that particular occupation group will be issued for that program year. Invitations will then be allocated to intending migrants in other occupation groups even if they are lower ranking. To see the updated occupation ceilings see here.

Three year WHV and changes to Seasonal Worker Program

Introduction of a third year visa option for WHM (subclasses 417 and 462), who from 1 July 2019 onwards complete six months of regional work in the second year. Read more here.

Skilled Migration Changes:

The skilled migration points test will change from November 16, 2019. The changes will affect subclass 491 applicants as well as applications for other skilled migration visas that have not been assessed at that time (but only in a way that is beneficial for applicants, by providing additional points). The new points details are:

–         15 points for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia;

–         10 points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner (skills assessment and competent English); OR

–         5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’;

–         10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications;

–         10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner.

Book a meeting for a commitment free briefing with our Registered Migration Agents in Melbourne to find more about your visa options.