Migration alert: Upcoming critical dates for visitors, students, employer sponsors and skilled applicants

The Prime Minister announced that Australia’s international border will fully reopen to those who are double vaccinated on 21 February 2022. We have outlined the critical dates and requirements for strategic workforce planning.

21 February 2022 – Reopening of international borders to all visa holders

On 7 February 2022, the Prime Minister announced that Australia’s international border will fully reopen to those who are double vaccinated, effective 21 February 2022.

Those intending to travel should ensure they meet the current requirements for entry to Australia. As at date of publication, these are:

  • Must hold a travel exemption, where required (not required after 21 February 2022);
  • Must be fully vaccinated with a TGA approved vaccine (and carry a foreign vaccination certificate);
  • Must complete the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before departure;
  • Must complete an acceptable COVID-19 test prior to departure; and
  • Must meet any quarantine and testing arrangements set by the relevant state/territory at the port of entry.

Up-to-date information and further details are set out in our full article

Travellers should note that each Australian state and territory is responsible for setting its own quarantine and testing requirements for entry.

18 March 2022 – Reminder – Upcoming expiry of transitional arrangements for protected TSS and 457 visa holders

Employers who wish to retain their visa holding staff permanently should consider whether any of their visa holding employees fall within the ‘protected visa cohort’, and could be eligible for certain concessions in transitioning to permanent residency.

Certain transitional arrangements apply to the ‘protected visa cohort’, which is defined as anyone who:

  • held a subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017; or
  • had lodged an application for a subclass 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017 that was subsequently granted.

If you have a 457/TSS visa employee who falls within the protected visa cohort, you should consider taking advantage of these arrangements before they cease on 18 March 2022.

Further details on the transitional arrangements and how they apply are set out in our full article.


Now until April 2022 – Relaxation of working hours for student visa holders

The Department of Home Affairs has advised that, due to workforce shortages, there is a temporary relaxation of student visa work limits.

Between now and April 2022, international students can work before their course commences and work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy.

This is a temporary arrangement that will be reviewed by the government in April 2022.

If you would like to find out more about your visa options and evaluate which pathway to take, please contact us on 03 9521 7577 or book an appointment.

2021-2022 Skilled Migration Updates


1 February 2022 – Western Australia has announced that it has met its quota for that state’s nomination program for 2021-22.

Applicants for WA state nomination continue to be processed, however, any applications which meet the requirements to be approved will be placed on hold until further allocations are made and will be notified by email.

On 4 August 2021, the Premier Mark McGowan wrote to the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs requesting an additional 5,000 places under the State nomination program. Should additional places become available and Migration Services can proceed with the nomination, applicants will be contacted.



15 February 2022 – Tasmania have announced the state only has a limited nomination quota remaining and they will now focus on priority cases first.

Tasmania’s nomination quota for the 2021–22 program year is:

  • Subclass 491 – 2200 places – 1274 places used
  • Subclass 190 – 1100 places – 731 places used

Managing Remaining Quota

We have received around 1000 new applications since December. With less than 1300 places remaining and around 1300 applications for nomination yet to be finalised we are very likely to significantly exceed available quota.

To manage this, and to ensure we continue to nominate those candidates who can best contribute to Tasmanian business’ skills needs, Migration Tasmania will focus on the following three priorities:

  1. Candidates with employment and a skills assessment related to critical roles (health, allied health, infrastructure, and engineering), and a skills assessment directly In line with that role
  2. Candidates with employment and skills assessment related to the Tasmanian Skilled Occupation List.
  3. Candidates with employment directly related to their nominated skills assessment (eg, skills assessment as a Chef, working as a chef)

Remaining applications deemed suitable will be ranked competitively and considered for any remaining nomination places.

Outcomes for applicants who are not in these three priority areas may not be available until later in the program year, which ends on June 30, 2022.

Migration Tasmania is investigating with the Department of Home Affairs the possibility of additional quota with. However, there is no guarantee this will be made available. We will constantly review this approach in coming months according to the number of applications received and the quota remaining.



16 February 2022 – South Australia will open Registrations of Interest (RoIs) to applicants currently residing offshore in a further 259 occupations on the State’s Skilled Occupation List from 2pm, ACST, Wednesday 16 February 2022.

For South Australian state nomination, prospective applicants must meet the Department of Home Affairs requirements, state-specific occupation requirements and have skills in an occupation that is available on our Skilled Occupation List. Offshore applicants meeting the minimum published requirements can lodge an RoI from 2pm, ACST, Wednesday 16 February 2022.

Please note that state nomination is a competitive process. There is no guarantee of receiving an invitation to apply for state nomination after lodging an RoI, even if the minimum requirements are satisfied. South Australia cannot indicate the likelihood of invitation or answer enquiries on this matter.



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