Upcoming Immigration Changes 2019

Are you prepared for the Australian Immigration changes in 2020? Many changes are being introduced to the Australian Skilled (GSM) , Employer Sponsored visas (ENS) and Family Visa Program. The Migration updates and changes in 2019 page is updated on a regular basis.

In preparation to the introduction of the new Skilled Regional visas in November, the Immigration department has announced further details on the implementation dates for the 491 and 494 visas, and transitional arrangements for Subclass 489 and RSMS 187 visas.

New Regional Visas with PR pathways

The Australian government has released the regulations relating to 2 new regional visas which will be available from November 2019. The subclass 489 visa will close from 16 November 2019. The Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs have announced that the last day for states and territories to nominate and issue invitations for the subclass 489 applicants will be 10 September 2019. Some states are progressively closing their subclass 489 Skilled Regional state nomination program to new applications. Below are the latest state announcements. A new Skilled Worker Regional (Provisional 491) visa will be introduced on 16 November 2019 and this will replace the 489 visa.

The two new regional (provisional) visas are:

Extra 1 year visa for international graduates from regional institutions

a new initiative for an additional Temporary Graduate visa with an extra year of post-study work rights for international students who:

  • graduate from the regional campus of a registered university or institution with a higher education or postgraduate qualification; and
  • maintain ongoing residence in a regional area while holding their first Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa

The second Temporary Graduate visa will require ongoing residence in a regional area.

The definition of regional Australia for this purpose will be the same as the definition for skilled migration –

Regional areas are defined as any area excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Important change: Perth and Gold Coast are classified as regional areas

Regional areas include Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.

Liberal election win and Australia Immigration policy

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has claimed victory in the 2019 election, with results showing the Liberal National coalition is on track to be returned to government. So what does this mean for Australian immigration in the next 3 years? Find out more here.

Updated occupations list

Skilled Occupation List changes 186,187,189,190, 407; 482; 485; 489 were announced and are effective from 11 March 2019.

Commencing 11 March 2019, for the 189, 190, 489 visas there were 36 occupations added to MLTSSL; 27 occupations removed from the STSOL, 18 occupations added to the ROL. For the TSS visa, there were 2 occupations added to MLTSSL, 6 moved from STSOL to MLTSSL and 16 moved from STSOL to ROL. See the full list here.

Skilled visas points test: changes will come into effect from November 2019 which will enable some applicants to earn additional points where the partner has competent English.

Points test changes from 16 November 2019: Applicants and intending migrants will not be disadvantaged by the changes to 6D points for Points Tested visas. These come into effect on 16 November 2019. SkillSelect will automatically update points for all Expressions of Interest (EOI) in submitted status.  This will not change the ‘date of effect’ for any EOI.

Migration changes in 2019

The new sponsored family visa and approval of family sponsor changes commence on 17 April 2019

The new changes to Sponsored family visa’s, which is likely to include partner visas, is scheduled to commence on 17 April 2019. This may have the following affect on prospective partner visa applicants: Sponsorships lodged first and approved before Partner visas can be lodged. If you are planning to apply for a Partner visa we recommend booking an appointment to discuss and understand how these changes may impact you.

New legislation has recently been introduced that will significantly impact whether an Australian Partner visa application can be lodged whist the applicant (partner or spouse) is in Australia.

The new Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill was passed through Parliament. The Governor‑General proclaimed on 8 April that Schedule 1 of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018, would commence on 17 April 2019.

The new regulations mean that partner visa sponsorship applications would need to be lodged under stricter criteria and approved before the overseas partner visa application could be lodged, however these have not been implemented yet for partner visas.
The new 2 step process will delay the lodgement of the overseas partner application and require the overseas partner to have a valid visa until a visa application for the overseas partner can be lodged.We recommend that our clients take advantage of the deferral of the new regulation and lodge their sponsorship and partner visa applications as soon as possible.

The change of Partner Visa will require the sponsor, and not just the applicants, to be assessed as well.

These key changes amends the Migration Act 1958 to establish a sponsorship framework for the sponsored family visa program to: establish a sponsorship framework for the sponsored family visa program to:

  • separate sponsorship assessment from the visa application process for family sponsored visas;
  • require the approval of persons as family sponsors before any relevant visa applications are made;
  • impose statutory obligations on persons who are or were approved as family sponsors and provide for sanctions if those obligations are not satisfied;
  • facilitate the sharing of personal information between parties identified in a sponsorship application;
  • enable the refusal of a sponsorship application and the cancellation or barring of a family sponsor in certain circumstances;
  • enable the regulations to prescribe details for, and in relation to, the operation of the sponsorship framework; and make consequential amendments.

Commencement of the 5 year Sponsored Parent visa (Temporary)

Subclass 870 visa

The introduction of the new temporary sponsored parent visa for bringing in overseas parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents will be available on 17 April 2019. 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 visa will be renewable for a combined maximum of 10 years.

Introduction of the 870 Temporary Sponsored Parent visa.

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

Employer Sponsored Migrants

The Department of Home Affairs will commence the collection of tax file numbers for current 457/482 TSS visa holders and other employer nominated and sponsored migrants. The resulting data will be matched with the ATO’s tax records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.This also relates to Subclasses 124, 132, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 457476, 482, 485, 489, 858, 887, 888, 890, 891, 892 & 893 visas

This inserted regulation prescribes the visas for which TFN may be requested from holders or former holders of the specified visas for the purposes of the Migration Act.

The Department will use this information to identify sponsors who have not complied with sponsorship obligation and visa holders who have not complied with their visa conditions.

New South Australian Entrepreneur Visa

Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA)

Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) is for promising overseas seed-stage entrepreneurs – anyone who has an innovative, entrepreneurial idea or concept, or is working on an innovative early-stage business ideally with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and some demonstrable traction or market fit, and wants to develop this idea or concept and build their business in South Australia.

Entrepreneurs must first be endorsed by the South Australian Government (Department for Trade, Tourism and Investment), and then apply to the Department of Home Affairs for a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa in order to participate. SISA will run for three years, commencing November 2018 and ending November 2021. However, the length of your visa will be dependent on when the visa is granted. International students cannot participate in SISA. While on the 408 visa you will not be able to access medical and health benefits like permanent residents or Australian citizens and your children will pay international student fees in primary and secondary schools. Subclass 485 visa holders may participate in SISA in limited circumstances. Dependents have unlimited work and study rights.

In 2019, the evidence of fund needs to show living cost is the following:

  • Main Student or Guardian: $21,041 (up from $20,290)
  • Partner or Spouse: $7,362 (up from $7,100)
  • Per Child: $3,152 (up from $3,040)

Visa Simplification: Transforming  & Privatising Australia’s Visa System

  • The Department is looking to simplify the visa system from 99 visa subclasses to only 9.
  • The Department of Home Affairs released the next steps in its years-long process to privatise Australia’s visa processing system, detailing what would be required of the company involved.

Flagged Occupations for 2019

The Department of Jobs and Small Business is responsible for reviewing the composition of the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Regional Occupation List (ROL) to identify occupations that would benefit from skilled migration for the purpose of meeting the skill needs of the Australian economy.

It has published a draft bulletin for public comment on proposed changes to the skilled occupations lists to take effect in mid 2018.

Redshort term skilled occupation list (stsol) occupations for possible removal.

Orangemedium long term strategic skills list (mltssl) occupations for possible movement to stsol.

Yellow—stsol occupations for possible move to mltssl.

Purple—occupations for possible movement from stsol to regional occupations list (rol).

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 fees 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.

7 DAMAs signed up to 23 June 2019

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

Read more here.

Skilled visa pass mark is 65 points in 2019

Pool and pass mark will increase to 65 for the following three subclasses where an application is made in 2019 in response to an invitation is:

Global Talent – Employer Sponsored program (GTES) and Independent program (GTIS)

The Department of Home Affairs announced it will make the Global Talent program (Employer Sponsored) permanent to attract the world’s best and brightest. Australian businesses and start-ups will have streamlined access to the best and brightest talent from around the world with the continuation of the Global Talent – Employer Sponsored program (GTES), formerly the Global Talent Scheme.

The Government recognises there is fierce competition globally for high-tech skills and talent, and that attracting these people helps to transfer skills to Australian workers and grow Australian-based businesses.

The Global Talent Scheme will consist of two components. Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million and the start up stream explained below.

The Department also announced the Global Talent – Independent program offers a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals to work and live permanently in Australia.

Western Australia to attract International Students for Skilled Migration

An additional Graduate Skilled Migration List will be introduced to attract the best global talent with the advanced qualifications, skills and experience and help grow Western Australia’s share of the international education market. Read more here.

1 July 2019

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.

ACT Nomination in 2019

ACT (Canberra) 190 visa nomination program

  • The ACT Government’s MATRIX – INVITATION ROUND results were:
    Invitation date: 27 September 2019

    Number of Invitations Issued: 124

    Matrix score range:

    • All Matrix submitted with 120 to 70 points
    • 65 point matrix submitted on or before 1 July 2019

The next invitation round will be in June 2019. See more here.

Cutting Australia’s permanent immigration intake

Currently capped at 190,000 per year

Australia’s Migration Program has evolved over the years in accordance with the political, social and economic imperatives of the government of the day. What began as a narrowly targeted program designed to achieve the ‘populate or perish’ objective which dominated thinking in the aftermath of World War II, has developed into a broader, more open program aimed primarily at meeting the labour market needs of the Australian economy. These changes are reflected in the changing ethnic composition of migrants to Australia and the shift in balance between the skilled and family streams of the program.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated more than once that he is in favour of capping the annual immigration intake at 160,000.

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