Update: Australian visa program changes – announcement due 6th October 2020

Australian visa 2020/2021 

As mentioned previously in this blog, changes to the Australian visa program are due to be announced from 6th October, 2020. This date marks the day the delayed 2020 budget is to be released.

While the details haven’t been confirmed it is expected that the Australian visa program numbers will be greatly reduced, and focused on skills that assist Australia’s economic recovery.

It is expected that the states/territories will also announce their nomination programs shortly too.

If you want to discuss how you are effected, your current visa application or your visa options going forward please Contact Us

  • Office: +44 (0)800772 0570
  • Mobile: + 44 (0)7710 649194
  • Email: mark@cargilmigration.com

 

UPDATE: General Skilled Migration (GSM) program – August 2020

All eyes on 6th October 2020 

Limited GSM nominations

As we advised in early July the GSM program remains pretty much closed. The DHA aren’t inviting many individuals to apply for a Subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa, nor are the states/territories nominating many applicants for a Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated visa or the Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional visa.

Where invites are being issued – these can vary by state/territory – they are focused on applicants who are in areas of critical skills and sectors and/or those already residing in Australia.

Australian Federal budget – 6th October 2020

It is however expected that the nomination limitations will change from the 6th October 2020. This is when the Australian government is due to release their budget. The budget will establish the number of visas applications available at both a national level – Subclass 189 visa – and for the states/territory programs – Subclass 190 & 491 visa. Once the states/territories are allocated with their visa caps we can expect confirmation of the occupations on their skilled occupation lists and other criteria applicants will need to meet.

Status of each State/Territory

An overview of the states/territories nomination status as of now is below:

ACT

“As you are all aware, the migration landscape is very different in 2020-21.  The Australian Government has directed the ACT to restrict nominations to Canberra residents with skills critical to supporting the ACT’s post pandemic economic recovery. An interim number of nomination places has been allocated until the Commonwealth Budget is announced on 6 October 2020.”

NEW SOUTH WALES

“NSW has been provided a limited number of interim nomination places for the 2020–21 financial year.

Because our nomination places are limited, we have made some temporary adjustments to our application process. These adjustments will be reviewed if more nomination places are provided to us later in the financial year.”

NORTHERN TERRITORY

“The Australian Government has not yet allocated nomination quotas to the states and territories for the 2020 to 2021 program year.

At this stage, onshore General Skilled Migration (GSM) nomination applications and all Business Investment and Innovation Program nomination applications will continue to be accepted and assessed, but no nominations can be issued until the Northern Territory has been allocated quotas. Offshore GSM nomination applications remain closed. We will update as further information becomes available.”

QUEENSLAND

“BSMQ has been advised by the Department of Home Affairs (HA) that it will not be in a position to open the 2020/21 migration program on 1 July 2020. As a consequence, BSMQ’s business and skilled migration program will remain closed on 1 July 2020 until further notice.”

TASMANIA

“All new applications lodged after 1pm (AEST), Tuesday 25th August 2020 must meet the minimum requirements of their chosen nomination category and demonstrate that the applicant is critical to supporting Tasmania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.

This requirement will be reviewed after the Federal Budget in October when full details of the 2020-21 nomination allocations and requirements are announced by the Department of Home Affairs.”

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

“The Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs has provided a limited number of skilled and business visa nomination places to the Government of South Australia up until the Federal Budget is delivered on 6 October 2020.”

VICTORIA 

“The Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs has provided a limited number of visa nomination places to the Victorian Government up until the Federal Budget is delivered on 6 October 2020.

We are preparing to re-open with new policies and nomination criteria to support Victoria’s economic recovery and the public health response.”

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

“The Western Australian State Nominated Migration Program is currently suspended. WA Migration Services will not issue invitations to apply for State nomination during the suspension period.

WA Migration Services appreciates your patience and looks forward to progressing the State Nominated Migration Program as soon as possible.”

 

If you want to discuss how you are effected, your current visa application or your visa options going forward please Contact Us

  • Office: +44 (0)800772 0570
  • Mobile: + 44 (0)7710 649194
  • Email: mark@cargilmigration.com

 

UPDATE: Australian Business & Investor visa programs – July 2020

UPDATE: Business & Investor visa visa program – July 2020 

As with the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program the business and investor program is currently being reviewed by the DHA. It is expected that it will re-open in the coming weeks & months.

At the stage it there have been no changes announced to the visas themselves, just when the program will reopen. If you are interested in knowing what your business or investor visa options are please get in touch.

We can still provide visa options, discuss your plans, confirm what is required by applicants, introduce you to our partners, (eg. VC ensure Capital providers) and look to prepare submissions upon re-opening of the visa program.

An overview of the states/territories nomination status as of now is below:

ACT – The ACT nomination program is currently suspended.  Any submitted applications will not be processed until further notice. 

NEW SOUTH WALES – NSW is currently closed to applications for nomination under the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP). NSW will open to new nominations once the DHA provides NSW with an allocation of positions for 2020-21

NORTHERN TERRITORY – At this stage all Business Investment and Innovation Program nomination applications will continue to be accepted and assessed, but no nominations can be issued until the Northern Territory has been allocated quotas.

QUEENSLAND  – The business migration program will remain closed until further notice. Please note:  BSMQ are not accepting any Expressions of Interests and look forward to opening the business program as soon as is possible.

TASMANIA – The Tasmanian Business Nomination Program is currently being reviewed. Tasmania have confirmed with us that they hope to have this review completed and new requirements published by the end of August 2020.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Business Migration programs are scheduled to re-open from early August. This will be dependent on the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for program year 2020-21. 

VICTORIA 

The Victorian Government’s state nomination program will remain temporarily closed while we await the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA – All State nomination places from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for Western Australia have now been allocated. They are not accepting any new applications for subclasses 188 or 132 until further notice.

If you want to discuss how you are effected, your current visa application or your visa options going forward please Contact Us

  • Office: +44 (0)800772 0570
  • Mobile: + 44 (0)7710 649194
  • Email: mark@cargilmigration.com

 

UPDATE: General Skilled Migration (GSM) program – July 2020 

UPDATE: General Skilled Migration (GSM) program – July 2020 

In recent times there has been significant reduction in number of invitations issued to applicants to apply for a GSM visa. This has been based on a general reduction in visas invitations offered by the DHA and – understandably – the effects of COVID19. 

Whilst there appear to have been no formal announcements by the DHA, the GSM program has to a certain extent been put on hold as of 1st July, 2020. This date marks the new Australian financial year.

It is understood that the Australia government is considering how best to shape the migration program post COVID19.

A key part of the post COVID19 GSM program will be the state/territory nominated visas, namely the Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190) & the Skilled Work Regional visa (Subclass 491).

If you are an applicant who has submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI), or you hope to apply in the future, you can however be confident that the program will re-open soon and states/territories will be able to provide clarification about their programs. 

An overview of the states/territories nomination status as of now is below:

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT) 

The ACT have advised that the guidelines for for any nomination applications submitted for a Subclass 190 or Subclass 491 visa after 1 July, 2020  are “To be advised”. 

NEW SOUTH WALES (NSW)

NSW is currently closed for accepting any nominations under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program for the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491).

NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT)

At this stage, onshore GSM nomination applications will continue to be accepted and assessed, but no nominations can be issued until the Northern Territory has been allocated quotas for the 2020/21 financial year. 

QUEENSLAND 

The Queensland State Nomination Skilled Program is closed. This includes both the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) and Skilled Nominated (Permanent) (subclass 190) visas. Queensland has not yet received advice fromDHA in regards to their nomination allocation for financial year 2020/21 and when we they be able to re-open the skilled program.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA (SA)

SA is currently closed for accepting any nomination applications for the Skilled Migration program, for the Skilled Nominated (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 190) and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491). It is scheduled to re-open from early August. This will be dependent on the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for program year 2020/21. 

TASMANIA

Tasmania is currently not issuing any nominations under the Skilled Migration program, for the Skilled Nominated (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 190) and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491) as the nomination quotas are yet to be allocated to the States by the Commonwealth Government for the 2020/21 program year.

VICTORIA 

The Victorian Government’s state nomination program will remain temporarily closed while they await the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020/21.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australia have made no specific comments with regards to their nomination program. 

If you want to discuss how you are effected, your current visa application or your visa options going forward please Contact Us.

Australian temporary visa holder changes – 4 April, 2020

Updated Australian immigration policy

In response to COVID-19 the DHA have announced further policy changes to visa holders currently in Australia. These changes effect:

  • New Zealand Citizens on Subclass 444 visas
  • Visitor visa changes
  • International students
  • Temporary Skilled visa holders
  • Working Holiday Makers
  • Access to Superannuation

The statement from the DHA is below. If you want to discuss how this effects you, please Contact Us.

Saturday, 04 April 2020

Coronavirus and Temporary Visa holders

The Government is making a number of changes to temporary visa holder arrangements during the coronavirus crisis in order to protect the health and livelihoods of Australians, support critical industries, and assist with the rapid recovery post the virus.There are 2.17 million people presently in Australia on a temporary visa.All were welcomed to Australia on a temporary basis for different reasons including to fill skills shortages; to study as full fee-paying international students; to visit family and friends; or to work and holiday.They are an important part of our economy and society. For example, there are over 8,000 skilled medical professionals on temporary visas supporting our health system right now.While citizens, permanent residents and many New Zealanders have access to unconditional work rights and government payments (including the new JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments), temporary visa holders do not.There has always been an expectation that temporary visa holders are able to support themselves while in Australia.  The changes announced today will help facilitate this for those who may be stood down or lose work hours as a result of the coronavirus. In line with changes being made for Australian citizens and permanent residents, most temporary visa holders with work rights will now be able to access their Australian superannuation to help support themselves during this crisis.  Temporary visa holders who are unable to support themselves under these arrangements over the next six months are strongly encouraged to return home. For these individuals it’s time to go home, and they should make arrangements as quickly as possible.Changes are also geared toward enabling temporary visa holders to remain in key industries, such as health, aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing. Importantly, they can help boost front line health numbers, get food from farms to our shops and ensure critical services continue.Temporary visa holders are extremely valuable to the Australian economy and way of life, but the reality is that many Australians will find themselves out of work due to the dual health and economic crisis we’re currently facing, and these Australians and permanent residents must be the Government’s number one focus.Visa changesThe following new measures will apply to the major classes of temporary visa holders. The situation will be reviewed periodically and further changes made if required.Visitor visa holdersThere are 203,000 international visitors in Australia, typically on a visa lasting three months or less.International tourists should return to their home country as quickly as possible, particularly those without family support.Thousands are already doing this and others should follow their lead.International students There are 565,000 international students in Australia, mainly studying in the higher education or vocational education sector. They are an important contributor to our tertiary sector and economy, supporting 240,000 Australian jobs.Students are encouraged to rely on family support, part-time work where available and their own savings to sustain themselves in Australia.  As part of their visa application, international students have had to demonstrate that they can support themselves completely in their first year.Students who have been here longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.The Government will undertake further engagement with the international education sector who already provide some financial support for international students facing hardship. For example, we understand there are some education providers that are providing fee discounts to international students.The Government will also be flexible in cases where Coronavirus has prevented international students meeting their visa conditions (such as not being able attend classes).International students are able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight.International students working in aged care and as nurses have had these hours extended to support these critical sectors.International students working in the major supermarkets had also had these hours extended to help get stock on shelves during the high demand. From 1 May, their hours will return to the maximum 40 hours a fortnight as more Australians are being recruited into these roles.New Zealanders on 444 visasNew Zealanders and Australians have reciprocal arrangements whereby we can each stay and work in each other’s country. There are more than 672,000 New Zealanders in Australia on a subclass 444 visa.New Zealanders who are on 444 visas and arrived before 26 February 2001 will have access to welfare payments and the JobKeeper payment.444 visa holders who arrived after 2001 have access to the JobKeeper payment. Those who have lived in Australia for 10 years or more have access to JobSeeker payments for six months.New Zealanders should consider returning to New Zealand if they are unable to support themselves through these provisions, work or family support.Temporary Skilled visa holders There are around 139,000 temporary skilled visa holders, on either a 2 year or 4 year visa.  They were provided the visa to fill a skills shortage – a shortage that may still be present when the crisis has passed.Consequently, those visa holders who have been stood down, but not laid off, will maintain their visa validity and businesses will have the opportunity to extend their visa as per normal arrangements.  Businesses will also be able to reduce the hours of the visa holder without the person being in breach of their visa condition.These visa holders will also be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year.Those visa holders who have been laid off due to coronavirus should leave the country in line with existing visa conditions if they are unable to secure a new sponsor.  However, should a 4-year visa holder be re-employed after the coronavirus pandemic, their time already spent in Australia will count towards their permanent residency skilled work experience requirements.Working holiday makers supporting critical sectors There are about 118,000 people in Australia on a Working Holiday visa (or backpacker visa) – a visa which provides conditional work rights.To support the critical sectors of heath, aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing, and childcare, some limited flexibility will be provided.In particular, working holiday makers who are working in these critical sectors will be exempt from the six month work limitation with the one employer and eligible for a further visa to keep working in these critical sectors if their current visa is due to expire in the next six months.In general, working holiday makers that do not have the confidence to sustain themselves over the next six months should make arrangements to leave the country.There are another 185,000 other temporary visa holders in Australia, about half of them temporary graduate visa holders. They will also be able to access their Australian superannuation if needed for support.Further announcements will be made with the Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister in relation to supporting the agricultural sector, including the operation of the Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Labour Scheme. 

https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/davidcoleman/Pages/Coronavirus-and-Temporary-Visa-holders.aspx

Australia – New arrangements for travellers from overseas

Australia introduce new measures to reduce community transmission of COVID-19

Australian have continued to develop their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to Australian travel restrictions announced last week the Australian government have announced further measures

All travellers entering Australia are now be required to undertake their mandatory 14 day self-isolation at designated facilities. These facilities will be determined by each state and territory and may be hotels.

The details provided on the DHA website are as below.

  • From 23:59 AEDT on 28 March 2020 all people entering Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival
  • Travellers will be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks.
  • Designated facilities will be determined by the relevant state or territory government and will ordinarily be in the city of entry where the traveller has cleared immigration, but facilities in other areas may be used if requireFor further information see New arrangements for arrivals from overseas​.​​

          Restrictions in place until: Further notice

If you want to discuss how this may effect your Australian travel plans, current visa application or current visa status please Contact Us.

Australian Travel Restrictions as of 20th March 2020

COVID-19 and Australian travel restrictions

Due to the worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic we are all living in unprecedented times.

As a response the Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHA) have been constantly changing their policies to reflect how the pandemic is evolving and who can travel to Australia.

Current Travel Restrictions

Initially restrictions were limited to applicants who were travelling from, or had recently travelled to China, South Korea, Iran & Italy.

As of 9pm, 20th March 2020, the restrictions were expanded to the below:

Australian Permanent Residents & Australian Citizens can continue to enter Australia. They must self isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

  • New Zealand Citizens who are usually reside in Australia are not restricted from entering. They will need to show proof of residency such as a drivers licence or other documents showing an Australian address. They must self isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
  • Immediate Family members of citizens or permanent residents can enter as long as they hold or obtain a valid visa for entry. In addition, visa holders will also need to seek exemption form the DHA to travel. They must self isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
    • Without visa – You can’t come to Australia until you have a visa. Apply for a visa and include proof (such as your marriage certificate, your birth certificate or birth certificate for your children). If the DHA allow you to travel, you will need to self isolate for 14 days, at home or in a hotel.
    • With a temporary visa (except for Partner and Child visa holders) – Attach proof (such as your marriage certificate, evidence of your de-facto relationship such as shared finances or property, your birth certificate or birth certificate for your children) and request an exemption. Do not travel until the DHA advise that you can. You will need to self isolate for 14 days, at home or in a hotel.
  • Partner (subclasses 100, 309, 801, 820) & Child (subclasses 101, 102, 445) visa holders can come to Australia. You do not need to request an exemption. You will need to self-isolate for 14 days, at home or in a hotel.
  • Temporary Residents and Temporary Visa Holders who are currently outside of Australia and are not a family member of a citizen or permanent resident, will not be able to re-enter Australia. Their visas will not be cancelled unless they attempt to enter.
  • Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa holders can’t travel to Australia at present.

If you want to discuss how this may effect your Australian travel plans or current visa status please Contact Us.