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

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.

Update – 36 occupations added to Australia’s skilled occupation list

DHA add 36 occupations to Australia’s skilled occupation list

The DHA have announced changes to their Medium & Long Term Strategic Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL).  Visa applicants with a positive skills assessment and who meet the points may be eligible for a Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa.

Returning Occupations

Some of these occupations are returning occupations in Business, Information Technology, Engineering, Science & Education.

Surprise Occupations

Two surprising occupations  include Tennis Coach (452316) & Footballer (452411). This includes Soccer players and both Rugby Union and Rugby League players.

Full list of additional occupations

The additional occupations are:

Creative
  • Arts Administrator or Manager  
  • Dancer or Choreographer
  • Music Director
  • Artistic Director
  • Musician (Instrumental)
Sports & Recreation
  • Tennis Coach
  • Footballer
  • Horse Trainer
Environmental
  • Environmental Manager
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Research Scientist
  • Environmental Scientists nec
Engineering
  • Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Engineering Professionals nec
Business & Information Technology Professionals
  • Statistician
  • Economist
  • Software and Applications Programmers nec
  • Multimedia Specialist
Sciences
  • Chemist
  • Food Technologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Life Scientist (General
  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Botanist
  • Marine Biologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Zoologist
  • Life Scientists nec
  • Conservator
  • Metallurgist
  • Meteorologist
  • Natural and Physical Science Professionals nec
Education
  • University Lecturer

If you want to discuss your Australian immigration options, and whether you are eligible for a General Skilled Migration visa, please Contact Us.

 

Welcome to our Blog – Australian immigration news & views

Hi all,

Thank you for stopping by our Blog. We try to provide our news & views on Australian immigration as often as we can.

If you want to search through what we have published in the past please look at the Categories and click on a subject that is of interest to you.

Please feel free to share these on Social Media.

Australian visa options

Australian immigration

If you can’t find what you are looking for, please Contact Us.

A phone call is preferred – 0800 572 0570 . However you can email mark@cargilmigration.com or send us a Tweet as well.

Happy Reading!

Update – Victorian business migration nomination

Victorian government announcement – January 7th, 2019

“Victoria has temporarily closed applications for nomination of certain business and investor visas.

Victoria is currently experiencing a high volume of applications for nomination for select business and investor visas. To help manage this demand, and meet our service commitments to you, we are temporarily not accepting new applications for the following visa sub-classes:

• 188 – Business Innovation stream
• 188 – Significant Investor stream
• 188 – Investor stream
• 188 – Entrepreneur stream
• 132 – Business Talent (Permanent) – Significant Business History stream
• 132 – Business Talent (Permanent) –  Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream

We will continue to assess all nomination applications received prior to 5 January 2019, however please be advised delays may occur in providing outcomes for these applications.

Your interest in the Business Innovation & Investment Program is highly valued and we hope to reopen the program shortly. We cannot provide a specific date or timeframe at this point, however encourage you to visit the Live in Melbourne website regularly for program updates.”

If you have any questions regarding Victorian business migration, either now or in the future, please Contact Us.

QLD Business migration update – 2nd January 2019

Business & Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) temporarily suspends new invitations for business migration – will open again at a date to be advised https://t.co/nLPMWTsS2n— Australian visas (@CargilMigration) January 2, 2019

Brisbane

If you want to discuss how this will effect you, or plan for an application once the program opens again please Contact Us

Seasons Greetings …

Update – 2018 South Australia Business migration program

Immigration South Australia have released a statement outlining the achievements and highlights of their Business migration year.

The details of their success and reach of their efforts are outlined in the link below.

South Australian migration


South Australia’s Business Migration achievements for 2018

If you are a successful business person or investor and are considering a one to South Australia, please Contact Us.

Update – Applications for NSW nomination for business & investor visas

The NSW Government have announced that they have temporarily closed applications for nomination for certain visas under the federal government’s Business Innovation and Investment Program pending the release of additional places by the Department of Home Affairs.

The closed nominations are for those applying for:

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188)

  • Investor stream
  • Business innovation stream 
  • Significant Investor stream
  • Entrepreneur stream 

 AND

Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132) 

  • Significant Business History stream
  • Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream
NSW – The Premier state

Applicants looking to extend their current Subclass 188 or apply for an onshore Permanent Visa, such as Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888),  are still able to apply for NSW Nomination. 

If you have any questions about the above please Contact Us. 

 

Australian immigration changes – new visas and their impact on Australian immigration

The Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa (Subclass 482), the effect on GSM visas and the Global Talent Visa scheme

A lot has been happening in Australian immigration in 2018. It has started with the skilled list for the Subclass 189 being amended. Some of the states & territories followed and their Subclass 190 & 489 visas have consequently been effected.

Most significant of all is that as fo 18th March, 2018 the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa has been replaced by the  Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa (Subclass 482).

The changes and differences between the Subclass 457 & Subclass 482 are significant. We wont attempt to address them all here but will highlight some key points and how these changes may effect your plans and reinforce the importance of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa program.

GSM Visa program

The GSM program has remained intact. It significance is shown by the figures below:

  1.  Subclass 189: 176 occupations remain eligible for this visa
  2. Subclass 190: 416 skilled occupations remain eligible for this visa program
  3.  Subclass 489:
    • 475 skilled occupations remain eligible for the State Territory nominated 489 visa program OR
    • 176 occupations remain eligible for the Family Nominated 489 visa programme

Temporary Employer sponsored visas – new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) 

As mentioned the temporary Employer Sponsored visa (Subclass 457) has been replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482).

Whilst the Subclass 457 could be granted up to 4 years, the Subclass 482 visas can vary:

  1. Short term – up to 2 years if the occupation is on Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
  2. Medium term – up to 4 years if on Medium Long Term Skilled Shortages List (MLTSSL) and a new Regional Occupation List (ROL)
  3. Labour Agreement Stream – this is where an employer has negotiated visa arrangements with the Department of Home Affairs (formerly the DIBP Department of Immigration & B0order Patrol).

Applicant requirements:

  • Work experience – Applicants must have a minimum of 2 years
  • English Language – Applicants must meet minimum english language requirements. e.g For an IELTS test they must score 5 overall, but have a minimum score of at least 4.5 on each component
  • Police clearances – Mandatory police clearances.

Sponsor/Employers:

  • Labour-market testing is required (e.g prescribed advertising standards must be met by the employer)
  • Applicant must be nominated in one of the 509 skilled occupations, unless the negotiated Labour Agreement allows otherwise.

Transitional arrangements – Individuals who are already in Australia on a Subclass 457 visa and need to renew this visa or apply for another visa (such as the Subclass 482 or a permanent visa – see below) will need to check with their employer or Migration Agent what their options are. 

Permanent Employer Sponsored visa – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 visa & Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 visa

  • Applicants must be under 45
  • Applicants must have worked in Australia for 3 years (it was 2 years) on a 457 visa or 482 visa OR have undertaken a skills assessment under the Direct Entry Scheme
  • Applicants must have at least 3 years work experience
  • Applicants occupation must be on the:
    • MLTSSL for Subclass 186 visas (208 occupations)
    • MLTSSL or ROL list for Subclass 187 (673 occupations)

What are the key takeaways about these changes?

  •  It is more difficult to obtain a visa for Australia under both employer nomination schemes –  temporary and permanent residence. e.g Labour Market testing is required for almost all applications under the TSS visa. This wasn’t the case previously.
  • Students hoping to transfer onto an employer sponsored visa must have at least 2 years experience in the occupation for a temporary visa, or 3 years for a permanent employer visa.
  • Skilled applicants wanting to obtain permanent residency need to be under 45 years – unless some very limited exemptions are met.
  • If an applicant or their spouse is eligible for a GSM visa – 189/190/489 – then it is likely to be their best long term option to migrate to Australia permanently

Final comments

These changes have been a long time coming and even before the details were laid out, they have been widely criticised by the business community. They see this as as a significant disadvantage to recruiting, employing and incentivising skilled migrants to fill positions in Australia.

With this is mind, employers will be forced to look closer at the Australia employment market to fill their workforce needs. This will advantage applicants who hold a GSM visa or intend to apply for a GSM visa.

Global Talent Scheme 

In addition to the above there will be further changes to the Australian immigration program. The Department of Home Affairs have flagged a new scheme known as the Global Talent Scheme. This is a  pilot programme aimed at attracting high-income employees and tech specialists.  It is hoped it will alleviate some of the concerns from employers in Australia that they will miss out of skills need to grow their business due to the restrictions in the new Subclass 482 visa.

It will allow eligible established business and start-up companies seeking talent in STEM fields like biomedicine and agricultural technology to sponsor foreign nationals on a temporary residency basis, as well as offering a pathway to permanent residency. The scheme is due to commence on 1st July. As details emerge we will release them here.

 

If you would like to discuss your options – whether you would be eligible –  then please  Contact Us.