From 25 November 2023 (subject to passage of legislation), changes will be implemented to Australia’s Employer Sponsored Visa Programs to make it easier for temporary work visa holders to apply for further temporary and/or permanent residence.
Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS Subclass 482) Visas
From 25 November 2023, applicants in the Short Term Stream of the TSS Visa will be permitted to apply for subsequent TSS visas while onshore.
Employer Nomination Scheme Permanent Residence
From 25 November 2023, the following changes will make it easier for employers to nominate temporary work visa holders for permanent residence.
The key changes are:
All temporary work visa holders holding a TSS visa can be nominated for permanent residence after working for their sponsoring employer on a TSS visa for 2 years. Currently, only temporary work visa holders in specific occupations can be nominated for permanent residence, and they must have been working for their employer for 3 years.
Furthermore, age exemptions will be updated for regional medical practitioner applicants and high income earning applicants aged 45 years and over to allow for a two-year pathway.
These changes are the first step in providing more equitable access to PR for all TSS visa holders whilst the government continues work on reforms to the skilled visa programs following the development of the Outline of the Government’s Migration Strategy and in response to the findings of the Review of the Migration System 2023.
Further changes are expected later this year/early next year.
The Australian Government has announced new visa options for Hong Kong and British National (Overseas) Passport Holders (Hong Kong Applicant).
From 5 March 2022, a Hong Kong Applicant who has held any of the following visas for at least 4 years can apply for permanent residence under the Skilled Migration (Hong Kong) Stream – Subclass 189 Visa:
Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) Visa;
Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) Visa;
Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) Visa
The Hong Kong Applicant must have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately before the date of the application.
The Australian Government announced on 5 March 2020 that travel restrictions will be introduced for travellers arriving from the Republic of Korea and maintained for travellers arriving from any part of mainland China or Iran.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has raised its travel advisories for the following countries:
China – do not travel
Iran – do not travel
Daegu, Republic of Korea – do not travel
Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who have been in the following countries will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through:
Republic of Korea.
Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only). They will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the day they left China, Iran or the Republic of Korea.
In addition, travellers from Italy will be subject to enhanced border screening processes.
Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited a country subject to travel restrictions within the previous 14 days, with the exception of:
New Zealand citizens resident in Australia
immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependants and legal guardians
Limited exemptions also exist for airline and maritime crew, where they have taken appropriate precautionary measures.
These enhanced public safety measures will apply to those seeking to enter Australia as well as those seeking to transit through Australia en route to another country.
These measures are temporary and will be reviewed.
What if I am a temporary visa holder?
Temporary visa holders who are ineligible for entry into Australia and are not exempt under one of the above categories will have their visa considered for cancellation if they attempt to travel to Australia.
Year 11 and 12 students who remain in China due to Australian travel restrictions (apart from those from Hubei Province) have been offered a strict pathway to resume their studies in recognition of the importance of the final two years of school. The exemptions will be considered on case by case basis.
On Saturday 16 November, two new visas were officially launched:
Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa
Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional Visa
This follows the closure of the 489 and 187 visa categories. In a change in policy, all areas outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are now considered regional areas of Australia.
What is the Subclass 494 Visa?
The subclass 494 visa is an employer sponsored regional visa that can be valid for up to 5 years. Employers can sponsor more occupations under the subclass 494 visa than under the current TSS visa program. There is a pathway to permanent residence for these visa holders after 3 years.
What is the Subclass 491 Visa?
The subclass 491 visa is a state/territory nominated regional visa that can be valid for up to 5 years. This means that applicants must be nominated by a state/territory government agency or an eligible relative. Applicants are also required to satisfy points test requirements. Like the 494 visa, there is also a pathway to permanent residence for these visa holders after 3 years.
With effect from 16 November 2019, the SkillSelect Points Test has been updated to include Partner Points.
The Points Test is used to rank applicants for the following visas:
Subclass 189 Skilled Independent
Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated
Subclass 491 Regional Provisional
The new addition to the Points Test is the update of the Partner Skills Points category.
Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and meet age, English and skill criteria
For you to be eligible for the award of these points your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen. Additionally, you will need to provide evidence that when you were invited to apply for this visa that they:
were under 45 years old
had competent English
had nominated a skilled occupation that is on the same skilled occupation list as your nominated skilled occupation
had a suitable skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority for their nominated skilled occupation, and the assessment wasn’t for a Subclass 485 visa.
Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and has competent English
For you to be eligible for the award of these points your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen.
You are single or your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident
As of 17 April 2019, the Australian Government has introduced a new Subclass 870 Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa. The visa allows parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens to come to Australia for long-term stays for a selected 3 or 5 years. The visa can be renewed to allow a stay of a maximum of 10 years.