NEW MIGRATION YEAR – LOTS OF CHANGES

The 1st of July is the first day of the new financial year in Australia. It is also the first day of the new annual migration year, when the government sets new quotas for spots in state sponsorship and skilled migration. In simple terms this means that as from today the invitations for visa spots starts afresh.

It is also the day on which the Government introduces new big changes to their visa application processes, including the annual increase in their fees. This year, it seems there are significantly more changes that normal. Below is a brief outline of some of those changes:

New regional visas

As expressed in some of my previous posts, as from November the Oz government will offer a further 23,000 skilled visas being reserved for those willing to live and work in the regions – that is outside big city centres. These visas will off longer occupation lists making more skills eligible for a skilled visa.

Visa holders of these visas will be required to spend at least three years in regional areas in order to become eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Extra points for skilled migration

There is a new skilled migration points system also being introduced in November. In terms of that system, we will see the following changes:

- more points for having a skilled spouse or de facto partner (10 points);

- more points for applicants nominated by a State or Territory government (15 points);

- more points for having certain STEM qualifications (10 points);

- points for applicants who do not have a spouse or de facto partner (10 points); and

- points for applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who has competent English (5 points).

If these apply to you, your chances for a skilled visa have gone up drastically.

More stringent rules for partner visas

A procedural change will happen where the Australian partner must first be approved to sponsor their spouse or de facto partner. You will no longer be able to lodge a partner visa immediately until your Australian sponsor has had their criminal history or character assessed. This means that the processing times of partner visas will take longer.

Citizenship changes abandoned

According to media reports, the Federal Government has abandoned the legislation that would have made migrants to wait longer and prove they have competent English proficiency before they could apply for Australian citizenship. This is great news for permanent residents who will be seeking their blue passport after a few years of residing in Australia.

So if you think any of these changes apply to you, especially with regard to the regional visas or new point requirements, send me an email to david@pathwaylawyers.com, because when it comes to visa application changes, it’s always best to get started as soon as possible before they make a change which may ruin your chances - David Dadic