Australian Visa Update December 2021

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February 7, 2022

The Australian government has announced that there are several changes planned for 2022, which will affect those that are currently on an Australian visa and trying to seek entry into Australia.


From the 15th of December 2021, the Australian government is allowing vaccinated skilled migrants and student visa holders to enter Australia again. This includes:

  • International students
  • Skilled migrants
  • Refugees
  • Temporary and provisional family visa


The Department of Home Affairs has also announced changes that will affect the visa application process, applicant’s eligibility and pathway to PR.


482 & 186 Visa Changes – 2 More DAMAS For WA And VIC

It has been announced that there will be a new Designed Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) to assist in the filling of skill gaps in regional Australia. DAMA is a 5-year agreement between local regional governments and The Department of Home Affairs that allows local businesses to sponsor overseas workers in occupations that cannot be done under the standard business sponsorship.


DAMAs allows smaller businesses to access skilled workers with faster processing times than other labour agreements. Visa applicants under a DAMA can lodge a 482 visa application and even have the option to access an Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa.


Work and Holiday Visa Changes

Fully vaccinated visa holders including working holiday makers (subclass 417 and 462) can come to Australia without applying for a travel exemption. From the 1st of January, Switzerland will become the 45th country to have access to Australia’s Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program. Anyone in Switzerland between the age of 18 and 30 can apply to stay in Australia for 1 year to undertake short-term work or study while holidaying.


Up until 31st December 2022, COVID-19 affected WHM visa holders and former holders will have the chance to make a nil VAC WHM application online. This allows those who had to leave Australia early or couldn’t travel because of COVID-19, the opportunity to reapply for a replacement visa.


457 & 482 Visa Changes – Access To PR

In 2018, the 457 visas were replaced by the triple-streamed 482 visas (medium-term stream, short-term stream and labour agreement stream) and the natural pathway to a permanent visa for Short-term Skilled Occupation List was also removed.


However, in recognition of those skilled migrants who remained in Australia for the last two years, 2 changes are set to benefit 482 and 457 visa holders. These changes are expected to improve access to permanent residency for visa holders that don’t meet the age requirement.


485 Temporary Graduate Visa Changes

Several changes will be made to the 485 visa COVID-19 replacement stream. This stream will be available for new applicants from mid-2022. The changes include:

  • Replacement 485 visa applications for those affected by travel restrictions. In normal circumstances, only 1 temporary graduate visa is usually granted
  • Simplifying requirements for vocational graduates. This could remove the need for provisional skills assessments and open up this visa to more trades


To be an eligible applicant, you must meet the following:

  • Currently hold or have held a Temporary Graduate visa that expired on or after 1st February 2020
  • Been outside Australia between 1st February 2020 and 1st December 2020


For those that are interested in learning more about visa changes or how the upcoming visa changes may open more opportunities, talk to one of our consultants at AustraliaMigrate today. Book a consultation to discuss your current situation.

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