The 2021-22 financial year has brought with it new Australian immigration and visas updates. These changes affect current visa holders and prospective immigrants including skilled migrant visas holders, international students and those that are interesting in permanent residency (PR).
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Australian borders will remain closed in 2021 and is expected to stay closed until mid-2022. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on the 2nd of July that there would be further reductions to international arrivals, with the numbers of arrivals capped at 3,070 per week. The Prime Minister stated that the reduction numbers will be reviewed in August but also indicated that it is likely to remain until at least the end of 2021.
International travel restrictions have dramatically impacted Australia’s target of processing 160,000 migrants per year. The Australian government has shifted its focus to permanent residency for people that are already onshore including families and partners. Onshore applicants will be able to benefit from the government’s recent announcements. The Australian government announced its plan to reduce congestion in the most populated Australian cities. As the government looks to reduce the pressure on major cities, they have proposed to increase the number of skilled visas granted to migrants to live and work in regional Australia.
The Migration Program Skill stream will continue to focus on visa categories that will support Australia’s economic rebound. Priority will be given to visas that can assist Australia in driving the economy. The 3 priority categories within the skill stream for 2021-22 are:
The Global Talent Visa initiative was launched in 2019 and continues to be supported by the government. It can be applied for by onshore and offshore applicants. This is a fantastic opportunity for highly skilled professionals in specific industries (science, arts, sports, research and academia) to receive a clear pathway to permanent residency (PR).
For those that are looking to apply for a business visa. The $200,000 funding threshold requirement for the Entrepreneur Stream has been scrapped and the pathway to permanent residency has been made easier. In 2020-21, the number of places available in the Business, Investment and Innovation Program has almost doubled to 13,500 places, while the Global Talent Independent program allocation has been tripled to 15,000 places.
As international borders will remain closed, the Australian government has announced that it will fast track specific visa applications that are listed on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL). This means that an employer-sponsored visa application with an occupation on the PMSOL will be given priority when processed. There was a total of 22 additional occupations that have been added to the PMSOL including:
The new Agriculture Visa is subject to come into effect by the end of 2021. This means that the requirement for British backpackers to work on Australian farms for 88 days before extending their working holiday visa has been removed. The new Agricultural Visa will allow residents from 10 ASEAN nations to visit 3 years at a time, with the stipulation that they engage in agricultural work. The 10 ASEAN nations include:
The Department of Home Affairs announced that the citizenship application fee will be increased to reflect inflation costs and the complexity of the application process. The citizenship by conferral application will be raised from $285 to $490. While the cost to commence a matter in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal will also increase from $1,800 to $3,000. The increase in citizenship application fees is intended to make the citizenship process more efficient.
As the closure of the international border has caused labour shortages across some critical sectors, the Australian government has announced that Temporary Visa holders that are employed in the tourism and agriculture sector can extend their stay. There has also been a change in the working hour cap for international students. The 20 hours working cap will be increased to 40 hours if the student is working either in the aged care, agriculture, disability, hospitality, medical or tourism industry.
If you need help with your visa situation, book a consultation with one of our visa specialists to discuss your current situation. At AustraliaMigrate, we have over 20 years in assisting people with their Australian visa applications and appeals.
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