Australian immigration is front and centre in most news updates. The skills shortage in Australia is clearly being felt across all industries, including Immigration Law! As we wait for policy changes, we are seeing some small changes being announced. A lot of the changes are still needed, but these would need to go through Australia’s Parliament and the timing of these would depend on the Parliament’s seating agenda. Also worth noting is that the government is about to announce a review of its migration program to be carried out over the coming months after the Jobs and Skills Summit in September 2022. In the meantime:
In a speech at the Migration Institute of Australia National Conference in Hobart this week, the Minister for Immigration, The Hon Andrew Giles revealed the visa backlog now sits at around 880,000 applications.
That’s down from almost 1 million non-humanitarian applications before the Federal election. The Department has also employed more case officers which are being trained. As a result, we are seeing welcomed improvements on processing times with our estimates now being:
|TSS||PMSOL (Priority List)||2-4 weeks|
|TSS||Accredited Sponsor||1-2 months|
|TSS||Non-Accredited Sponsor (offshore without work rights)||3-4 months|
|186 PR||Accredited Sponsor||6-10 months|
|186 PR||Non-Accredited Sponsor||12 months +|
The above are just estimates and differ on a case-by-case basis and are subject to constant change.
Medical examinations for temporary visa applications made in Australia
In an attempt to streamline the processing of temporary visas, applicants in Australia will not be required to do medical examinations and chest x‐rays, based on their nationality, previous residence and proposed length.
Ajuria Lawyers will advise on this relaxation of rules on a case-by-case basis.
Working Holiday Visa Program – 6 month limit clarification
The Migration Institute of Australia has received confirmation from the Department that the temporary relaxation of condition 8547 (6 month work limitation) will be in place until 31 December 2022, when it will be reviewed by the Government.
After 31 December 2022, a Working Holiday Maker visa holder may work with an employer up to 6 months, despite any period they may have worked for that employer prior to 31 December 2022. This means there is the potential for Working Holiday visa holders to remain with the same employer until 30 June 2023 unless this is further extended.
This is yet to be formally announced and the Department’s website is not yet updated.
Student visa employment hours relaxation
The temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders continues and is set to end in 30 June 2023. In the meantime, it means student visa holders can work full-time but must still:
- Maintain their course enrolment
- Ensure satisfactory course attendance, and
- Ensure satisfactory course progress.
NSW Government 491 Regional NSW direct pathway
The NSW Government has announced a new direct pathway for Regional NSW skilled migrants to be nominated by the NSW Government for the Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional visa. This is a provisional visa for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia and in this case, NSW.
This pathway will allow applicants who are currently living and working in their nominated (or closely related) occupation in a designated regional area of NSW, and have continuously done so for the past 12 months to access a 491 NSW Government nomination with 65 points.
Only 12 months of employment in their skilled (or closely related) occupation are needed, however as stated below a Skills Assessment is still needed. To apply under this pathway, applicants must:
- Determine the general eligibility requirements
- Be currently living and working in their nominated (or closely related) occupation in a designated regional area of NSW, and have continuously done so for the past 12 months for a minimum of 20 hours per week
- Have a Skills Assessment in an occupation within a unit group that appears on the NSW Regional Skills List and is eligible for the visa
- Are paid at least the TSMIT level or $53,900 per annum (full time basis) excluding superannuation
- Provide evidence of where they currently live as well as for the points being claimed through the SkillSelect EOI with their application. They must also provide a copy of their SkillSelect EOI
The pathway is not yet live and is pending changes to their online systems.
Further updates will be provided as they become available.