immigration changes

Australia immigration is soon going to experience a few changes to its immigration system. Below is one stop summary of key changes anticipated to take place this Saturday:

1)      Planned (and unplanned System Outages)

DIBP is planning system outage for 30 June 2017.  There will be no means to lodge an application via the Immi Account.  Please take notes of the following times for planned outages:

  • 9:00 pm – expected outage for New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania
  • 8.30pm– expected outage for South Australia and Northern Territory
  • 7:00pm – expected outage for Western Australia

In addition to expected outages, it is likely that the lodgement system will be unstable given the incoming traffic of lodged applications.  Where possible, please endeavour to submit your application as early as possible.

2)      Introduction of ePlus

From 1 July, all 457 programme applications will be lodged via the Departments elodgement PLUS also called ePLUS platform.

ePLUS will be the new lodgement system which will replace Immi Account.  While the kind of information collected will be predominantly the same as it currently is, the ‘look and feel of the 457-application suite will be different to what agents and applicants are used to and some new questions will be introduced. The ePLUS platform allows for questions to be much more targeted and based on answers to previous questions than eVisa allows. Dynamic document checklist functionality will be utilised. Any unlodged applications will likely be lost and will therefore need to be re-drafted.

3)      Visa Application Increase

Notable increases include:

  • Visitor Visa $140.00
  • Student Visa $560.00
  • ENS/RSMS: $3,670.00
  • GSM: $3,670.00
  • Subclass 457: $1,080
  • NZ Relationship: $330.00
  • Partner Visa (onshore): $7,000.00

Full visa application fees can be found here:

4)      Protection Visas lodged online

Applicants lodging subclass 785 visa (TPV), subclass 790 visa (SHEV) or (PPV) will be able to submit their applications online as of 1 July 2017.  Paper based applications will be accepted during the transition time.

5)      AAT Fee Increase

From 1 July 2017, the fee will increase to $1,731 for all new applications for a review of a migration or refugee decision by the Migration & Refugee Division where a fee is payable. The fee payable after an unfavourable review decision is made by the Migration & Refugee Division in relation to a protection visa will also be $1,731. In cases where a 50% fee reduction is granted the reduced fee will be $865.50.

The fee increase is prescribed in the Migration Regulations. The new fee will be reflected in updated application forms, available on our website at www.aat.gov.au from 1 July 2017.

Refunds:

The refund formula for MRD  cases remains the same ie, the AAT will refund 50% of the full application fee if there is a favorable decision on any case. If the AAT decide that an application is invalid, the entire fee paid will be refunded.

6)      Perth is no longer eligible for RSMS

Late last week, the McGowan Government announced that Perth is removed from the Regional Migration Scheme. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote to the Premier confirming that the Federal Government had agreed to Mr McGowan’s request to have Perth removed from the RSMS.

The following regions remain on the list of eligible regions for WA

  • Gascoyne;
  • Great Southern;
  • Kimberley;
  • Mid West;
  • Peel;
  • Pilbara;
  • South West; and
  • Wheatbelt.

7)      New Targeted Occupation Lists Available

The list will be published this Saturday. Visa applicants planning to submit subclass 189/190 visas will be able to access new targeted skilled occupation list.

 Those who have not received an invitation to apply will need to utilise the new list.

8)      New wave of subclass 457 visa requirements introduced

With reference to our earlier reporting, new wave of subclass 457 visa requirements comes into force this Saturday.

Notable updates include:

  • Possible removal of occupations from both lists (MLTSSL and STSOL).  Advice will be based on Department of Education and training as well as Department of Employment
  • Introduction of providing police clearance as part of the 457-visa application process
  • Clarification on changes to existing training benchmark requirements
  • Changes to English language requirements including removal of salary exemption threshold

Current processing times for subclass 457 visas is in excess of three months.

9)      189 Applicants who are NZ Citizens

New Zealand citizens who have lived and worked in Australia for at least 5 years will be eligible for permanent residence from 1 July 2017. The new pathway will be part of the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa.

Special NZ stream will be available to subclass 444 visa holders applying for a 189 visa. To meet this requirement, an applicant will need to demonstrate their usual residency in Australia for continuous period of at least 5 years immediately before the date of the application. That continuous period of usual residence in Australia must have started on or before 19 February 2016.  Evidence of residence such as ATO assessment/s needs to be submitted at time of making application.  The age cut of 45 does not seem to apply to the NZ stream.

10)  Employer Nomination Scheme

The following changes will be enforced:

  • English language requirement – Applicants will need to have an IELTS or equivalent test score of 6 in each component
  • Age – 45 years of age at the time of application. Transitional, Temporary resident applicants must not be over 50 years old
  • Occupation Lists will be reviewed and enforced.  STSOL review is based on advice from the Department of Employment. The MLTSSL review is based on Department of Education and Training’s 2017-18 SOL review