Here are some of the latest developments in Australian and New Zealand Immigration Law:
- Increases to Visa Application Charges from 1 July 2022 onwards
- Introduction of new Replacement Stream and Skilled Occupation Concession for the Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visa
- New arrangements allowing eligible applicants with expired passports to apply for Working Holiday Maker visas
- Changes to the lodgement process for Subclass 461 (NZ Citizen Family Relationship) visas
- Citizenship fees must be paid in AUD from 1 July 2022
- The transition to Workforce Australia on 4 July 2022
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Increases to Visa Application Charges from 1 July 2022 onwards
In line with recent increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Department Visa Application Charges (VAC) will be increasing by 3% from 1 July 2022, rounded to the nearest $5.00.
The new base application charges for some notable visa subclasses are as follows:
*Primary Applicant Charges all in AUD
- Short-Term Subclass 482 Visa: $1,330.00
- Medium-Term Subclass 482 Visa: $2,770.00
- Subclass 186 Visa: $4,240.00
- Subclass 400 Visa: $325.00
- Subclass 408 Visa: $325.00
- Subclass 801 Visa: $8,085.00
The new fee increases will be applicable to all applications lodged on or after 1 July 2022.
Introduction of new Replacement Stream and Skilled Occupation Concession for the Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visa
Skilled Occupation Concession
As a temporary concession from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, applicants for subclass 485 visas under the Graduate Work stream will no longer be required to nominate an eligible skilled occupation or obtain a relevant skills assessment for the purposes of their application.
This concession will enable applicants who have completed studies in Australia to remain for up to 24 months and offers a very unique opportunity to find work for an employer who may consider sponsorship under a TSS (subclass 482) visa in the future. Essentially, this could solve an issue that many graduates have as they are unable to meet the 2 year work experience requirements for a TSS visa.
The Minister has also been given the power to extend this concession past 30 June 2023 at their discretion.
From 1 July 2022, the Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visa will be expanded to include a new Replacement stream which will enable visa holders who have been unable to remain in Australia due to the COVID-19 restrictions to obtain another subclass 485 visa for the same duration as their original visa.
To be eligible to apply under the new stream, current and former subclass 485 visa holders must have either:
- Been offshore at the time of grant, entered Australia on this visa prior to 15 December 2021, and subsequently departed Australia before 15 December 2021; or
- Been onshore at the time of grant and departed Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 whilst continuing to hold the original visa.
Secondary visa holders that are part of the family unit of an eligible primary visa holder will also be eligible for the grant of a replacement visa.
The legislative instrument that establishes the new stream also clarifies that holders of subclass 485 visas under the Post-Study Work stream that are granted replacements will continue to be eligible for the grant of a second subsequent 485 visa under the Post-Study Work stream. However, existing holders of a second subclass 485 visa under the Post-Study Work stream will not be eligible to apply for a replacement visa.
The new Replacement stream will be open to applications until 1 January 2027.
New arrangements allowing eligible applicants with expired passports to apply for Working Holiday Maker visas
A new instrument commencing on 1 July 2022 allows passport holders from eligible countries to apply onshore for Subclass 417 (Working Holiday Maker) visas if their passport expired after entry to Australia, and they met all other requirements/conditions for the visa upon entry.
Additionally, from 1 July 2022, all applications for subclass 417 visas must be made using the internet version of Form 1150 through Immi Account. If applications cannot be made online in this manner, written authorization from the Department must be sought in order to submit the paper version of Form 1150 via email. The application must be made within 7 calendar days from the day that the written authorization was provided by the Department.
This instrument additionally extends the age-limit for Danish and Italian passport holders to 35 years-of-age.
Changes to the lodgement process for Subclass 461 (NZ Citizen Family Relationship) visas
From 1 July 2022, all Subclass 461 (NZ Citizen Family Relationship) visas must be lodged via post from an address in Australia, and posted to the following address:
- New Zealand Family Relationship Processing Centre, Department of Home Affairs, GPO Box 9984, Sydney NSW 2001.
The courier service address has been removed due to the closure of the Sydney CBD Department office, and all applications under this category must be posted to the above address.
Considering this requirement, the visa regulations will no longer require that the applicant is at the same location where the application is lodged, and clarification will be provided from 1 July 2022 that the applicant may be either onshore or offshore at the time of grant of this visa.
Citizenship fees must be paid in AUD from 1 July 2022
From 1 July 2022, applicants can no longer pay Citizenship fees in foreign currencies. All fees relating to Citizenship must now be paid in AUD.
The transition to Workforce Australia on 4 July 2022
From 4 July 2022 onwards, the JobActive website will be replaced by Workforce Australia; a new online service for managing and participating in employment services. Workforce Australia Online will be able to be accessed at Workforce Australia.
JobActive accounts will continue to be accessible until 8:00 pm (AEST) on Thursday 30 June 2022, at which point all JobActive online services will be unavailable until 4 July 2022, after the planned implementation of the Workforce Australia platform. Users will not be able to access their accounts throughout this 4-day maintenance period.
Users may continue to use the existing credentials and sign-in details of their JobActive account to sign into the new Workforce Australia platform.
Impacts on Labour Market Testing
Employers conducting Labour Market Testing (‘LMT’) for employer-sponsored visas were previously required to post job advertisements on the JobActive website as well as two other recruitment platforms (Seek, Indeed, LinkedIn etc.) in order for Departmental requirements to be met. However, with the shift to the new Workforce Australia platform replacing JobActive, it is currently unknown whether posting job advertisements on Workforce Australia will remain a mandatory requirement for LMT. Employers should be encouraged to continue to post their job advertisements for LMT on the Workforce Australia platform until further announcements and clarification are provided by the Department.
Additionally, employers that are currently undertaking LMT with live job advertisements posted on JobActive will need to confirm the status of their posts once the transition has been completed. It is currently unclear whether existing job advertisements will continue to subsist after the move to the Workforce Australia platform, and job advertisements may need to be reposted.
The Department has advised that transitional arrangements for labour market testing will be provided to businesses to reflect the change in platform and to ensure that no employers are disadvantaged as a result of the move to Workforce Australia.
For more information and to stay up-to-date with the rollout of the Workforce Australia platform, please refer to: https://jobsearch.gov.au/transition-to-workforce-australia.
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