Here are some of the latest developments in Australian and New Zealand Immigration Law:

  1. Removal of Travel Exemptions for Certain Temporary Visa Holders
  2. Proposed Changes to the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period
  3. Changes to the Subclass 189 New Zealand Stream

If you want to learn more about any of these changes, our firm and everything we offer, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Removal of Travel Exemptions for Certain Temporary Visa Holders

As the Federal Government moves to phase D of the National Plan, we welcome the removal of travel exemption requirements from 1 December 2021 for eligible visa holders, who can travel to and from Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

The list of eligible visas includes the following:

  • Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist)
  • Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity
  • Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled)
  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage
  • Subclass 489 – Skilled Regional (Provisional)
  • Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional)
  • Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional)
  • Subclass 500 – Student visa
  • Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary)

Travellers are required to provide a valid vaccination certificate (unless exempt), complete an Australian Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before departing, and undertake a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test within 3 days of the flight’s scheduled departure.

For a full list of eligible visas, refer to the government’s website and for guidelines on entry, the department has curated the following checklist.

Importantly, some States / Territories have different rules around quarantine, so feel free to reach out to us if you need further guidance.

Proposed changes to the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period (NARWP)

Pending the passage of legislation, the NARWP for carer and family payments will increase to four years from 1 January 2022 onwards.  This measure will ensure that the existing four-year waiting period for concession cards will be applied consistently to relevant temporary visa holders, in line with permanent visa holders.

The changes will affect the following:

  • Carer Payment;
  • Carer Allowance;
  • Family Tax Benefit Part A & B;
  • Parental Leave Pay;
  • Dad & Partner Pay.

If enacted, these changes will only apply if you are granted a relevant permanent visa or relevant temporary visa on or after 1 January 2022.

To stay up to date with these proposed changes, refer to the Department of Social Service’s website.

Changes to the Subclass 189 New Zealand Stream

As of 14 November 2021, New Zealand citizens who are unable to meet the income threshold requirements for the 2020-21 income year due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, will be granted a concession in order to maintain their eligibility to apply for the Subclass 189 visa.

This ensures that New Zealand citizen temporary visa holders who were eligible for the Subclass 189 visa prior to 1 February 2020, and were financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, continue to be eligible for the visa.

Applicants can only use this COVID-19 concession for one of the required income years; either the 2019-20 income year or 2020-21 income year, however not both.

This concession will be retrospectively applied from 1 July onwards.

To find out whether these concessions may apply to you, book an initial consultation on our website to discuss your eligibility options.