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

  1. From November 1, ‘Parents’ Now Eligible to Request Travel Exemptions
  2. Citizenship Applications – No Longer Paper-Based?
  3. Update to Special Residence Requirement for Citizenship Applications
  4. Changes to Language Requirements for Partner Visas
  5. BUPA Medical Centres Re-opening
  6. Expansion of Australia’s Travel Bubble (New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore)
  7. Introduction of New Zealand one-off residence pathway for temporary visa holders

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.

And of course, if you want to chat with us directly, we’d love to hear from you!

Connect directly on LinkedIn with me or Fiona, and let’s chat!

From November 1, ‘Parents’ Now Eligible to Request Travel Exemptions

From 1 November 2021, parents of adult Australian citizens and permanent residents will be eligible to request a travel exemption on the grounds of being an ‘immediate family member’.

The definition of parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents will include:

  • biological parents
  • legal (including adoptive) parents
  • step-parents
  • parents-in-law.

When lodging your travel exemption, you will need to provide evidence of:

  1. your adult child’s Australian citizenship or permanent residency; and
  2. your parental relationship to the Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Find out more on the Department of Home Affairs Covid website.

Citizenship Applications – No Longer Paper-Based?

From 1 November 2021, the Department of Home Affairs’ website will direct all applicants for Australian citizenship by descent and Evidence of Australian citizenship to lodge their application online.

Paper application forms for these two citizenship application pathways will no longer be available on the Department’s website.  However, it is still possible to request paper application forms for people who face barriers to applying online.

Update to Special Residence Requirement for Citizenship Applications

The Australian Citizenship (Special Residence Requirement) Instrument 2021 was entered into force on 11 October 2021, which sets out specified activities, participation in organisations, and work that can meet the special residence requirement for citizenship applications.

These include:

  • Participation in an Australian national team for various sports
  • High-Security Clearance employment in a Commonwealth department, executive agency, or statutory agency
  • Specialised work that is done by a person who holds/has held a relevant talent visa which was granted based on an internationally recognized record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in the same area.

To find out more about ways to meet the special residence requirement, refer to the instrument.

Changes to Language Requirement for Partner Visas

As part of the Federal budget, it was announced that an additional English language requirement will be imposed on both primary and secondary Partner visa applicants, and sponsors who are permanent residents.

To meet this requirement, you may prove the following:

  • English language proficiency level
  • Displayed a reasonable effort to learn English
  • Other methods such as holding a valid passport of a particular country, or obtaining a qualification where all instruction was in English

You may also request an exemption to this requirement.

To find out more, refer to the consultation paper.

BUPA Medical Centres Re-opening

Following the lifting of restrictions in NSW, BUPA has begun to recommence Immigration Medical Examinations at the Sydney, Parramatta, Baulkham Hills, Corrimal, and Newcastle Centres.

Bookings for these examinations are available online through BUPA .

If you have previously booked a BUPA medical assessment and have been unable to attend due to the COVID-19 restrictions, consider contacting BUPA to arrange an alternative time.

Expansion of Australia’s Travel Bubble (New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore)

Australia and the South Island of New Zealand are still operating under a travel bubble and offer quarantine free flights.  However, quarantine free flights are still halted between Australia and the North Island of New Zealand.

In addition, from November 1, fully-vaccinated Australians will be able to visit Thailand without the need for quarantine, granted they comply with the COVID-19 test procedures mandated by the Thai government on arrival.

Similarly, Scott Morrison has confirmed that Australia and Singapore are in the “final stages” of finalising a travel-bubble agreement between the two countries.  It is expected that this agreement should come into effect sometime in December and allow full-vaccinated Australians to enter Singapore without quarantining.

Introduction of New-Zealand One-off Residence Pathway for Temporary Visa Holders

On 30 September 2021, the NZ Government announced a new one-off residence visa pathway for some temporary work visa holders currently in New Zealand.  Some critical purpose visa holders arriving in New Zealand between 30 September 2021 and 31 July 2022 on long-term visas may also be eligible for this new visa.  Partners and dependents can be included as part of these residence applications.

Applications will be open in two phases from 1 December 2021 for some eligible applicants and from 1 March 2022 for remaining eligible applicants.

To find out more about this visa, visit Immigration New Zealand.