Consolidation of Health Criteria: Minor changes to country names in the specified countries list

2.25A(1)(b) of the Migration Regulations specifies a list of countries for the purposes of streamlining visa processing for applicants who do not have tuberculosis or any disease that could endanger public health or result in significant costs to the Australian community.  It is a list of countries considered to be at low risk of tuberculosis.  The Migration (Health Criteria—Specified Countries) Specification 2023 makes minor updates to the country names to correspond with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Navigating the complexities of Subclass 186 TRT visa applications: Lodging ENS TRT applications prior to meeting two years of employment with 482 sponsor

As part of the Subclass 186 TRT requirements, applicants must complete at least 2 years of employment on the 482 visa with their sponsor, working in their nominated occupation, immediately prior to lodgement.

Given that the Subclass 482 visas in the short-term stream have a validity of 2 years, many 482 visa holders would meet their 2-year employment requirement on the day their current 482 visa expires or shortly after.  The Department’s Professional Support team has provided the following guidance to address these situations:

To prevent inefficiencies resulting from the 457/TSS visa ceasing a few days short of a visa holder meeting the two-year requirement and necessitating obtaining a further TSS visa to meet this requirement, decision-makers can consider applications where lodgement has occurred a few days prior to the two-year date in consultation with Program Management. 

This guidance has not changed, and there is no intention to change this in the near future.

Effectively, the Department allows a minor concession for 482 visa holders who will meet their 2 years of employment a few days prior to their 482 visa expiring.  While the Department allows for the affected 482 visa holders to lodge their 186 TRT applications a few days before they meet the 2-year requirement, the Department has not defined the meaning of “a few days”.

As such, while we welcome the continuance of this concession, we caution against lodging the 186 TRT visa too early as the allowance is only for “a few days”.  We would recommend at maximum, lodging a week before meeting the 2-year employment requirement.  Anything longer than a week may increase the risk of visa refusal.

Clarifications for Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 Visas and Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the terms of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) trade agreement will be maintained for Indian nationals.  The Department provided the following response:

“We acknowledge your concerns around the shortening of post-study work rights for Temporary Graduate visas.  The purpose of this specific reform is to align the duration of the Temporary Graduate visa (TGV) with the time required to identify those graduates with the skills and capabilities to succeed on a permanent skilled visa.  The Migration Strategy aims to build a new temporary skilled migration system to address skills needs and enhance worker mobility by providing increased employment pathways.

Australia’s post-study work rights will give everyone an opportunity to demonstrate their potential and ability to contribute to the Australian economy, but will also provide clear boundaries so former students do not become ‘permanently temporary’.  It’s important to note that Australia will uphold commitments made under the Australian Indian – Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA).”

As per the AI-ECTA, Indian passport holders who lodge their first Subclass 485 (Post Study) Visa from 29 December 2023 onwards may be eligible for an additional 1 year on their first 485 (Post-Study Work) visa, if they’ve completed (in Australia) a bachelor degree with first-class honours in STEM, including ICT (total of 3 years validity on the 485 visa).

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