Including Dependents On Your Visa Application
The Australian Government has introduced far reaching changes to the definition of Member of the Family Unit (MoFU) for the purpose of most visa applications. There are now significant limitations on the class of persons that can be considered part of MoFU and hence be included in a visa application.
Character Assessment of Australian Sponsors of Partner Visa Applications
From 18 November 2016, Australian citizen and permanent resident Sponsors of Partner Visa and Prospective Marriage Visa applications (“a partner visa”), are subject to character testing. In line with current Australian Government strategies to reduce family violence in the Australian community, the new provisions have been introduced to prevent Australians who have committed a relevant offence from being able to sponsor someone for a partner visa.
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Proposed Changes to the 457 Program

The contents of this article are correct as at 6 November 2014.

The Independent Review into the Integrity of the Subclass 457 Programme released its report in September 2014. It is expected that numerous changes to the 457 Program will be implemented by the government in the coming months. In the report, recommendations were put forth with the aim of essentially deregulating and streamlining the 457 Program while endeavouring to maintain the Program’s integrity. Should these recommendations be implemented, many benefits can be expected to flow to Australian employers, prospective visa applicants and the Australian economy more broadly. Below is a brief overview of some of the key recommendations.

 Stakeholders  Recommendations
Australian Employers
Sponsorship Approval

Extending the duration of sponsorship approvals as follows:
  • From 12 months to 18 months for start up businesses that have traded for less than 12 months
  • From 3 years to 5 years for most businesses that have traded for more than 12 months
Sponsorship Obligations

Allowing more flexibility when it comes to complying with sponsorship obligations including:
  • Extending time to notify the Department of a notifiable event from 10 working days to 28 days
  • Removing the obligation to inform the Department about a 457 visa holder’s change of duties if their new occupation begins with the same four digit ANZSCO code as their previously nominated occupation
    • For example, a person is nominated for Accountant (221111) and they then progress to the occupation of Taxation Accountant (221113)
Streamlined processing

Categorising business sponsors into three streams based on risk factors including the business size, occupation, salary and sponsor’s past compliance.

Business sponsors found to fall within Stream 1 would have their applications processed faster and have less requirements imposed on the nomination and visa applications.
Labour Market Testing (“LMT”)

Abolishing the current requirement for LMT and replacing it with more specific and targeted LMT for occupations considered to be in over-supply or over-used.
Eligible 457 visa occupations
  • Allowing industries to present evidence that a skilled occupation exists which is not currently defined in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations
  • Allowing industries to seek to have new skilled occupations defined and added to the list of eligible 457 visa occupations
Prospective 457 visa applicants English language requirement

Introducing more flexible ways of satisfying the English language requirement including:
  • Lowering the score needed on an IELTS test to an average of 5
  • Accepting results from other test providers;
  • Exemptions based on the nominated occupation; 
  • Expanding the list of exempt passport holders; AND       
  • Allowing those who have studied in English at a secondary and/or higher education institution for 5 cumulative years to be able to meet this requirement.
Visa fees

Reviewing current fees, especially for secondary visa applicants and those applying for another 457 visa which some stakeholders consider to be excessive.

This would see (as yet unspecified) changes to the following visa charges:
  • Primary applicants                                              $AUD 1035
  • Secondary applicants over 18 years                     $AUD 1035
  • Secondary applicants under 18 years                   $AUD   260
  • Subsequent Temporary Application Charge           $AUD   700
 Existing 457 visa holders Age limit for Employer Nominated visas

Reviewing the current age limit of 50 for primary 457 visa holders wanting to transition to permanent residence through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream (“TRTS”) of the Employer Nomination Scheme (“ENS”) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (“RSMS”).

Currently, primary 457 visa holders wanting to apply for a permanent visa through the TRTS must be under 50 at the time they lodge their application.
Direct pathways to permanent residence for secondary applicants

Facilitating access for partners of primary sponsored 457 visa holders to secure permanent residence through the TRTS of the ENS or RSMS.

Currently, only primary 457 visa holders may lodge a permanent visa application under the TRTS and if they wish, include their partner.






  

If you have any queries or would like to discuss the above please contact one of our Australian Immigration Lawyers.  

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