Recent Changes in Australian Visas and How they’re Impacting Migrants

Since the past decades, the Australian Government has requested tons of changes, rectifications, and modifications to be incorporated within the Immigration system and this year isn’t any different. These modifications tend to have a thorough impact over fixed sets of populations like elderly parents, skilled immigrants, common-law partners, and foreign employees, either wishing to travel temporarily to Australia or settle down there permanently.

The primary change is the replacement of the Immigration Minister from Alan Tudge to Alex Hawke. Though the ceiling rate for immigration for the duration of 2020-2021 has been retained by the Morrison government at 160,000 places, the composition of this figure is bound to undergo some changes. Currently, family visa programs are gaining increased impetus, with spaces rising from about 47,000 to a whopping 77,000.

The Global Talent Visa program, Business Innovation, and Investment Program, and Employee-sponsored visas are receiving higher priority. By 2021, a total of about 15,000 spaces shall be emptied for Global Talent Visa candidates. The month of January 2021 witnessed the reopening of Australia’s nomination programs for Skilled Visas, wherein the Australian Dept. of Home Affairs has the core responsibility of issuing allocations to territories and states within the country.

A stronger highlight is focused on potential candidates that can prove how their immigration could help improvise the receding economic conditions of the country owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. November 2020 witnessed a series of relevant changes made to the Family Visa program in order to help out those that were crucially impacted due to the strike of the coronavirus.

According to this temporary amendment, those who had issued visas offshore via the Family Visa program wouldn’t be required to travel overseas to procure their visas. They are permitted to proceed with their visa applications even without being able to travel abroad owing to the stringent travel restrictions and rules.

This temporary visa concession stands liable towards the following visas: Child [subclass 101], Adoption [subclass 102], Dependent Child [subclass 445], Partner [subclass 309] and Prospective Marriage [subclass 300].

Partner visas and their requirement for English language proficiency have also undergone changes, which in turn helps increase employment opportunities within the country for newer migrants.

According to the announcement made in October 2020, potential migrants and their PR sponsors proceeding with applications for a Partner Visa need to prove their functional English language capabilities or minimally demonstrate the efforts they’ve put into seriously learning the same. Australian Partner Visas are procured using two critical stages: obtaining a 2-year provisional visa and subsequently getting eligibility to apply for a PR status.

According to the novel policy changes, the applicant will have to display his/her proficiency in the English language while they apply for a PR status. The terminal part of 2021 shall witness the implementation of this policy.

In order to drastically improvise the receding conditions of the current Australian economy owing to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Business and Investment visa streams have been reduced from a number of 9 to the current 4, namely including Investor, Business Innovation, Significant Investor and Entrepreneur. Along with this, the process has become more difficult owing to the changes in requirements for the same.

Those holding Business Innovation visas need to share proof of owing a minimum of assets worth $1.25M (rising upwards from $800K) with an annual turnover rate of about $750K (rising upwards from $500K). The 1st of July 2021 is bound to witness the closure of selected Australian Business visas, namely, Significant Business History, Venture Capital Entrepreneur, and Premium Investor.

Regional Australia will provide additional duration in years to potential international student candidates. People involved in the Temporary Graduate Visa [TGV] [subclass 485], which is a part of the Post-Study Work stream, who had obtained their degree from a regional Australian educational institution and lived within the region upon their premier TGV, shall be eligible to apply for another TGV. This shall incentivize the communities and academia to recover from the current economic recession.

The second TGV’s grant period will be completely dependent upon whether the applicant had pursued higher studies or resided within the country during their first TGV. This additional time period will confer ample opportunities for potential immigrating students to garner more points to secure an invite for skilled migration in the near future. This way, regional Australia shall become the chosen destination for overseas study for these international students.

A new rule implemented on the 1st of January, 2021 stated that those temporary visa holders or international students who were found to be guilty of having imported potential high-risk biodiversity goods could be transported back home after having their Australian visas stripped off them. This is also liable if they possess such goods and don’t mention the same at the border itself. Before, this rule was applicable only to those who were on a temporary visiting basis in the country.

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