Australia Immigration Update August 2020

ACT Updates – Skilled Visa Nominations

ACT Government has recently announced new changes to their nomination process. As you would know, COVID-19 has drastically changed the migration policy for the 2020-21 year. For this financial year, the Australia Government’s main aim is to support Australia’s economy and public health. As such, the ACT Government will focus its given nomination quota on applicants who are critical in supporting the COVID-19 response.

Brief Overview
  • Canberra Matrix is closed for overseas applicants.
  • 2020-21 ranking and selection process will be focused on Canberra residents with skills that are essential to supporting ACT’s post- pandemic economy response.
  • The number of ACT nomination places on the ACT Critical Skills List may be capped. ACT may not issue invitations when it has reached the monthly quota.
  Subclass 491 – Canberra Resident Eligibility

You must meet the following criteria before you apply for the nomination:

  • Resided in Canberra for at least 3 months
  • One of the following:
    • Nominated occupation is on the ACT Critical Skills List (January 2021), OR
    • A primary holder of a subclass 457/482 visa sponsored by an ACT employer:
      • You have worked in Canberra for the sponsor for at least 3 months
      • The visa must have a minimum of 12 months validity at time of nomination application.
    • Must be working for an ACT employer in Canberra for at least 3 months (must be paid employment, and for a minimum of 20 hours per week).
Subclass 190 – Canberra Resident Eligibility

You must meet the following criteria before you apply for the nomination:

  • Resided in Canberra for at least 6 months
  • One of the following:
    • Nominated occupation is on the ACT Critical Skills List, OR
    • A primary holder of a subclass 457/482 visa sponsored by an ACT employer:
      • You have worked in Canberra for the sponsor for at least 6 months
      • The visa must have a minimum of 12 months validity at time of nomination application.
    • Must be working for an ACT employer in Canberra for at least 6 months (must be paid employment, and for a minimum of 35 hours per week).
ACT Critical Skills List

You can find the ACT Critical Skills List here.

PhD Graduate

ACT has a streamlined process for PhD graduate from an ACT university. To be eligible, you must lived in Canberra for at least 12 months at the time of invitation and completed a PhD at an ACT university.

Updates for Subclass 417 and 462 Visa

Subclass 417 Working Holiday Visa and Subclass 462 Work and Holiday Visa allow young adults of certain countries to work in Australia to help them pay for their holiday. This visa is usually valid for 12 months. However, in some circumstances, visa holders can apply for a second or third working holiday visa.

Specified work

Usually, visa holders must work for at least 3 months in ‘specified work’ to apply for the second working holiday visa. In addition, if the applicant intends to apply for a third working holiday visa, he/she must work at least 6 months in the ‘specified work’.

Generally, specified work for Subclass 417 must be taken in regional Australia. The areas of work include:

  • plant and animal cultivation in regional Australia
  • fishing and pearling in regional Australia
  • tree farming and felling in regional Australia
  • mining in regional Australia
  • construction in regional Australia

For Subclass 462 the areas of work considered to be ‘specified work’ include:

  • plant and animal cultivation in northern Australia and other specified areas of regional Australia
  • fishing and pearling in Northern Australia only
  • tree farming and felling in Northern Australia only
  • tourism and hospitality in Northern Australia only
  • construction in Northern Australia and other specified areas of regional Australia

However, as part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘specified work’ has been extended to include working holiday makers who work in the healthcare and medical sector. This work can be done anywhere in Australia. It is not restricted to regional Australia.

Healthcare and medical sector work does not include general administration work or selling personal protective equipment. The applicant work should involve medical treatment, nursing, contact tracing, testing, and research. The applicant can also provide support services, including cleaning medical and health care facilities.

The new definition will apply to application from 19 August 2020 onwards.

Hong Kong Passport Holders

The Department of Home Affairs have amended the Migration Regulations to extend TSS 482 and  temporary graduate 485 visas for five years from 9 July 2020 to 8 July 2025 if the primary visa holder held a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China passport when the visa is or was granted.

Secondary family members (partners and dependent children) visas will also be extended to 8 July 2025, regardless of the passport they hold (for example the main applicant is a Hong Kong passport holder and their dependent partner holds a Brazilian passport they will also have the extended period).

Other State and Territory Nominations updates for 190/491/188/132 visas

We have updated our recent post on the Home Affairs recent allocation of a small amount of places to the Australian States and Territories for the Nominated (subclass 190) visa, the Regional Skilled (subclass 491) visa, the Business Innovation & Investment (subclass 188) visa and the Business Talent (subclass 132) visas.

SkillSelect Occupational Ceilings – 2020-21

Please note these occupation ceilings are independent of State or Territory Nominated, Employer Sponsored or Business Innovation and Investment allocations.

Section 48 bar and Australian states

The section 48 bar applies to applicants who have had a visa refused or cancelled since their last entry into Australia. If you are subject to a section 48 bar you need to leave Australia before you can reapply for a visa.

Victoria:

The Victorian Government will not re-nominate applicants who are subject to a section 48 bar where their nomination has expired and they are unable to leave Australia.

Queensland:

If an applicant is currently on a bridging visa and has been invited to lodge documents with BSMQ for a subclass 491 visa, they must notify Business and Skilled Migration Queensland of any past visa refusals or cancellations.

If an applicant has received a visa refusal or cancellation whilst on a bridging visa they are likely to be subject to a section 48 bar – which means they are unable to lodge a state nominated visa (and most other visas) onshore.

Unfortunately during the COVID-19 pandemic, it not possible to go offshore to lodge a visa application, and then return to Australia.

This is because there is an entry ban on temporary visa holders returning to Australia at this time. If you or your client is section 48 barred, BSMQ is unable to nominate  for a subclass s491 visa and request that the application be withdrawn.

It may be possible to submit an EOI again at a later date once the entry ban is lifted if Queensland criteria continues to be met.

South Australia: From 21 April 2020, Immigration SA will be making changes to the processing and nomination of applicants who are affected by a section 48 bar.

The section 48 bar applies to applicants who have had a visa refused or cancelled since their last entry to Australia and prevents an applicant from applying for a visa onshore.

For applicants who are affected by the section 48 bar and are currently waiting assessment:

Subject to the continuation of the current travel restrictions, Immigration SA will hold existing applications affected by a section 48 bar until 30 June 2020. Please notify Immigration SA if you are section 48 barred and are unable to travel offshore to lodge a valid visa application.

For applicants submitting their application for state-nomination on or after 21 April 2020: 

If you are affected by a section 48 bar and are unable to travel offshore to lodge a valid visa application please do not submit an application for state-nomination. Immigration SA will no longer nominate applicants who are unable to travel offshore to lodge a valid visa application.

If you are affected by a section 48 bar, you must only submit a state nomination application once you satisfy Schedule 1 of the Migration Regulations and are able to lodge a valid visa application offshore.

To proceed with your application, you must provide Immigration SA with confirmation that you will be travelling offshore to lodge a valid visa. Immigration SA may request information regarding previous visa refusals or cancellations, including if the refusal or cancellation decision is undergoing review at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Tasmania: Applicants who hold a Bridging Visa associated with AAT or Federal Court review will be placed on hold until the travel ban is lifted at which time these applications will be further assessed in consideration of an updated residential location and employment details (if applicable) then finalised.

NSW: If your visa application is affected by a s48 bar, meaning you must be offshore to lodge a new visa application, NSW will re-nominate you once you are able to travel overseas. This will provide a further 60 days to submit your visa application to the Department of Home Affairs.

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