2018 Australian Visas and Immigration Update
2018 will see a number of changes introduced to the Australian Skilled (GSM) , Employer Sponsored visas (ENS) and Family Visa Program. The Upcoming Migration Changes in 2018 page is updated on a regular basis. We have listed here the main 2018 Australian Visas and Immigration Updates:
Additional Pathway to Permanent Residency for New Zealand Citizens
An additional pathway to Permanent Residency will be available from the 1st of July 2017 for NZ citizens who are special category visa holders, have been in Australia for at least 5 years, have arrived after the 26th February 2001 and can demonstrate set annual minimum income levels.
Up to 80,000 Kiwis are expected to become eligible for Permanent Residency and applications are expected to be capped and queued.
General Skilled Migration Changes
- Reduction of the Maximum Age: The maximum age for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa is set to decrease from 49 to 45 years.
- Revision of Skilled Occupation Lists: MLTSSL and STSOL occupation lists are likely to be reviewed and some flagged occupations, particularly in the engineering sector are likely to be removed.
- Limitation of Skilled Invitation Numbers: Occupations ceilings indicating maximum numbers of invitations that can be issued to the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa applicants will be released.
- State Sponsorship: Nominated Skilled State Migration programs will reopen. Many occupations are expected to be filled quickly and we recommend applicants to lodge their applications early.
The proposed Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 has been struck from parliamentary business, effectively defeating the proposed amendments.
If you apply on or after 1 July 2018 (subject to the passage of legislation)
From 1 July 2018 (subject to the passage of legislation), the new requirements for Australian citizenship will take effect. If you apply for Australian citizenship on or after this date, your application will be assessed against the new requirements.
New Temporary Sponsored Parent Visas
The introduction of the new temporary sponsored parent visa for bringing in overseas parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents has been postponed to November 2017. 15,000 visas will be made available annually. The visas will be valid for 3 or 5 years at a cost of $5,000 and $10,000 respectively. The new parent visa will be renewable for a combined maximum of 10 years.
Related: Bill not passed
The DHA will commence the publication of details of sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet employer obligations.
The 2018 change of Partner Visa will require the sponsor, and not just the applicants, to be assessed as well.
These key changes amends the Migration Act 1958 to establish a sponsorship framework for the sponsored family visa program to: establish a sponsorship framework for the sponsored family visa program to:
- separate sponsorship assessment from the visa application process for family sponsored visas;
- require the approval of persons as family sponsors before any relevant visa applications are made;
- impose statutory obligations on persons who are or were approved as family sponsors and provide for sanctions if those obligations are not satisfied;
- facilitate the sharing of personal information between parties identified in a sponsorship application;
- enable the refusal of a sponsorship application and the cancellation or barring of a family sponsor in certain circumstances;
- enable the regulations to prescribe details for, and in relation to, the operation of the sponsorship framework; and make consequential amendments.
Pathways to Permanent Residency for Current 457 Visa Holders
The Department of Home Affairs confirmed that from March 2018, people who were existing subclass 457 visa holders before April changes will still have access to an employer-sponsored pathway to permanent residency.
Provisional arrangements will be very similar to existing ones, which means 2 years with the same employer on 457 visa and competent English should be the main criteria for an ENS or RSMS visa grant under transition stream. Age limit will be 49 years as opposed to 44 for direct entry stream.
What does it mean in reality? Essentially, people who for various reasons are not able to get their skills assessed by the relevant skills assessment authority, cannot apply for direct entry stream of an ENS visa.
- Latest selection round (21st February 2018) shows the minimum EOI points selected was 70.
From February 2018 onward, the evidence of fund needs to show living cost is the following:
- Main Student or Guardian: $20,290 (up from $19,830)
- Partner or Spouse: $7,100 (up from $6,940)
- Per Child: $3,040 (up from $2,970)
- The Department is looking to simplify the visa system from 99 visa subclasses to only 9.
18 March 2018
NEW TSS visa /186 ENS updates/ 187 RSMS updates
- the new Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) (referred to by the Department as the ‘TSS visa’)
- related changes to the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187) visa programs and occupation lists.
TSS Visa Program Replaces 457 Visa Program
From 18 March 2018, the current 457 visa program will be abolished and replaced with the new TSS visa program. The TSS visa will be comprised of a Short-Term stream allowing stays of up to two years, and a Medium-Term stream allowing stays of up to four years.
Short-Term Stream vs Medium-Term Stream
|Medium and Long Term TSS Visa (482)|
|Short-Term TSS Visa (482)|
For both streams tighter regulations will be introduced including:
- Increased Work Experience Requirements
- Higher English Language Levels Requirements
- Mandatory Labour Market Testing
- Set Australian Market Salary Rates
- Additional Character, Anti-Discrimination and Training Requirements
Occupation lists for TSS visa commencing 18th March 2018
Please see the below link for detailed analysis of 18 March 2018 changes:
2018-19 Migration Programme planning levels
The programme is set annually, with the total places available capped at 190,000 for 2017-18, unchanged from 2017-18. The total programme is broken down into the following streams:
- Skilled –This represents the majority of places offered (128,550 places in 2017-18).
- Family – is predominately made up of Partner visas, enabling Australians to reunite with family members from overseas, and provide them with pathways to citizenship (57,400 places in 2017-18).
- Special Eligibility – this covers visas for those in special circumstances that do not fit into the other streams. This can include permanent residents returning to the country after a period away, and is the smallest stream (565 places in 2017-18).
At least 3,485 Child places will be available outside the managed Migration Programme in 2018-19. See more on Occupation Ceilings.
Flagged Occupations for Mid-2018
The Department of Jobs and Small Business is responsible for reviewing the composition of the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Regional Occupation List (ROL) to identify occupations that would benefit from skilled migration for the purpose of meeting the skill needs of the Australian economy.
It has published a draft bulletin for public comment on proposed changes to the skilled occupations lists to take effect in mid 2018.
Red—short term skilled occupation list (stsol) occupations for possible removal.
Orange—medium long term strategic skills list (mltssl) occupations for possible movement to stsol.
Yellow—stsol occupations for possible move to mltssl.
Purple—occupations for possible movement from stsol to regional occupations list (rol).
1 July 2018
A legal instrument passed on 21 June 2018, namely Migration Amendment (Visa Application Charges) Regulations 2018. The below Visa Application Charges (VAC) will apply to applications made on or after 1 July 2018.
|Visa Type||Current Fee||From 1 July 2018|
|General Skilled Migration||$3,670||$3,755|
|Graduate Temporary Subclass 485||$1,500||$1,535|
|Parent (Contributory) first instalment||$330 to $3,770||$340 to $3,855|
|TSS – STSOL||$1,150||$1,175|
|TSS – MLTSSL||$2,400||$2,455|
|Significant Investor Visa (SIV)||$7,150||$7,310|
Skilled visa pass mark increases to 65 points
Introduction of the GLOBAL TALENT SCHEME (GTS VISA)
The Global Talent Scheme is designed to attract highly skilled global talent and deliver innovation to Australia will be piloted from 1 July 2018.
The Government recognises there is fierce competition globally for high-tech skills and talent, and that attracting these people helps to transfer skills to Australian workers and grow Australian-based businesses.
The Global Talent Scheme will consist of two components. Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million and the start up stream explained below.
The visa subclass utilised will be the Temporary Skill Shortage Subclass 482 and permanent residency will be an option after three years employment on that visa.
12 August 2018
SAF Levy and LMT updates for ENS visas
The Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) levy has replaced (from 12 August 2018) the previous mandatory training benchmarks, which applied to approved Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) or employer sponsored permanent residency applications. Please see here.
16 August 2018
Western Australia to attract International Students for Skilled Migration
An additional Graduate Skilled Migration List will be introduced to attract the best global talent with the advanced qualifications, skills and experience and help grow Western Australia’s share of the international education market. Read more here.
5 September 2018
CESSATION OF PRIORITY PROCESSING FOR TSS AND 457 VISAS
The current service of priority processing requests for TSS and Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (Subclass 457) visa applications will cease on 5 September 2018. That is, any priority processing email requests which are received on, or after, this date will no longer be acknowledged. Read more here.