Welcome to our Australian Immigration News – December 2023! In this blog, we will discuss the conclusion of Covid concessions, alterations in the Temporary Graduate Visa, positive reforms affecting Partner Visas, the opportunity for permanent residency for 482 and 457 visa holders, the replacement of a top bureaucrat, international student news, and the upcoming Government Implementation Plan.
End of the Covid Concessions
The Covid era for Australian Immigration is officially over. The concessions introduced during the pandemic to address travel challenges and support temporary workers in Australia have concluded as of November 25, 2023. Notably, periods of reduced work due to Covid-19 will no longer count towards meeting work experience requirements for new ENS/RSMS TRT stream nomination applications.
Changes in the Temporary Graduate Visa Program
Starting November 25, 2023, all applications for any stream of the Temporary Graduate Visa program must be lodged in Australia.
Positive Reforms for Partner Visas
Exciting reforms have been introduced for Partner Subclasses 309 and 820 visas. Applicants can now receive grants whether they are inside or outside Australia at the time of visa approval. Moreover, Subclass 309 Partner visa applicants can apply for merits review independently, no longer relying solely on the sponsor. This change enhances accessibility for family violence victims.
PR for 482 and 457 Visa Holders
Individuals holding 482 and 457 visas for at least 2 years may be eligible to apply for permanent residency. Those with occupations listed on the Medium or Short-term Skilled Occupation List can apply for the 186 PR Visa, meeting criteria such as Competent English and being under the age of 45, unless specific narrow exemptions apply. Read more here.
Home Affairs Public Servant Replaced – Michael Pezzullo
The governor-general terminated the appointment of Michael Pezzullo, head of the Department of Home Affairs, due to breaches of the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct. The hope is for a more accessible and efficient standalone Department of Immigration.
End of Indefinite Detention
The High Court's decision in NZYQ brings an end to indefinite detention for those unable to return to their original country of passport. Legislation imposing tough conditions on those released is expected to face a high court challenge.
International Student News
Plans are underway to impose caps and potential taxes on international students, likely in response to housing shortages and a rental crisis. As international education is a key industry, there is expected pushback.
Upcoming Government Implementation Plan
Stay tuned for the awaited release of the Government's implementation plan for migration reforms. The Parkinson report hints at significant changes, including point-based visa reforms, Business Visa changes, and the end of Student Visas needing to meet GTE.
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