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Immigration Department News


Migration Policy Changes Create State Based Competition Over Healthcare Workers and Changes to Occupation Lists



In support of the South Australian Government’s on-going response to the Coronavirus, Immigration SA is implementing visa eligibility criteria changes and will prioritise the processing and nomination of health and medical workers.  

Both the Marshall State Government and the Morrison Federal Government have acknowledged the need to urgently find more medical and health professions to join the Australia’s Healthcare System. 

Epidemiology experts are predicting there will be an intense as well as lengthy infection period for the Coronavirus. 

The Australian healthcare system needs to be prepared to service our communities and reducing these visa criteria is just one of the strategies being implemented to increase recruitment to the necessary level of workforce required.

International student graduates of South Australia - medical healthcare professionals.
Medical and health professionals (listed on the Immigration SA website) who have graduated from a South Australian higher education provider and currently reside and work in South Australia in their nominated or closely related occupation who are completing a minimum of 40 hours per fortnight, are now exempt from the three-month work experience requirement. 

Applicants accessing the work experience exemption will only be eligible for nomination for a provisional 491 visa. New requirements apply to 190 nomination eligibility, read on to find out more.

Applicants currently working as a medical or health professional in South Australia Medical and health professionals (listed on the Immigration website) who currently live and work in South Australia in their nominated or closely related occupation, who are completing a minimum of 20 hours per week. Will  also find themselves exempt from Immigration SA’s current work experience requirements.

 Applicants accessing the work experience exemption are only eligible for a provisional 491 visa nomination. 

In huge news for Registered Nurses. The 5 year work experience requirement has been lifted for Registered Nurses working in their occupation or closely related occupation in South Australia. 

This is a significant shift as Registered Nurses have traditionally had more professional recognition requirements placed upon them. 

For medical and health professionals who are currently working in their nominated or closely related occupation in South Australia, a minimum of 65 points is still required, including state-nomination points, and competent English.  

190 nomination eligibility conditions – medical and health professionals
The Medical and health professionals listed on the Immigration SA website who are currently working for the last 12 months in their nominated or closely related occupation (minimum 20 hours per week) in South Australia (or the last 6 months in their nominated or closely related occupation (minimum 20 hours per week) in a country region of South Australia) remain eligible for a permanent 190 visa. This particular visa has been closed 

Priority processing for medical and health professionals working in South Australia 

Processing times for state nomination vary depending on the volume of applications received and applications from medical and health professionals will be prioritised in the first instance. If your current visa is within 2 weeks of expiration, and if you have not requested priority processing of your application. The best thing to do is lodge an online enquiry to Immigration SA as per the standard process.   

We hope these changes to Immigration SA’s visa conditions will lead to a stronger medical and healthcare worker population that is already working so hard to test, treat and reduce the rate of COVID-19 virus infections within South Australia. 

Changes to requirements for 190 visa subclass nomination 

Immigration SA also announced that it will be closing visa subclass 190 eligibility for applicants whohave not been currently working in South Australia for the last 12 months (or 6 months in a region).

Only applicants currently working for the last 12 months in their nominated or closely related occupation (minimum 20 hours per week) in South Australia or the last 6 months in their nominated or closely related  occupation (minimum 20 hours per week) in a country region (of South Australia) will be eligible to apply for permanent 190 visa nomination.

If you do not meet these requirements, you are only eligible to apply for 491 visa nomination. This applies to all occupations except for the following:  

  • 132211 Finance Manager 

  • 149914 Financial Institution Branch Manager 

  • 221111 Accountant (General) 

  • 221112 Management Accountant 

  • 221113 Taxation Accountant 

  • 221211 Company Secretary 

  • 221213 External Auditor 

  • 221214 Internal Auditor 

  • 222112 Finance Broker 

  • 222311 Financial Investment Adviser 

  • 222312 Financial Investment Manager 

  • 224711 Management Consultant 

These occupations are no longer eligible for a subclass 190 nomination as they have reached their quota. Applicants for these occupations can still apply for nomination for the provisional 491 visa subclass. 

Occupations closed to offshore applicants. 

The following hospitality occupations are now closed for offshore applicants. 

  • 141111 Cafe or Restaurant Manager 

  • 351311 Chef 

  • 351411 Cook 

These changes are effective immediately for state nomination applications submitted to Immigration SA on or after 12pm on 27 March 2020. If you currently have a saved state nomination application that has not yet

been submitted to Immigration SA, you will need to meet the requirements above relevant to your nominated occupation or visa subclass.  

It is understandable that changes to the 190 Visa  and offshore hospitality occupation list will be upsetting for some, especially when PR status seems so close.

Unfortunately we can probably expect more list upgrades and changes over the coming months, as the various states and territories try to adjust to the needs of the COVID and then post COVID.


If you have any questions or concerns about putting together your visa application, we are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on +61 8351 9956 or email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you wish to keep up to date with Work Visa Lawyers coverage on COVID-19 its impact on Australia’s immigration policy and current visa programs.

Check out our videos here:

Read our rolling news blog here:

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3 New Visas for Innovation : The Global Talent Visa Program now includes priority processing for permanent Visas.

3 New Visas for Innovation : The Global Talent Visa Program now includes priority processing for permanent Visas.

The Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs has recently introduced a new program to boost the movement of highly skilled individuals from around the world to Australia.

This includes a fast-tracked pathway to Australian permanent residency for applicants with global talent in a target sector.

This is one of the first programs of its type where Australia is out and about in the world, looking to track down talented people and asking them to come to Australia.

The Visas for Innovation include the following three programs:

  • Global Talent Independent program (subclass 124 and 858 visas) - a fast-tracked pathway for distinguished talents to come to Australia and do what they do best

  • Global Talent Employer Sponsored program (TSS subclass 482 visa) - to help Australian businesses fill unique positions with the best workers

  • Supporting Innovation in South Australia pilot (subclass 408 visa) - attracting entrepreneurs to regional Australia to undertake their projects in a supported environment

Each of these programs uses a new pathway for an old visa.

These new pathways are seeking to increase the Australian workforce capabilities in high-tech industries.

Up to 5,000 places will be offered in the Global Talent - Independent program in this program year 2019/20. 

Global Talent Independent (GTI) (subclass 124 and 858 visas)

The benefits of the Global Talent Independent Program is that it is fast, flexible and straight-to-PR.

It presents a great opportunity for a highly-skilled professional in a high-growth area to move to Australia permanently.

The GTI program was launched 4 November 2019 and is built on the existing Distinguished Talent program, comprised of:

  • Offshore Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 124)
  • Onshore Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 858)

Requirements include:

  • Highly skilled in one of the identified target “high-growth” sectors:
    • Agricultural Technology (AgTech)
    • Financial Technology (FinTech
    • Medical Technology (MedTech)
    • Cyber Security
    • Energy and Mining Technolog
    • Space and Advanced Manufacturing
    • Quantum Informantion/Advance Digital/Data Science and ICT


The program is designed to have global talent officers situated around the world in capital cities such as Dubai, New Delhi, Santiago, Shanghai, Washington DC, Berlin and Singapore.  These officers are seeking to attract and engage highly skilled individuals to the program to move to Australia and bring their skills with them.

Currently there are allocated 5,000 places in the GTI program which are up for grabs: if you’re a leader in your field, make sure you get your place to move permanently to Australia.


High-Growth Fields

Drone programming projects

Agricultural Technology (AgTech)

AgTech is one of the seven fields identified for the Global Talent Independent Program.

Australia is looking to push the boundaries of “Agriculture 4.0”.

Growth through the Internet of Things (IOT) has been identified as an area for further explanation, with big advantages to flow for the agriculture industry.


Financial Technology Industry

Financial Technology (FinTech)

FinTech is a growing field worldwide, including in Australia.

We have seen the rise of a range of 

  • Modern banks such as Up, Xinja and 86,400
  • Investing platforms such as Raiz, eToro and Spaceship
  • Payment platforms and digital financial products, including AfterPay
  • Regtech and many many other FinTech products in Australia

To develop cutting edge technologies which will function in not only the Australian financial market, but which can be exported to overseas markets, Australian FinTech startups and companies need the highest level of talent.

If you are a developer, computer scientist or financial expert with a background in FinTech, a permanent move to Australia through the GTI program could be the way to go.

Experience and skills in blockchain are especially sought after.


Medical Technology industry in Australia

Medical Technology (MedTech)

There is innovation globally in the medical technology field, using technologies both existing and developing.

From a range of industries to create technologies that better serve the health needs of patients.

In Australia, there are big opportunities in developing new and better medical devices, implants and bionics.

There is work to be done in designing, building and quality assurance on new implants and body augmentations

to help those with serious health problems to live a better life.

Key foundation competencies are needed in engineering and product design in the MedTech field.


Advanced Technology Business In Australia

 Cyber Security

Cyber Security is very important to many businesses and government Departments, ensuring that data, personal information, commercial information and funds remain secure.

With more and more connections to the internet and a growing number of attacks on private and public bodies, new Cyber Security solutions are needed and there are more positions in Australia than can be filled


energy and mining industry

Energy and Mining Technology

Australia has a rich and varied history of energy, mining and resources industries.

There is room for further development in mining equipment, technology and services (METS).

Global talents are being sought who can bring skills to Australia to push the METS industry even further.

The CSIRO have released a roadmap for where they see development of METS heading.


space industry

Space and Advanced Manufacturing

South Australia has recently been set up as the home for the new Australian Space Agency and space industry entrepreneurs will benefit greatly from this.

There are a range of interesting startups already underway, looking at microsatelites and other services in the space and space-adjacent industries.

Applicants who have experience working with the development of sensors, advanced materials, robotics and augmented/virtual reality systems

will have skills which are highly valuable.

One of the advantages of operating in Australia, especially in the advanced manufacturing industry, is the access to nearby asian countries.

Timezones, close proximity and existing networks make Australia a positive environment.

If you are a global talent in the advanced manufacturing industry, this program might be a suitable way for you to obtain a permanent Australian visa

and work for an established company or establish your own.


advanced tech

Quantum Information/Advance Digital/Data Science and ICT

There is a lot of research taking place in advanced computational systems and the field of “big data”.

There is demand for high level talent with experience and aptitude in the area to make big breakthroughs.

Global talents are sought by universities, government research organisations and private industry

to develop and apply quantum information/advance digital/data science and ICT.


Global Talent Employer Sponsored (GTES) (TSS subclass 482 visa)

The GTES is an option for businesses to sponsor highly skilled workers who do not fit neatly into an ANZSCO occupation category. It has been open for applications since 1 July 2018.

We have previously written about this in depth here:

A number of big tech and adjacent industry names are already registered as sponsors for this program (all current agreements are published here:

These include:


One of the big benefits of this program is the skills which highly skilled individuals can pass on to their colleagues in Australia.

There are two streams for the GTES program:

  • Established Business stream
  • Startup stream


Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) (subclass 408 visa)

The SISA program is a new stream for the 408 visa and an opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop their new idea in South Australia.

This program has actually been in force since November 2018. We wrote about this soon after its release here:

One success story is Daniel Tan, the founder of Pencil Rocket who has obtained a SISA visa in connection with ecosystem provider Flinders New Venture Institute. 

You can read Daniel’s story here:

Another is Pascal, founder of Jobspottr:




This article was written by Luke Edwards

Visit Luke's profile to find out more his expertise






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Australian Immigration News Video December 2019 - New 491 & 494 visas, end of year rush & more!

Australian Immigration News Video December 2019 - New 491 & 494 visas, end of year rush & more!

Catch up on the latest Australian immigration news, including the new 491 & 494 skilled regional visas and much more!

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South Australia open for new subclass 491 visa nomination applications

South Australia open for new subclass 491 visa nomination applications

On 4 December 2019, Immigration SA opened nomination applications for the new subclass 491 visa and re-opened nomination applications for the subclass 190 visa. At the same time some new selection requirements have been introduced.

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Australian Government to make the Gold Coast and Perth eligible for regional visas 491 & 494, and 485 extension

Australian Government to make the Gold Coast and Perth eligible for regional visas 491 & 494, and 485 extension

The Australian Government has announced that the Gold Coast and Perth will be added to the list of eligible locations able to access regional visa incentives from 16 November 2019.

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At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Student Visas, Skilled Migration visas, Business visas, Employer-Sponsored visas, Partner, and other Family Migration visas, as well as Migration Review Tribunal, Judicial Review, and Ministerial Intervention. Based in Adelaide South Australia, our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents provide migration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

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