All COVID-19 border restrictions to be lifted
People travelling to Australia will no longer have to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status, following changes to the Biosecurity Act, which come into effect from midnight AEST on Wednesday 6 July 2022.
The Biosecurity Act changes, which were made following health advice from the Chief Medical Officer, mean that all visa holders can travel to Australia without needing a travel exemption.
“As more and more of us travel internationally and we get more confident in managing our risk of COVID, our airports are getting busier,” Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil, said.
“Removing these requirements will not only reduce delays in our airports but will encourage more visitors and skilled workers to choose Australia as a destination, and for Australian citizens, with the removal of these requirements, returning home will be much easier”.
“We’ve also listened to feedback about the DPD. While in time it will replace the paper based incoming passenger card, it needs a lot more work to make it user friendly”.
Those arriving by sea will also benefit, and no longer need to complete a Maritime Travel Declaration. Airlines, cruise ship operators and other countries may still have specific requirements that travellers need to comply with.
For more information on the changes to international travel requirements visit: www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid19.
Pathway to Permanent Residence
From 1 July 2022, holders of subclass 482 Visa (Short Term Skill Shortage Stream) and subclass 457 (Temporary Work Skilled) may be able to transition to the permanent residency pathway, which has become available via the subclass 186 visa Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream.
In order for sponsored subclass 457/482 visa holders to access this permanent residency pathway, the following requirements must be met:
- They held or had applied for a 457 visa pre 18 April 2017
- They were in Australia for at least 12 months (cumulatively) between 1 Feb 2020 and 14 Dec 2021.
Other key criteria to be met include:
- being under 45 years old unless an exemption applies.
- Competent Level English language ability + (see attached) or holding a passport from the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, or New Zealand.
- having worked for their nominating employer for at least 3 years in the 4 years before applying (or 2 years in the 3 years before applying for subclass 457 visa holders).
- having a job offer from your sponsoring employer for a position that is available for at least 2 years following PR approval.
- all family members meet health and character criteria.
IELTS has cancelled all exams in the Russian Federation
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) has cancelled all exams in the Russian Federation, with reference to letters received by those who planned to take the test.
According to the letter, the exams have been suspended “as a result of the aggravated foreign political situation” by decision of the owners of IELTS – the British Council and Cambridge Assessment English. Applicants were offered to transfer the funds paid for the exam to pay for courses to prepare for it. Otherwise, the money will be frozen until the resumption of examination sessions in Russia, the publication clarifies.
At the same time, the letters emphasize that the party taking the exam “does not have information on the exact dates for the appearance of new available dates for registration, but will make every effort to organize the exam as soon as possible.”
IELTS is the most requested English language test for study and immigration to English-speaking countries, including the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Ukraine visa support
The Department is supporting Australia’s response to the escalating crisis in Ukraine and is progressing outstanding visa applications from Ukrainian nationals as a priority, across all visa categories.
The Department has finalised hundreds of on-hand applications over recent days.
Anyone wishing to make a new application for a visa to travel to Australia should consider options relevant to their circumstances.
Close family members can apply on behalf of their family members in Ukraine. Registered migration agent can help you with lodging a visa application.
The Prime Minister has also announced that automatic visa extensions for 6 months will be given to Ukrainian nationals in Australia who have a visa expiring before 30 June 2022.
Visa holders do not need to do anything to receive this extension. The Department is contacting visa holders in Australia who have visas expiring soon to make arrangements if they wish to remain in Australia.
State Nominations for Subclass 491 Visas
The new Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) visa enables skilled workers and their families to live, work and/or study in regional areas of Australia for up to five years. The visa provides pathways to permanent residency after three years.
There are two streams: family sponsored and state nominated. The family sponsored visa requires that you have a relative living in a regional area of Australia who is willing to sponsor you and that you have an occupation on the Medium and Long Term Skilled Shortage List (MLTSSL). It also requires that you lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) and are invited in the monthly invitation rounds which are competitive and based on the points you achieve in the points test.
The state nominated visa is considered to be easier as there is a longer list of occupations available and you only often only need to achieve the minimum points to get an invitation. To apply for a visa in this stream, you still need to lodge an EOI but the invitations are sent as soon as the state or territory approves the nomination .
When deciding whether to nominate an applicant, state or territory nominating agencies refer to their own criteria, which vary from state to state. As a starting point, all applicants must show they have an occupation on the relevant state or territory occupation list, and that they have a genuine intention to reside in that state or territory.
State and territory agencies offer a number of different ‘streams’ and generally cater to onshore skilled applicants, offshore skilled applicants, and recent tertiary graduates. Some states also provide options for small business owners, or applicants with family living in the state or territory.
Please note, the below is information on general requirements and does not take into account any of your personal circumstances. You must check the State/Territory information carefully to ensure you can meet all the requirements for nomination.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT)
The ACT uses their own points matrix to select applicants for nomination. If you are onshore and reside in Canberra, you must have been residing in Canberra for at least three months immediately before your application, and working for an ACT employer in Canberra for at least three months.
The ACT will only nominate offshore applicants who have not resided in another Australian state or territory within the last 12 months. If you are offshore, you must also have at least 12 months of continuous experience within the last three years in the nominated occupation, and demonstrate employability in Canberra.
You can access the ACT’s occupation lists here.
NEW SOUTH WALES (NSW)
If you are onshore and seeking nomination from NSW, you will need to show that you have been working in the nominated occupation (or a closely related occupation) and living in regional NSW for at least the last 12 months.
If you are offshore, you may be nominated by NSW if:
- You have an offer for full-time employment in a regional area of NSW; OR
- You have five years’ skilled employment in your nominated occupation; OR
- You have an immediate family member living in a regional area.
NSW may nominate tertiary graduates who recently completed study at an institution in regional NSW.
The NSW occupation lists can be found here.
NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT)
The NT may nominate onshore applicants who have lived in the NT for at least 6 months, and worked full-time in their nominated occupation (or a closely related occupation). You will also need to show you have ongoing prospects of employment in your nominated occupation.
If you are offshore, you will need to demonstrate that:
- You have worked in your nominated occupation for at least 12 months of the last 24 months; OR
- you have Australian qualifications.
You will also need to demonstrate that you have strong prospects of employment in the NT.
Graduates may be nominated if they have completed at least two years of full-time study at a college or university in the NT.
The NT occupation lists are accessible here.
If you are onshore and wish to be nominated by QLD, you need to show that you have lived and worked full-time in the nominated occupation in regional QLD for at least three months, and that you will have ongoing employment in regional QLD for the next 12 months.
Offshore applicants need to demonstrate at least two years’ post-qualification work experience in the nominated occupation.
QLD nominates recent Masters and PhD graduates. Graduates need to show that they completed their Degree at a QLD-based institution. Masters graduates must provide evidence of full-time employment with a QLD employer and a job offer for ongoing employment. PhD graduates are not generally required to provide evidence of a job offer, unless otherwise stated.
QLD may also nominate you if you are a small business owner. You will need to show that you have purchased and been operating an existing business in regional QLD, and that you have prior experience or the qualifications necessary to successfully run the business.
The QLD occupation lists are here.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA (SA)
SA may nominate you if you have at least one year of skilled work experience in the last three years. This experience does not necessarily have to be in your nominated occupation. You will need to show that you have worked in regional SA for the last six months, or in Greater Adelaide for the last 12 months.
SA also caters to graduates who recently completed a qualification while residing in SA. Graduates must demonstrate that they meet the work experience requirements, or they are eligible for a work experience waiver.
The SA occupation lists are accessible here.
TAS may nominate onshore skilled workers who have been living and working full-time in TAS for at least the six months preceding the application. You must be employed by an established business, with a genuine need for your position.
TAS will only nominate offshore applicants who have not lived in another Australian state or territory in the last 12 months. If you are offshore, you can show either:
- There are sufficient employment opportunities in your nominated occupation; OR
- You have a job offer for a job based in TAS, and your proposed employer is a well-established business with a genuine need for the position.
Graduates of TAS tertiary institutions may be nominated provided they lived in TAS for at least one year while studying, and currently reside in Tasmania.
TAS also provides options for applicants with an immediate family member in TAS, or small business owners. If you are a small business owner, you must demonstrate that your business has been established and operating in TAS for at least six months, and that it is likely the business will generate a personal income that meets the income threshold set by the Department of Home Affairs (currently $53,900).
The TAS occupation list is accessible here. We note that this list is mainly used to assess offshore applicants.
VIC offers nominations to onshore and offshore skilled applicants. You may be eligible if you have an offer for full-time employment in a regional area for at least 12 months. The employer must be an established business with genuine need for the position.
VIC uses Immigration’s skilled occupation list, which is available here.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA (WA)
If you are either onshore or offshore, you may be nominated by WA if you have at least one year of work experience in Australia, or three years’ experience overseas in your nominated occupation. You will need to have a contract for employment in WA for a duration of at least 12 months.
Graduates from a WA tertiary institution may be eligible if they meet the work experience criteria. You will need to show either:
- You have at least six months’ paid Australian work experience in your nominated occupation; OR
- You can provide a full-time employment contract for at least six months in the nominated occupation, for a position based in WA.
Masters and PhD graduates do not need to meet the work experience criteria.
The WA skilled occupation lists are accessible here.
Top 10 highest paying jobs in Australia in 2020
One of the many reasons that people migrate to Australia is a better lifestyle. It is no surprise then that Australia offers many well-paid jobs.
Here are the top 10 highest paying jobs in Australia in 2020:
- IT System Architect:The IT industry is booming in Australia. Hence, it is not surprising that IT System Architects earn up to AUD 139,690 per year. An IT System Architect builds, designs and tests the entire IT infrastructure of organizations that have an internal network. They handle highly sensitive and complex projects, which require not only knowledge and information, but also previous experience. Since this job is extremely technical and requires expertise, IT System Architect is one of the highest–paid jobs in Australia.
- Information Technology Manager:Information Technology Managers are responsible for the active and effective deployment of software in the IT systems. Senior Information Technology Managers can earn as much as AUD 125,000per year.
- Engineering Manager: Depending on the discipline of engineering, Engineering Managers can earn as much as AUD 132,350per year. For example, Engineering Managers in Oil, Gas and Energy earn much more than those working in Mining and Chemicals.
- Information Technology Security Architect:The demand for information technology security is going through the roof in Australia. Hence, Information Technology Security Architects are some of the most highly paid in Australia. There are a large number of vacancies for these professionals in the country. An Information Technology Security Architect may earn up to AUD 124,000per year.
- Analytics Manager:Managing and manipulating data are the prime responsibilities of Analytics Managers. These professionals are most in–demand in companies that deal with a large number of data. Analytics Managers can easily earn around AUD 118,820per year.
- Cloud Engineer:If you specialize in Cloud Engineering, you should definitely consider moving to Australia. Even though it is a recently generated job, it is soon becoming one of the most required jobs in the IT sector. A Cloud Engineer can earn up to AUD 115,590per year.
- Data Scientist:A Data Scientist in Australia can easily earn up to AUD 100,000per year. You need to have extensive experience in the technical field, along with a good academic background.
- Construction Manager: Construction Managers are one of the most highly paid in Australia and are expected to earn even more in 2020. Since the building industry is booming in Australia, Construction Managers can earn as much as AUD 111,390per year.
- Python Developers:Python is the most commonly used software development language, and hence it is a significant force in the IT industry. Australia currently has around 2,600 vacancies for Python Developers. A Python Developer can earn up to AUD 100,000per year in Australia.
- Wellbeing Manager:Even though this job is a recent creation, it is quite in demand in large companies concerned with their employees’ wellbeing. Wellbeing Managers in Australia can earn up to AUD 110,520per year.
Here are the Australian immigration changes you can see in 2020
Australia is gearing up for a number of significant immigration changes in 2020.
Here are all the Australian immigration changes that you can see in 2020.
Scoring high points is something that all aspiring immigrants to Australia aim for.
However, the minimum score required in 2020 will remain unchanged at 65 points.
Migration Experts encourage immigrants who score 65 points lodge an Expression of Interest. Even though applicants with higher scores have a greater chance of getting an invitation, there are several other routes that aspiring immigrants can explore.
Single applicants can now take advantage of their single status by claiming an additional 10 points. Married applicants with a skilled spouse can also claim 10 points if their spouse obtains a positive Skill Assessment Report. They can also claim 5 points if their spouse can demonstrate competent English.
Having certain STEM qualifications can earn applicants an extra 10 points.
Nomination from a state or territory or sponsorship from an eligible family member can also get applicants an extra 15 points.
Australia has set aside 25,000 visa places for the new Regional Visas. The new Subclass 491 and Subclass 494 Visas aim to attract more skilled migrants to the designated regional areas of Australia. Both these visas have a provision for Permanent Residency.
The Traffic Light Bulletin
The Traffic Light Bulletin is issued by the Dept. of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Businesses. The Bulletin proposes significant changes to the Skilled Occupation Lists of Australia.
32 occupations may have their status changed in the SOLs while 11 occupations may be removed. 6 occupations will have salary caveats in 2020.
Red, Orange, and Green: What these colours mean for skilled migration
The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has released their Traffic Light Bulletin on potential changes to the skilled occupation lists for Immigration purposes. A number of interesting changes have been proposed, including the removal or down-grading of some trades occupations, and the addition of occupations relating to personal and aged care.
A full list is available on the Department’s website here. Please note that these are only proposed changes at this stage.
These are occupations that could be removed from all occupation lists. Standing out are the occupations of Hairdresser, Massage Therapist, and Community Worker, which have previously been popular amongst migrants and in some demand in Australia.
Orange occupations are those that have been flagged to move between the three occupation lists:
- Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
- Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
- Regional Occupation List (ROL)
Occupations currently flagged to be downgraded from MLTSSL to the STSOL include Automotive Electricians and Motorcycle Mechanics, Painting Trades Workers, and Wall and Floor Tilers.
Flagged to move from the ROL to the STSOL – opening up the option for employers in non-regional Australia to sponsor for visas – are occupations including Mechanical Engineering Draftsperson and Real Estate Representative.
Potential occupations moving from the STSOL to the MLTSSL are Sales and Marketing Manager, ICT Project Manager, and Information and Organisation Professionals which includes the occupation ‘Data Scientist’. This move would give pathways to permanent residency for 482 visa applicants as well as the chance to apply for a Skilled Independent 189 visa. It is important to note that these occupations also come with a recommendation for salary caveats above a certain level.
Moving from the STSOL to the ROL could be Geologist, which would limit applicants to living and working in regional Australia.
Finally, making a big jump from the ROL to the MLTSSL could be the occupations of Procurement Manager and Ship’s Master, again giving employers the chance to sponsor employees outside of regional Australia.
A number of personal support occupations have been flagged for addition to the STSOL after languishing off all lists for quite some time. Those that could be added are Aged or Disabled Carer, Nursing Support Worker, and Personal Care Assistant. All three occupations come with the recommendation that there is a mandatory skill assessment.
Recommendation for Salary Caveats
While there would be no changes to the list for these occupations, the Department has recommended the implementation of a minimum salary caveat of AU$65,000 per annum for Bakers, Pastry Cooks, and Fitter and Turners. Sportspersons nec would require a minimum salary of AU$120,000 per annum.
New and Emerging Occupations
Finally, the Department has identified a number of new and emerging occupations that do not currently fit into the ANZSCO system. These have now been determined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to fit into the following definitions:
|Occupation not in ANZSCO||ABS Determined Occupation Code|
|Blockchain Strategist||261111 ICT BUSINESS ANALYST|
|Blockchain Planner/Manager||135112 ICT PROJECT MANAGER|
|Data Scientist||224999 INFORMATION AND ORGANISATION PROFESSIONALS NEC|
|Irrigation Manager||121213 FRUIT OR NUT GROWER|
|Biosecurity Officer||311313 QUARANTINE OFFICER|
|Horticulture Farm Manager||121213 FRUIT OR NUT GROWER|
|Maintenance Electrician||341111 ELECTRICIAN (GENERAL)|
Pros and Cons of the new Regional Visas of Australia
Australia has introduced two new Regional Visas on the 16th of November 2019. These two visas are:
- Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional (Provisional)) Visa
- Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional)) Visa
The new Regional Visas throw open the door to Australian Permanent Residency and possible citizenship in the future.
If you too are mulling over whether you should apply for the new Visas, here are the pros and cons:
The definition of “regional areas” in Australia has been simplified by the Australian Govt. Barring Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, almost all of Australia is considered “regional” for immigration purposes. This means that migrants can now easily settle in satellite cities like Newcastle and Wollongong in New South Wales. They can also settle in the Gold Coast which is just about an hour’s drive from Brisbane.
Regional Visa holders will be eligible for Medicare. This will significantly lower the living expenses of migrant families on these visas. Children of Regional Visa holders will also have access to public education.
International students who graduate from Regional Universities in Australia will get an extra year on their Post-Study Work Permit. Certain international students may even be eligible for two additional years instead of one.
The new Regional Visas of Australia have a provision for Permanent Residency. Visa holders who complete three years of stay in a designated regional area may be eligible to apply for Australian PR.
Besides the mandatory stay period of three years in a designated regional area, immigrants will also need to meet the income threshold. Regional Visa holders should have earned a minimum of AUD 53,900 every year for all three years to be eligible for Australian PR.
Research by the University of Adelaide indicates that skilled migrants in regional areas are not finding the job opportunities that match their work experience.
A survey of more than 1,700 skilled immigrants revealed that 53% of them believed they were not utilizing their full potential. 44% of those surveyed were working in an occupation which was different from what they had nominated in their visa application. 15% of those surveyed reported being unemployed. This is almost twice the unemployment rate in South Australia, as per an article published.
The research also found that there was a mismatch between immigrants and the regional labour market. The mismatch was not just in the jobs available but also in the employer & employee expectations.
The survey also found that many immigrants faced discrimination from their employers due to their lack of Australian work experience.
Australian Regional Visa holders will be eligible for Medicare
The Dept. of Health in Australia has declared that the new Regional Visa holders will be “treated as eligible” for the purposes of the Health Insurance Act.
This means that Subclass 491 and Subclass 494 visa holders will be able to apply for Medicare. They will be covered under Medicare for their entire stay period.
The Subclass 491 Visa replaces the Subclass 489 Visa. Subclass 489 Visa holders did not have access to Medicare. They had to pay for their medical treatment in Australia.
However, Subclass 491 Visa holders will be to go to the hospital or visit the doctor and have all or some of the expenses covered under Medicare.
The current Subclass 482 Visa requires visa holders to purchase health insurance to cover the entire duration of the visa. They need to purchase health insurance for their families too if they accompany the primary applicant to Australia. Only if you belong to a country that has reciprocal health arrangements with Australia, you may access the Medicare card.
However, under the Subclass 494 Visa (Regional Employer Sponsored), all visa holders regardless of their home country, will be eligible for Medicare. This could help Regional Visa holders save thousands of dollars in medical fees and health insurance.