June 2022 visa update

GUEST POST BY AMANDA TINNER, VISA EXECUTIVE

We have a new Federal Government in Australia and as always we expect the new Minister to put their own stamp on the immigration portfolio so stay tuned for changes to come over the next few years.

Lets start with some great news.

Permanent Residence. Visa Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme)

From 1 July 2022, existing 482 visa holders in the short-term stream (2 year visas) will be able to apply for permanent residence through the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa.

We believe that this pathway will be accessible for two years from its commencement on 1 July 2022 but this is not yet legislated.

To be eligible to apply as a short-term stream 482 visa holder, the below criteria must be met.

The employer must:

  • be actively and lawfully operating in Australia
  • be an employer of good standing
  • the position must be full-time and available for at least 2 years
  • be paid at the current market rate for the nominated occupation

The applicant must:

  • Have a minimum of 3 years post-qualification work experience
  • Have been in Australia between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 for at least one year
  • Worked in Australia for the sponsor for 3 out of the last 4 years in the same nominated occupation on a 482 visa
  • Meet the competent English language requirements; and
  • Applicant and dependent family members named on the application are all of good health and character

But wait, it gets better…

No Age Limit for *Legacy 457 Visa Holders

Also announced by the government is that as of 1 July 2022, for those people who wish to apply for permanent residence, there will be no age limit for *legacy 457 workers.

The below arrangements also apply to subclass 457 visa holders with an occupation on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List.

To be eligible to apply as a visa holder who is over the age of 45 years, the below criteria must be met

  • Have a minimum of 3 years post-qualification work experience
  • Have been in Australia between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 for at least one year
  • Have held a subclass 457 visa on or after 18 April 2017
  • Worked in Australia for the sponsor for 2 out of the last 3 years in the nominated occupation on a 457/482 visa
  • Meet the competent English language requirements; and
  • Applicant and dependent family members named on the application are all of good health and character.

This complements the pathway to permanent residency by allowing eligible subclass 457 visa holders to apply for the TRT stream of the ENS.

* What is a 457 visa legacy holder?

The following definition of a legacy 457 workers for a Subclass 186 visa application means a person who:

(a) Held a subclass 457 visa on or after 18 April 2017; and

(b) Was in Australia for at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021.

COVID concession to reduced work hours and still able to apply for permanent residence

We are often asked by clients if they can still meet the criteria for permanent residence when their work hours were reduced during the last 2 years.  Our advice is that those visa holders who were:

  • Not employed in the nominated occupation on a full time basis ; or
  • On unpaid leave as a result of the pandemic but would usually have been in full time employment;

will be able to count their time in employment as equivalent to full time.  The government has advised that the reduced work hours will be taken as full-time work when applying for permanent residence.  Great news for those affected by reduced working hours.

It’s a gift that keeps giving…

Third onshore application for SC 482 visas

When the 482 Visa Programme was introduced the government made it very clear that for those visa holders whose occupations were classified on the short term list, there was a restriction which allowed them to apply for only 2 x 482 in Australia.  If the visa holder wished to apply for a third 482 they would have to go overseas and apply for another 482 visa and this could possibly be questioned as to whether the applicant had a genuine intention to return.

But the government has seen the light and it is possible to apply for a third 482 for short stream visa holders.

This amendment allows 482 holders to apply for a third SC 482 visa onshore where they:

  • Were in Australia as the holder of a SC 482 visa in the Short-term stream for periods that total at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021; and
  • Make that further application before 1 July 2023.

The immigration department is going all techy

From 6 April 2022, all ETA eligible passport holders  https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/electronic-travel-authority-601#Eligibility intending to visit Australia for a holiday or undertake business under subclass 601 visa must apply for their visa using the AustralianETA application form on the AustralianETA app.

Superannuation increase to 10.5% on 1 July 2022

Recently the government announced that the Australian Superannuation Guarantee will increase from 10% to 10.5% on 1 July 2022.

The change will affect those sponsored workers whose employment contracts state a gross salary figure inclusive of superannuation contributions.

All sponsors are advised to please ensure that the superannuation increase does not result in a decrease of your sponsored worker’s annual earnings (base salary + non-monetary earnings).

We suggest that you confirm all salaries of your visa holders to ensure that you are paying the correct amount of superannuation post 1 July.  A decrease in annual earnings would constitute a breach of your sponsorship obligations.

Subclass 408 (Pandemic Stream)

Temporary visa holders with work rights will be able to access the COVID-19 Pandemic Event (Subclass 408) visa incurring no Visa Application Charge for a period of 6 or 12 months if they work in any sector of the Australian economy.

Presently, the COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa is available with no Visa Application Charge for 12 months for any person working in, or with an offer to work in agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, child care, and tourism and hospitality.

But it looks like this visa subclass is slowly coming to an end.

The new arrangements will only be available for Pandemic Event visa applications made on or after 21 February 2022 by:

  • Temporary visa holders who were in Australia prior to 21 February 2022; as well as
  • Temporary visa holders who arrive in Australia after 21 February 2022 and have work rights or a job offer from a Commonwealth funded aged care service at time of application.

Temporary visa holders working in, or intending to work in, any sector of the Australian economy including Commonwealth funded aged care will be able to apply for the Pandemic Event visa up to 90 days before their existing visa expires and then remain in Australia for up to 12 additional months if working or intending to work in a key sector (including agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, child care, and tourism and hospitality) or 6 months if working or intending to work in  any other sector.

Working Holiday visas – 2nd and 3rd visas

Holders of SC 417 and SC 462 visas are required to undertake specified work in specified areas of Australia to be eligible for second and third WHM visas.

As of 1 July 2022, these amendments:

  • Add flood recovery work and areas for this work as specified work for these visas
  • Update bushfire recovery work details to include voluntary work
  • Update the areas in which tourism and hospitality work must be carried out.

Flood recovery work

Paid or unpaid work carried out after 31 December 2021 in specified flood affected areas in NSW and Queensland will be eligible specified work for SC 417 and SC 462. This work can include:

  • Construction or any other work in association with restitution or restoration of services, land, waterways, property or infrastructure
  • Providing support services or assistance to people living, working or volunteering in the affected areas.

Bushfire recovery work

Work undertaken on a paid or voluntary basis after 31 July 2019 in specified bushfire affected areas will be eligible specified work for SC 417 and SC 462 visas.

Tourism and Hospitality

Four new postcodes, Queensland 4406, 4416, 4498 and Tasmania 7215, have been added to the specified areas where tourism and hospitality work can be undertaken for SC 417 and SC 462 purposes.

What does the next 12 months look like for the Australian Visa Program?

The information below shows that the visa numbers overall will increase from 79,600 to 109,900 but interestingly the number for those applying for the global talent visa has been reduced dramatically.  The global talent visa was initially hailed by the government as an incentive to attract top global talent with the possibility to apply for residence.  Does a reduction in numbers mean the criteria will get tighter?

Regional places have doubled which affirms the continuation of the government push to attract migrants away from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.  Skilled visas under the residence category of the independent subclass has also doubled and employer sponsored permanent residence will be increased by 8,000 places.

Skilled Stream Planning levels

Visa stream2022-23      2021-202220
Employer sponsored30,000          22,00022,000
Skilled Independent16,652          6,5006,500
State and Territory Nominated20,000           11,20011,200
Regional visas25,000          11,20011,200
Business and Innovation and Investment9,500             13,50013,500
Global Talent8,488             15,00015,000
Distinguished Talent300                 200200
Total109,900      79,60079,600

 

 

If you are looking at sending staff to Australia, want to clarify the information in this article, or for any other queries, contact Amanda Tinner, Principal, Visa Executive.

This article was originally published on www.visaexecutive.com.

By |2022-06-10T00:17:49+10:00June 9th, 2022|Australian immigration, Immigration|0 Comments

About the Author:

Amanda Tinner
Amanda Tinner, Visa Executive Pty Ltd, Fellow of the MIA, MARN 0325139

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