Top 5 Major Changes to Australian Immigration

As we all have seen and experienced, Australian immigration law changes all the time and often, without prior warning. Among all the changes that were implemented in 2018, we cannot agree more that the major ones occurred in March 2018.

Let’s have a look at the top 5 major changes to Australian Migration Programs, including, changes we anticipate will come into effect in 2019 as well as, the ones that had just been implemented.

1.    New Partner Visa Law

As you may be aware, the ‘Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016’ passed in the Senate on 28 November 2018 and is awaiting royal assent to become law.

Although the final version of the bill is not yet available, we know for sure that if this new law comes into effect, it will require the Partner sponsor application to be approved before the visa applicant can lodge their Partner visa application.

How will the new Partner Visa law affect you?

Although we do not know when exactly the law will come into effect it is clear that the following will occur when the new Partner visa law does come into effect.

  • If you are holding a valid Australian visa and your visa is expiring, you will not be able to lodge a valid Partner visa application until your Sponsor’s application is approved. We do not know how long the processing time will be – it could be from days to weeks to months
  • If you cannot lodge a valid Partner visa application, you will not get a bridging visa to remain in Australia. This will mean that you will have to leave Australia until the Partner visa sponsor application is approved. If you are from a low-risk country (e.g. the UK or the USA) and can easily obtain an ETA to come back to Australia to lodge the onshore Partner visa then it is not too bad. However, if you are from a high-risk country (e.g. Thailand or Brazil) it is much harder to obtain a Visitor visa to Australia. If you cannot obtain a Visitor visa you will need to apply for an offshore Partner visa and wait offshore until the Partner visa is granted
  • There will be a mandatory refusal to the sponsorship application if your Sponsor has had a significant criminal record or have been convicted of relevant offenses.
  • This new changes will expose all Sponsors to cancellation and barring of sponsoring their Partners in the future
  • The Department is authorized to release personal information to agencies in your home country and agencies in Australia, eg. Tax Office, Centrelink, National Disabilities Scheme, etc.

2.    Changes to the Working Holiday Visa Program

The Department announced the changes to the working holiday visa program on 5 November 2018.

The purpose of the change is to give Australian farmers immediate access to workers in major regional areas of Australia.

Working holiday visa holders including subclass 417 and subclass 462 are also given the option to apply for a third-year visa. Applicants may be eligible for this if, after 1 July 2019, they complete 6 months of specified work in a specific regional area during their second year.

Read our article on the Changes to the Australian Working Holiday Visa Program to find out more.

3.    New Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa

The ‘Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016’ passed in the Senate on 28 November 2018. Among others, this bill includes the new temporary sponsored parent visa which will allow parents and grandparents to reunite with their families in Australia.

The new visa will allow parents and grandparents to continuously visit their families in Australia for a period of up to five years.

According to the Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, applications for the Temporary Sponsored Parent visa will open in the first half of 2019.

4.    New Entrepreneur Visa in South Australia  

The proposed new Business visa in South Australia will enable the State Governments to partner with business incubators to attract foreign entrepreneurs to Australia. It is said that this will be piloted in South Australia before a national rollout in 2019.

According to the release made by Minister of Home Affairs, under this initiative, foreign entrepreneurs and investors with an innovative idea and a supporting business plan will be able to apply for a temporary business visa to take forward their venture in Australia.

The new business visa in South Australia aims to:

  • Create more job opportunities
  • Foster business growth and investment
  • Attract the investment that will reinvigorate the South Australian economy
  • Increase the standard of living in South Australia

According to Immigration South AustraliaEntrepreneurs who are successful in establishing their business venture in Australia will become eligible to apply for Permanent Residence.

5.    Department Partnering with the ATO

By partnering with the department, the ATO is able to track whether an employer-sponsored visa holder is being paid correctly based on their nominated salary, whether they are paying the right amount of tax and whether they are receiving the correct amount of superannuation.

This change targets subclass 457/482 visa holders for the 2018 – 2020 income years ensuring both the employee and the employer are complying with visa obligations.

How Can Crux Migration Help

Crux Migration can help guide you through the entire visa application process and help you prepare all documents involved, ensuring that documents meet requirements before we lodge your application. We can represent you from start and until a decision is made on your application.

You can book a consultation with us so that our Immigration Lawyer can assess your eligibility and tailor your visa application in accordance with your circumstances.


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required