Next round of immigration changes to take place in Australia

The second round of changes to Australia’s employment-based immigration, permanent residence and citizenship rules are to take effect on 1 July 2017 as the country begins an immigration overhaul.

Next round of immigration changes to take place in Australia
The next round of Australia’s scheduled changes to its employment-based immigration, permanent residence, and citizenship rules is set to take effect July 1.The changes stem from a series of shocking announcements from President Malcolm Turnbull’s administration: the April 19 declaration of a major immigration overhaul, followed by the 2017-2018 federal budget announcement and additional administrative revisions released in May.

Details surrounding the changes

The first round of changes took effect immediately in April; this second round is scheduled for July 1, followed by third and fourth rounds – including replacement of the controversial Subclass 457 Visa Stream – still to come in December 2017 and March 2018. More details of all the changes, can be found here and here, and in Pro-Link Global’s latest Webinar Prepare Your Program: Australia’s 457 Changes Examined here.

The more significant of these second-round changes applicable to companies, their foreign employees, and business travelers include:

  • Police Clearance Certificates (PCCs) required for 457 Visa applicants – Applicants for Subclass 457 Visas and their accompanying family members will no longer be exempt from police clearance requirements and must now provide PCCs from each country where they have resided. This requirement applies to applications filed after July 1 and applications already submitted but not adjudicated by July 1
  • English language requirement for high-earning 457 Visa applicants – Applicants for 457 Visas earning over AUD $96,400 will no longer be exempt from English language proficiency standards. Instead high-earning applicants will be required to meet the same English language requirements as other 457 Visa applicants
  • Stricter English language requirement for permanent visa applicants – Applicants for all permanent employer-sponsored skilled visa streams will be subject to a higher language standard: an International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or equivalent exam, score of a 6 in each component
  • Potential changes in occupations lists – The new narrower Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL), which replaced the previous Skilled Occupation and Consolidated Sponsored Occupation (OCSO) list in April, will be further reviewed and potential changes made
  • Increased Visa Application Charges (VACs) – Many VACs will undergo significant increases on July 1. A full schedule of the new fees can be found here.
  • Lower maximum age for Skilled-Independent and Direct Entry streams – The maximum age ceiling for Subclass 189 (Skilled-Independent) visas and Subclass 186 (Direct Entry) visas will be set at 45 years of age at the time of application.
  • New permanent visa for New Zealanders – A new pathway to permanent residency will open to New Zealand citizens who resided in Australia prior to February 19, 2016. For more details, see here
  • Passenger cards no longer required – Travelers will no longer be required to complete outgoing passenger cards when exiting Australia.
  • APEC Business Travel Cards available online – Eligible Australian citizen business travelers can now obtain their APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTCs) online. Details are available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website here.
Note that some of the above changes are spelled-out in detail, whereas others are scheduled but await further government action or announcement. When in doubt, reach out to your Immigration Specialist with any questions.This immigration update was produced by Pro-Link GLOBAL, the global immigration and visa services company.For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre