Australian Immigration Changes from 1 July 2014
There are some key changes to Australia’s Immigration Law coming into effect from 1 July 2014 which applicants should be aware of.
Maximum Validity of Skills Assessments to be Three (3) Years
From 1 July, Skills Assessments will be valid for a maximum of three years for the following visa types:
- Skilled Independent Subclass 189
- Skilled Nominated Subclass 190
- Skilled Regional Sponsored Subclass 489
- Graduate Temporary Subclass 485
- Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 (Direct Entry Stream)
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Subclass 186 (Direct Entry Stream)
However, if the skills assessment specifies that it expires sooner than three years, the shorter validity period would apply.
The following two examples illustrate how this will work from 1 July 2014:
A) Emma has an ACS skills assessment which has expiry date of 1 September 2014. She will not be able to use the skills assessment after 1 September 2014 as this is the expiry date given on the skills assessment
B) Oliver has an ICAA skills assessment which was issued on 5 November 2011 and has an expiry date of 5 November 2016 (a period of 5 years). He will not be able to use it to apply for a visa after 5 November 2014 as skills assessments are valid for a maximum of three years.
If you lodge prior to 1 July, there is no expiry date for skills assessments. The change affects all applications lodged on or after 1 July 2014.
Good News for Commercial Cookery Students & Chefs
With the addition of chefs to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), this opens a new pathway for commercial cookery students in Australia. Students would now be able to apply for a Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visa in the Graduate Work Stream.
In order to qualify you would need to:
- Complete a Certificate IV or higher in a relevant field (ie commercial cookery) and
- Have at least 360 hours of relevant work experience – generally this would be a placement forming part of the Certificate IV; and
- Score a minimum of 6 in each of the four components of IELTS; and
- Complete your qualifications in Australia over two academic years.
The 485 visa is an 18 month visa with full work rights. The best way for international students to then qualify for permanent residence is to find a job in a regional area and apply for a permanent RSMS visa.
Qualified chefs can now apply directly for a Skilled Independent 189 visa – to qualify for skills assessment as a chef for the purpose of the 189 visa, you must have at least three years of work experience in addition to the basic requirements to pass assessment as a chef.
Occupations Added to SOL and CSOL
As mentioned in my previous e-mail the following occupations will be added to the SOL from 1 July:
- Wall & Floor Tiler
This means that applicants in these occupations can apply for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visas, and also 485 visas in the graduate work stream.
Occupations have also been added to the CSOL which applications to employer sponsored visas (457, ENS, Occupational Trainee) as well as state nominated skilled visas (190 and 489):
- Exercise Physiologist
The good news is that NO occupations have been removed from either list.
Visa Evidence Charge Doubles
If you wish to have a visa label placed in your passport the charge to do this will double from 1 July, increasing from $70 to $150.
A visa label is generally not required these days because Immigration can verify your status electronically.
There is still no announcement as yet, it is quite likely that application fees for most visa types will also rise by approximately 4-5% from 1 July 2014.
Students Must Declare Dependent Family Members
The requirements to have family members join you in Australia on dependent student visas have been clarified.
You do not need to include all your family members (ie spouse and children) in your initial application. However, if you would like them to join you in Australia after your student visa is granted, you must have declared them in your initial student visa. Note that this does not apply to people who became family members after you lodged your initial student visa – for example if you get married or have a child after you apply.