On November 18, 2016, several changes were made to
Australia's immigration system, namely:
An overhaul of the temporary
activity visa framework: Australia's temporary
activity visa framework has been modified to simplify the
application process. The changes include the creation of a new
consolidated sponsor class, the removal of some sponsorship and
nomination application requirements, the consolidation of many visa
subclasses, and the ability to lodge applications online.
Reducing the timeline for
stay in the country for subclass 457 visa holders who have
terminated their employment with sponsoring employer: The
amount of time subclass 457 visa holders have after ceasing work
with their sponsoring employer before they must make
arrangements to leave the country or apply to remain in
Australia has been reduced from 90 to 60 days.
Limiting the number of people
who can qualify as a 'member of the family unit' to obtain
dependent visas: The meaning of 'member of the family
unit' has changed such that children and stepchildren over the
age of 23 and family members outside of the nuclear family will not
be granted a visa as a dependent visa applicant.
Introducing requirement for
sponsors of certain family visas to complete a character
assessment: Sponsors of Partner and Prospective Marriage
visa applicants who have lodged a visa application on or after 18
November, will be required to provide appropriate police clearances
to the Department of Immigration & Border Protection
('DIBP') when requested and consent to the DIBP disclosing
any convictions for certain offences to the visa
Development of a frequent
traveller stream for certain nationalities: A
new visitor visa stream has been created to allow
tourists and business visitors to obtain visas valid for up to 10
years. Such visas will allow holders to make multiple entries
into Australia with a stay of up to three months upon each entry.
The visitor must not stay in Australia for more than 12 months in
any 24-month period. The new visitor visa stream will attract an
application fee of AUD 1,000. The stream will be available to
certain nationalities, as specified in an instrument to be issued
by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, but for now
is only available to Chinese nationals.
New checks to ensure visa
holders' information is correct and up to date:
Certain visa holders will now be required to complete and pass a
revalidation check to make sure their information is up to
date, that they still meet the criteria of their visas and that
they do not pose a threat to Australia.
Change that allows Work and
Holiday visa holders to apply for new Work and Holiday visas in
certain circumstances: Work and Holiday (subclass 462)
visa holders who have undertaken specified subclass 462
work after 18 November for at least three months (88 days) in
the tourism or agriculture industries in northern Australia may be
eligible to apply for and obtain a second Work and Holiday
Further to the above, under a new framework which came into
effect on November 19, 2016, the following temporary visas are
amended or created to replace existing visas:
Subclass 400 Short Stay Specialist visa has minor
Subclass 400 Short Stay Specialist visa has minor
visa application fee increased to
period within which the applicant
will be allowed to travel to Australia may be limited, but up to a
maximum of 6 months.
New Subclass 407 Training visa requirements reflect concerns
that this visa program has been misused:
new non-discretionary minimum English
new genuineness test;
training must be provided by the
sponsor, removing the flexibility for a third party to provide
training (with some exceptions).
New Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa for entertainers,
researchers and staff exchange among other activities simplifies
the process by:
collapsing several visa
requirement for a 'support
test' in lieu of sponsorship for visas for up to three months
where the visa applicant is outside Australia;
elimination of the nomination
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Recent amendments to the Migration Act and regulations, along with the imminent commencement of the new federal safety net under the Fair Work Act, highlight a number of issues for consideration by employers in documenting terms and conditions of employment for foreign nationals engaged to work in Australia under Subclass 457- Business (Long Stay) visas.
If you employ 457 visa holders in your business, you should ensure that you are meeting your sponsorship requirements.
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