Get Ready for 1 July Immigration Changes

webster By Mark Webster
Thursday, 22 May 2014

Every year on 1 July, important Immigration changes occur which can affect people applying for various visas. This year is no exception.

Often, this means that people need to lodge their visa applications prior to 1 July to avoid changes which will affect their eligibility.

This article discusses the main changes expected to come in on 1 July and how they are likely to affect you.

1. Skilled Occupations List

Every year, the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) is reviewed by AWPA - the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency.

You need to pass skills assessment in an SOL occupation if you want to apply for a Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa, or a 485 visa in the Graduate Work Stream.

If the list changes, it will affect all applications lodge on or after 1 July 2014. It won't affect applications lodged before this date.

There is some concern that accounting occupations might be removed from the SOL from 1 July. It's also possible that other occupations might be removed.

If you think your occupation may be removed from the SOL, we would recommend that you lodge prior to 1 July if at all possible.

2. State Nomination Under State Migration Plans

State and Territory Governments can sponsor applicants for Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 visas and Skilled Regional Sponsored Subclass 489 visas.

Several states and territories have already reached their quota for state nominations - for instance NSW and ACT. Other states have reached their quota for specific occupations (eg South Australia).

New State Migration Plans will come into effect from July 2014. This will mean that more places will become available - how long they will be available will depend on how many people apply.

Applicants would be wise to lodge as soon as possible after the programs reopen to avoid missing out.

To apply for state nomination, you would generally need to have a completed skills assessment and your English testing results (IELTS or OET). If you don't have these arranged already, it would be a good idea to get started on these as there can be delays, particularly in skills assessment.

3. Closure of Other Family Visas

The Department of Immigration has announced that other family visas will be closed to new applications in the near future.

Visas affected include the following subclasses:

  • Remaining Relative: where all of a person's close family are living lawfully and permanently in Australia
  • Aged Dependent Relative: for older relatives being supported by an Australian permanent resident or citizen
  • Carer Visas: where are relative needs to be in Australia to look after a sick or disabled person who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Whilst we do not yet know when the programs will be changed, it is very likely that this will be before 1 July.

We would recommend that anyone interested in the types of visa listed above apply without delay.

4. Increased Fees

Department of Immigration application fees increase every year on 1 July. The increase in fees can be 5% or more.

Applications lodged before 1 July will not be affected by the fee increases, so we'd recommend that you apply before this date if possible.

5. Increased Salary Levels for Employer Sponsored Visas

We also expect that salary levels for employer sponsored subclass 457 visas will increase from 1 July 2014.

Last year, the increase was approximately 5%. Based on the same increase occurring again this year, the likely levels would be as follows:

Current Expected
TSMIT $53,900 $56,500
English Waiver Salary $96,400 $101,100

Unlike the other changes on this page, the salary levels are required as of the time of decision rather than time of application. Any 457s which have been lodged but not decided by 1 July will require the higher salary level.

6. New Occupational Ceilings

Occupational Ceilings apply to General Skilled Migration applications lodged through SkillSelect.

In the current year, EOI invitations for Engineers and IT professionals were limited because the occupational ceiling was almost met within the first 3 months of the program year.

New occupational ceilings will be set from 1 July meaning more places will become available.

If you are in engineering or Information Technology, you would be best to ensure your EOI is lodged as soon as possible so that you are eligible for invitation as soon as the new occupational ceilings are announced.

Conclusion

When applying for immigration to Australia, it is always best to plan ahead to avoid delays or disappointment.

Please book an appointment with one of our consultants to get advice on how you can get ready for the 1 July changes.

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