Get Ready for 1 July Immigration Changes
By Mark Webster
Thursday, 22 May 2014
1. Skilled Occupations ListEvery 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 PlansState 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 VisasThe 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 FeesDepartment 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 VisasWe 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:
|English Waiver Salary||$96,400||$101,100|