A number of legislative changes to Australian Immigration policy have recently been announced by the Department of Immigration, set to be introduced from 1 July 2014.
Among them include the additions of Chefs, Bricklayers and Wall Tilers to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), as was reported in our last newsletter.
Some of the other most important changes have been collated and explained below:
1. Skill Assessments Validity to be Capped at 3 Years
The Department has announced that all Skill Assessments will be valid for a maximum of 3 years, regardless of what is listed by the skills assessing authority.
The following visa types are set to be affected by the changes:
- 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 187 – Direct Entry Stream)
In the case of the 189, 190 and 489 visas, the assessment must still be valid at the time of invitation in order to for it to be eligible for use. In the case of the 485, 186 and 187 visas, the assessment must be valid at the time of lodgement.
If the validity period designated by the skills authority is for less than the 3-year maximum, this shorter period will apply.
Any applications lodged before 1 July 2014 will not be subject to the changes. Therefore, anyone looking to lodge one of the aforementioned visa subclasses is encouraged to do so prior to this date.
2.Visa Evidence Charge to Double
A second change announced has been the increase of the Visa Evidence Charge (VEC), which will rise from $70.00 to $150.00.
The VEC is payable for anyone who wants to have a visa label added to their passport as evidence of their visa grant.
However with online verification now widely accepted by immigration officials, the increase comes as an attempt to encourage the use of these electronic services.
3.Students required to list all dependents
The Department has clarified that a student visa applicant must declare ALL family members in their application, prior to the grant of their student visa.
Currently, applicants are not required to include their family members in their initial application. However in order for them to be eligible to join the Student as a dependent at a later stage, the family members detail must have been declared in the initial application.
This does not apply for anyone that becomes a family member after the grant of the initial student visa application (i.e. anyone that comes into the family through either birth or marriage).
Anyone that is concerned or wishes to further discuss these changes is encouraged to contact Migration Solutions for more information.