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Australian Immigration Update

Australian Visa Immigration News Update

1 July 2023 – A summary of key changes


1. Increased Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)

Recognising the need to support Australia’s skilled migration system has been a focal point in the latest Australian Visa Immigration news update. The Albanese Government will raise the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) from $53,900 to $70,000, effective from 1 July 2023. This adjustment ensures that the income threshold is in line with the current job market, as the previous threshold had remained unchanged since 2013. The government’s decision comes as a response to the independent Review of the Migration System, which highlighted the need for improvements in Australia’s migration system. We previously took a deep dive into what this looks like from an operational perspective and how applicants will be affected.

2. UKFTA: Exemption from Labour Market Testing

The United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (UKFTA), which came into effect on 31 May 2023, brings an exciting development for UK passport holders applying for the Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage visa. As a groundbreaking decision, the UKFTA completely removes the Labour Market Test (LMT) requirement for UK nationals. This change aims to foster international trade and strengthen diplomatic ties between Australia and the United Kingdom.

3. UKFTA: NEW Working Holiday visa arrangements for UK passport holders

Starting from July 1, 2023, the eligible age for UK applicants will increase from 30 to 35 years. This allows UK passport holders to apply for a Working Holiday visa until the day before their 36th birthday. Starting from July 1, 2024, UK passport holders will no longer need to meet the ‘specified work’ requirement when applying for a second or third WHV. The maximum stay of three years in Australia remains the same.

Furthermore, from July 1, 2024, they can be granted up to three separate visas without meeting specified work requirements.

4. Visa Application Fee Increase

The Department of Home Affairs has implemented an increase in Visa Application Charges (VACs) ranging from 6% to 40% across various visa subclasses. According to the Department, these adjustments reflect the ongoing costs associated with processing visa applications and maintaining a high standard of immigration services.

A few notable increases below:

Australian Immigration Update - 1 July 2023 - Fee Increase

5. Return to Normal Work Limitations for Working Holiday Visa Holders

After the temporary relaxation of the 6-month work limitation for Working Holiday Makers (WHMs), the condition will revert to its original state from 1 July 2023. WHMs will once again be subject to a 6-month limitation when working with any one employer. However, any work carried out before this date will not count toward the 6-month period. WHMs now have the opportunity to work for any employer for an additional 6 months, even if they have worked for the same employer before 1 July 2023.

6. Reintroduction of Work Restrictions for Student Visa Holders

To align with the evolving circumstances, work restrictions for student visa holders will be reintroduced from 1 July 2023. During the pandemic, work restrictions were temporarily relaxed and subsequently removed in January 2022 to address workforce shortages. However, starting 1 July 2023, all student visa holders will have their work hours capped at 48 hours per fortnight.

Notably, student visa holders already working in the aged care sector on 9 May 2023 will be permitted to continue working unrestricted hours until 31 December 2023.

7. Extended Post-Study Work Rights for 485 Visa Holders

The Department of Home Affairs has introduced extended post-study work rights for certain Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) Visa Holders. This legislative instrument guarantees additional post-study work rights for international higher education graduates with eligible qualifications. The selected fields include medicine, healthcare, engineering, and information technology.

Starting from 1 July 2023, eligible graduates will enjoy longer post-study work rights:

Bachelor’s degree holders: from two years to four years
Master’s degree holders: from three years to five years
Doctoral qualification holders: from four years to six years

Additionally, Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders will be eligible for a five-year Post-Study Work Subclass 485 visa. It’s important to note that current 485 visa holders must apply for the extension after 1 July 2023 and this will not be an automatic extension.

8. Direct pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens

Lastly, a new (direct) pathway to Australian citizenship for our mates from across the ditch! From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for at least four years will be able to apply directly for citizenship without needing to first apply for a permanent visa.

We previously posted an in-depth update regarding this change – Full article HERE

GET IN TOUCH with our team if you have any questions regarding these updates