Australia: Amendments to Migration Regulations Taking Effect July 1

Certain amendments to the Migration Regulations will take effect on July 1, 2017. New Zealand nationals who resided in Australia on or prior to February 19, 2016 will be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Australia under a new stream in the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa category. The age limit under the Points-Tested Stream of this visa category will be reduced from 50 to 45 years of age. The requirement to complete a Passenger Card when departing Australia will be removed.

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May 24, 2017
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Effective July 1, 2017, certain New Zealand nationals who resided in Australia on or prior to February 19, 2016 will be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Australia under a new stream in the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa category (New Zealand Stream). Eligibility Criteria for New Zealand Stream To be eligible for the New Zealand Stream of the Subclass 189 Visa category, New Zealand applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Presence in Australia on or prior to February 19, 2016 as a Special Category Visa holder;
  • Residence in Australia for at least five years immediately prior to visa application;
  • Income for the last five years that meets or exceeds the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, currently set at AUD 53,900 (limited exemptions apply); and
  • Meeting mandatory health, character and security checks.

There will be no age limit under this stream. Visa Application Charges Visa Application Charges (VAC) for the New Zealand Stream will be consistent with the Points-Tested Stream of the Subclass 189 Visa category.  However, concessional arrangements will apply to the New Zealand Stream to allow for the payment of the VAC in two instalments:

  • 20% of the VAC to be paid at the time of visa submission; and
  • The remaining balance to be paid prior to the visa grant.

Changes to Points-Tested Stream
Effective July 1, 2017, the age limit under the Points-Tested Stream of the Subclass 189 Visa category will be reduced from 50 to 45 years of age, consistent with the Direct Entry Stream of the Permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) Visa category also taking effect July 1, 2017.  Amendment to the age limit will not impact applicants who submit or receive an invitation to submit Subclass 189 Visa applications prior to July 1, 2017.

Passenger Departure Requirements
Effective July 1, 2017, the requirement to complete a Passenger Card when departing Australia will be removed.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
New Zealand nationals should benefit from the new permanent residence stream under the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa category.
Foreign nationals of 45 or more years of age will not be eligible for permanent residence under the Points-Tested Stream of the Subclass 189 Visa category after July 1, 2017.
Current visa regulations for employment in Australia will continue to apply until the proposed changes are officially implemented in Australian legislation.
Fragomen will continue to monitor the developments and will provide further updates as new information is released.

The content of this alert is provided for information purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen in Australia or send an email to fragomenclientcorrespondence@fragomen.com

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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