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With the beginning of the new financial year, immigration department and some state governaments introduced several changes in the immigration related legislation or state migration programs. Following is the summary of the most important changes which already came to effect or will be implemented in the coming months.

Changes to working holiday maker visas

Age limit for French applicants for working holiday visa was increased to 35 years. Greece and Ecuador has been added to the working holiday program and several countries such as Spain, Israel, Peru, Chile, Argentina or Portugal have now increased number of places avaialble for visa applicants. Working Holiday Makers who have completed at least six months specified regional employment in their second year may be eligible for a third year visa. The 6 months of work must all be carried out on or after 1 July 2019, with applications able to be lodged from January 2020.

State Nomination updates

SA, ACT and several NSW regions introduced new occupation lists and requirements for their state nomination programs from early July 2019. SA expanded their list of available occupations for applicants residing offshore or in South Australia and they are offering a pathway for international students residing in SA for more than 7 years. ACT reduced the minimum residence eligibliy requirement for student visa holders from 12 to 3 months and will be awarding more points on the matrix to long term residents or for long term studies in ACT. QLD and NSW has not opened their 2019 nomination programs yet.

New Regional visas

Skilled Work Regional visa (sc 491) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (sc 494) are coming to effect on 16 November 2019. Transitional arangements were announced including confirmation of the last day on which the EOIs and state nomination applications for the current subclass 489 visa can be submitted which will be 10 September 2019. From November, the regional Australia will encompass all of Australia except Sydney, Melborune, Perth, Brisbane and Gold Coast. Applicants for new regional visas will have access to more occupation than the equivalent non-regional visas and access to more points for regional nomination/sponsorship. Both visas will require visa holders to live and work in the regional area for 3 years to be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

DAMAs

The Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA) allow employers from particular regions to sponsor people who are not necessarily on the Australian occupations list. Migrants can apply for temporary visas which could potentially lead to permanent residency. Some Occupations under a DAMA agreements have concessions or exemptions such as lower English score, no requirement for a skills assessment or work experience. The following regions are eligible for DAMA: Far North Queensland, Goldfields, Norther Territory, Orana, Pilbara, Warnambool and South Australia.

Visa fee increase

Most of the visa applciation fees increased from 01 July by 5,4 % (or more). For example student visa application fee is now $620, General Skilled Migration visa fee was raised to $4,045 and Partner visa application fee was increased to $7,715.

In this new financial year it is expected to see greater push for people to move to regional areas of Australia. In addition to that, prioritising visas that require employer spnsorship will ensure Australian business will be able to access skills they need. Several regions are sponsoring students graduating from schools in the area, thus it may be useful to explore areas which have greater need for skilled workers.

Are you interested to know how these changes can impact your particular situation? Our Registered Migration agent can assess your individual case and explain your visa options. Do not hesitate and book your consultation today.