Australian Immigration Law Updates: Key Changes as of 1 July

From 1 July 2024, the Australian Government has implemented significant immigration changes affecting various visa programs and conditions. These updates will impact sponsor businesses, skilled migrant workers, and temporary visa holders.

1. Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)

The Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482), commonly referred to as the TSS or 482 visa, allows Australian employers to address labour shortages by sponsoring overseas skilled workers to fill positions that cannot be filled by the local workforce. 

The changes coming into effect for the 482 programme this year are as follows:

  • TSMIT Increase

Effective from 1 July 2024, the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) will increase from $70,000 to $73,150.  This change will affect new nominations lodged from 1 July 2024 onwards, but it won’t be applied retrospectively to nominations already approved or lodged prior to this date.  This change is aimed at ensuring migrant workers are not underpaid compared to local workers.

  • Enhancing Labour Market Mobility

Effective 1 July 2024, visa conditions 8107, 8607, and 8608 will allow 482 visa holders up to 180 days at a time (365 days total) to find a new sponsor, apply for a different visa, or arrange to depart Australia. They can work for other employers during this period.

  • Reduction in Work Experience Requirement

From 23 November 2024, the requirement will reduce from 2 years to 1 year, benefiting recent graduates and helping businesses address skills shortages more effectively.

2. Changes to the Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) for UK Passport Holders

From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders will no longer need to undertake “specified work” to obtain a second or third-year visa, providing greater flexibility for employers and a more responsive workforce.

3. Visa Pathways for International Students

From 1 July 2024, those holding visitor-type visas cannot apply for a Student Visa (Subclass 500) from inside Australia.  Individuals who hold a Visitor Visa (Subclass 600), Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601) or “ETA”, or eVisitor Visa (Subclass 651) and wish to apply for a Student Visa will need to do so from outside of Australia.

Similarly, those who already hold a Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) will no longer be able to apply for or “revert” back to a Student Visa from inside Australia.

4. Visa Changes for Graduates

The Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) will see the “Graduate Work” stream renamed “Post-Vocational Education Work” and the “Post-Study Work” stream renamed “Post-Higher Education Work”. The “Second Post-Study Work” stream will have a similar renaming, and the “Replacement” stream will be discontinued.

Eligibility will now be based only on the qualification used to meet the Australian study requirement. The maximum age limit will be reduced to 35 years, except for Hong Kong and British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders (under 50 years) and those who are using a Masters (research) or Doctoral Degree to meet the Australian study requirement (under 50 years).

Stay periods will change to up to 18 months for the Post-Vocational Education Work stream, and 2-5 years for the Post-Higher Education Work stream, depending on the degree level and nationality.

5. End of BIIP

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme (BIIP) will cease from July 2024, with refunds of the visa application charge provided from September 2024 for those who wish to withdraw their provisional BIIP application.

Those who hold the provisional 188 visa who are eligible for the permanent equivalent — 888 visa — may still continue on this pathway after July 2024.

6. A New “National Innovation Visa”

The Australian Government plans to introduce a new National Innovation Visa at the end of 2024 to attract exceptionally talented migrants to boost economic results for Australia.  The intention is for this to replace the Global Talent Visa and BIIP.

7. Increase in VACs

Effective 1 July 2024, changes to the migration regulations will increase visa application charges (VACs) as follows:

  • Annual Indexation: VACs will be adjusted annually in line with the forecast Consumer Price Index (CPI) and rounded to the nearest $5.
  • One-Off Increase for Student Visas: The base application charge for Student Visas will rise from $710 to $1,600.  Additional charges for accompanying applicants aged 18 and over will increase from $530 to $1,190.  Additional charges for accompanying applicants under 18 will increase from $175 to $390.

The VACs for the following visas will not be indexed as part of the increases: Pacific Engagement Visa (Subclass 192); and secondary applicants of the Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa (Subclass 403) in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) stream.

Immigration changes are ongoing. For assistance on how these updates might impact your business or employees, contact the Mullins Migration team.

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
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