Australian Visas From 99 To Just 10

Background to the Changes

The Australian government's recent immigration consultation document deserves careful consideration, and here we outline the key aims and analyse the "politic speak" it was written in, to translate the message and show what it means for people who want to emigrate to Australia.

First, though, it is important to provide some context regarding the changes that have occurred in the past year.

Australia has removed over 200 skills from the shortage occupation list and abolished the popular 457 visas, which 95,000 people a year used to enter Australia and eventually settle.

The 457 has been replaced with the TSS Visa, which more often than not will NEVER lead to residency, and is only renewable for 24 months at a time and only so long as the holder remains employed.

Being on a temporary visa like the TSS visa means that a migrant in Australia is relegated to being a second class resident. There are restrictions placed on purchasing property with financial penalties for those who do, limited access to Medicare, and a requirement in most cases to pay a contribution to educate your children.

Australia is a welcoming nation built by migrants -- mainly from the UK since 1947 -- however the Prime Minister's statement regarding immigration and the recent consultation document reveal a new trend towards a protectionist approach.

Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian PM, summed it up in his speech when he stated: "I want Australian jobs, for Australian Residents..."

The political drive towards more limited immigration could not be any clearer to those of us who have worked in this area for the past 25 years.

The Proposed Changes

The paper provides a general overview of those aspects of Australia’s visa system, which the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has been tasked with reviewing. 

Key areas for consideration include:

  • A proposed reduction in the number of visa classes from 99 at present, to approximately 10 visas;

This is simply a way of reducing the available visas which allow people to enter Australia. Yes, it will simplify the process of immigration control, but for this to work, it means scores of visa classes will be eliminated. The visas in most immediate danger will be family related visas and retirement visas.

  • A delineation between temporary entry and long-term or permanent residence;

Many people over the years have entered Australia on a Working Holiday, as a student or in another temporary capacity, only to apply for permanent residency once on shore. This will stop when these changes are introduced. Going forward, a person will not be allowed to simply switch to a permanent visa category visa, unless they have secured the necessary visa prior to entry. 

  • A period of provisional residence could enhance the integrity of the visa system and ease the burden on taxpayers

This provision would eliminate permanent residency on arrival - forcing people to live as temporary residents, often in rented accommodation and paying for their childrens' education, until such time as they become eligible for a permanent visa status.  Limits on social and medical services will mean a new migrant family will receive little or no support from Australia if they need it during a vulnerable time while they are working to become established in their community. 

  • Ensuring that our visa system supports Australia as a competitive and attractive destination for temporary and longer-term entrants.

We are still trying to reconcile this aim with the preceding points. It seems meaningless, and merely in keeping with the type of thing politicians say to pacify those in the audience who are genuinely concerned about the direction of travel.

We can only urge our clients to file their case and secure their visa prior to these changes take effect.

The Australian Government never give prior notice of immigration changes, to avoid a proverbial "run at the gate" but they could not have made their intentions more clear.

We have already seen important changes, and it now seems only a matter of time before Australia firms up their borders to make emigration an impossible option for most.

If you have already started your case you should not be affected by these changes, and we will keep our clients notified of any changes that may affect their case in due course. 

However, for those who have not decided, these proposals strongly suggest that now may be your last best chance to go.

Watch A TV Advert On Australian Emigration From The UK In The 1950's...

Reducing Australian Visas
Australian Migration Regulations 1994 and 2014 amendments

Name: Australian Immigration Culls Visas

Description: Australia has reached a point in their history where they are overwhelmed with immigration applications from people across the globe who want to move to Australia. Long gone are the £10 POM schemes or a shortage of potential workers. Our recommendation is, if you are able to emigrate and you want to make Australia your new home apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

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