Immigration Law Changes – Important Changes from 1 July 2017 – A Snap shot

Posted on Jun 27, 2017 by Rebecca McKenzie   |   Categories: Immigration Law

From 1 July 2017, many important legislative changes in the immigration law arena will come in to effect, including in relation to Skilled visas.  These changes are likely to make it more difficult for applicants to qualify for General Skilled Migration visas in Australia, which in turn may shift some focus onto other avenues for state nominated or employer sponsored visas.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has stated in their publications that:

“These measures will sharpen the focus of Australia’s skilled migration programmes to ensure they better meet Australia’s skills needs, increase the quality and economic contribution of skilled migrants and address public concerns about the displacement of Australian workers.”

Several notifications have issued from the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA), which are summarised below:-


Visa Application Charges – increase for all visas  

  • All current VACs will be indexed annually in line with the forecast Consumer Price Index and rounded to the nearest $5
  • Indexation applies only to the 1st instalment component of the VAC, for both primary and secondary applicants
  • Indexation does not apply to 2nd instalment VACs


Skilled Migration Visas

Subclass 189 – maximum age lowered  

  • Lowers the upper age limit at invitation for Subclass 189 Skilled Independent, Points Tested stream applicants to 45 years old


189 NZ visa stream    

  • Creates a new permanent visa stream for specified New Zealand citizens who meet the regulatory requirements, to be granted Australian permanent residency
  • 45 year old age limit does not apply to NZ stream applicants
  • Plus changes in relation to Income Threshold and Exemptions


Employer Nominated and Regional Sponsored Migration Schemes  

  • Occupations lists: The STSOL will be further reviewed based on advice from the Department of Employment.
  • The MLTSSL will be revised based on outcomes from the Department of Education and Training’s 2017-18 SOL review
  • English language requirements: All applicants require Competent English score of IELTS  score of 6 (or equivalent) in each component for both Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry
  • Age: A maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application will apply to Direct Entry stream applicants. A maximum age requirement of 50 at the time of application will continue to apply to Temporary Residence Transition stream applicants


Subclass 457 changes  

  • Expanding mandatory skills assessment
  • Introducing mandatory penal clearance checks
  • Tightening existing training benchmarks
  • Removing English language exemption based on a skilled migrant’s salary
  • The STSOL will be further reviewed based on advice from the Department of Employment
  • The MLTSSL will be revised based on outcomes from the Department of Education and Training’s 2017-18 SOL review
  • 457 online application system moving from eVISA to ePLUS system from 1 July – any ‘saved’ partially completed 457 applications in eVisa will be lost when the new ePLUS forms are turned on


Other temporary visas

Working Holiday Maker- VAC increase   

  • Visa application charge will be raised to $440


Online Visitor visa lodgement for Indian nationals

  • All Indian passport holders will have the option to lodge Visitor visa applications online from 1 July 2017


AAT Migration and Refugee Division

  • The fee will increase to $1,731 for all new applications for a review of a migration or refugee decision by the Migration and Refugee Division where a fee is payable
  • The fee payable after an unfavourable review decision is made by the Migration & Refugee Division in relation to a protection visa will also be $1,731
  • In cases where a 50% fee reduction is granted the reduced fee will be $865.50


Other changes in relation to online Protection visa lodgement, payment of visa application charges and fees in foreign currencies and changes to the APEC Business Travel Card will also be introduced.