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Some of the changes to the Australian visa program have been confirmed while others are still up in the air.
Replacement of the 457 with the Temporary Skill Shortage visa
One of the changes confirmed for March is the replacement of the 457 visa with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.
The TSS visa is divided in two; the short-term stream, allowing stays of up to two years (with the option to renew once), and the medium-term stream allowing stays of up to four years. The medium-term stream has a pathway to permanent residency, while the short-term stream doesn’t.
Both streams will see tighter regulations, mainly work experience requirements and a higher level of English.
Some occupations have been removed and others added from the Skilled Occupations List.
More information about the replacement of the 457 with the TSS visa here.
The government would like to implement a two-step process where the sponsor needs to be approved before the partner lodges an application.
Nilesh Nandan, special counsel with My Visa Australia, a national immigration practice, is worried that this might cause some problems.
"It's going to delay the ability for somebody to lodge a valid application because it needs to overcome that first threshold of getting a sponsor approved to be able to sponsor.”
But he says that an assessment of the sponsor could also be good news for the partner, who would be made fully aware of the past criminal conduct of the sponsor.
Keep up to date with changes to the partner visa here.
Temporary parent sponsored visa
Last year, the government also announced a new temporary sponsored parent visa, but the bill enabling it still needs to be approved by the Senate.
The visa holders would be allowed to stay for up to 10 years, but would not be allowed to reapply beyond that time and would have no pathway to permanent residency.
The three-year-visa would cost $5000, the five-year-visa $10,000 and the 10-year-visa $20,000.
Keep up to date with the new parent visa here.
The government is also expected to bring back an amended version of its citizenship bill, which would toughen the conditions to obtain citizenship.
Currently, people have to reside in Australia for at least four years and be a permanent resident for at least one year to be eligible to citizenship. With the proposed changes, people would have to be a permanent resident for at least four years to be eligible.
There would also be a new English test.
Keep up to date with changes with citizenship requirements here.
More visa cancellations and deportations
Nilesh Nandan believes that we’ll see more visa cancellations and deportations for criminals convicted of serious offenses. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is in favour of the visa crackdown proposed last year by a Liberal-led parliamentary committee.
Keep an eye on the Department of Home Affairs’ website to be aware of any changes related to visa.
You can find a more detailed article about the expected visa changes here.
And more about the changes to the Skilled Occupations List here.