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Australia: Get your visa application in order before it is too late

With new limits on the age of applicants, an ever shortening Skilled Occupations List, stricter assessments of the applicant’s qualifications and application fee increases, there is no time to waste applying for your Australian visa. Growing strictness and more red tape could see you miss your window of opportunity altogether.

Australia Might Be More Expensive But Still The Most Sought After For Expats

Changes to three of Australia’s visa application requirements came into effect on Saturday and will impact on the eligibility of certain applicants’ chances of being successful in their visa application process.

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New application requirements are applicable to the Working Holiday, General Skilled Migration Group Visas and Employer Sponsored visas – the latter of which is most popular with South African migrants to Australia.

General Skilled Migration

Australia is looking for young professionals. If you are in your thirties and thinking of immigrating, you should waste no more time getting your paperwork in order as the maximum age for this visa is now 45 years old.

Considering it could take as long as two years for your visa to be granted, you should add at least two years to your current age and decide if you still have time. If you are 43 years old now your application already runs the risk of being rejected.

This change will affect the Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 visas and Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visas.

A new skilled occupations list came into effect

On the 1st of July, a new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) was issued. As successful migrants enter Australia the SOL grows shorter with fewer professions not already filled by migrants or Australians.

This is a classic ‘the early bird catches the worm’ situation. A few years ago there were nearly 300 occupations on the SOL. All professions considered essential but for which not enough Australians were available and thus professionals from all over the world were granted Australian visas to fill these gaps. Fewer gaps in the marketplace mean less need for migrants to fill these gaps and the poorer the migrant’s chances of entering Australia.

The longer an applicant waits to enter his visa application the likelier it is to be a longer and more tedious process. It could mean that by the time you finally apply for an Australian visa you could be too old or your occupation may no longer be considered necessary.

Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 Visas

This new two-year visa was introduced only a few weeks ago and forms the second leg of the former, well-known, 457 Work Visa. With the introduction of the new visa applying for an Australian work visa has become somewhat more complicated.

English Language Exemption

Previously application requirements indicated that applicants who earn a minimum of AUD $96,400 would not have to prove their English language ability.

The new changes mean that only visa holders who are already employed by an employer in Australia and earn more than the minimum will not have to furnish proof of their language abilities as part of their visa application paperwork.

Skills Assessment for trade occupations

The changes also stipulated that tradesmen apply for a work visa they will henceforth be subjected to a formal skills assessment.

Police Clearances

Australia requires a police clearance certificate with work visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017

Accredited Sponsorship Expanded

The good news is that work visas for nominated and sponsored applicants will now enjoy priority processing – regardless of whether the employer is a high volume or low volume sponsor. Sponsors will just have to prove that the company has a turnover of at least AUD $ 4 million and that 90% of its employees are Australians.

Changes to the Permanent Employer Sponsorship (ENS and RSMS) class

• A new occupations list for ENS Direct Entry has been accepted, but the RSMS list is essentially unchanged

• Only applicants 44 years old and younger will be considered

• Applicants who earn at least AUD $180,000 annually will not have to furnish proof of the English language skills Removal of English testing

• Applicants who earn at least AUD $180,000 annually will not undergo a skills assessment test if they earn a salary of at least $180,000

New requirements for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS)

• Applicants are required to prove a higher level of English competency than what was previously required is required

• With the changes, employers must lay evidence that the position the applicant is being appointed for exists, is remunerated and could not be filled locally

Fee Increases

Expect to soon pay more for your Australian visa applications. A 2% increase in these fees were announced along with the changes that came into effect last week.

Working Holiday Visa Age Limit

• You may now apply for a Working Holiday Visa until you are 35. Previously only applicant younger than 30 years old was considered.

Consult an Immigration Professional

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While it is not a requirement to make use of a professional migration consultant it is becoming increasingly important to do so. Australia is continuously making changes and tweaks to their immigration policies. A MARA accredited immigration consultant is your best source for immigration advice. Such an immigration official is updated on changing visa requirements as they happen and will give you the best most up to date information.

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