AUSTRALIA: Changes to Migration Regulations to simplify visa processes

Following a raft of visa changes over the last year, the Australian Government recently announced that the Migration Regulations will be amended to progress the Government”s commitment to simplify the Australian visa regime.

The changes are due to take effect from the 24th November 2012 and can be summarised as follows:

  • 12 temporary work visas will cease to exist;
  • three new temporary work visas will take effect together with related sponsorship and nomination requirements;
  • significant amendments to the current Subclass 420 and Subclass 457 visas categories.

New Subclass 401 (Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity)) Visa

The 401 visa will replace the Exchange (Subclass 411) visa, Sport (Subclass 421) visa, and Religious Work (Subclass 428) visa subclasses. This visa will require nomination by a long-stay activity sponsor and will include three separate and distinct streams:

  • Exchange stream – will in effect be very similar to the existing 411 visa
  • Sport stream – will in effect be very similar to the existing 421 visa
  • Religious Worker stream – will in effect be very similar to the existing 428 visa.

Sponsors approved in equivalent visa categories prior to 24 November 2012 will be permitted to nominate candidates in the equivalent new streams.

New Subclass 402 (Training and Research) Visa

The 402 visa will replace the Occupational Trainee (Subclass 442) visa, the Visiting Academic (Subclass 419) visa, and the Professional Development (Subclass 470) visa. This new visa will incorporate the following three streams and two new sponsorship options:

  • Research stream – will in effect be very similar to the existing 419 visa
  • Occupational Trainee stream – will in effect be very similar to the existing 442 visa
  • Professional Development stream – will in effect be very similar to the existing 470 visa.

Sponsors who are approved in equivalent visa categories prior to 24 November 2012 will be permitted to nominate candidates in the equivalent new streams.

New Subclass 403 (Temporary Work (International Relations)) Visa

The 403 visa will replace the Subclass 406 (Government Agreement) visa, the Subclass 415 (Foreign Government Agency) visa, the Subclass 426 (Domestic Worker – Diplomatic or Consular) visa, and the Privileges and Immunities provisions currently in the Subclass 456 (Business (Short Stay)) and Subclass 457 (Business (Long Stay)) visa.

This new visa will not require sponsorship and will have the following three streams:

  • applicants covered by an international government agreement, or who direct the operations in Australia of certain language institutes
  • applicants who are to be employed as representatives of certain foreign government agencies or as foreign language teachers in Australian schools
  • applicants who undertake domestic duties in the households of holders of diplomatic visas, and applicants who are accorded privileges and immunities.

We hope this summary has proven useful.  For further information or to start the Australian visa application process, please contact us.

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