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Visa and Immigration

Australian Immigration Policy Changes 2019 Wrap…

By 18 December 2019No Comments

Wrap up for changes in Australian Immigration Policies for 2019…

2019 has been a challenging year for Australian immigration, with the overall size of the permanent migration program set by the government being reduced from 190,000 to 160,000 places. The decrease in allocations was the result of a rebalance of the Skilled Independent category to prioritise the Employer Sponsored Regional and State Nominated categories.

We have provided below a high-level review of the changes which have taken place in 2019.

* 17 April 2019 – the long anticipated Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Subclass 870 visa commenced, which enabled parents to temporarily remain in Australia for 3-5 year periods.

* 1 May 2019 – the definition of ‘Accredited Sponsors’ was revised to include companies that undertook major investments of at least $50 million into Australia, which has directly generated Australian employment.

* 30 June 2019 – The Department of Health initiated the new Health Workforce Certificate application process, which affected General Practitioners & Resident Medical Officers. Under this initiative, the number of doctors was reduced by 200 per year. The initiative was designed to redirect Doctors into regional and remote areas of Australia where it’s needed the most.

* 26 October 2019 – Immigration announced a change to the regional migration planning levels with an increase from 23,000 places to 25,000. The definition of regional postcodes was also revised, and all applicants from outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane would be able to access regional points.

* 26 October 2019 – introduction of bio-metrics takes place for certain regional visa categories. The process involves taking a digital photo of the applicant’s face and scanning all 10 fingertips, with the data being stored in the government’s database.

* 4 November 2019 – the Global Talent Independent program which offers a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals to work and live permanently in Australia was implemented. The program aims to attract high calibre candidates at the top of their field.

* 16 November 2019 – Immigration introduced two new visas for regional Australia. The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Subclass 494 visa & the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa for skilled workers who wanted to live and work in regional Australia. These new visas will provide further incentives for migrants to bring their skills to regional Australia to further grow the Australian economy. A new permanent visa pathway will also be available for holders of the new regional provisional visa in November 2022.

* 13 December 2019 – the government has released their report, which confirms which occupations will be flagged for change in 2020. While the proposed changes aren’t finalised until the public consultation process is completed, which will likely be in March 2020, some of the proposals include the following.

Occupations which will potentially have a minimum salary threshold: Sales and Marketing Manager ($120K); ICT Project Manager ($120K); Information and Organisation Professionals ($90K).

Occupations which will potentially be added to the visa list: Corporate Treasurer; Aged or Disabled Carer; Nursing Support Worker, Personal Care Assistant.

If you would like to see the full list of changes, please refer to the following web link:

As you can see, it’s been another very busy year of changes in immigration and I dare say further changes will be implemented in 2020.

If you or your business would like to discuss any of the above points, please feel free to talk to us… our team at Pendragon has excellent knowledge of the immigration environment.


Purnima Kabra