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Australia Visa Changes to Expect in 2019

Australia's annual immigration intake took was in spotlight in its political discourse for major part of 2017, with greater emphasis on dealing with increased population in cities like Melbourne and Sydney. Australia's Prime Minister indicated that the number of immigrants in future will be slashed and more opportunities will be opened for migrants in regional areas.

One of the primary challenges currently being faced is that most of the migrants are preferring Melbourne and Sydney over the regional areas of Australia. To over this challenge, a proposal was put forward to send migrants to regional and rural areas in Australia for a set number of years before granting them permanent residency.

According to one of the best immigration agents in Sydney, immigrants can expect a lot of changes in 2019 in different visa categories. Here are some significant ones you may witness this new year!

Low-Skilled Migrants with Limited English Language Proficiency Get Pathway to Australian Permanent Residency

The Federal Government has signed a Designated Area Migration Agreements with the Northern Territory (NT) and the Great Southern Coast of Victoria offering permanent residency to semi-skilled migrants with limited English language proficiency.

In line to the above, agreements could be signed with more regions to address the labour needs of those areas. The Government is keenly looking at ways of filling employment gaps in regional areas of Australia.

The aforesaid agreements will lower the requirements for skills, language and income, and thereby let the semi-skilled migrant workforce access a pathway to permanent migration in Australia.

New Changes to Parent Visa

Migrants can also expect changes in parent visa category wherein the parents of the migrants will be allowed to stay in Australia for a period of up to five years. Though there is no final word on commencement of this visa, it is expected to be made available before June of 2019. Per this new visa, parents of migrants would be able to choose between a 3-year visa for $5,000 and a five-year visa for $10,000 fee. In addition to this, the parents must have health insurance and should not incur any healthcare debt at any time during their stay in Australia. The sponsors of the parents will act as financial guarantors and would be legally required to pay debt, if any, to taxpayers in case of any medical emergency.

On the other hand, migrant couples may be able to sponsor only one set of parents for this visa.

New Framework for Sponsored Family Visas

A newer framework has been introduced for sponsored family visas, which will create a two-step application process that will involve assessment of the sponsors. The visa application would be lodged only and only once the assessment is approved. This newer two-stage process, however, will mean that more time will be consumed in the whole process, rendering the sponsors waiting for their partners for longer time period. Obviously, the new legislation will also mean additional scrutiny of the sponsoring partner.

Changes to Business Visa Category

Per the new rule, the business visa would not require evidence of investment or any capital outlay as is the case with most business and innovation visas.

Priority will be given to businesses related to big data, food, defence & space, digital & blockchain, cyber security, health & medical media & film, robotics and AgTech industries. Of course, applicants with business plans related to other industries will also be able to apply.

Reducing Australia's Permanent Immigration Intake

The actual intake last year fell to just over 162,000 for the first time since 2007 with a cut in the family and skilled visas despite the cap of 190,000 since 2011.

New South Wales last year cut the immigration to the state by half while the ACT's quota for nominating applicants for state-sponsored 190 subclass visa has been increased from 800 to 1,400.

Changes in Rule for Australian Citizenship

The Federal Government has been trying to pass some changes to the Australian Citizenship law through the parliament that would make Australian permanent residents wait for at least four years and pass an English language proficiency test before they can apply for citizenship. These changes were retrospectively applied after the announcement in April 2017, but the Immigration Department revoked the changes and started processing applications according to the current law. No new decision has been taken regarding this as of now.

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