Migration news

Major Partner and Family Visa Legislation Passes Senate and is Awaiting Royal Assent


After long time in the making major new partner visa legislation has passed and is awaiting royal assent to become law.

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 passed in the Senate on 28 November and is awaiting royal assent. As of press time, the final version of the bill is not yet available, which may contain various amendments that were proposed for the Bill. Without knowing the specific content of the final Bill, it is not possible to accurately predict the effect of the new legislation.

Even once the final Bill's content is known, the specific affect of the bill on visa applicants will likely not be known until the applicable changes to regulations and policy are made. 

Of specific concern is the anticipated change that the sponsor part of partner and fiance visa application may have to be lodged and approved prior to visa applicants making their application. The effect on those intending to lodge partner visas while onshore in Australia, especially those on visas with a relatively short validity period such as visitor visas, is processing of the sponsor application may take longer than an intending visa applicant may have onshore to apply for a visa. Delays in the ability of onshore visa applicants to apply for partner visas could result in a spike in the incidence of Schedule 3 issues for onshore partner visa applicants if they delay lodging their visa application until they are unlawful or only hold a bridging visa from some other type of onshore application.

Of additional concern is the genuine temporary entrant status for visitors who have already been named in a lodged partner/fiance visa sponsorship application - that application would seemingly establish that the visa applicant had an intention to remain in Australia on a permanent basis rather than being a temporary visitor. 

The Bill also intended to create additional obligations on current and future partner/fiance visa sponsors, and impose sanctions on family visa sponsors if those obligations are not met.


Work and Holiday - online lodgement available for more countries

The Home Affairs Department expands the online lodgement channel to additional countries for applicants applying for their first Work and Holiday visa. 

The existing countries under this arrangement are Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, Slovakia and the United States of America.

The new countries under this arrangement are: Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, The State of Israel, Luxembourg, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino and Slovenia. 

When applying for their first Work and Holiday visa, applicants from these countries must now apply online using Form 1208(Internet) unless the applicant has been sent an email by an officer of the Department authorising the applicant to make an application in a different place or manner as outlined in subsection 6(4) of the Instrument. 

There are no other changes from the previous instrument and the arrangements for all other countries remain unchanged. 

WA Skilled Migration Update


From September a new list for WA graduates has become available. This is a positive development as the only other available list, the  WASMOL was restricted just to a few medical occupations. To apply for permanent residence under the Graduate Stream, some of the occupations require that you to hold a PhD or Master Degree, whereas others only require a Bachelor degree from WA. In addition one also needs to meet several other requirements, such as work experience, an offer of employment, sufficient funds and to meet the English language criteria. See the list: https://migration.wa.gov.au/services/skilled-migration-western-australia/occupation%20lists

New guidelines on the ACT’s 190 nomination program




The program reopens on Thursday 29 November 2018

The ACT Government’s current system will go OFF LINE on Tuesday 27 November 2018 to enable the change over to the new Expression of Interest (from hereon called the Canberra Matrix to avoid confusion with Home Affairs EOI)

-Any existing ACT Government application commenced which has not been lodged and unpaid on 27 November 2018 will disappear from the system and will not be able to be accessed.

- Any lodged and paid applications lodged before Tuesday 27 November will be assessed and finalised under the existing guidelines.

The ACT is reopening its 190 program with about 500 available places for the remainder of 2018-19 Financial Year

The Canberra Matrix is benefit to Canberra based and not first in, best dressed as with the previous system

The ACT Government will have practice runs for issuing invitations etc in December 2018, January and February 2019 before moving into full operational mode.

The Process

Intending applicants will be required to express their interest by completing the Canberra Matrix

- No documents are required to be lodged with the Canberra Matrix

- There is no application fee for completing and submitting the Canberra Matrix

Either once or twice a month (to be decided) the ACT Government will determine which Canberra Matrix applicants, based on the Matrix points test (has no relationship or impact on Home Affairs points test) will be issued an invitation to apply for ACT Government 190 nomination

- The ACT Government reserves the right to use other levers to select applicants based on economic benefit to Canberra

The Canberra Matrix points are frozen upon submission and cannot be updated

- If points allocation change, for any reason. a new Canberra Matrix will be required to be submitted

A Canberra Matrix will remain valid for 6 months before it is removed from the system

The matrix scoring for Canberra residents has 12 factors

  1. Length of residence in Canberra
  2. English language proficiency
  3. Spouse / partner English language proficiency
  4. Nominated occupation (open or closed)
  5. Length of current employment in Canberra (not tied to nominated occupation)
  6. ACT employment type
  7. Spouse / Partner employment in Canberra
  8. Education (can be in Canberra, interstate or overseas)
  9. Canberra education
  10. Grandfathering of applicants who arrived to live in Canberra on or before 29 June 2018)
  11. Assets in Canberra (personal or business and unencumbered)
  12. Close family ties to Canberra

The Matrix for overseas residents has essentially the same factors except the grandfathering factor mentioned above

Intending applicants who live in Canberra and commute to Sydney, for example, for study and/or work, regardless of the time spent in or out of Canberra will not meet the requirements for an invitation

To meet the Canberra residence requirements, the intending applicant can live in Canberra  or live within a 30-minute commute radius of Canberra (for example, live in Queanbeyan, Jerrabomberra, Bungendore, Murrumbateman)

Intending applicants who work in Queanbeyan, for example, are also ineligible to receive nomination

Number of Allocated Places for Parent Visas

Parent Visas – number of allocated places

Home Affairs confirmed that the following numbers of visas are available under contributory and non-contributory parent visa scheme:

In the 2018–19 Migration Programme year:

  • 1 500 places have been allocated to Parent (non-contributory) visas (subclasses 103 and 804)
  • 7 175 places have been allocated to Contributory Parent visas (subclasses 173/143 and subclasses 884/864).

Waiting time for sbclass 173/143 is over three years