Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES)


The Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES) is a new scheme, established under the Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement (MMPA) between India and Australia. MATES gives Indian university graduates and early career professionals the opportunity to live and work in Australia for up to two years, and to gain employment and valuable experience in their areas of expertise.  The scheme will be 3000 places for primary applicants per program year.

Primary applicants will be able to apply to bring dependents. Dependents will be provided work rights and do not count towards the annual cap.

The scheme has no set timeframe for commencement.


MATES will be open to Indian nationals who:

  • are aged 30 or younger (inclusive) at the time of application;
  • have not previously participated in MATES;
  • have proficient English language skills (overall IELTS or equivalent score of at least 6, with a minimum score of 5 for each of the four parts);
  • have graduated within 2 years from an eligible educational institution at the time of application; and
  • hold a qualification (Bachelor’s degree or higher) in one of the following:
    – renewable energy
    – mining
    – engineering
    – Information Communications Technology (ICT)
    – artificial intelligence (AI)
    – financial technology (FinTech)
    – agricultural technology (AgriTech).

Further information regarding this Scheme can be found on the Department’s website and in the Minister’s media release.


COVID 408 visa closure

Migration -COVID-19 Pandemic event for Temporary Activity (subclass 408 visa)  Repeal Instrument 2024 closes the COVID 408 visa to all applicants from February 2024. The COVID-19 pandemic will no longer be a specified event for the purposes of a temporary Visa at Reg 408.229(b) of Schedule 2 and subclause 9204(2) of Schedule 13 of the Migration Regulations.

This instrument commences on 1 February 2024 and repeals LIN 22/046.

The OMARA has also sent the following notification directly to all RMA:

Dear Registered Migration Agent,

This email has been sent on behalf of Employer Sponsored Policy, Department of Home Affairs.

As you are aware, the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) Australian Government endorsed events (COVID-19 Pandemic event) visa (commonly referred to as the Pandemic Event visa) will close to all applicants from 1 February 2024.

The Department of Home Affairs can confirm that a new instrument LIN 24/003 was registered as of 24 January 2024 on the Federal Register of Legislation to repeal LIN 22/046 and bring the Pandemic Event visa to a close.

Please ensure that you assist clients to remain lawful if they wish to stay in Australia. Further information is provided on COVID-19 Pandemic event visa page.


Skilled temporary visas 

A new three tiered system of visa pathways will replace the TSS SC 482.  The ‘essential skills’ visa for those earning under $70,000, the ‘core skills’ visa for the $70-135,000 cohort and the ‘specialist skills‘ visa for those earning over $135,000 per year.

  • The specialist skills visa pathway will not have an occupational list and a processing turnaround of 7 days.  Trades occupations, machinery operators, drivers and labourers will be excluded from this visa class. There will be 3,000 places allocated per year.
  • The core skills visas pathway are expected to provide the majority of visa for the program.  trades workers will be required to apply under this visa based on a revised ‘skills in demand list’ developed by Jobs and Skills Australia.
  • The details of the essential skills visa pathway are yet to be finally determined. This visa will involve union oversight, be capped and be restricted to specific sectors.  To date the aged care and disability sectors have been mentioned.

The visas will be granted for up to 4 years and visa holders will be able to change employers more easily and provide clear pathways to permanent residency.  The ‘TSMIT’ will be indexed annually and a public register of employer sponsors to allow more ease with moving between employers.


Overseas drivers – Transport NSW updated policy 

On 1 July 2023, the NSW Government introduced two key policy changes for overseas license holders. The first change was the requirement for all temporary visa holders to convert to a NSW driver licence if they intend to reside in NSW for six months or longer. The second change allows for overseas drivers to be stripped of their driving privileges permanently if they accrue 13 demerit points or are convicted of certain speeding, drug and alcohol or serious driving offences.

If overseas license holders do not convert within 6 months and continue to drive in NSW, they will be deemed unlicensed by the NSW Police Driving and as an unlicensed driver will incur a significant fine and may impact insurance coverage on their vehicle or motorbike, especially in an accident.

This newsletter only provides general information related to current migration matters. The information contained in this communication does not constitute specific migration advice, and should not be construed or relied on as such. Professional advice should be sought for the specifics of your situation prior to any action being taken. BD Welsh and Co disclaims any liability (including, without limitation, for any direct or indirect or consequential costs, loss or damage or loss of profits) arising from anything done or omitted to be done by any party in reliance, whether wholly or partially, on any of the information contained in this newsletter. Any party that relies on the information does so at its own risk. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.