Expanding Employer Sponsored Pathways to Permanent Residence (PR)
The Australian Government has announced changes to Australia’s migration system to ensure temporary skilled workers have a pathway to PR.
To support this, the Department of Home Affairs is currently working on changes to the:
- Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) (TSS) visa, and
- Temporary Residence Transition stream (TRT) of the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) (ENS) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) (RSMS) visa subclasses. These changes are expected to commence from 25 November 2023.*
Current pathways to PR for temporary skilled visa holders are often limited, which has led to a growing number of ‘permanently temporary’ visa holders in Australia. To attract the skilled workers Australia needs, the government plans to create clear pathways to PR for all TSS visa streams. This will provide more certainty to employers and TSS visa holders as well as simplifying the nomination process. These changes are a first step to provide more equitable access to PR for all TSS visa holders while the government continues work on reforms to the skilled visa programs following the development of the Outline of the Migration Strategy and in response to the Review of the Migration System 2023.
Changes to the TSS visa will apply to new applications lodged on or after 25 November 2023*.
Changes to the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream nomination requirements will apply to new ENS/RSMS nomination applications and applications that are yet to be finally determined as at 25 November 2023*. While the changes will increase access to PR for temporary skilled workers, migration program planning levels will not change.
(* subject to the approval of regulation changes).
Overseas Organ Transplant Disclosure and other Measures Bill 2023.
A new Bill, the Overseas Organ Transplant Disclosure and Other Measures Bill 2023, is set to amend the Migration Act to make involvement in the trafficking in human organs an offence under the character test. Trafficking persons for the purposes of organ removal was first criminalised in Commonwealth legislation through the Criminal Code Amendment (Trafficking in Persons Offences) Act 2005.
Persons entering Australia will be required to answer questions on their incoming passenger card regarding overseas organ transplants. They will need to declare whether they have received an organ transplant outside Australia within the last 5 years. If so, they will be required to provide the name, and the place of the medical facility where the organ transplant took place.
These changes to the character test will enable the Minister to decide to refuse to grant, or to cancel, a person’s visa if the Minister reasonably suspects the person has been involved in conduct constituting an offence involving trafficking in human organs, whether the person, or another person, has been convicted of an offence constituted by the conduct. The Minister will also be required to table a report in Parliament annually on the information collected in this manner.
Commonwealth Statutory Declarations
The Statutory Declarations Amendment Bill 2023 has passed both Houses of parliament although it has not as yet been enacted. The contained amendments are expected to commence on 31 December 2023 and enable a statutory declaration to be validly made in one of three ways:
- traditional paper-based, requiring wet-ink signatures and in person witnessing;
b. electronically, through the application of an electronic signature and witnessing via an audio-visual communication link, and to be
c. digitally verified, through the use of a prescribed online platform that verifies the identity of the declarant through a prescribed digital identity service provider.These measures were in place during Covid by a Government Determination that will expire on 31 December 2023 and this amendment will permanently imbed them in the Statutory Declarations Act 1959.
Health requirements – temporary visa applicants in Australia – changes
The Department has announced on its website that the measures put in place for temporary visa applicants during the COVID pandemic that waived the requirement to undertake medical examination and chest x-rays has ceased. This type of applicant will now be required to again undertake health tests. Further information is available on the Department’s website.
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.