The Australia and United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement
The agreement has now become cemented legislatively in the United Kingdom, where the Bill has been scrutinised and successfully passed through its parliamentary houses, receiving Royal Assent. Once all legislative processes have been finalised, this agreement will be implemented by both countries, and provide a number of opportunities for migration to Australia by UK nationals and vice versa. In particular, it will provide more opportunities for intra-company transfers and working holiday makers.
The Productivity Commission’s Reform Recommendations for Australian Migration
The Productivity Commission is Australia’s principal review and advisory body, providing critical advice to the Australian Government via independent research on its economic, social and environmental issues affecting the Australian community. Last month, they presented a report that outlined significant reform suggestions to reshape Australia’s current migration programs to provide greater benefit to Australia. Suggested changes were significant, including a shift away from occupation lists, increasing the Temporary Graduate visa validity period, and allowing visa holders sponsored by their employer to switch employers much more easily. Please see article written and linked for your reading here by our immigration lawyer Nilesh Bansal on the specific and major reform suggestions.
Improved Student Visa Work Rights and Partner Visa Processing Time
Student visas will generally hold a restriction which limits the number of hours they can work. From 1 July 2023, international students will be permitted to work up to 48 hours per fortnight whilst classes are in progress, and unlimited hours on semester breaks. The Department have also recently announced that Partner visa applications submitted with all the relevant documents will be processed much faster than the advertised processing time, some of which can be anywhere up to 3 years. Please see article written and linked for your reading here by our immigration lawyer Heather Dzviti covering these updates, and in greater detail.
Longer Visa Validity for the Temporary Graduate Visa
Post-study work rights for eligible higher education graduates will be increased by two years, and will come into effect on 1 July 2023. Graduates whose visa expires before 1 July 2023, and hence not eligible for these extended work rights, will be able to apply for an extension of their work rights through a 2-year Subclass 408 (COVID Pandemic) visa. Please see article written and linked for your reading here by our immigration lawyer Jacqueline Azouz for an explanation of each change and what international students should look out for.
Bridging Visas for Partner and Parent Visa Applications
The Department have decided to continue implementation of nil visa conditions for onshore Partner or Parent visa applicants whose application remains in processing (on a bridging visa). This will come as a significant relief for those in Australia not permitted to work on their current visa. This applies to visa applications under the subclass 801 (Partner), subclass 804 (Aged Parent), subclass 820 (Partner), subclass 864 (Contributory Aged Parent) and subclass 884 (Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visas. This remains in effect until 2033 where the Department can decide to cease or continue its operation at that time.
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