Australian immigration changes coming on 1 July - DIAC changes

Australian immigration changes from DIAC are
coming on 1 July 2009.

While we've already covered a number of the Australian immigration changes that are all set to come into action on 1 July, I think it's worth summarising all of the changes before they take effect.

From application fee increases and form amendments made by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to skills assessing bodies changing their eligibility critera and Australian States and Territories adjusting their sponsorship lists, the changes are numerous and sure to have a lasting effect on Australian emigration.

I'll cover each of these changes in turn, beginning with a look at the changes that are coming from DIAC on 1 July and what effect they could have on the Australian skilled visa process:

Visa application charges increased

It was announced that as part of the Australian Government’s 2009/10 Budget, a number of visa application charges would be increased by as much as 20 per cent from 1 July 2009 (as covered in a previous blog post).

As a result of the Australian Government releasing Form 990i, we can now confirm that the skilled visa application fee will be AU$2,525 as of 1 July 2009.

Additionally, the application fees for spouse/family visas (i.e. subclasses 100, 110, 300, 309 and 310) saw the same 20 per cent increase, and rose from AU$1,420 to approx. AU$1,705.

The new visa application fees for some common skilled and family visas will be as follows:


  Skilled - Independent (subclass 175)


  Skilled - Sponsored (subclass 176)


  Skilled - Regional Sponsored (subclass 475)


  Spouse (including de facto couples) (subclass 309/100)


  Interdependent (subclasses 310/110)    


  Prospective Marriage (subclass 300)


  Contributory Parent – Migrant (subclass 143)


  Contributory Parent – Temporary (subclass 173)


  Child (subclass 101)


  State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner (Provisional) (subclass 163)


  New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (subclass 461)


Visa application forms changed 

Additionally, 1 July will also see a number of changes to DIAC forms.  The difference between these new forms and the old ones might be fairly minimal, but it is still advisable that any applicants make sure to use the right form when lodging, otherwise it may be returned and the process could be delayed.

For the full list of changed forms, check the DIAC site.

Assurance of Support

An Assurance of Support (AoS) is required to cover the primary visa applicant and other family members included in the application for some family sponsored visas, such as the Contributory Parent (subclasses 143/173) visa and occassionally the Spouse (subclasses 309/100) visa.

The AoS is a mandatory requirement which must be met prior to visa grant by the Australian citizen or permanent resident acting as an applicant's assurer. One of the criteria is that the assurer must meet a certain 'income threshold'.  The income threshold will be raised from 1 July and we are making the assumption that the assurer will have to earn more in order to qualify as an eligible assurer under the new criteria.

Increased English language requirement for tradespeople

Previously, skilled migration tradespeople who were NOT passport holders of the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada or New Zealand were required to achieve what was termed a 'vocational' level of English, which required a score at least 5.0 out of 9.0 in each of the 4 competencies (listening, reading, writing and speaking) of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

However, from 1 July 2009, the vocational level will cease to exist, and these same applicants must now score a higher score of at least 6.0 out of 9.0 in each of the 4 competencies (which is termed a 'competent' level of English).

Visa grants expedited by the Australian High Commission

In a recent communication with the Australian High Commission in London, the feedback we received was that they were holding off on granting any further visas until 1 July. After 1 July, we are hoping these visa grants should start steadily coming through.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau