Significant new amendments to Migration Regulations

The following amendments will come in place in migration law soon:

  • limit the number of domestic flights that foreign aircrew are permitted to work on while holding a Special Purpose visa. The amendments provide a limit of two connecting domestic flights for foreign air crew and one connecting domestic flight for positioning foreign air crew (persons forming crew on departure). This ensures that opportunities for Australian workers on domestic flights are protected;
  • allow an English language test score to be accepted for points tested skilled visas if the test was conducted three years before the applicant was invited to apply for the visa, rather than three years before the application was lodged. This ensures that English test scores do not become invalid between the invitation to apply for the visa and the application being lodged;
  • enable lower English language test scores to be specified for the Skilled Recognised Graduate and Temporary Graduate visas so that these visas can be more responsive to Australia’s labour market requirements. The tests and scores will be specified in an instrument made by the Minister;
  • provide that the visa application form, the place in which a visa application must be lodged and the manner in which a visa application must be made (for example by internet or paper) are specified in an instrument made by the Minister, rather than set out in the Migration Regulations. This enables these administrative details to be changed more rapidly, as required, to facilitate more efficient processing arrangements;
  • extend the timeframes in which an approved sponsor must notify the department of certain events relating to the sponsored person (for example, a change in work duties). The amendment extends the timeframe from 10 working days to 28 calendar days to ensure there is sufficient time to comply with the requirement. It also reduces confusion for businesses as it would align with other comparable reporting periods that must be met by business;
  • repeal the requirement that an applicant for a Temporary Graduate visa must provide evidence of having made arrangements for medical examinations at the time of application for the visa. The amendment removes an unnecessary burden on applicants as many applicants may not be required to have a medical examination to meet the health requirement at the time of decision for the visa;

This Select Legislative Instrument will commence on 18 April 2015.