DHA Skilled Visa Newsletter


DHA Skilled Visa Newsletter

Department of Home Affairs has published skilled visa newsletter for dec-2021, detail as follows:  


Newsletter includes the information on following topics:  


  1. Planning for the 2022-23 Migration Program 

  2. Reopening to international travel 

  3. International student arrivals 

  4. Australian Agriculture Visa 

  5. Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme 

  6. Global Talent (subclass 858) visa program 

  7. Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) 

  8. Employer Sponsored Visa Program 

  9. Impact on health examinations 

  10. English language tests 

  11. SkillSelect 

  12. Labour Agreements 

  13. New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Subclass 461) Visa Program 

  14. Changes to Section 48 Bar 

  15. Refunds and waivers of visa applications 

  16. Publicly available data and statistics 




Planning for the 2022-23 Migration Program 

Planning is now underway for the 2022-23 permanent Migration Program. We undertake comprehensive consultation to inform the size and composition of the program each year. This includes advice from States and Territories, Government agencies, industry, academia and the public. 

We have invited submissions on how the size and composition of the 2022-23 Migration Program can best support Australias recovery from COVID-19, and long-term economic, social cohesion, and demographic needs. Submissions closed on 3 December 2021. We will provide more information on the planning at a later date. 

For more information, visit our website. 


Reopening to international travel 

Australia is reopening its border to vaccinated travellers. This is part of our step-by-step and safe reopening to the world. From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated visa holders from the following cohorts will be able to travel to Australia without an exemption: 

  • international students 

  • skilled migrants 

  • refugee/humanitarian, and 

  • temporary and provisional family visa holders. 

This was to begin from 1 December 2021, however the reopening was paused due to the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. 

As part of Australias reopening to fully vaccinated travellers, international safe travel zones have been introduced for New Zealand and Singapore. International safe travel zones with Japan and Korea will begin from 15 December 2021. 

For up-to-date information on travel requirements, visit the international safe travel zone and COVID-19 and the border webpages. 


International student arrivals 

State and territory governments are leading the return of international students to their jurisdictions. They are best placed to understand their health and quarantine capacities. This is consistent with protocols and preconditions set by Commonwealth Government. 

The Australian Government has endorsed International Student Arrival Plans approved by the relevant state or territory government. 

For more information, visit our International Student Arrival Plans webpage and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website. 


Australian Agriculture Visa 

On 30 September 2021, the Government introduced the Migration Amendment (Australian Agriculture Workers) Regulations 2021. This supports labour shortages in Australias primary industries, including: 

  • horticulture 

  • meat processing 

  • dairy 

  • wool 

  • grains 

  • fisheries (including aquaculture), and 

  • forestry. 

The Australian Agriculture visa is a new sponsored temporary visa stream within the Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa. The visa program is still being developed. Operation of the visa will be subject to agreement on the program design with industry. We also need to complete bilateral negotiations with partner countries. This work is being led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 


Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme 

On 23 November 2021, the Australian Government announced the next stage of reforms to the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme. 

From 4 April 2022, the two existing PALM initiatives,the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme, will be consolidated under a single PALM scheme. It will simplify administration and provide greater flexibility for employers and Pacific workers. It also gives more flexibility for workers to move between employers. 

You can find more information about these reforms and other PALM scheme details on the PALM website. 


Global Talent (subclass 858) visa program 

Increased flexibility for citizenship applicants  Distinguished Talent pathway only 

On 14 September 2021, The Hon Alex Hawke MP announced increased flexibility for citizenship applicants. The updated instrument extends Australian citizenship (special residence requirement) to Distinguished Talent and Global Talent visa holders. It applies if we have processed the visa under the Distinguished Talent pathway. 

These provisions do not apply to visa holders who were invited to apply under the Global Talent pathway (Global Talent Visa Program). 

More information is available in the Resident requirement section of our website. 

Changes of circumstance 

If awaiting an outcome on an EOI, please notify us of any changes to circumstance via globaltalent@homeaffairs.gov.au 

Changes may include: 

  • completion or conferral of qualifications 

  • new exceptional and outstanding achievements in a target area 

  • nominator details 

  • authorised contact details 

  • acquisition of permanent residence. 

Label documents 

Migration Agents can help streamline EOI assessments by: 

  • clearly labelling all documents submitted 

  • including the candidates name and passport number in all emails. 

Sector guidance 

More guidance about priority sector specialisations and example profiles are now available on the Global Business & Talent Attraction Taskforce Australia website. 


We do not authorise individuals or organisations as approved nominators for the Global Talent Visa Program. We consider each visa application, and nomination, on their merits.  

We expect that, before agreeing to nominate an individual for the Global Talent Visa Program, nominators will ensure that the nominee: 

  • has provided correct and genuine information 

  • has an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in the field of expertise 

  • is currently prominent in the field 

  • would be an asset to Australia 

  • would have no difficulty obtaining employment, or in becoming established independently, in Australia in the field. 


Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) 

Uploading documents to ImmiAccount 

Applicants should upload supporting documents to ImmiAccount when lodging a Business Innovation and Investment subclass 188 visa application in all streams. This applies to all applications lodged from 13 November 2021. Uploading documents ensures efficient processing and reduced processing times. Please name your documents clearly. 

We have also made additional improvements to the online lodgement system. Clients applying in either the Investor stream or Significant Investor stream will be able to provide Fund Manager and investments information in the online lodgement form. This applies to subclass 188 and 888 (with an invitation date on or after 1 July 2021). This requirement is only mandatory when applying for the subclass 888. 

FAQs for the Complying Investment Framework now live 

From 1 July 2021, the Complying Investment Framework (CIF) applies to the Investor and the Significant Investor streams of the BIIP. 

You can find more information on complying investments on the Complying Investment Framework information sheet 


Employer Sponsored Visa Program 

Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) 

All applications for the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187) visa programs should give evidence showing how the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) was determined. This is a legislated requirement for the ENS and RSMS visa programs.  

For more information, see our website. 

Processing timeframes 

Under policy, including Ministerial Directions 92 and 93, we are prioritising certain skilled migration visa applications ahead of others. This is regardless of application lodgement date. Information on skilled visa processing priorities is available on our website. 

Labour Market Testing (LMT) Requirements 

To progress applications, please submit complete and up-to-date Labour Market Testing (LMT) evidence at the time of nomination application for the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional)(SESR)(subclass 494) visa programs.Incomplete and out-of-date evidence may delay processing or result in a refusal. 

For more information, see our Procedural Instructions for TSS nominations and SESR nominations webpages. 


Impact on health examinations 

We are aware that COVID-19 has affected services relating to the visa application process. This includes attending visa medical appointments with overseas panel doctors and with Bupa in Australia. We will take this into account when considering visa applications. Clients can upload evidence such as bookings for medical examinations to ImmiAccount. They can also upload an explanation as to why they have been unable to make a booking. 


English language tests 

When applying for student, skilled and some permanent visas, you will need to meet our English language requirements. The Department does not accept scores from remote or at home English language tests as evidence of English language competency. For more information about English language test scores we accept for visa purposes, please refer to our English language. 



SkillSelect  password resets 

SkillSelect support has a new process for manual password resets. If you have forgotten your password, go to change a SkillSelect password and follow the instructions. 

We will not action requests for manual password resets emailed directly to SkillSelect technical support. You must submit requests for manual resets via the password reset request form. 

SkillSelect 29 October 2021 invitation round 

The last SkillSelect invitation round for Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) and Skilled Work Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 491) (Family Sponsored) took place on 29 October 2021. 

We issue SkillSelect invitations via an automated process. This process uses a ranking system of highest points score followed by earliest date of effect. This round was a targeted invitation round across various engineering and medical occupations. We did not include all occupations in the engineering and medical four digit unit codes in this round. 

Invitation rounds will continue to occur on a quarterly basis. Agents can visit our website for information on invitation rounds. 


Labour Agreements 

New regional concessions for the dairy, fishing, meat and pork industry labour agreements 

From 1 November 2021, new regional concessions became available for the dairy, fishing, meat and pork industry labour agreements. These support businesses in regional Australia to address critical skills shortages. 

The following new concessions are available for businesses based in Category 2 and Category 3 regional locations: 

  • Additional work experience concessions. These reduce the level of work experience needed to meet the relevant visa criterion.  

  • Additional English language concessions. These reduce test score requirements for visa applicants sponsored by businesses.  

  • Additional flexibility around Labour Market Testing for Category 2 and 3 located businesses. Previously, advertising had to be undertaken within four months of nomination to fill a position with a skilled worker. We have increased this to 12 months. Category 3 businesses also have reduced evidentiary requirements.  

  • An additional salary concession. This consists of a 10% reduction to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) for Category 3 businesses. 

  • A new age concession of 55 years for Category 2 and 3 businesses. This means businesses can now sponsor older applicants for certain visa subclasses. They may have diverse work experience and/or be willing to migrate to regional areas.  

Businesses located in Category 2 and 3 regional locations may also access the above regional concessions under a company-specific labour agreement. . You must accompany any concessions requests with strong reasons as to why standard visa criteria should not apply.  

In addition to the above: 

  • A pathway to permanent residency is now available under the fishing industry labour agreement (FILA). This is for all FILA occupations, for the following visas: 

  • The occupation Seafood Process Worker (ANZSCO 831313) is now available under the FILA for businesses in Category 2 & 3 regional locations. This has qualifications and experience requirements equivalent to those under ANZSCO. There is a pathway to permanent residency. 

  • The occupation Dairy Cattle Farm Operator (070499) is now available under the dairy industry labour agreement. This has qualifications and work experience requirements equivalent to ANZSCO Skill Level 4. There is a pathway to permanent residency. 

We are also considering changes to horticulture industry settings. These will be available soon. 

How do I apply for a labour agreement with new regional concessions? On-line labour agreement request forms are available in IMMI Account. 

How do I request to vary an existing labour agreement and access the new concessions? To request to vary an existing labour agreement, email labour.agreement.section@homeaffairs.gov.au 

For more information, see our website. 


New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Subclass 461) Visa Program 

Tips to reduce processing delays 

We are currently focusing on reducing processing timeframes for this program. You can assist us by ensuring your application includes: 

If the applicant has previously been granted a New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship subclass 461 visa and is no longer a member of the family unit of a New Zealand citizen, they may still be eligible for a subclass 461 visa. This applies if they have not since entered into another relationship. 

If the applicant did not hold a substantive visa at the time the subclass 461 visa application was lodged, please address Schedule 3 criteria. 

You can contact us to say you have provided all required documentation and your application is ready for assessment. You can do this by sending an email to nz.family.relationship.visa.centre@homeaffairs.gov.au. In your email, include your file reference number and the words Assessment Ready in the subject line. 

As you can only lodge the application on paper (i.e. not via ImmiAccount), we will send you a letter to arrange a health examination where required. 


Changes to Section 48 Bar 

The Australian Government has amended the Migration Act 1958. This amendment allows applicants subject to a 'section 48 bar' to lodge a visa application from within Australia, for certain skilled visa subclasses. 

From 13 November 2021, onshore applicants affected by the section 48 bar can apply for the following three skilled visas: 

  • Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) 

  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) 

  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494) 

The legislative change will mean section 48 will no longer apply to these onshore skilled migrants applying for State or Territory nomination.  

This change does not remove the need to meet the Schedule 1 criteria, specifically, that an applicant in Australia must hold a: 

  • substantive visa; or 

  • Subclass 010 (Bridging A) visa; or 

  • Subclass 020 (Bridging B) visa; or 

  • Subclass 030 (Bridging C) visa. 


Refunds and waivers of visa applications 


Publicly available data and statistics 

The Department publishes various reports and statistics on our website. Data is also published on the Australian Governments public data portal. The data from these reports and publications provides information on a wide range of activities. Some reports include adjustable search and filtering parameters via pivot tables. Some examples of the data published are: 



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