March at Nomos
The first month of autumn this year has been filled with some very welcome changes to the immigration landscape as Australia begins to bounce back post-pandemic. Here are some of the major highlights from the busy month that has been:
- On 17 March 2022, new legislation was introduced that will allow certain holders of a Temporary Skills Shortage (‘TSS’) visa or a subclass 457 visa whose occupation is on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (‘STSOL’) and who remained in Australia through the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for permanent residency in Australia via the Employer Nomination Scheme. This legislative change means that many short-term TSS visa holders will, from 1 July 2022, finally be able to apply for permanent residence. We have already been inundated with enquiries regarding these amendments. To be absolutely sure whether you or someone you know will meet the requirements for a permanent visa based on these amendments, please contact us to get personalised advice on your situation.
- On 20 March 2022, the Australian Government announced that the 3-year temporary humanitarian visa (subclass 786) will be made available to Ukrainian citizens fleeing the Russian military invasion. This is in response to advocacy from Ukrainian-Australians who said that the Tourist visas given to new arrivals were too restrictive in the current circumstances. The temporary humanitarian visa, is intended to allow holders to work, study and have access to Medicare (though at this time no legislation has yet been specified or identified). This announcement of support for the Ukrainian people was welcomed by the Refugee Council of Australia. Since the commencement of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the Department of Home Affairs has granted almost 4,500 visas to Ukrainians.
- After almost 10 years of discussion and negotiation, the Australian Government has finally come to an agreement with New Zealand wherein the latter will accept 450 of the refugees who arrived in Australia as unauthorised maritime arrivals. This resettlement will occur over the next 3 years, with priority being given to the approximately 100 individuals currently detained on Nauru. All 450 applications to resettle in NZ will undergo the same comprehensive processes as all refugees, including credibility, security, risk, biometric and health checks.
- In the clearest sign that the pandemic is now officially behind us and that Australia intends to now ‘live with COVID-19’, Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed that the Biosecurity Emergency Determination for Australia will not be renewed when it lapses on April 17 2022. This is the legislation that enabled the government to close Australia’s borders in response to COVID-19 two years ago. In addition to the travel ban officially being lifted, there will no longer be the requirement for travellers entering Australia to test negative for COVID-19 and we will welcome cruise vessels back into our waters. We can all look ahead with relief to the ‘new normal’!
That’s the Nomos wrap-up for March. See you next month!