2023 has been a pivotal year for those looking to migrate to Australia, with several significant policy changes. This blog post explores the top 5 changes that have taken place and delves into what they mean for prospective migrants. Whether it's the easing of work restrictions for students or the new visa application charges, each change brings with it a new set of opportunities and considerations for individuals looking to make a life in Australia.
1. Australia and UK Free Trade Agreement:
The Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the UK introduced new arrangements under the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program and Youth Mobility Scheme, which commenced on 1 July 2023. This agreement not only strengthens the economic ties between the two nations but also provides increased opportunities for young individuals from both countries to live and work in the other country. One significant change is the increase in the age limit for UK citizens applying for Australia's Working Holiday Visa to 35, up from 30.
2. Increase in Visa Application Charges:
Beginning 1 July 2023, visa application charges in Australia have increased between 6% and 40% across various visa categories. For instance, the Partner visa fee is now $8,850, Skilled Independent visa fee is $4,640, and Employer Nomination visa fee is also $4,640. These new charges are reflected in the Australian Budget for the fiscal year 2023-24, aligning with the forecasted CPI increase of 3.25% for the 2023-24 period.
3. New Zealand Citizens Australian Citizenship Eligibility:
As of 1 July 2023, certain New Zealand citizens who have resided in Australia for more than four years and arrived post-26 February 2011 can apply directly for Australian citizenship without having to secure a permanent visa first. These changes are particularly pertinent to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa. This adjustment marks a significant shift from the previous regulations that made it more challenging for New Zealand citizens in Australia to attain citizenship since 2001.
4. More Pathways to Permanent Residency:
2023 witnessed the introduction of additional pathways to permanent residency in Australia. For example, skilled temporary workers now have an opportunity to apply for permanent residency, a change set to take effect by the end of 2023. Additionally, holders of the 482 visa have a broader pathway to become permanent residents with eased requirements.
5. Student Visa Work Limitations:
Starting from 1 July 2023, the work limitations for student visa holders in Australia have been reintroduced, capping the work hours to 48 hours per fortnight during study terms and semesters. This change followed a temporary relaxation of work restrictions during the pandemic to address workforce shortages, which allowed student visa holders to work over their normal limit of 40 hours per fortnight. When the course of study or training is not in session, student visa holders face no work restrictions.
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