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Migration update – December 2022

13 December 2022

2 min read

#Immigration Law

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Migration update – December 2022

In this update, we look at the temporary closure of the New Zealand Stream visa to new applicants, the recommencement of the six-month work limitation for working holiday makers, and Australia’s new trade agreement with India.

Temporary closure of the New Zealand Stream visa until 1 July 2023

The Subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa (New Zealand Stream) is temporarily closed to new applications from 10 December 2022 to 1 July 2023 while the Government considers future migration and citizenship pathways for New Zealand citizens already living in Australia. Applications already lodged will continue to be processed.

There is some great news for those who have already lodged applications. With the processing time currently estimated at 25 months, the Department of Home Affairs has established a dedicated taskforce to finalise the majority of these applications during the closure. Streamlining measures have also been introduced, removing the following visa criteria:

  1. period of residence in Australia
  2. minimum taxable income
  3. health.

In its announcement, the Government acknowledged that applicants for the New Zealand Stream visa are already living in Australia with access to Medicare. 

We expect there will be more announcements over the coming months about the future of the migration program and options for New Zealand citizens.

Six-month work limitation for working holiday makers commence again on 1 January 2023

Earlier this year, the Government relaxed the six-month work limitation for all working holiday makers. This allowed them to work for the same employer for more than six months.

At this stage, this relaxation will end on 31 December 2022. The six-month work limitation will commence again on 1 January 2023. However, the time spent working for an employer before 1 January 2023 will not be taken into consideration.

Australia’s new trade agreement with India

The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AIECTA) will commence from 29 December 2022. Once in force, this agreement will provide:

  • 1000 Subclass 462 Work and Holiday Program visas for 18-31 year old Indians per year
  • Indian students graduating with First Class Honours bachelor degrees in STEM fields (including ICT) will be eligible for a total of three years on post-study visas.

We also expect labour market testing exemptions will be available. However, we don’t have a commencement date for this yet. Until then, all employers should continue to undertake labour market testing.

If you have any questions or would like more information on any of these updates, please contact our Migration Practice Director Rebecca Macmillan or Partner Rachel Drew.

Author: Rebecca Macmillan

The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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