The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has recently flagged some important changes to visas that will come into effect from 18 November 2018. In short, greater scrutiny of applications and visa compliance.

Greater flexibility to cancel your temporary visa

Health Debts and Health Insurance Arrangements

Many temporary visas will now have a mandatory condition that a visa holder not have an outstanding public health debt. Should such a debt arise the temporary visa holder will be liable to have their visa cancelled.

The Minister will also introduce further legislation that sets out what is considered to be an adequate arrangement for health insurance. This will set out what type of health insurance is acceptable and will give decision makers greater discretion to deal with individuals who do not have adequate health arrangements.

Condition 8303 – a further ground for cancellation

This condition has now been expanded to state that a temporary visa holder must not become involved in activities that endanger or threaten any individual. It is likely that a charge or accusation of committing the above may be grounds to cancel a person’s visa.

In explaining these changes, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection acknowledged that;

The practical effect of these amendments is greater numbers of people being liable for consideration under the general cancellation provisions. Where a person’s visa is cancelled they will be liable for detention under section 189 of the Act and may be removed from Australia, including potentially in circumstances which lead to separation from family members in Australia.

Condition 8304 – Must use the same name

This new condition creates an obligation that a visa holder must use the same name to identify himself or herself in all official Australian identity documents. Any change to a person’s name will now require the individual to take reasonable steps to ensure the change is notified to the relevant body (e.g. Service SA) as soon as practicable.

The consequence of breaching any visa condition, like the new 8304, is the possibility that a visa may be cancelled.

Condition 8564 – Must not engage in Criminal Conduct

This condition had applied to a limited number of visa holders (those on Bridging Visa E’s). Now almost any temporary visa holder may have their visa cancelled if engaging in the above conduct. As with condition 8303 it is likely that a charge or accusation of criminal conduct may be grounds to cancel a person’s visa.

PIC 4020 – Public Interest Criteria

PIC 4020 currently includes an ability to refuse to grant a visa where an applicant has provided bogus documentation or false or misleading information in the 12 months before applying for a visa. From 18 November 2017 that period will be expanded to capture any applications made in the period of 10 years prior to the application.

Where and how to lodge partner and parent visas

From 18 November 2017 there will be changes to the forms, location and manner in which these applications can be lodged. It’s worth noting that failing to comply with lodgement rules results in lodging an ‘invalid application’.

Resident Return Visas (RRV)

From 18 November 2017 a person whose visa has been cancelled or subject to cancellation will no longer be eligible to apply or be granted the RRV. Until these changes, being considered for visa cancellation was not a lawful basis to be refused the grant of this visa.

Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa Update

The creation of this new visa has not passed through the Senate. Unfortunately, there is no timetable for its further consideration.

Perth – No Longer a Regional Area

A reminder that Perth is no longer considered a regional area of Australia for the purpose of Subclass 187 RSMS visas. Applications for positions in the Perth metropolitan area, without RCB certification will not be approved.

Did you know that the decision to remove Perth from the regional classification, may also impact 186/187 Temporary Residence Transition Stream applications where applicants are relying on an age exemption? Did you also know that 457 and 186 occupations with regional caveats are impacted? Thankfully, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will not be applying this change retrospectively to applications lodged before 17 November 2017.

Subclass 457 – Health Insurance Requirements

As of 18 November 2017, applicants for 457 visas will be required to declare that they have made adequate arrangements for health insurance in Australia, but not be required to provide evidence of this arrangement. Please note, however, that maintaining adequate arrangements for health insurance (which can include Medicare enrolment) is a condition imposed on all 457 visas and a failure to comply may lead to visa cancellation.