The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has been busy making changes. Here is our overview on some of the major changes announced by the Department.

Child Visa Lodgement

From 18 April 2015, all Child visa applications lodged in Australia must be lodged at the Perth Department of Immigration and Border Protection office. This change applies to Child Subclass 802, Orphan Relative Subclass 837 and Dependent Child Subclass 445 visas.

Subclass 485 and Subclass 476 English Language Test Changes

Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 and Skilled – Recognised Graduate Subclass 476  applicants will be allowed a lower English language test score to enable these visas to be more responsive to Australia’s labour market conditions. This change will allow applicants to apply with an overall  minimum English language score and a minimum score for each of the four English test components.

English test Minimumoverall Score Total overall score Minimum scores for English test components
Listening Reading Speaking Writing
IELTS 6 5 5 5 5
OET B B B B B
TOEFL iBT 64 4 4 14 14
PTE Academic 50 36 36 36 36
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) (taken on or after 1 January 2015) 169 154 154 154 154

Holders of valid passports from the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland will still meet the English language requirements based on their passports.

Points Tested Skilled Visa English Language Test Changes

For points tested skilled visas, (Skilled Independent Subclass 189, Skilled – Nominated Subclass 190, Skilled – Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489) will no longer be disadvantaged if their English test scores expire after being invited to apply for a visa, and the date of visa application. The English language requirement will apply as of ‘date of invitation’ and the test must be conducted in the period of three years immediately before the day on which the invitation to apply for a visa is issued. This change only applies to invited visas and not to Subclass 485 or Subclass 476 visas. For those visas, the English tests must continue to be valid as of date of lodgement of the visa application.

Holders of valid passports from the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland will still meet the English language requirements based on their passports.

Subclass 457 English Language Test Changes

The Department has also lowered the English language requirements for Subclass 457 visas and introduced new testing options:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Test of English as a Foreign language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT)
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)
  • Cambridge English Advanced Test (CAE) (where the test was completed after 1 January 2015)
English test for 457 visas Minimum band score Minimum scores for English components
Listening Reading Speaking Writing
IELTS Overall band score 5.0 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5
OET B B B B
TOEFL iBT Total band score 36 3 3 12 12
PTE Overall band score 36 30 30 30 30
CAE Overall band score 154 147 147 147 147

Holders of valid passports from the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland will still meet the English language requirements based on their passports.

Standard Business Sponsor Obligations

Currently, Standard Business Sponsors must notify the Department of Immigration and Border Protection within 10 working days  for notifiable events such as when a sponsored employee ceases employment,  where their a change in work duties and change in information. The purpose of this amendment is to extend the notifiable period to 28 calendar days.

This change commences on 18 April 2015

An update for State Nominated Visas

ACT Closes Subclass 190 Invitations for Overseas Applicants

The ACT has announced the closure of nominations for Subclass 190 visas until 1 July 2015. Nominations may still be considered for applicants living in Canberra and working in a skilled occupation provided they meet the nomination criteria.  This change is effective 3 April 2015.

SA – Immigration SA Update and Alerts

From June 2015, Immigration SA will introduce fees for skilled and business skilled nomination applications.

$200.00 for skilled nomination applications

$500 – $750 – for business nomination applications.