The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced a series of changes to come into effect on 23 November 2014.

Student Visa Changes – Streamlined Processing for Advanced Diploma courses

Australian educational institutions will welcome a the extension of the streamlined processing arrangements to Advanced Diploma students. Streamlined visa processing arrangements have previously only been available to Bachelor degree students and above who are enrolled with participating educational institutions. The benefit of streamlined visa processing is that students enrolled with participating universities and non-university higher education providers are assessed as they are a lower immigration risk, irrespective of their country of origin. Students are assessed as Assessment Level 1. This is a considerable improvement for students from countries such as India and China and will help to make Australia a destination of choice for international students.

 This amendment extends the streamlined arrangements to Advanced Diploma courses in the Vocational Education and Training sector as well as the Higher Education sector. The streamlined visa processing for Advanced Diploma courses commences on 23 November 2014.

Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay) visa

The Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay) visa allows non-ongoing work in Australia for up to three months. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has the discretion to decide on the length of time it will grant the visa for. For short term, highly specialised work, the maximum period of stay allowed under the Subclass 400 visa will increase from 3 to 6 months from 23 November 2014. Work needs to be highly specialised and “non-ongoing” which under policy means up to 6 weeks for a single or repeat trips adding up to 3 months.

In practice, the Department of Immigration is now more likely to grant a Subclass 400 visa for a stay of three (3) months and will also consider arguments about exceptional circumstances requiring six (6) months of stay.

The Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa remains the preferable option for work for more than 3 months.

Work and Holiday Visa Arrangements

Spain and Portugal have been added to the Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) program from 23 November 2014. This visa program is available to holders of the following passports who are between the ages of 18-31 years and meet certain requirements:

  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Chile
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Poland
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • USA
  • Uruguay

Applicants must meet certain educational criteria and not have a dependent child travelling with them.

PIC 4020 for Minors

From 23 November 2014 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will introduce an exception to the exclusion periods applied to Public Interest Criterion 4020  (PIC 4020). Where a person has had a visa refused on PIC 4020 grounds there is an automatic exclusion period which precludes a person from being granted a range of visas for a period of time (Minimum two years and up to 10 years).  A visa may be refused on PIC 4020 grounds if a person or a family member visa applicant had provided a bogus document, false or misleading information or failed to satisfy the Minister as to their identity in a visa application. The Department has the discretion to waive the exclusion period but only in a very limited range of circumstances.  Previously, the fact that a person was a minor when their visa was refused on PIC 4020 was not enough to persuade the Department to exercise their discretion to waive the PIC 4020 exclusion period. The amendment now provides the Department with the capacity to exempt applicants who were minors at the time of the refused visa application from being subject to the exclusion period.