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Australian Immigration Update - 1 Jan 2013

17.01.2013 05:55 Age: 5 yrs

On the 1st January 2013, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (the Department) introduced several important changes to Australia’s immigration program. These changes have had a significant impact on several Australian visa sub-classes. 

Changes to Australian Skilled Visas

From the 1st January 2013, all Points Tested skilled migration visas will now only be available via SkillSelect under the following categories:

SkillSelect is an online service which enables overseas skilled workers and business people who are interested in migrating to Australia to register their details online, and be considered for an Australian skilled visa after submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI).  Based on the quality of their EOI, intending migrants may subsequently be invited to apply for a particular skilled visa

From 1st January 2013, visa sub-classes 885, 886 and 487 ceased. The Department of Immigration no longer accepts new applications for these visas.

Changes to Skilled Graduate (Subclass 485) Visa

The Skilled Graduate (Subclass 485) visa is utilised by overseas students who have completed their studies in Australia and wish to undertake graduate work in Australia.

The 485 skilled visa affords graduate students the right to spend 18 months in Australia with full work rights.

On 1st January 2013, old transitional arrangements for the 485 visa ceased.

This cessation of transitional arrangements means that any student applying for a Graduate Skilled Visa after the 1st January 2013 must now nominate an occupation on the current SOL, which lists approximately 190 occupations.

You can view the current Skilled Occupation List here:


In addition to the abolition of transitional arrangements for this visa type, the application fee for the 485 visa has significantly increased as of 1st January 2013.

  • The previous fee of $315 for this visa sub-class has now risen to $1,250. This is a rise of nearly %300.

The Department has also indicated that in early 2013, the current 485 visa will be revamped, resulting in a new visa - the Temporary Graduate 485 visa. 

The new 485 visa will incorporate an additional easier application pathway, and it is anticipated this pathway will make the application process for a 485 visa much simpler for new students to Australia. 

The new pathway will be called The Post Study Work Stream. It is expected that applicants for this new stream of the 485 visa will be required to demonstrate the following;

  • they have applied for their first student visa on or after the introduction of the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) program on 5th November 2011, 
  • they have studied in Australia in an approved course for at least two years full time,
  • they can demonstrate competent English skills,
  • they have passed a medical and police check.

Changes to Partner Visas

Partners or fiancés of Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents may apply to enter Australia temporarily or permanently based upon that relationship status.

Applications for Partner visas can be made either from within Australia or from overseas.

From 1st January 2013, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship increased the application fees for Partner visas by %30.

This increase has affected these visa types as follows;

  • The fee for the Partner Onshore (Subclass 820/801) visa has increased from $3,060 to $3,975.
  • The fee for the Partner Offshore (Subclass 309/100) visa has increased from $2,060 to $2,680.
  • The fee for the Prospective Marriage (Fiance) (Subclass 300) visa has also increased from $2,060 to $2,680.

Changes to Working Visas

Two of the most utilised Australian working visa categories are Working Holiday visas and Employer Sponsored Temporary Work visas.

From 1st January 2013, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have increased the fee for these visas by %30.

This increase has affected these visa types as follows;

  • The fee for the Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa has increased from $350 to $455.
  • The fee for the Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visa has increased from $280 to $365.
  • The fee for the Working Holiday (Subclass 462) visa has also increased from $280 to $365.

Changes to Trades Recognition Australia Guidelines

Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) has announced that a new version of the Migration Skills Assessment (MSA) and Migration Points Advice (MPA) Applicant Guidelines will become effective from 14th January 2013 for applications lodged  with TRA.

This new version of the Guidelines is expected to include changes or clarification regarding:

  • the use of statutory declarations as supporting evidence.
  • documents required as evidence of paid employment.
  • the required number of years of employment under supervision for applicants with a qualification issued based on Recognised Prior Learning.

If you would like to discuss your options in making an application for an Australian visa in 2013, or how these changes will affect your current and/or future Australian visa status, please choose from one of our migration advice services.


Australian Migration Lawyer


Established in 2002, Haag Walker Lawyers has successfully assisted thousands of Australian businesses and individuals to navigate migration law requirements.
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