Australian Immigration Visa Update in 2021

What to Expect from Australian Immigration in 2021


The Department of Home Affairs have announced several important changes to the Australian migration programme in 2021 to be implemented across of a range of visa programs. To begin the new year, we take a look at each key change to take effect for the upcoming year and what it could mean for you.


Migration Program Levels


Firstly, the quota for the migration programme will remain at 160,000 for the 2020-21 program year. Whilst the quota remains the same, the distribution of the quota will change. The family stream will increase from 47,732 places to 77,300 in efforts to reduce the current backlog in this particular program.


To facilitate the country’s economic recovery from the effects of Covid-19, visa subclasses under the Employer-Sponsored, Global Talent, Business Innovation and Investment programs will be afford priority. Those currently onshore and in particular, those in regional areas, will be the main priority for 2021 to directly encourage migration to regional Australia. 


Business, Investment and Innovation Program


The number of places available for the Business, Investment and Innovation program has increased to 13,500 for the 2021 in efforts to accelerate Australia’s economic recovery. The government will be streamlining and improving the operation of the Business Innovation and Investment Program from 1 July 2021, however, the visa application charge will also increase by 11.3% from this date.


The most significant amendment to the Business Innovation stream is that visa holders will now be required to hold a value of AUD 1,250,000 in business and personal assets, increased from AUD 800,000. The annual turnover threshold has also increased from AUD 500,000 to AUD 750,000, again, for the purpose of encouraging visa holders to establish high net worth businesses in Australia to assist in the country’s economic recovery.  


Updates on Offshore Family Visas


Importantly, the Federal Government have expressed their intention to waive the legislative requirement for certain Family visa applicants to be offshore at the time of decision. The waiver is anticipated to take effect in “early 2021” and means that applicants for the below visa subclasses who are currently in Australia will not be required to travel overseas in order to have their visa granted.


The specified visas are:

  • Subclass 101 Child Visa;
  • Subclass 102 Adoption Visa;
  • Subclass 445 Dependent Child Visa;
  • Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa;
  • Subclass 309 Partner Visa.

Effective from 10 December 2020, Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa holders who held this visa between 6 October 2020 and 10 December 2020 and were outside of Australia will be granted an extension until 31 March 2022.


State Migration Program Updates


The Australian States and Territories have finally been allocated their invitation quotas for the 2020/2021 financial year. The result of this is that that the Nomination programs for the Subclass 190 and 491 visas will begin reopening in the following months.


An update on the individual state programs will be available shortly.


Australian Values Statements


Applicants for new and pending visa applications will be asked to sign an Australian Values Statement and must declare to conduct themselves in accordance with Australian values and to obey all Australian laws. A separate Form 1281 will be required until the online systems are updated to capture the new wording of the statement.


PTE English Test Changes


The PTE language test will be adjusting the value of their scores to better align with the standards of the IELTS exams. The Department of Home Affairs are still accepting scores as per current regulations and are unlikely to apply the changes to already-lodged applications.


Transitional Arrangements for COVID-affected 457 and 482 Visa Holders


Concessions have been introduced for certain 457 and 482 workers who intend to apply for the subclass 186 visa through the Temporary Residence Transitional (TRT) stream and whose work has been affected due to COVID-19. The concessions allow applicants to claim periods of employment while working reduced hours or on unpaid leave since 01 February 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This concession is only available for applications in the TRT stream of the subclass 186 visa and means that any period of employment of reduced hours or unpaid leave since 01 February 2020 will be eligible towards the work experience requirement, so long as it was the result of Covid-19. 


Unpaid leave or reduced hours occurring prior to 01 February 2020 or that are unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be claimed.


In addition, applicants who would usually be exempt from the age requirement on the basis of having of annual earnings greater than the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) may now use a pro-rata threshold as an alternative. This takes into account any employment changes resulting from COVID-19 commencing from 01 February 2020. This concession is again only available to those applying under the TRT stream.


Are your looking for visa options?


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Tel:  +61 (07) 3876 4000


We will help you with exploring visa options and securing your application. No Borders Migration is experienced in the migration and Australian visa application, and our migration agents and lawyers have extensive knowledge in the legal requirements, eligibility criteria, and the supporting documents required. Simply dial 07 3876 4000 or email: [email protected] and let us help you start with your way towards obtaining an Australian visa.


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