Visas and Working in Australia – May 2023

28th April 2023 / Tips & Advice
Photo: Marcus Reubenstein

So it’s May 2023, interest rates are flying high, cost of living is really starting to pinch (COL for short if you like your acronyms), rental prices are next level and all we really want is to feel like we are back to normal – minus the economic pain thank you very much. Travel plans, family visits, catching up with friends and living or working overseas – have all become viable options again – yes!

Throughout the Pandemic, one thing everyone noticed was the lack of tourists, overseas students and immigration generally, and never more so than in recruitment did we feel the effects of Australia’s border policies. There was so much work and no Candidates, certainly very few locally as most had battened down the hatches as they prepared to ride out the Pandemic wave and absolutely no-one from other countries was around to fill those staffing gaps. Having been in the industry for a long time, this was an absolute first.

Fast forward past the lockdowns, past the vaccine discussions, mask mandates and a lack of toilet paper (yeah that was weird), we are now starting to see an increase in not only overseas applications but also those heading our way to either start a new life and relocate for good, have the year of their lives whilst earning some money on a gap year or study and work. At last!

Not withstanding the current economic climate, we are definitely feeling a sense of back to normal, regularly asking the “what type of Visa do you have?” question more and more as our Candidate pool increases with recently arrived or arriving professionals. As specialists in Architecture and Design, we can only speak for what we are experiencing right now, but it got us curious about what the Migration Agencies are finding and what tips, advice and info they might have that we could share with Candidates and Clients who are considering being sponsored or sponsoring as a business.

We know there were new Visa’s, extended Visa’s and other adaptations of Visas developed throughout the Pandemic, some of which are still in place, but the details? Nah we need experts for that and so we had a detailed chat with Tanya Tekuleka from First Class Migration Australia about all things Visa’s.

As we increasingly revert back to a pre-covid travel norm, we figured the more we know, the better we can help our Candidates and Clients.

 Senior Migration Agent

Q&A time with Tanya, here we come!

Out of interest Tanya, how busy has it been during the past 3 years for you as Immigration Agents? ie: were you affected by the Pandemic, or was it still busy, just in a different way?
Well at First Class Migration Australia we were still busy, as both offshore and onshore applicants required strategic advice and essential support during COVID to either return to Australia or seek other visa options.

What do find are the most popular Visa’s being taken up currently?
The 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa is still very popular for applicants who are already in Australia, working for an employer who wants to retain their skills. The skilled 189/190 program has also opened up considerably since COVID, we are seeing a large uptake of invitations issued in various occupations via this program resulting in more permanent visas being approved.

We are definitely seeing more working holiday Candidates, are you seeing more working holiday Visa Clients?
The WHM is a visa that most individuals apply for themselves, the Department of Immigration has applied a 30% cap increase to the number of places available under the subclass 462 Work and Holiday visa, this would imply they expect the number of applications to increase this 2022-23 program year. So yes definitely seeing an increase.

The 6-month rule on WHM Visa’s has now extended to 12 months is that correct?
It is temporarily, from 19 January 2023 to 30 June 2023, WHM can work in any sector, anywhere in Australia for the same employer organisation for longer than 6-months without a need to request permission from the Department of Immigration. So, if a WHM first entered Australia in January 2023 they could effectively remain working for the same employer for 12 months.

On that note, we have heard that the UK and Australia are developing a new Visa for workers allowing a three-year stay? is this true or complete dream land?
There is a FTA trade agreement that has been virtually signed in December 2021, but is not yet in effect. It is expected to be implemented within 2 years of the FTA entering into force. The new arrangements will include:

  • Applying for a WHM visa up to 35 years of age.
  • Be approved a 3-year WHM visa, removing the requirement to undergo any ‘specified work’.

Okay, that is great to know, and out of interest Tanya, do you see many people taking up the Visa agreement between the US and Australia? We certainly don’t tend to, do you?
No not really I would say quite limited.

I am curious to know for those looking at longer Visas, has the skilled profession list offering the Business Visa with a pathway to PR changed at all – ie: included more professions after is was trimmed down a few years ago?
At this stage there have no been changes to the skilled occupations lists, however, on the 2nd of September 2022, the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. Clare O’Neil MP, announced a comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system to ensure it better meets existing challenges and sets a clear direction for the coming decades. This may result in occupation lists changing in the near future, watch this space.

Definitely will be watching this space! So if you are going through the Visa process, the question everyone always has is what are the current wait times for Visas at the moment on average Tanya?
Processing time frames vary from visa to visa, they have reduced slightly over the recent months due to a government directive to process visas in the pipeline, good news for applicants all round.

  • The WHM 417 visa takes 1 day up to 2 weeks.
  • The WHM 462 visa takes 1 day up to 3 months.
  • The 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa has processing time frames anywhere between 2 and 12 months, variables such as occupation type and visa stream change these timings.

Okay let’s talk geography, at a guess from what counties are people most on the move to Australia?
According to the ABS in the 2021-22 financial year, India, China, Nepal and the Philippines were the top 4 countries arriving in Australia.

And for those going through the process, what are the biggest challenges for Visa seekers when trying to get their Visa approved?
I would probably have to say that understanding the requirements of a visa before applying is crucial, once a visa is lodged it is difficult to rectify or change data, potentially affecting the outcome of a visa. Be up front about any health or character concerns and seek advice from a professional regarding any issues in these areas so they can be addressed correctly.

Okay good tip!! As far as what First Class Migration do Tanya, do you service people leaving Australia or only those coming?
We only service those coming to Australia.

From Consultant to another, I interested to know, what are the biggest challenges in your role?
Actually, it would be telling clients what they don’t want to hear, we are required by law to be frank and candid. It can be challenging to advise someone they are not eligible for a visa they so desired or that the case is not straight forward. Emotions can play a big part of the process – very understandably.

On the flip side what do you love most about your role?
The sheer joy of helping someone achieve their visa goals, be that temporarily or permanent is a thrill that never goes away. Some clients wait years to achieve permanent residency, having arrived as students, worked for years to reach a point where they are eligible, it is heart warming to help any client obtain a visa to Australia any day of the week.

Love it – that must be amazing. So then on a finally note, as a professional migration Agency what would your advice to anyone heading to Australia from a Visa perspective?
Seek professional advice from a registered migration agent, visas are not straight forward, and a single mistake can cost someone their visa dream, for a small consultation fee it is worth investing in formal legal advice, so you are armed with the correct information at the beginning.

So there you have it – some inside info and insight into what’s happening with Visa’s and what to expect. We were incredibly grateful to Tanya for taking the time to fill us in from First Class Migration, it looks like there will be some interesting times ahead, possibly a few new Visa options and some changing of existing ones. Naturally this is a mere snapshot and it goes without saying that the Department of Immigration website will have all the latest and greatest news and details of any such changes.

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing more people come our way to live and work with us from all corners of the globe – of course with Visa in hand!

Jacqueline Liddicoat

Managing Partner

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