Selected Legislation Changes - January-March 2021

Change Details Effective from
 408AGEE Covid-19 changes

 LIN20/283 COVID‑19 Pandemic event for Subclass 408 (Temporary Activity) visa and visa application charge for Temporary Activity (Class GG) visa) Amendment Instrument
https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00025 amends LIN20/229: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020L01145

Compilation:https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021C00039

-  The instrument operates to amend LIN 20/229, to specify in new subsections 8(3) and (4) an additional class of persons

- Under new subsection 8(3), an applicant is in a class of persons in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, if the applicant:

a. holds or held a substantive temporary visa which is either 90 days or less from ceasing to be in effect or ceased to be in effect not more than 28 days before the visa application is made; and

b. is currently employed, or has received an offer of employment, in one of the following sectors: aged care, agriculture, child care, disability care, food processing or health care.

- New subsection 8(4) creates a subset of the class of persons specified in subsection 8(3). Subsection 8(4) specifies separate requirements for applicants in relation to employment in the agricultural sector if the applicant:

a. holds or held a Subclass 403 (Temporary Work (International Relations)) visa in the Seasonal Worker Program stream that is 90 days or less from ceasing to be in effect or ceased to be in effect not more than 28 days before the visa application is made; and

b. is employed, or has received an offer of employment, from an approved employer under the Seasonal Worker Programme.

- The instrument amends the class of person specified in subsection 8(2) of LIN 20/229 to include any applicant whose substantive temporary visa is 90 days or less from ceasing to be in effect. This is beneficial to applicants in this class as they may now apply for a Subclass 408 visa before their current visa expires. This amendment ensures the 90 day timeframe is applied consistently in relation to aged care work under either subsection 8(2) or (3) of LIN 20/229.

 6 January 2021
408AGEE Post COVID-19 economic recovery event

LIN 21/008: Post COVID-19 economic recovery event for Subclass 408 visas) Instrument https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00159

The purpose of the instrument is to specify an Australian Government endorsed event and a class of persons in relation to that event. The period of recovery from the economic effects of COVID-19 in Australia is a specified event under paragraph 408.229(b) of Schedule 2 to the Migration Regulations.

An applicant will be in the specified class if:

· they are employed full time as an essential staff member of a business that is relocating to Australia and will assist in Australia’s response to the economic effects of COVID-19 (paragraph (a));

· they will assist with the establishment of the business’s operations in Australia (paragraph (b));

· they make an application for a Subclass 408 visa in relation to the event between 27 February 2021 and 30 June 2022 (paragraph (c));

· they have not previously been granted a Subclass 408 visa in relation to the event specified in section 4 (paragraph (d)).

 27 February 2021
Regional Areas

Migration (Regional Areas) Instrument 2020: LIN 20/292 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00044

The instrument specifies parts of Australia to be a designated city or major regional centre or a regional centre or other regional area for the purposes of new regulation 1.15M.

20 January 2021
Preventative Biosecurity Measures

Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements—Incoming International Flights) Determination 2021: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00061

Biosecurity (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Preventative Biosecurity Measures—Incoming International Flights) Determination 2021: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00062

The purpose of this legislative instrument is to place an obligation on:

· passengers and aircrew travelling on an international flight not to enter Australia unless they have worn a face mask or face covering for the duration of the flight, including during any connecting travel; and

· passengers travelling on an international flight not to enter Australia unless they are able to provide sufficient evidence that they were tested for COVID-19 and that the result was negative. The test is required to be obtained within 72 hours before the scheduled departure time or within 72 hours of the person’s connecting flight; and

· passengers and air crew travelling on an international flight not to enter Australia if, within 72 hours before the flight commenced, a close contact of the person tested positive for COVID-19; and

· aircraft operators not to land in Australia unless the airline operator took all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that all passengers and aircrew travelling into Australian territory from overseas wear a face mask or face covering for the duration of the international flight and that passengers have complied with the requirements in relation to testing. These requirements on airline operators apply to all incoming flights, including private aircraft.

21 January 2021
Onshore grants for visa 101, 102, 300, 309, 445 and other covid-19 related changes

Migration Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Regulations 2021: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00136

Schedule 1 – Facilitating onshore grants of certain offshore visa applications – enables certain family visas (Subclass 101 (Child), 102 (Adoption), 300 (Prospective Marriage), 309 (Partner (Provisional)) and 445 (Dependent Child) visas), for which the applicant would normally be required to be outside Australia when the visa is granted, to be granted to an applicant who is in Australia and is affected by COVID-19 related travel restrictions, in certain circumstances.

Schedule 2 – Subclass 300 (Prospective Marriage) visas – enables the Minister to grant a Subclass 300 (Prospective Marriage) visa with a validity period that is longer than the current 9 months (but not longer than 15 months) in order to assist applicants who have been impacted by COVID-19 related travel restrictions. These amendments apply to Subclass 300 visas granted on or after 27 February 2021, whether the application was made before, on or after that date, so that existing applicants can benefit from this change.

Schedule 3 –Temporary Skill Shortage (Class GK) visas – ensures a nil visa application charge (VAC) is payable by Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa applicants who are in a class of persons specified in a legislative instrument. It is intended that the instrument will specify persons who previously held a relevant temporary skilled work visa (a Subclass 482 visa or a Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa) and were unable to enter Australia as a result of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are seeking a Subclass 482 visa to enter Australia.

Schedule 4 – Distinguished Talent (Class BX) visas – changes the name of the visa to Global Talent to reflect a focus on the Government’s Global Talent Program, and provides for grant of the visa to applicants who are endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Global Business and Talent Attraction and who the Minister is satisfied are likely to make a significant contribution to the Australian economy if the visa is granted.

Schedule 5 – Application and transitional provisions – provides for the application of Schedules 2 and 4, and enables the grant of Subclass 124 (Distinguished Talent) and Subclass 858 (Distinguished Talent) visas to existing applicants who are affected by COVID-19 related travel restrictions and are therefore unable to meet the current requirements in relation to their location at the time the visa is granted.

27 February 2021
NIL VAC for some 600 applicants

LIN 21/021: Class of persons for Visitor (Class FA) visa nil VAC) Instrument https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00150

The purpose of the instrument is to specify that certain former Subclass 600 (Visitor) visa (Subclass 600 visa) holders can apply for a new Subclass 600 visa with a nil visa application charge (VAC) where their travel to or stay in Australia (or both) has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amended by LIN21/033: Migration (Class of persons for Visitor (Class FA) visa nil VAC) Amendment Instrument (LIN 21/033) 2021 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00534

The instrument amends LIN 21/021 to clarify the applicants for a Subclass 600 visa who are in a class of person for a nil VAC. 

27 February 2021
NIL VAC for some 482 applicants

LIN 21/206: Class of persons for Temporary Skill Shortage (Class GK) visa nil VAC Instrument https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00158

The purpose of the instrument is to specify that certain former visa holders can apply for a new visa with a nil visa application charge (VAC) where their travel to and, or stay in, Australia has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

27 February 2021
REFUND OF VAC for 300, 403PLS, 403SWP, 417 and 462 holders

LIN 21/007: Refund of Visa Application Charge) Instrument 2021 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00160

The purpose of the instrument is to specify circumstances under these provisions to allow refunds of the first instalment of visa application charge. Refunds are being made available in respect of visa holders and former visa holders who have been impacted due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions introduced on 20 March 2020 and hold, or have held, the following visas:

· Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage (Temporary) visa (section 5 to the instrument);

· Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa in the Pacific Labour Scheme stream (PLS visas) (section 6);

· Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa in the Seasonal Worker Program stream (SWP visas) (section 7);

· Subclass 417 Working Holiday (Temporary) visa (section 8); and

· Subclass 462 (Work and Holiday) visa (section 9).

27 February 2021
462 - changes in government support letters

LIN 21/019: Arrangements for Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) Visa Applications) Instrument https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00152

The purpose of the instrument is to update the following requirements in relation to applications for Work and Holiday (Temporary) (Class US) visas (Class US visas): the list of countries where an applicant is exempt from providing evidence of home government support; the education requirements for applicants from various countries; and the place and manner for making an application. 

1 March 2021
Travel Restrictions for Australian citizens/PR travelling to NZ lifted

Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Overseas Travel Ban Emergency Requirements) Amendment (No. 1) Determination 2021  https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00268

It  amends the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Overseas Travel Ban Emergency Requirements) Determination 2020 (the Determination) so that travel to New Zealand is no longer prohibited by the Determination. Travellers must be present in Australia for 14 days immediately before the flight or voyage of the outgoing aircraft or vessel commences to New Zealand. The travel must be directly to New Zealand.

22 March 2021
Education Tuition Regulations Amendment

Migration Legislation Amendment (English Tuition) Regulations 2021 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00262

· make consequential amendments to the Immigration (Education) Regulations following removal of the limit of 510 hours on the Commonwealth’s obligation to provide English courses under the Immigration (Education) Act;

· update provisions of the Migration Regulations for the refund, in certain circumstances, of the second instalment of the visa application charge paid by relevant applicants who do not commence an approved English course for which they are eligible under the Immigration (Education) Act; and

· update the prescribed evidence of functional English for the purposes of the Migration Regulations to take account of the fact that providers of approved courses under the Immigration (Education) Act will no longer be making determinations that a person has functional English.

19 April 2021
Parent visa - covid-19 concessions

Migration Amendment (Parent Visas) Regulations 2021 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00293

amend the Migration Regulations to provide for:

· the grant of Subclass 103 (Parent), Subclass 143 (Contributory Parent), and Subclass 173 (Contributory Parent (Temporary)) visas to applicants who are usually required to be outside Australia when the visa is granted but are in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic under certain circumstances; and

· the grant of Subclass 804 (Aged Parent) and Subclass 864 (Contributory Aged Parent) visas to applicants who are usually required to be in Australia when the visa is granted but are outside Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic under certain circumstances.

The Regulations also make consequential changes to ensure that certain rights to merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal are maintained. 

24 March 2021
Skills assessing authorities for 186 visa - changes

Migration (Specification of Occupations and Assessing Authorities—Subclass 186 Visa) Amendment Instrument (LIN 21/009) 2021 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L00294 amend LIN 19/049

The purpose of the instrument is to update the specified assessing authorities in relation to the following occupations: chief executive or managing director, corporate general manager, engineering manager, childcare centre manager and podiatrist. T

he instrument updates the names of assessing authorities that have changed, and implements changes to assessing authorities for particular occupations.

24 March 2021
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