Selected Legislation Changes - July - December 2021

Change Details Effective from
 Agricultural Worker Visa

 Migration Amendment (Australian Agriculture Workers) Regulations 2021:

The Migration Amendment (Australian Agriculture Worker) Regulations 2021 (the Regulations) amend the Migration Regulations to insert a new Australian Agriculture Worker stream in the Subclass 403 (Temporary Work (International Relations)) visa, to provide for the entry and temporary stay of workers across primary industry sectors including horticulture, meat processing, dairy, wool, grains, fisheries (including aquaculture) and forestry in response to identified labour market gaps and workforce needs in primary industry sectors now and in the future. 

The new stream will be available to visa applicants who are participating in the Australian Agriculture Worker Program (the AAWP), and who are sponsored by an employer who is participating in the AAWP. 

The AAWP will be established on the basis of bilateral agreements with foreign governments, to be negotiated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade taking into consideration factors including the requirements of the Australian labour market and labour shortages in particular industry sectors.

Visa applicants participating in the AAWP will come from countries where the foreign government is a party to an agreement under the AAWP, in accordance with the requirements of the agreement as approved by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Visas granted in the AAW stream will be valid for up to 4 years, with multiple entries, and allow overseas workers who are part of the AAW Program to stay and work in Australia for a defined period of time specified by the Minister.

 30 September 2021
 Visitor Visa Arrangements

 Migration (arrangements for Visitor (Class FA) visa applications) Instrument (LIN 21/056) 2021:

The purpose of the instrument is to update the approved form, place and manner (“the arrangements”) requirements for making an application for a Visitor (Class FA) visa (Class FA visa).  The Subclass 600 (Visitor) visa (subclass 600) is the only subclass for the Class FA visa and has five streams: the Tourist stream, the Sponsored Family stream, the Business Visitor stream, the Approved Destination Status stream and the Frequent Traveller stream.  The instrument specifies the arrangements for making a visa application for each stream.  

 30 September 2021
Visitor Visa - Priority Consideration

Migration (Priority consideration for certain Visitor (Class FA) visa applications) Instrument (LIN 21/074) 2021:

This Instrument specifies that applications for SC 600 Visitor visas in the Tourist and Business streams for passport holders from the following countries will be given priority consideration:

- India
- China
- United Arab Emirates

The instrument also updates the arrangements for providing an application to the Department that were in place in IMMI 17/052. IMMI 17/052 provided that non-internet forms could be used to make a request for priority consideration. The instrument does not include non-internet forms and the associated way of making an application using those forms.

26 November 2021
300 Prospective Marriage Visa Refund - additional circumstances

Migration (VAC refunds for certain Prospective Marriage visas) Amendment Instrument (LIN 21/071) 2021: amends LIN 21/007

  The instrument specifies two additional circumstances in which the first instalment VAC for Prospective Marriage visa holders or former holders (visa holders) may be refunded. 

LIN 21/007 Compilation:

29 October 2021
300 Prospective Marriage Visa - validity extension

Migration Amendment (Prospective Marriage Visas) Regulations 2021:

 - providing for the extension of Subclass 300 (Prospective Marriage) visas to 31 December 2022 if the visa holder was outside Australia on 15 September 2021 and the visa was in effect on 15 September 2021.

15 September 2021
600 Visa - NIL VAC

LIN 21/097: Migration (Class of persons for Visitor (Class FA) visa nil VAC) Amendment Instrument (LIN 21/097) 2021 (No. 2) amends LIN LIN 21/021

The instruments amends LIN 21/021 to expand the class of persons who will pay a nil VAC for a new subclass 600 visa by extending the period in which a person’s visa expired, or will expire. 


 15 December 2021
Additional Visas for the Purpose of s48

Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Regulations 2021:

Schedule 1: amends regulation 2.12 to prescribe three skilled visa classes (190, 491, 494) as visas for which an application may be made in Australia by applicants who have been refused a visa or had a visa cancelled while in Australia and are prevented by section 48 of the Migration Act from applying for a visa other than a prescribed visa while remaining in Australia. - 13 November 2021

Schedule 2: makes routine amendments to incorporate instruments made under the Migration Regulations that update the places and currencies in which citizenship application fees may be paid and the relevant exchange rates.  - 1 January 2022

Hong Kong and BNO passport holder - pathway to permanent residency via 189 and 191

Migration Legislation Amendment (Hong Kong) Regulations 2021:

Schedule 1—British National (Overseas) passport holders

Schedule 1 extends previously granted temporary skilled and temporary graduate visas (Subclasses 457,482, 485), and provides for future grants of those visas to be for five years, if the primary visa holder held a British National (Overseas) passport when the visa was granted.  The changes mirror visa concessions for holders of Hong Kong passports, implemented by the Migration Amendment (Hong Kong Passport Holders) Regulations 2020.  British National (Overseas) passports are granted by the United Kingdom to persons who have the nationality of British National (Overseas) by virtue of their connection with Hong Kong prior to 1 July 1997.

Schedule 1 commences retrospectively immediately after the commencement of the Migration Amendment (Hong Kong Passport Holders) Regulations 2020, which commenced on 9 July 2020.  The aim is to put the holders of British National (Overseas) passports in the same position that holders of Hong Kong passports were placed in from 9 July 2020.

Schedule 2—Pathways to permanent residence

Schedule 2 creates pathways to permanent residence for temporary skilled and temporary graduate visa holders from Hong Kong, and their family members, who come within the concessional arrangements for both Hong Kong passport holders and British National (Overseas) passport holders:

  • for primary visa holders who have lived, worked and studied exclusively in a designated regional area, access to permanent residence after three years via a new stream in the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa;

  • for all primary visa holders, access to permanent residence after four years via a new stream in the Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa; and

  • for all members of the family unit of the primary visa holders that are eligible for the permanent visas. There are no age restrictions on dependent children, but they are required to be still living in Australia to be eligible.

Schedule 2 commences on 5 March 2022 in line with the systems release of the new visa streams.


Schedule 3—Commencement of Schedule 3 to the Migration Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019

Schedule 3 brings forward the commencement of Schedule 3 to the Migration Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019 from 16 November 2022 to 5 March 2022.

5 March 2022
LMT International Obligations

Migration (International trade obligations relating to labour market testing) Determination (LIN 21/075) 2021:

The purpose of the instrument is to determine Australia’s obligations under international trade agreements under subsection 140GBA(2) of the Act, to give domestic effect to those obligations for the purposes of applying the labour market testing condition.

Prior to the instrument being made, the international trade obligations were determined for subsection 140GBA(2) in two separate instruments, LIN 20/029 and LIN 18/219. The instrument consolidates the international trade agreements determined in those two instruments into one instrument, and includes one additional trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).

Australian citizenship - Special residence requirements

Australian Citizenship (special residence requirement) Instrument (LIN 21/069) 2021:

The instrument broadens the special residence requirement from IMMI 13/056 by specifying additional activities, organisations and kinds of work. In particular, the instrument:

· adds participation in the Commonwealth Games as a specified activity for section 22A of the Act;

· adds Commonwealth Games Australia as a specified organisation for section 22A of the Act; and

· updates the specified kinds of work for section 22B of the Act, by specifying additional kinds of work done by a primary holder of a relevant talent visa, related to the area of internationally recognised record of outstanding and exceptional achievement for which the visa was granted. Specified work now includes the arts (expanded from writing, visual or performing arts in IMMI 13/056), academia and research, a profession and sport. Relevant talent visa is defined in section 3 of the instrument.

13 October 2021
Temporary Safe Heaven Visa 449 extension

Migration (Extension of visa period for certain temporary safe haven visas) Instrument (LIN 21/078) 2021:

449 visa wil be extended until 30 November 2022 (deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan).

12 November 2021
201 (In-country Special Humanitarian) visa for 449 holders

Migration Amendment (Humanitarian Response to Events in Afghanistan) Regulations 2021:

amend provisions relating to application for, and grant of, a permanent visa known as the Subclass 201 (In-country Special Humanitarian) visa, so that the visa can be applied for by, and granted to, holders of Subclass 449 (Humanitarian Stay (Temporary)) visas who are in a class of persons specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument.

13 November 2021

408 AGEE:

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 and

FIFA Women's World Cup 2023

Migration (ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 and FIFA Women's World Cup 2023—AGEEs) Instrument (LIN 21/049) 2021:

The purpose of the instrument is to specify two AGEEs and the related class of persons for each event, for clause 408.229 of Schedule 2 to the Regulations.  The events are the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Women’s World Cup 2023 (FWWC 2023) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Twenty20 World Cup 2022 (ICC Men’s T20WC 2022).

13 November 2021

189NZ Income Exemptions

Migration (Income Threshold and Exemptions for Subclass 189 Visa (New Zealand Stream)) Amendment Instrument (LIN 21/048) 2021: amends LIN 21/018

The purpose of this instrument (LIN 21/048) is to amend LIN 21/018 to include an exemption for New Zealand citizens who are unable to meet the income threshold requirements for the 2020-21 income year due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand citizen applicants will only be able to use this COVID-19 concession for one of the required income years. That is, the applicants can only claim income exemptions under this category for either the 2019-20 income year or the 2020-21 income year, but not for both years. 


13 November 2021

462 Updated Arrangements

LIN 21/085: Migration (Arrangements for Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) Visa Applications) Amendment Instrument (LIN 21/085) 2021 amends LIN 21/019


- Switzerland added to a list of eligible countries
- citizens of Ecuador or Greece will be required to provide evidence of home government support
- citizens of Switzerland or Uruguay are exempt from providing evidence of home government support

1 January 2022

Government Announcements

- concessions for 457/482STSOL visa holders to improve access to PR
- extension of 489, 491, 494 visas to meet regional requirements for PR
- replacement visas for 485 holders offshore who have been unable to travel to Australia
- increasing the length of 485 visa on basis of study of Masters by coursework and VET courses
- simplifying requirements for 485GWS
- increased recognition of time spent studying online offshore to qualify for 485

 25 November 2021

Travel Restrictions Updates

The human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 will be extended for a further two months. These arrangements, which have been in place since 18 March 2020 to protect Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue until 17 February 2022.

These Determinations include: 

1. Mandatory pre-departure testing and mask wearing for international flights
2. Restrictions on international travel from high risk countries 
3. Restrictions on outbound international travel for unvaccinated Australians
4. Restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory (this Determination will be reviewed monthly).  

From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. This includes eligible visa holders in Australia seeking to depart and return.



2021 ANZSCO release:

This release of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) was limited to a targeted update of occupations relating to agriculture, cyber security and naval ship building. The updates in this release have been made by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in consultation with other Australian Government Agencies.


Digital Passenger Declaration

Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Digital Passenger Declaration) Regulations 2021:

 A traveller who chooses to provide the relevant information in a DPD will be exempt from the requirement to complete a passenger card or crew declaration for the purposes of immigration and customs clearance. The Digital Passenger Declaration Regulations will support the rollout of the DPD, including the initial trial basis, for arrivals into Australia by air, from December 2021.

It introduces grounds to provide a discretion to cancel a visa if the DPD in relation to the visa holder was incorrect at the time it was provided, or if the visa holder or a person in charge of the visa holder on the relevant flight or voyage has provided incorrect information in relation to the DPD.

Migration (Digital Passenger Declaration—Circumstances where Passenger Card also required) Instrument (LIN 22/015) 2022:

The purpose of the instrument is to specify circumstances, for subregulation 3.03AB(2) of the Regulations, in which a clearance officer may require a person to provide a completed passenger card. 

14 December 2021

Autonomous Sanctions Amendment

Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Magnitsky‑style and Other Thematic Sanctions) Regulations 2021:

This instrument amends the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011, Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958, and Migration Regulations 1994 to introduce new thematic listing criteria to enable the Minister for Foreign Affairs to list persons and entities for the purposes of applying targeted financial sanctions and travel bans.

21 December 2021

Migration Agents Code of Conduct changes

Migration (Migration Agents Code of Conduct) Consequential Amendments Regulations 2021:

These regulations amend the Migration Agents Regulations 1998 to repeal the current Migration Agents Code of Conduct from 1 March 2022, and make amendments consequential to that repeal and the introduction of a new Code.

Migration (Migration Agents Code of Conduct) Regulations 2021:

These regulations prescribe a new Migration Agents Code of Conduct from 1 March 2022.

1 March 2022

Places and Foreign Currencies for paying fees

Migration (Payment of visa application charges and fees in foreign currencies) Instrument (LIN 22/001) 2022:

The purpose of the instrument is to specify the exchange rates and foreign currencies used to make payments of certain fees, for paragraph 5.36(1A)(a) of the Regulations, from 1 January 2022. 

Migration (Places and currencies for paying of fees) Instrument (LIN 22/002) 2022:

The purpose of the instrument is to specify Australia and a number of foreign countries for paragraph 5.36(1)(a) and the associated currency, or currencies, in which a fee may be paid in that country for paragraph 5.36(1)(b).  

1 January 2022
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Recent News

  • 189NZ Requirements Relaxation - 10 December 2022


    Applicants are not required to satisfy the New Zealand stream specific criteria relating to a period of residence in Australia, minimum taxable income and health. In addition, family members of primary applicants who made a Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa application in the New Zealand stream prior to the commencement of the Amendment Regulations are also not required to satisfy the health criteria. This applies to only already lodged application before 10 December 2022. More info in the legislative update summary


  • 408 AGEE COVID-19 VISA UPDATE - 14 MAY 2021


    The updated legislation dealing with 408 Covid-19 Pandemic Visa came in effect today.

    We have prepared a structured summary of requirements for this visa on our website:

  • Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List - September 2020


    The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) identifies 17 occupations which fill critical skills needs that support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19 based on expert advice from the National Skills Commission and consultation with Commonwealth departments. More info here

  • New GSM points test 16 November 2019


    We prepared a new interactive GSM points test that will be in place after 16 November 2019 - check your points score here

  • New skilled occupation lists 11 March 2019


    New occupation lists came in force on 11 March 2019

Older »

Migration Agents Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct for registered migration agents is set out in legislation to regulate the conduct of registered migration agents. 

The Code of Conduct:

(a) protects clients of migration agents; and

(b) strengthens the integrity of the immigration advice industry and Australia’s immigration system.

Provision for a Code of Conduct for migration agents is set out in Section 314 of the Migration Act 1958.

Consumer protection - see MARA Consumer Guide.

We Are a Member of the MIA

Migration Institute of Australia

Ales Welter (MIA:10623) is a member of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA). MIA members must abide by a Code of Ethics and Practice which is designed to protect members and the reputation of the profession by assisting agents to maintain the highest standards of professionalism.

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