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AUSTRALIA – Major Changes to Temporary Work Visas from 24 November 2012

The Australian government announced yesterday that the Migration Regulations will be amended with effect from 24 November 2012. The amendments are intended to simplify Australia’s visa regime. The changes are significant: 12 temporary work visa categories will cease to exist, replaced by three new temporary work visa categories. Changes to the current Subclass 420 and Subclass 457 visas categories will also take effect.

Three New Categories Replace Twelve Old

Three new categories of temporary work visa are introduced, which between them replace twelve old categories. The new categories are as follows:

New Subclass 401 (Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity)) Visa

The 401 visa requires nomination by a long stay activity sponsor and incorporates an Exchange stream (for applicants participating in an exchange of staff), a Sport stream, and a Religious Worker stream.

It replaces the Exchange (Subclass 411) visa, Sport (Subclass 421) visa, and Religious Work (Subclass 428) visa subclasses.

New Subclass 402 (Training and Research) Visa

The 402 visa incorporates a Research stream; an Occupational trainee stream which requires nomination by a Training and Research sponsor; and a Professional Development stream which requires nomination by a Professional Development sponsor.

It replaces the Occupational Trainee (Subclass 442) visa, the Visiting Academic (Subclass 419) visa, and the Professional Development (Subclass 470) visa.

New Subclass 403 (Temporary Work (International Relations)) Visa

The 403 visa does not require sponsorship and incorporates streams for applicants covered by an international government agreement or who direct the operations in Australia of certain language institutes; applicants who are to be employed as representatives of certain foreign government agencies or as foreign language teachers in Australian schools; applicants who undertake domestic duties in the households of holders of diplomatic visas; and applicants accorded privileges and immunities.

It replaces the Subclass 406 (Government Agreement) visa, the Subclass 415 (Foreign Government Agency) visa, the Subclass 426 (Domestic Worker - Diplomatic or Consular) visa, and the Privileges and Immunities provisions currently in the Subclass 456 (Business (Short Stay)) and Subclass 457 (Business (Long Stay)) visa.

Amendments to Subclasses 457 and 420

Amended Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) Visa

Subclass 457 (Temporary Business Long Stay) will be renamed Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa.

The amendments repeal the existing Subclass 427 Domestic Worker (Executive) and Subclass 422 (Medical Practitioner) visas. These will be officially incorporated into the subclass 457 which, actually, has provided for medical practitioners since 14 September 2009, with the 422 subclass having been closed to new applicants since July 2010.

Domestic worker applications will now need to be handled under the Labour Agreement provisions of Subclass 457 which, in effect, means that approvals will be granted in exceptional circumstances only.

Amended Subclass 420 (Temporary Work (Entertainment)) Visa

The Subclass 423 (Media and Film Staff) visa will be repealed and incorporated into the current Subclass 420 (Temporary Work (Entertainment)) visa, with some provisions covered in the Subclass 456 visa and the Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa.

Action Items

  • Note that twelve old visa subclasses have been incorporated into three new subclasses
  • Note that the 457 category now covers domestic workers (in exceptional circumstances) and entirely replaces the old 422 (Medical Practitioner) route

This news alert was prepared using information obtained from the Australian government

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.