16 Jan DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS: Migration Amendment
DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS: Migration Amendment (Subclass 189 Visas – New Zealand Stream) Regulations 2022
Overview of the Disallowable Legislative Instrument.
New Zealand citizens who wish to live and work in Australia generally do so on a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa which allows them to work without restriction and live in Australia indefinitely. However, as it is a temporary visa, it does not provide all of the benefits of permanent residence. The New Zealand stream of the Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa provides a permanent residence option for New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated commitment to Australia, through long term residence, and who have made and can continue to make, a strong economic contribution to Australia’s future.
The Migration Amendment (Subclass 189 visas – New Zealand Stream) Regulations 2022 (the Regulations) amend the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Migration Regulations) to:
– provide significant concessions to the existing visa criteria for on-hand applications for the Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa in the New Zealand stream; and
– pause new applications for this stream from the commencement of the Amendment Regulations (10 December 2022) until 1 July 2023 to provide time for the Government to consider future arrangements for New Zealand citizens.
In particular, the amendments made by the Amendment Regulations provide that for Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa applications made in the New Zealand stream by primary applicants, before commencement of these amendments (on-hand applications), those 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. Instead, the only criteria to be met by primary applicants (and their family members) with on-hand applications are the existing common criteria for the Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa which relate to public interest criteria such as character, security, and certain other matters.
The purpose of the amendments is to support faster visa processing of these on-hand applications for this cohort of New Zealand citizens (and their family members) who have been living in Australia generally for a significant period of time and continued to work in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effect of the Amendment Regulations is that the criteria for Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa applications made in the New Zealand stream will revert to the previous (pre-10 December 2022) settings for new applications made on or after 1 July 2023 unless the Government decides to provide new beneficial arrangements for New Zealand citizens beforehand.