The new year brings changes to an ever-shifting Australian immigration system.

1. Longer processing times for partner visas

Because the Family Violence Bill passed in the Senate last November, partner visa sponsorships need to be approved first before applications are lodged. This means that potential offshore applicants and sponsors will have to pass through a stringent process to assess their character and history. This will then prolong the process of obtaining a partner visa.

2. An introduction of a new temporary sponsored parent visa

This year, Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to bring their parents from overseas to Australia.

Only 15,000 visas will be granted each year. Once approved, these parent visas will be valid for three or five years, costing $5,000 and $10,000 respectively.

The said visas are renewable, but only up to a maximum of 10 years when combined.

3. An increase in show money for foreign students to more than $20,000

This year, students have to be able to provide evidence of funds of around $20,290. Bringing in a partner is an additional $7,100 and an additional $3,040 needs to be provided for each child.

4. Matching ATO tax records to salaries of employer-sponsored migrants

This year, the Department of Home Affairs will be cracking down on companies underpaying employer-sponsored migrants. \

In partnership with the ATO, the department will be gathering the tax file numbers of those who currently hold a 457/482 TSS visa in order to match them with current tax records to make sure that the said migrants are being paid the right amount based on their nominated salary.

5. South Australia visa for start-up entrepreneurs

The state is set to pilot a new visa for start-up entrepreneurs which isn’t as difficult to obtain as a Business and Innovation visa. The said visa doesn’t require a $200,000 funding arrangement and only a 5 average band score on the IELTS.

Applicants are required to provide the state with an original idea and business plan in order to obtain this visa.

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