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May 26, 2023

What are the visa changes from 1st July?

Changes to student visas

In an effort to address workforce shortages, student visa work restrictions were relaxed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and removed last January. This allowed primary and secondary student visa holders to work over the usual limit of 40 hours per fortnight. But from 1 July, this is capped at an increased rate of 48 hours per fortnight.

Also from this date, some holders of subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visas will be able to stay in Australia for a longer period.

The extension means a stay period of four years for Bachelor’s degree graduates (up from two years), five years for Master’s degree graduates (up from three) and six years for doctoral graduates (up from four)

Changes to visa fees

Visa application charges will rise by 6% above regular CPI indexation, as well as 15% for select visitor and temporary visa subclasses and 40% for business innovation and investment visas.

Citizenship pathway for New Zealanders

From 1 July 2023 (the start of Australia’s financial year), New Zealanders who have been living in Australia for four years or more. They will no longer need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa.

The changes apply to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) who arrived here after 26 February 2001. Those who are long-term residents will be able to have their period of permanent residence backdated.

The New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa is currently closed to new applications and will permanently close on 1 July.

New visa for Pacific migrants

A new visa will be introduced, providing 3,000 places for eligible Pacific Island migrants.

Spots for the Pacific Engagement visa (PEV) will be allocated by a ballot process each year, and those selected will be able to apply for permanent residence in Australia.

Applications will be able to be lodged online from July.

Changes for Working Holiday Makers

A concession allowing Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) to work for the same employer or organisation for longer than six months without requesting permission will also end on 1 July. The six-month working limitation was temporarily relaxed in January 2022 to address labour shortages during the pandemic.

Any work that is carried out before 1 July will not be counted towards the six-month limitation period. This means WHMs can work for any employer for up to an extra six months even if that work started before 1 July.

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