Migration Changes From 1 July

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30th June 2009, 07:33pm - Views: 873
Migration changes from 1 July

Changes to immigration processing and fees come into effect from 1 July 2009, demonstrating the Australian Government's ongoing commitment to legislative reform and improved service delivery.

The bulk of the reforms to the Migration Regulations 1994 and the Australian Citizenship Regulations 2007 were announced in the May Budget.

The cost of some visa application charges and citizenship fees will increase tomorrow to offset the wider costs associated with the operation of the migration and temporary entry program.

The majority of visa application charges were increased by a flat 20 per cent (no CPI) and then rounded to the nearest $5 increment.

A skilled independent visa first instalment application fee has increased from $2105 to $2525 and a student visa will increase from $450 to $540. Other visas have only been increased in line with the CPI. For instance, a tourist visa has increased from $100 to $105 because the tourist visa application fee was substantially increased in 2008-09.

Other changes to come into effect from 1 July include:
* removing the discrimination between same-sex and opposite-sex de facto couples and their children so they will be eligible to apply for all subclasses of visa which allow spouses and dependents;

* allowing subclass 410 retirement visa holders to apply for a visa which is valid for 10 years and removes the 20-hour a week work restriction, allowing them to make a greater contribution to the community, through, for instance, volunteering. These visa holders are retirees and their spouses who want to spend some of their retirement years in Australia;

* preventing split contributory parent visa applications by not allowing a permanent contributory parent visa holder from sponsoring their partner or fianc for a partner or prospective marriage visa for five years, ensuring they make the required contribution through the visa application charge to partially offset the significant costs of parent migration to the broader community; and

* extending work rights provisions for asylum seekers so that people who have remained lawful in Australia and actively engaged with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to resolve their visa status are permitted to work. Currently only those who apply within 45 days are granted work rights. Although people will still have no access to Centrelink benefits, the changes will alleviate the burden on Australian community and religious groups who provide support to asylum seekers.

Changes to the people trafficking visa framework also come into effect from 1 July, including offering to all identified suspected victims of people trafficking who are unlawful access to a bridging F visa and allowing it to be extended to 45 days, and including immediate family members of such victims who may be overseas, in the offer of a witness protection (trafficking) permanent visa.

Amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 and the Australian Citizenship Regulations 2007 can be viewed on the Department for Immigration and Citizenship website at: www.immi.gov.au/legislation/amendments

Media Contact:
Simon Dowding (08) 9481 4844 or 0411 138 541

SOURCE: Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

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