As always, there is a flurry of information that is released before and shortly after the end of Australia’s financial year. No less than four emails were sent out to registered migration agents from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) concerning up and coming changes over the next couple of days.
Of significant note, is the release of the Premium Investor Visa regulations, which will add another stream to the Business Skills provisional (subclass 188) and permanent (subclass 888) visas. This Stream will require an investment of at least AUD 15 million and provide access to a permanent visa after 12 months.
The second news of note is that the rumoured drop of the minimum required points for the Innovation or Investor Stream provisional (subclass 188) visa stream from 65 to 50 has been postponed. Not much information had been previously released on this change except that one Australian State published on their website that this change was going to occur on 1 July 2015. This has since been corrected, or rather deleted, from existence.
The points test reduction has been postponed pending further stakeholder consultation. The original reasons for exploring such an amendment was due to low program numbers and to make these visas comparably more attractive. This is certainly a hard task when there are other cheaper, and quicker options already available. Take for instance an overseas business owner. It is sometimes feasible for their overseas business to open an Australian subsidiary. They may be able to sponsor the business owner for a 457 visa and, in most cases, a subsequent permanent employer sponsored visa down the track. This pathway is faster and easier with less of an evidentiary burden and far cheaper than a business skills visa, which may find itself become an option only for those approaching, or who are, 50 years or older. This is due to the limitations placed on permanent employer sponsored visas, making it more difficult for those who are 50 or older to meet the eligible criteria for grant.