ImmiAccount down after 29 June; facial images required for TSS and ENS/RSMS visas from 1 July 2018

Small modifications to the ImmiAccount platform (the Department of Home Affairs' platform to lodge visa applications online) will take place over the weekend. Normally, a shutdown occurs close of business on 30 June, however, as that falls on a weekend, migration agents have been advised to lodge any incomplete applications by close of business 29 June.

Among the updates will be the requirement for employer sponsored visa applicants to provide a separate biometric facial image as part of their application, which is a smart way of saying a passport-style photo. Employer sponsored visas include:

  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visas,
  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme visas, and
  • Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visas.

This will be a separate requirement to the visa applicants’ photo in their passport. Furthermore, any application will require it to fit within a certain frame, as is the current case with citizenship applications. There are tools within the application form to rotate, resize and centre the image into the field.

Why this is now necessary is not known, however, given there has been integrity issues reported with 186 and 187 visa applications, most likely these biometric facial image will assist in intelligence gathering and fraud prevention.

Other changes from 1 July 2018, include:

  • Adding the Pacific Labour Scheme stream to the Subclass 403 - Temporary Work (International Relations) stream,
  • Enabling Bridging visa E applications online,
  • Enabling eligible Subclass 444 – Special Category visa, Transitional Permanent visa, and Subclass 200 – Refugee visa holders to apply for Resident Return visas online.

With only a few days to go, some applicants will be scrambling to get their applications in to also avoid visa applicant charge increases.