Newsletter 182

Exit tax to increase -Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Act 2024 

On 8th March 2024, royal assent was granted to this legislation. Effective from 1st July, it modifies the Passenger Movement Charge Act of 1978, implementing a budgetary measure from the Australian Government’s 2023-24 Budget. This measure entails an increase in the passenger movement charge, a tax levied on individuals leaving Australia for another nation, regardless of their return. The amendment raises the charge per person from $60 to $70 for those departing Australia on or after 1st July 2024. However, individuals departing with tickets purchased or issued before 1st July 2024 will still be subject to the previous charge of $60.

LMT not required for Malaysian citizens or nationals  

The Department has confirmed that Malaysian nationals and citizens are no longer subject to Labor Market Testing (LMT). This decision stems from their interpretation that individuals falling under the category of Contractual Service Suppliers, not covered by other categories in International Trade Obligations (ITO), are exempt from LMT as per relevant trade agreements. Consequently, Malaysian citizens or nationals fall within this exemption. The Department is currently in the process of revising their Procedural Instructions to align with this interpretation.

State and Territory nominations for February 2024 

The Department’s website has been updated with the number of nominations made by State and Territory governments for SC 190 and SC 491 for the month of February. Between 31 January 2024 and 29 February 2024, the number of nominations made by each State and Territory government are the following:  

Visa Subclass   ACT   NSW   NT    QLD    SA      TAS    VIC    WA  
Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)  2  662  4  54  0  50  299  92 
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491)State and Territory Nominated   1  95  4  47  117  52  75  57 

New ACS Migration Skills Assessment launches March 2024 

ACS will introduce a new Migration Skills Assessment portal in March 2024. According to information provided on their website, the updated process promises the following benefits:

  1. Accelerated processing times with decisions possible within as little as 15 days.
  2. Enhanced flexibility allowing applicants to apply for up to three ANZCO codes simultaneously for a single fixed fee.
  3. Improved clarity and guidance to enhance the likelihood of a successful first application.
  4. Real-time updates enabling applicants to monitor their application status via a user-friendly dashboard.

For individuals who have initiated a Migration Skills Assessment application but have yet to pay the associated fee, ACS advises completing the application and making payment by midnight (AEDT) on Sunday, March 24, 2024.

ACS Navigating IT Migration in Australia report 

ACS has published a fresh report named “ACS Skilled Journeys: Navigating IT Migration in Australia.” This study, conducted by ACS, delves into migration and employment outcomes among technology sector professionals who have arrived in Australia since 2017.

The report offers a comprehensive examination of the experiences, obstacles, and contributions of skilled ICT migrants. It marks the inception of a novel longitudinal tracking program initiated by ACS. Initially, a survey was dispatched to 64,000 ICT skilled migrants. The objective of this research is to furnish a foundation of knowledge to shape policy decisions and foster engagement with both industry stakeholders and applicants.

Key discoveries from the report include:

  • A significant proportion of skilled ICT migrants enjoy high employment rates in Australia, with over 90% securing jobs, and 80% within the IT sector.
  • Regional areas of Australia are experiencing positive effects from visa rule changes introduced in 2019, as evidenced by a rise in the percentage of migrants residing outside Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, climbing from 18% in 2017 to 36%.
  • The overwhelming majority (83%) of respondents regarded migrating to Australia as a wise decision, with 73% expressing willingness to encourage others to follow suit.
  • There has been a noticeable shift from offshore to onshore visa applications.
  • The visa application process significantly influences employment trajectories and outcomes.
  • While most skilled migrants find employment in the tech sector, a minority still face challenges in securing such positions.
  • Discrimination remains an issue, with 28% of respondents reporting feelings of discrimination.
  • Skilled migrants exhibit a strong inclination towards obtaining permanent residency and citizenship.
  • There is a demand for increased support for ICT-skilled migrants in regional areas of Australia.

SC 476 Institutions and Disciplines  

This directive abolishes IMMI 14/010, which was set to expire on April 1, 2024. The new directive retains identical policy settings and arrangements without altering any of the institutions or disciplines outlined in IMMI 14/010. It came into effect on March 14, 2024.

Victoria Skilled and Business Migration Invitation round  

On March 13, 2024, Victoria’s Skilled and Business Migration Program held an invitation round.

The Victorian Government has communicated that if members have not received additional correspondence regarding a client’s Registration of Interest (ROI), it indicates that they were not invited in the current round but remain eligible for future selection rounds.

Members are urged to verify that all information provided in both their Expression of Interest (EOI) and ROI remains accurate for upcoming invitation rounds.

ACT Skilled Invitation round delayed  

The ACT Government has stated on their website that, in response to the decreased allocation determined by the Department of Home Affairs, they have postponed the ongoing invitation round while they assess the optimal utilization of the remaining nomination slots.

Members can access the count of nominations issued by the ACT Government in the current financial year on the official ACT Government website.

ImmiAccount planned system maintenance periods  

The Department is scheduled to conduct system maintenance on Friday, March 15, 2024, from 7 pm to 9 pm (AEDT), affecting payment functionality in ImmiAccount. applicants should note that while they can still initiate, modify, and attach documents to a Visa or Citizenship application, they may be unable to complete payments or submit applications during this maintenance window.

The Department is scheduled to conduct planned system maintenance, rendering ImmiAccount inaccessible on Monday, March 18, 2024, from midnight to 4:00 am (AEDT).

Applicants are encouraged to consult the Department’s System Maintenance webpage for additional details regarding the outage and to access the comprehensive list of services that will be impacted.

Suspension of BPAY payment option on ImmiAccount  

The Department has notified that the BPAY payment method will not be accessible from Friday, March 2024, until Saturday, March 23, 2024.

However, payment options via credit card, Paypal, and UnionPay will remain operational, despite the scheduled system maintenance that may impact payment functionality on Friday, March 15, between 7 pm and 9 pm (AEDT).

VETASSESS network maintenance  

VETASSESS has scheduled maintenance for their systems on Saturday, March 16, 2024, from 7 am to 2 pm (AEDT). During this period, their services will be unavailable.

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