Immigration News: April 2023

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April was a busy month! ACT Migration released a state nomination update, physiotherapists from South Africa now qualify for an express pathway of their skills assessments, and eligible New Zealanders will have a direct pathway to Australian residency from 1 July.

1. ACT State Nomination Update

On Thursday, 20 April 2023, ACT Migration announced it’s easing nomination requirements for the Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) and the Skilled Work Regional Visa (Subclass 491). The announcement also included news of the expansion of the state’s skilled occupation list.

Easing of state nomination requirements:

ACT Migration is making the following nomination requirement changes:

  • Relaxing the employment criteria for Subclass 190 and 491 visas
  • Lowering the English language requirements for Subclass 491 visas
  • For visa applicants from overseas:
    • Easing relationship and spouse/partner employment requirements
    • Awarding more points for relevant overseas work experience
    • Making it easier to claim points for an ACT job offer
    • Making amendments to the renomination policy
  • For visa applicants living in Canberra:
    • Easing the minimum threshold criteria
    • Easing the ‘Length of ACT Residence’ requirements

Expanded skill occupation list:

Due to the continuing skills shortages in the ACT, ACT Migration added 128 occupations to the state’s skill occupation list. These occupations are across several industries ranging from ICT and life sciences to healthcare and trades.

Please see the ACT Government website to see the skill occupation list in its entirety.

2. Physiotherapists from South Africa are now eligible for the FLYR pathway

The Australian Physiotherapists Council has included South Africa in its list of countries that qualify for an express pathway of their skills assessments.

What is the FLYR pathway?

The Australian Physiotherapist Council’s FLYR pathway exists for countries whose physiotherapy education, training, regulation and practice have been assessed to be substantially comparable to Australia.

The advantage for physiotherapists is a streamlined assessment process towards becoming a physiotherapist in Australia. Eligible candidates bypass the Clinical Assessment stage, and the Cultural Safety Training and Written Assessment can be completed without travelling to Australia.

Aside from being from one of the eligible countries, candidates must also:

  • Have completed an entry-level physiotherapy qualification in an approved FLYR country
  • Held registration without restriction with the relevant regulatory body within the past five years
  • Able to practice without any restrictions
  • Have an entry-level qualification that is diploma-level or higher, except for Singapore candidates that must have completed a Bachelor-level degree

3. Direct pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealanders

On 22 April 2023, Australia announced a new direct pathway to Australian citizenship for eligible New Zealand citizens. The pathway comes into effect on 1 July 2023, and applies to Special Category Visas (Subclass 444) holders who’ve arrived in Australia since 2001.

This immigration policy change will make it much easier for New Zealanders to obtain Australian citizenship:

  • It won’t be necessary for eligible New Zealanders to become permanent residents before applying for citizenship. Instead, all that’s required is four years of having lived in Australia and being able to meet the standard citizenship criteria.
  • Eligible New Zealanders also won’t have to meet minimum income requirements or health criteria.
  • New Zealand children born in Australia will become citizens at birth instead of only getting citizenship at 10 years old.

The policy change also brings the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia more in line with those of Australians living in New Zealand. New Zealanders will have access to services and benefits associated with citizenship, such as student loans and unemployment benefits.

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