partner visa reforms


Major reforms to the Australian Partner Visa program will be implemented by the Australian Government in November 2021. These changes to “strengthen the integration outcomes of the Partner Visa program” were announced as part of the 2020-2021 federal budget.

partner visa reforms

The partner visa application process will be drastically reformed with the following changes:


A new English language requirement will be imposed on the Partner Visa Applicant as well as their sponsor if the sponsor is a permanent resident. This change will require:

  • Permanent residents wanting to bring their partner to Australia will need to first meet a new language requirement before their partner can apply for a Partner Visa. This condition will not apply to Australian citizen sponsors: and
  • Partner visa applicants to meet the new English Language Requirement when they apply for the second-stage assessment that transitions their visa from provisional to permanent. This usually occurs 2 years after the partner visa granted. Assumedly, a partner visa holder will remain a provisional visa holder until they meet the English language requirement.

Provisional partner visa holders will have access to government-funded Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) classes to learn English.  The government is still undertaking a public consultation process and has not yet announced the level of English language proficiency that will be required to partner visa holders and their sponsors.


Before applying for an Australian partner visa all applicants will need to first make sure that their Australian partner has been pre-approved as a Partner Visa Sponsor.  A partner visa application will not be able to be lodged without being linked to a previously approved sponsor application.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will separate the partner sponsorship and visa application processes.

This new process will be implemented as part of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018 (the Act). The government’s justification for these changes is that the DHA will be able to inform a partner visa applicant of adverse information about their Australian sponsor, such as a criminal history or history of domestic violence and give the applicant a chance to withdraw from the process before a visa is lodged or granted.

The practical impact of these changes is that partner visa applicants will likely experience even longer processing times as they will need to wait for their Australian partner to be approved before they can lodge their application. In many cases, potential visa applicants may need to leave Australia while they wait for their sponsor’s approval to be granted.


As soon as the federal government brings in these changes in November 2021 they will apply to all partner visa applications from the date that the changes are implemented.  These government reforms were originally announced to commence in November 2021.  There will not be a grace period.

You can read more about the government announcement on the DHA Website.

If you have any questions about how to apply for a partner visa or how these changes may impact you feel free to Contact Us to talk to our Registered Migration Agent.

Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS)186 Visa

Employer Nominated Scheme-ENS 186 Visa

Employer Nominated Scheme-ENS 186 Visa

The ENS 186 Visa is a permanent skilled worker visa for Australia. It allows people to live and work in the country permanently. You can also incloude your dependants in this visa.

The visa is part of an effort by Australia’s government to attract skilled workers from overseas, who will contribute significantly to the economy and society.

If you’re interested in applying for an ENS 186 Visa, read through this article to learn more about it!

Eligibility criteria for an ENS 186 visa

Depending on the Stream an ENS186 Visa applicants need to meet the following requirements:

  • Must be nominated by an eligible Australian employer
  • You must have an occupations on the 186 Visa Occupations List 
  • A maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application will apply to Direct Entry stream
    applicants. A maximum age requirement of 50 at the time of application will continue to apply to Temporary Residence Transition stream applicants
  • competent English language skills;
  • a skills Assessment in your nominated occupation;
  • 3 years of related employment;
  • Satisfy health and character requirements

Benefits of an ENS 186 Visa

An ENS 186 visa allows you to live and work in Australia and travel freely around the country.

Holders also get access to healthcare services that are funded by Medicare, along with access to carious social security through Centrelink.

ENS 186 Visa Streams

You can apply for an ENS 186 Visa under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream and the Direct Entry Stream.

1. Temporary Residence Transition Stream.

This stream offers a pathway to permanent residence for eligible temporary residents living in Australia as holders of a 457 visa or a 482 visa. Applicants must have worked with the nominating employer for 2 or 3 years depending on thy type of visa you hold.

2. Direct Entry Stream

The direct entry stream is for people who have not lived in Australia before. Temporary residents who do not qualify for the TRT stream can also apply for the Direct Entry stream. Applicants can apply from within or outside Australia.

To qualify for this stream, the applicants,

  • Must have skills in any of the occupations appearing in the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List. This is a list of the skills that can be used for a visa application in Australia.
  • must have a valid skills assessment before you apply for the visa.
  • Have competent English language skills
  • Have been in employment in the same occupation for at least three years
  • Must be below 45 years of age.
Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS)186 Visa

How to apply for an ENS 186 visa

Your employer must lodge a nomination with the Australian Department of Home Affairs before you apply for the visa. The nomination should identify the nominee, such as your name and the nominated occupation and terms and conditions of employment.

You can either apply for ENS 186 visa after the nomination has been submitted or you may chose to wait until it has been approved. You will have six months after the approval of your nomination to lodge the visa if you decide to go with the latter option.

At the time of writing applications are being finalised in approximately 60 days for your visa to be processed but may vary depending on individual circumstances during the processing period.

So what are you waiting for? Our team have wealth of experience in dealing with the 186 visa. To know more please book a free consultation here.

Permanent Residence Australia

Australia is a land that is known for its many distinctive features. Along with it being the largest continent country globally, it’s known for its vast nature, long beaches, and the only home to the kangaroo. As such, it forms a good destination for many people who would love to be part of the warm and friendly culture and the many job and study opportunities that are found there.

For you to live in Australia permanently, you’ll need to obtain a Permanent Residence visa first.

There are several permanent visas that one can get. They are

  • Work stream permanent resident visas
  • Family stream permanent resident visas
  • Business/investment permanent resident visas

1.    Work Stream Permanent Resident Visa in Australia

These are suitable for people with skills that are valuable to Australia or who have gotten work in Australia.

It includes;

Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189)

This visa is for people who have skills that the Australian government requires. The holder of the visa can live and work permanently in Australia. However, you will need to be invited to apply for it and should not be older than 45 years.

Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)

Nominated skilled workers are allowed to live and work permanently in Australia. One should receive an invitation before they apply for the visa.

Distinguished Talent Visa (Subclass 124)

It is awarded to individuals who have internationally recognized talents and are exceptionally good in them.

Most of these subclasses are subject to the following;

  • Receive an invitation to apply.
  • Possess skills that are suitable for assessment.
  • Have their occupation among the Skilled Occupation List.
  • Submission of English test scores.

Skilled Occupation List for Permanent Residence in Australia

This contains a list of occupations that migrants are allowed to nominate. The list is frequently updated based on the changes in the Australian labor market. Interested applicants are advised to frequent the Australian website for this. The SOL are in 3 categories.

  • Regional Occupation List
  • Medium and Long term strategic skills list
  • Short term skilled Occupation List

2.    Business/investment Permanent Resident Visas in Australia

Granted to people who want to conduct business in Australia. They include;

Investor Visa (Subclass 891)

This visa is awarded to people who wish to make investments in Australia.

Business Innovation and Investment (Subclass 888)

They are given to business owners who want to continue with their business operations in Australia.

3.    Family Stream Visa in Australia

Granted to people who have Australian family members.

Partner Visa (Subclass 820 and 801)

It allows partners to both live in Australia together permanently.  


Eligibility Evaluation

When applying for a point tested permanent resident visas in Australia, one will be required to score a minimum of 65 points for consideration of the visa. The points are distributed as shown below. A higher score increases the chances of one getting a visa. For example, an applicant that gets between 80 – 90 points is better placed to get a visa than the one who gets 65 points.

CategoryMaximum points awarded
Age (25 – 33)30 points  
Accreditation in community language5 points  
State sponsorship  5 points  
Study in a Regional Area5 points  
Spouse with competent English  5 points  
Skilled spouse  10 points  
Spouse is an Australian Citizen or holder of a PR visa10 points  
Proficiency in English  20 points  
Work Experience in Australia (8-10 years)20 points  
Work Experience outside Australia (8-10 years)  15 points  
 Received Education outside Australia (Doctorate)  20 points  


It is possible to live in Australia permanently if you meet the criteria that they have set. Besides filling in the application forms on the website, one should have their documents for the various categories ready as proof to their application.


In May 2021, TRA advised of a proposal to increase the cost of JRWA to $2,540from 1 September 2021. All participants in the Job Ready Program who have not yet completed a JRWA will have to pay the new amount. If you would like to avoid paying the new amount, you must be assessed as eligible and pay for your JRWA before 1 September 2021.

More information available at

On 6 May 2021 tra advised that The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is seeking feedback on a proposal to change the fees charged by Trades Recognition Australia for the Job Ready Program, Migration Skills Assessment and Migration Points Advice assessment services from 1 September 2021.

Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program – Final report released

The Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s final report into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program has been released today.

Some of the recommendations include-

  • Consolidating the STSOL and MLTSSL lists into one Skilled Occupation List
  • Developing a method of determining skills shortages and occupations lists that relies on dedicated and specific information rather than ANZSCO. This will be undertaken by the National Skills Authority
  • Determine improved methods for identifying acute skills shortages
  • Provide a pathway to permanent residency from STSOL occupations
  • Considerations of concessions or different rates of TSMIT for regional areas
  • Concessions to work experience for international students who have undertaken their courses in Australia at reputable institutions
  • Longer graduate temporary visas of three years to provide more flexibility for international graduates to gain jobs and work experience in Australia
  • Addressing processing delays for applicants and employers and improving customer service with better communication
  • Removing the need for LMT for subsequent visas when the 457/482 visa holder has held the position for 12 months or more with the sponsor
  • Exempt employers for paying the SAF levy twice for the same employee
  • Refund of the SAF Levy where the visa application is unsuccessful and there is no evidence of fraud on the part of the sponsor or applicant.

The full JCSM Final Report on Australia’s Skilled Migration Program is available on the Australian Parliamentary website.

Contact us now to find out what this means for you

COVID -19 Disaster Payment – Temporary visa holders

Legislative Instrument – F2021L00707 – Financial Framework (Supplementary Powers) Amendment (Home Affairs Measures No. 3) Regulations 2021

This Instrument establishes the legislative authority for government spending on a one-off and time-limited COVID-19 Disaster Payment. The payment is available to assist Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and temporary visa holders who have the right to work in Australia, who have had their hours of work and income significantly affected by the restrictions. Further criteria apply

This Instrument amends the requirement to apply for assistance within six months after the start of the period of the restrictions, and clarify that assistance may be provided to eligible persons during or after the period of the restrictions.

Further information can be found on the Services Australia website and as part of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment Guidelines which will be made available on the GrantConnect.


Skilled Employment and Claiming Employment points

The awarding of points for skilled employment recognises visa applicants extensive work experience in a nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation. Relevant Australian and overseas skilled employment in the 10-year period immediately before the date the applicant was invited to apply for this visa are considered for the purpose of awarding points. For you to claim employment points you need to have worked in your nominted employment at a skilled level.

The higher weighting of points able to be awarded for Australian skilled employment recognises the value that firsthand experience and understanding of the Australian work environment can have in assisting migrants to establish themselves in the Australian employment market and settle into life in Australia.

Periods of employment do not have to be continuous, as it is the aggregated period of relevant employment experience that will be considered. Therefore, you can be eligible for points if your relevant skilled employment is interspersed by periods of non-related employment or other activities such as study.

For example, if prior to applying for their points-tested visa, an applicant whose nominated skilled occupation is Accountant, works for 2 years as an Accountant, then undertakes postgraduate studies for 2 years, then works as an IT consultant for 2 years, then works as an Accountant for a further 3 years. This applicant would be eligible for points based on their 5 years employment experience as an Accountant (as long as the applicant’s relevant employment took place in the 10 years immediately before the time when the applicant was invited to apply for the visa).

You may also be eligible for points for the employment factor if you have both Australian and overseas skilled employment experience.

For example, if prior to applying for their points-tested visa, an applicant whose nominated occupation is assessed as a registered nurse works overseas for 5 years as a registered nurse then works in Australia on a temporary employment visa for 3 years as a registered nurse, the applicant would be eligible for points based on their 5 years of overseas employment as well as their 3 years of Australian employment experience.

However, it is not possible for you to combine shorter periods of skilled employment gained while working in and outside Australia in order to meet one of the Australian or overseas skilled employment experience factors.

For example, an applicant cannot claim 3 years’ Australian employment by adding together 6 months of overseas employment experience and 30 months of Australian employment experience. Employment undertaken whilst the applicant is physically present in Australia will be assessed against the requirements for Australian employment and cannot be claimed as working for an overseas employer.

Work undertaken in an area without a postcode, for a company that is registered in Australia, can be counted towards Australian work experience for the purpose of the points test. For example, a person undertaking work on a resources installation or sea installation attached to the Australian sea bed in Australian waters, is taken to have worked in Australia.

The meaning of Employment

The term ‘employed’ is defined as being engaged in an occupation for remuneration for at least 20 hours a week.

The following scenarios will not satisfy the meaning of employed –

  • A postgraduate student whose income is derived from living allowances or scholarships designed to cover their expenses.
  • Skilled work experience undertaken as part of work placement component of a Professional Year because this internship is considered a developmental program rather than employment at a skilled level.  Paid employment that is not connected with the Professional Year, and undertaken at a skilled level, concurrently with a Professional Year program may be considered for Australian skilled employment experience points

As employment must be for remuneration, only periods of leave on full pay will be counted as time during which an applicant was employed. This means those periods of extended leave without pay (for example, maternity or paternity leave) will not be counted as a period of employment.

What is Skilled Employment?

When assessing periods of skilled employment for the purpose of awarding points, the following are taken into account by the Department of Home Affairs:

  • the opinion of the relevant skills assessing authority on the period of skilled employment including the date on which they deemed the applicant skilled; and
  • the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) including any pre-requisite qualifications/work experience relevant to the claimed skilled employment; and
  • any other relevant information (such as employment records and references).

If the skills assessing authority’s opinion would result in the applicant being awarded less points than the applicant claimed in their EOI, then decision makers should consider the information in ANZSCO and apply the more beneficial outcome in determining when the applicant was working at a skilled level. This is particularly applicable to ICT occupations and occupations for which VETASSESS is the skills assessing authority.

Closely related occupations

You can claim points for employment in your nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation in the 10 years immediately preceding the date of the invitation to apply for the visa. The department also has a policy to recognise employment if your career has advanced, or your job has evolved in the relevant period.

Under ANZSCO, occupations are grouped together to form “unit groups”. Generally, all unit groups are at one skill level. Skill level is defined as a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks performed in a particular occupation, and is generally measured by the required level or amount of formal education and training, previous experience in a related occupation, or on the job training.

Closely related skilled occupations are those occupations that fall within one unit group classified under ANZSCO. For example, if your nominated occupation is Accountant (General) (221111) and you provide evidence of skilled employment in the occupations of Management Accountant (221112) and Taxation Accountant (221113), your employment will be considered for the purposes of skilled employment.

Unlawful Employment

If you have breached a condition of your visa by working when you had no work rights, or by working in excess of the amount of work allowed, the period of employment is in  breach of visa conditions cannot be counted under the employment experience factor in the regulations.

For example, a Student visa holder who was subject to a condition that they not work more than 40 hours a fortnight but who was employed in their nominated skilled occupation for 45 hours a fortnight while their course was in session cannot not use that period of employment to claim points.

Claiming points and assessing your eligibility can sometimes be very complex and confusing. Claiming the wrong periods of employment may result in your visa being refused. Our migration agent has years of experience in this and will be able to assist you in ensuring that you meet the requirements.

Book a free consultation with us to find out about your the next steps.


Assessing the partner relationship and partner points

Partner Points

Assessing the partner relationship and partner points- 189, 190 and 491 Visa Applications

When assessing your eligibility for partner the Immigration Department assess the relevant criteria against the relevant Item of of the regulations (Part 6D.11). This applies to 189, 190 and 491 Visa Applications.

The relevant time of the relationship status is the date of the points test assessment by the case officer assessing your application. This means that if your relationship status or the residence status of your partner changes after the date of invitation or the date of application, the award of partner points under Part 6D.11 may also change which might result in your visa application being refused.

Unlike English and Skills Assessment, which needs to be valid at the time of invitation the partner points criteria needs to be satisfied until such time the visa application is decided.

Contact us now to find out more.

SC408 Visa- What You Need To Know

The 408 pandemic event visa has enabled of thousands of people to remain in Australia lawfully and, in many cases, work whilst they’re here.

We have successfully managed many subclass SC408 Visas since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our consultations are free , so if you’re reading this fell free to contact us.

Some of the common questions or confusion regarding the SC408 Visa

Can I switch job on a 408 Covid-19 pandemic event visa?

While on a 408 pandemic event visa, the holder is allowed to switch jobs as long as it’s in the same critical occupation and position that the visa was originally granted for.

If you are changing employers, you must notify the Department and complete a ‘notification of changes in circumstance’ and a letter of offer from your new employer.

This visa does not allow the holder to take up work that is inconsistent with the work the visa grant was based upon.

How do I know if my job is classified as a critical sector for the Covid-19 pandemic?

Employment in agriculture, food processing and health, disability, aged and child care, hospitality and tourism are classified as critical sectors. If you contact us and provide a detailed overview of the role, we can give our professional opinion on whether your application is likely to be successful or not.

I’m not working in a critical sector, can I still apply?

Yes but the grant of a visa may be for a shorter term

How long does the COVID-19 pandemic visa last?

If you are working in a critical sector, you may be given a pandemic visa that permits you to stay in Australia for 12 months, which also applies to critical sector workers who are part of the Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme.

If you are applying this visa as a last resort to stay legal in Australia, you’ll be granted permission to stay for a number of months (the length can vary) ensuring you remain in Australia lawfully until you are able to return home.

How much does the COVID-19 pandemic visa cost?

Visa Application Charges are Free