Preparing for 1 July changes – Visa Application Cheat Sheet
1 July is an important date in Australian immigration. This is due to the fact that a number of legislative requirements (new or previously announced) come into effect. As we are just weeks away from this significant date, below is a number of useful hints and tips to assist you to be as prepared to lodge a visa application as you can be.
Do you know your visa expiry date?
July 1 generally creates increased traffic in all aspects of applying for an Australian visa. For example, it may be more difficult to secure an appointment for Health Assessments or undertake English language exams. Historically the number of applications lodged with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is at its highest in June and December. Accordingly, it is important to be prepared and not leave anything until the last day to avoid being stuck in an unfavourable situation. Check the expiry date of your visa and aim to submit your application (or instruct your agent to do so) well before this date. Keep in mind that frequent system outages are to be expected.
Time of application Criteria
Many Australian visas have "time of application" criteria which may include age, English or skills requirements. It is important to be fully aware of these requirements that are applicable to the visa subclass you are applying for. If the time of application criteria are not met, your application may be refused. This in turn can create restrictions on the types of visas you are able to apply for whilst in Australia.
Fees and Charges
Each year, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection updates their Application fees. These fees and charges are published on the Department's website. While this may sound obvious, it is important to budget appropriately for increases, especially for visas with higher lodgement fees, such as partner or parent visas. Insufficient fees will result in the application being invalid.
New or additional requirements
1 July changes often result in new or additional requirements for certain visa subclasses. It is important to keep these requirements in mind when preparing your visa application. For example, certain visa subclasses that require a certain level of English will require higher test scores from 1 July. This means, an English test result which meets the current requirements, may be insufficient from 1 July. There also may be concessions or exemptions that are removed. Many applicants are unfortunately caught out by these changes, usually because that they had relied on outdated information and were not aware of the incoming changes.
Seeking professional assistance
In the everchanging landscape of Australian Migration, seeking professional advice from a registered agent or immigration lawyer is paramount. While there is a perception that lodging a visa application is largely "form filling", you are also paying your agent for advice, strategy, quality assurance and a peace of mind. Form filling probably makes up less than 10% of the entire process.
Lodging an application for an Australian Visa can seem a scary or daunting experience. However, preparation is key and it is vital to be fully informed of the visa requirements.