Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge has indicated it should become mandatory for intending migrants to first stay in Australia on a temporary visa to allow the Government time to assess their adoption of Australian values before granting permanent residence. While this has raised controversy and debate on whether there is a need for Australia to introduce a values test to prevent ‘ethnic segregation’, it is also important to consider how introducing mandatory temporary residence could limit migrants’ direct pathways to permanent residence.
How employers and skilled migrants could be impacted
Currently only some of Australia’s visa categories require a temporary stay in Australia before permanent residence can be granted. These include partner visas and some business migration visas. The below permanent residence visa categories do not require a temporary stay, providing employers the option to secure skilled workers from overseas directly from offshore without the need for a transition period, for example from a Subclass 482 Visa.
- Subclass 186 Visa (Employer Nominated Scheme – Direct Entry Stream)
- Subclass 187 Visa (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – Direct Entry Scheme)
- Subclass 189 and 190 Visa (General Skilled Migration)
Introducing a mandatory temporary residence period could effectively remove the options employers and migrants currently have to access direct permanent residence and fill gaps in the job market. The impact could be a greater reliance on securing permanent residence through the Transition Streams of the Subclass 186 and 187 Visas, which recent changes have made quite restrictive and uncertain.
It has become more difficult to transition to permanent residence under the Subclass 186 and 187 Visa Transition Streams because there is a risk that a person’s occupation may be removed from the Skilled Occupation List during their three year wait to become eligible, given that Australia reviews the list annually. It seems the Governments’ recent approach in making it more difficult for migrants to transition to permanent residence from a temporary visa contradicts the intention to require migrants stay in Australia temporarily before applying for permanent residence.
Mr Tudge’s views appear to follow on from the Government’s discussions to make temporary visas a mandatory step before permanent residence, as documented in a policy discussion paper in October last year. Read our article on the Government’s policy paper here. While it is not yet clear how and if migration laws may change to make temporary residence mandatory before permanent residence, Interstaff will keep you updated on any migration legislative changes that may impact your permanent residence options. To find out if you are eligible for permanent residence, contact our migration agents on +61 8 9221 3388 (or National Free Call 1800 449 858) or [email protected]