Category: Graduate visas


Ensuring Immigration Compliance when Hiring Overseas Workers

In order to retain and attract the workforce that best assists your business to grow and develop, it is important to have the option to sponsor and hire overseas employees to work in Australia. In doing so, in order to protect the business and care for employees, it is crucial that organisations are aware of the changing Australian visa landscape and visa conditions of employees.

During the COVID-19 period, as the Australian Government focused on economic relief for Australian businesses, employers were given increased flexibility to hire overseas workers, including unlimited work hours for Student visa holders and entitlement of Working Holiday makers to have increased time with one employer.

It is important for Australian businesses hiring overseas workers to be aware that the Federal Government is now rolling back the flexible visa arrangements introduced during the pandemic. Changes to the temporary flexible measures include the following:

  1. Student (subclass 500) visa holders have returned to being given a work limitation of 48 hours per fortnight whilst their course is in session, unless continuing to work in aged care where full-time hours are permitted until 31 December 2023.
  2. Working Holiday makers have returned to generally being limited to working a maximum of 6 months with any particular employer, unless a limited exception applies.
  3. Employers and labour hire companies will now be held liable for any facilitated breaches of the above and other visa conditions.

On 31 July 2023, the Australian Federal Government passed the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill 2023 (the Bill) which amends the Migration Act 1958 with the purpose of strengthening employer compliance measures and protecting temporary migrant workers from exploitation.

Main components of the Bill:

  1. Creating a criminal offence where a person coerces, or exerts undue influence or undue pressure on a non-citizen to accept or agree to a work arrangement that would involve a breach of a work-related condition.
  2. Creating a criminal offence where a person coerces, or exerts undue influence or pressure on a non-citizen to accept a work arrangement to avoid an adverse immigration status, or that would result in the non-citizen being unable to satisfy a work-related visa requirement.
  3. Establishing a framework where the Minister can declare certain employers to be ‘prohibited employers’ for a specified period of time. Rather than just barring or cancelling the employer’s business sponsorship license, the prohibition applies to the employment of any temporary visa holder.
  4. Mandating the use of the VEVO system for employers to determine whether a non-citizen is lawful and has the necessary permission to work.
  5. Increasing civil and monetary penalties for individuals and business sponsors.

How can employers ensure compliance?

In order for businesses to ensure that they are protected from breaches of the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill 2023, steps that employers can take include:

  • Ensuring that the visa status of each overseas worker is known and recorded by the business.
  • Conducting a VEVO check for all overseas workers.
  • Ensuring that systems are in place so that the business is updated with any visa changes for overseas workers employed by the business.

For advice regarding immigration compliance and employing overseas workers, please do not hesitate to contact us at for Australian immigration assistance.


The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.


Eight Major Australian Visa Changes Occurring in July 2023

On 1 July 2023, the Australian Government introduced a series of changes to the Australian visa system. The changes will affect Australian visas in the following ways:

Change 1- Increase in Temporary Work Visas Salary Threshold

The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold for the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS)(subclass 482) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (subclass 494) visas has increased from AU$53,900 to AU$70,000 for nominations lodged from 1 July 2023.

Change 2- Work Restrictions for Student Visa Holders

From 1 July 2023, work restrictions for Student visa holders will be re-introduced with a cap of 48 hours per fortnight.

However, an exception to the 48-hour work limitation will apply to Student visa holders already working in the aged care sector on 8 May 2023. These Student visa holders will have unrestricted work hours.

Change 3- Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) Visas Changes

International students in Australia who have completed their degree in Australia in the field of health, teaching, engineering or agriculture may access extended subclass 485 visas from 1 July 2023. Acceptable qualifications must be on the prescribed list.

Visa periods will be increased to:

  • 4 years for select Bachelor Degrees
  • 5 years for select Masters degrees
  • 6 years for all Doctoral degrees

First time applicants will be granted a visa with an additional period of two years added to the standard visa period.

Change 4- Work and Holiday Makers

As of 1 July 2023, Papua New Guinea became the newest participant in the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Program, enabling up to 100 citizens of PNG to journey to Australia using the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa. Individuals who have completed a minimum of two years of post-secondary study in Papua New Guinea can now apply for the Work and Holiday visa.

For citizens from the United Kingdom, the age limit for the Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa has been extended from 30 to 35 years old.

In the context of the WHM Program, as of 1 July 2023, Condition 8547 has also been reintroduced for participants of the program. This condition applies to individuals holding either subclass 417 or subclass 462 visas and restricts visa holders from working with a single employer for more than six months. Relevantly, this change does not apply retrospectively, and any work carried out by a WHM prior to July will not be counted towards their six-month limit with the same employer.

Change 5- India-Australia Agreement

The Economic Co-operation and Trade Agreement between India and Australia commenced on 1 July 2023 with the following benefits:

  • Indian citizens are now eligible to apply for Work and Holiday visas.
  • Increased Post Study Work visa periods have been introduced for Indian citizens. Indian students graduating in Australia will be eligible for post study work visas as follows:
    • upon completion of diploma or trade qualifications- stays of up to 18 months
    • upon completion of bachelor degree (including honours)- stays of up to 2 years
    • upon completion of masters by research and masters by coursework- stays of up to 3 years
    • upon completion of doctoral degrees- stays of up to 4 years.
    • Additional year of stay for high-performing STEM bachelor degree graduates (extended from 2 years to 3 years)

Change 6- Increased Immigration Target

On 1 July 2023 the Australian Government increased its intake of permanent migrants to 195,000 for this financial year, up by 35,000, in a bid to help businesses and industries battling widespread staff shortages and reduce reliance on short-term workers.

Change 7- Australian Citizenship for New Zealand Nationals

From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for more than four years and arrived in Australia after 26 February 2011 will be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship without having to apply for a permanent visa. These changes apply only to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV). Protected SCV holders will continue to be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship.

From 1 July 2023:

  • All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered a permanent resident for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.

The above provisions will apply to New Zealand citizens in Australia. It will also apply to New Zealand citizens who are overseas but held an SCV immediately before last leaving Australia.

These provisions will apply to citizenship applications submitted after 1 July 2023.

Change 8- Increase in Governmental Visa Application Fees

From 1 July 2023, Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHA) governmental fees increased with visa application charges increasing from between 6 and 40 per cent across various visa categories. Some of the new governmental visa application charges include:

Visa Type Subclass Before From 1st July 2023
Partner visa (Onshore / Offshore) 820/801 & 309/100 $8,085 $8,850
Skilled visas 189 / 190 / 491 $4,240 $4,640
Graduate 485 $1,730 $1,895
Student 500 $650 $710
Visitor (Onshore) 600 $380 $475
Visitor (Offshore) 600 $150 $190
Working Holiday Maker 417 / 462 $510 $635
Temporary Skill Shortage (Short Term) 482 $1,330 $1,455
Temporary Skill Shortage (Long Term) 482 $2,770 $3,035
Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) 186 $4,240 $4,640
Significant Investor stream 188 $9,195 $13,860
Significant Entrepreneur stream 188 $4,240 $6,395
All other applicants 188 $6,270 $9,450


For advice regarding Australian visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at for Australian immigration assistance.


The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.


What Businesses can Expect from the Redesign of Australia’s Migration System

The Australian Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Clare O’Neil, released a final report last week entitled ‘Review of the Migration System’ (the ‘Review’) which features 190 pages of analysis of the current operation of the Australian visa system. The Review provides recommendations and suggestions for migration reform and redesign, some of which will be introduced over the next several months.

What can Australian businesses employing overseas workers expect from the Review, redesign and anticipated reforms?

Here is a summary of the proposed reforms highlighted by the Minister for Home Affairs:

 Proposed Reforms: Work Visas

  • Remove the requirement for labour market testing from Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS)(subclass 482) visas. The Review recognises that labour market testing is an ineffective tool for identifying true labour market need; and the cause of unnecessary delays in recruitment in genuine areas of skills shortage that have already been identified by Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA).
  • Increase the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), index it to the Wage Price Index, and consider the adoption of age adjusted thresholds.
  • Temporary Skilled Migration: Adopt risk-based regulation of temporary labour migration, with three tiers:

         1. a ‘light touch’ high salary cohort;

         2. a ‘mid-level cohort’ (above the TSMIT, below the high-salary threshold of cohort 1); and

         3. subject to further consideration across government, a lower wage cohort in sectors experiencing  persistent shortages and who are most at risk of exploitation and displacing Australian workers with similar skills.

  • Plan migration based on net overseas migration (which accounts for both permanent and temporary residents), rather than simply relying on permanent migration caps. The Review states that Australia does not want to become a nation of ‘permanently temporary’ residents and therefore proposes to enable temporary work visa holders with occupations on the short-term list to apply for permanent residency.
  • Allow temporary migrant workers to move from their current employment to find work with another employer within the same sector or job family. Migrants could have up to 6 months to find new employment as opposed to the current 60 days.
  • Require employer fees and charges to be paid monthly, rather than up-front, to facilitate mobility between employers and increase access for small business by reducing up-front costs.
  • The Review recognises that the Skilled Occupation Lists underpinning the Employer Sponsorship programs are outdated and lack a strong evidence base. The Review states that the occupation lists do not reflect current or anticipated skilled labour needs, including to support the transition to a net-zero economy or to build critical and sovereign capabilities.
  • Provide migrant workers with targeted training on workplace laws and conditions based on the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme model.
  • Improve post-arrival monitoring and compliance including through coordination with the tax system, using tax file numbers (TFN) and single-touch payroll.

 Proposed Reforms: Global Talent & Skilled Visas

  • The Review proposes to consider changes to the existing Global Talent visa to improve clarity in the selection criteria and remove the need for a nomination. The review recognises that there is growing international competition for highly skilled migrants and Australia risks falling behind without more innovative and attractive visa products and service delivery in this space.
  • Recalibrate the points test for Skilled visas to select migrants with high human capital who will make the greatest long-term economic contribution.
  • A new permanent visa open to lower skilled workers, the Pacific Engagement Visa, will commence in July 2023 with 3,000 places available. Primarily intended to build Australia’s ties with our Pacific neighbours, entrants must meet English language and age requirements and have a job waiting on arrival in Australia.

 Proposed Reforms: Business & Investment Visas

  • Reconsider the size and role of the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), noting more positive outcomes from the Significant Investor Visa.
  • The Review suggests consideration be given to whether the BIIP is retained as a substantial program. The Government notes that outcomes for the small Significant Investor stream have been stronger than for the remainder of the BIIP.
  • If there is a desire to retain some element of the BIIP, consideration could be given to drawing on the relative strength of this stream in designing a niche investment visa product, much more sharply targeted to select migrants able to drive innovative investments or play a valuable role in the venture capital industry.

 Proposed Reforms: Working Holiday Visas

  • Ensure the primary focus of the Working Holiday Maker program is cultural exchange and does not operate to tie migration outcomes to the performance of work.
  • Subject to Australia’s obligations under trade and other international agreements, consider limiting Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visas to one year.

 Proposed Reforms: Student Visas

  • Review the Student visa working hours cap, including whether unpaid work-integrated-learning, internships and work experience are counted towards the cap.
  • Provide a Temporary Graduate visa which will be automatically granted upon study completion without the need to apply for certain Student visa holders.

Proposed Reforms: Regional Visas

  • The Review states that regional visa programs, and the migration system more broadly, have not been effective in encouraging migrants to settle in regional Australia.
  • Migration should be part of a holistic approach to addressing regional population and labour needs. Better planning, housing, infrastructure and service provision will make regions more attractive to both Australians and migrants.

Proposed Reforms: Internal Departmental Systems

  • Proposed improvement of Department of Home Affairs’ technology system: the Review states that current ICT systems lack flexibility and responsiveness, and new technology has not been adopted.
  • Improving visa processing times across the board will be given priority.

The Minister of Home Affairs has recognised that “There is growing international competition for highly skilled migrants and Australia will need to sharpen its approach to attract migrants able to meet our future needs.

We will continue to update our clients as the above-mentioned reforms are introduced to the Australian migration system and as an overhaul of Australian visas is rolled out over the next several months.

For advice regarding Australian visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at for Australian immigration assistance.


The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.