As an employer in Australia, it is essential to stay updated with the latest changes to visa rules that may affect your business operations. The Australian Government regularly updates visa regulations to suit the country’s economic needs and to address skill shortages. This article outlines recent visa rule changes that will impact businesses in Australia. 

Reduced Working Hours for Student Visa Holders

From July 1, 2023, students who are studying in Australia will no longer be able to work full-time during term time. The new regulations allow students to work 48 hours per fortnight, which translates to three days per week. This change means that employers who rely on students to work full-time hours during term time need to look into alternative visa options. 

Working Holiday Visa Holders

Working holiday visa holders, subclasses 462 and 417, will continue to enjoy the relaxation of the 6-month employer limitation visa condition 8547 until June 30, 2023. From July 1, 2023, the 6-month employer limitation visa condition will resume. This means that visa holders can continue to work for your business until December 31, 2023, subject to visa validity. After January 1, 2024, they must hold a different visa to continue working for your business.



Subclass 408 (COVID-19) Visa

The Subclass 408 (COVID-19) visa is an option for employees with an upcoming visa expiry. Applicants can be granted a one-year visa regardless of the sector of the Australian economy they will work in. Additionally, current Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa holders in Australia may be eligible for a two-year visa. Employers are advised to speak to their migration agent or HR team to determine if their employees are eligible for this visa. 

Visa Processing Times

Visa processing times for employer-sponsored and nominated visas remain inconsistent; however, they are trending downwards, with applications being finalised much quicker of late. The average processing times for most applications are as follows: 

  • 482 nomination (Employment transfer): 1-10 days 
  • 482 visa application (Short Term Occupation): 9-35 days 
  • 482 visa application (Medium Term Occupation): 9-35 days 
  • 482 visa application (Priority Occupations): 1-14 days 
  • 186 Visa (Direct Entry): 2-8 months
  • 186 Visa (Temporary Residence Transition): 3-12 months 
  • 407 Training visa: 1-7 months 

Migration Review and Upcoming Programme Changes

The Department of Home Affairs is reviewing the current migration programme and is expected to release a proposed new system in April 2023. The changes aim to: 

  1. Address current skill shortages and business needs 
  2. Bring changes to temporary and permanent visa policies 
  3. Introduce a streamlined visa process 

As an employer in Australia, it is crucial to stay informed of visa rule changes to ensure that your business remains compliant. Employers are encouraged to speak to their migration agent or HR team to understand how these changes may impact their business and determine the most suitable visa options for their employees. 

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