Visa program changes and Skilling Australians Fund News

Visa program changes

Visas for General Practitioners

The government will improve the targeting of the general practitioner visa to the doctor shortage area.

From January 1, 2019, the government will determine the planned goals of about 2,100 overseas training doctors each year, contributing to the continued growth of the overall number of doctors.

Other professional and state and territory employment visas will not be affected.

Retirement visas

There will be a way for permanent residency of retirees (type 410) and investor retirement (type 405) visa holders. Every year, a portion of parents’ permanent migrants will be quarantined  for retirement visa holders.

Retirement visa holders in Australia will be eligible to apply onshore for a permanent visa through the Parent (subclass 103) or Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visa streams.

As part of the establishment process, the government will close the subclass 405 visa for new applicants. The subclass 410 visa has been closed for new applicants.

Peru / Australia Free Trade Agreement

It is expected that this agreement will be added to the list of those countries exempt from labour market testing.


Skilling Australians Fund

Refund provisions for the Skilling Australians Fund levy will be expanded. Refunds of the levy will be made in the following circumstances:

• the employer’s sponsorship application is approved but the employee’s subsequent visa application is refused on health or character grounds

• the sponsorship and visa applications are approved but the visa holder does not commence work with the employer

• a Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holder leaves their employer within the first 12 months of employment where the visa period was for more than 12 months. Refunds will only be available in this scenario for unused full years of the levy

These provisions are in addition to the existing refund provision for circumstances in which an employer’s sponsorship application is refused.


This information was first published by Migration Institute of Australia Limited.