Presently there are two Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) which have been endorsed by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and are open, accepting applications from employers.  The two commenced DAMAs are:

In additional the DHA have recently endorsed multiple Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs), which have not yet commenced operation specifically:

DAMAs which have commenced

Northern Territory DAMA II

The Northern Territory has had an existing DAMA program for over 5 years.  It is very well established and permits applications from employers for endorsement of 117 occupations.

Warrnambool DAMA

The Warrnambool DAMA has only recently commenced operation with applications being accepted on 12 June 2019.  Employer can access up to 100 places in the first year of operation within 27 occupations.  This first round of the DAMA will be closing on 5th July 2019.

DAMAs which have not yet commenced

The other four DAMAs have not yet commenced accepting applications from employers, however both the South Australian DAMAs and the Goldfields DAMA are due to commence on 1 July 2019.  All three have details of the occupations which employers will be able to access under this program with the South Australian program (in particular) providing extensive information on the concessions available, including age concessions for particular occupations under the permanent visa program. 

Details regarding the Dubbo DAMA are yet to be released.

How do the DAMA programs work? 

The DAMA framework is an employer-driven visa program.  This means it is not possible for a visa applicant to apply for a DAMA visa until and unless you have a suitable employer based in a DAMA approved region.  As a first step, that employer must undertake the necessary approval process with their regional development authority. 

If you are an employer who is based in one of these areas and have skilled recruitment difficulties or are wanting to support an applicant who does not appear to fit within standard immigration regulations, please contact us to discuss how the DAMA programs may be able to benefit your business and visa holding employees with long-term visa solutions. 

Should you have any questions about the above information or if you want to discuss how your business can access these arrangements in more detail please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential discussion on (03) 9614 7111 on send us an on-line enquiry.



We frequently get asked this question by clients, and it is not an easy one to answer.

In reality, there are myriad reasons why applications take a long time to process including:

  • the Department of Home Affairs allocates greater priorities in respect of some visa classes with the result that more staff are available to deal with them,

  • Some visa categories, such as the business skill visas, can be quite complex and considerable time can be spent analysing large numbers of supporting documents.

  • In other cases, the reasons for delay are because the application has not been well prepared, meaning that case officers need to go back to the applicant for further information before a decision can be made.

Some interesting statistics relating to processing and delays generally include:

  • the Department currently has a staff of 2,500 visa and citizenship decision makers,

  • an additional 100 processing staff have been hired to assist in the backlog of over 250,000 citizenship applications,

  • the Department has recently indicated that it is now processing decision ready, low risk ENS/RSMS cases as a priority as a means of increasing efficiency. There are currently 30,000 ENS applications under processing,

  • 82,000 first stage partner applications are in the pipeline and 156 000 second stage applications

So far as partner visa applications are concerned, it seems that the Department has recognised that the delays of up to 2 years are not really acceptable, and we are seeing signs that it is taking positive steps to facilitate the transition to permanent residence by not requiring a separate application to be made, but instead finalising both first and second stage applications at the same time. This is a good initiative which goes some way to alleviating the stress many applicants are experiencing as a result of lengthy processing delays.

For further information and advice, please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111






The New Ministerial Direction No. 79 (‘Direction 79) came into force on 28 February 2019 and it revokes Ministerial Direction No. 65. Now that Direction 79 is in force, character issues relating to visa refusals and cancellations must be considered against the new requirements contained in the said Direction.

What does the New Direction No. 79 say and do?

One’s visa may be cancelled or refused under s501 of the Act if the Minister or the delegates of the Minister reasonably suspect that the person does not meet the character test and that the person fails to demonstrate that he or she is of ‘good character’.

Decision makers must take into account the mandatory considerations prescribed in Direction 79, when deciding on visa refusal or cancellation under s501 and revocation of mandatory cancellation of a visa under s501CA of the Migration Act 1968 (Cth) (‘the Act’).

These considerations, both primary and other, include:

1.    Protection of the Australian community from criminal or other serious conduct (primary consideration);

2.    The best interests of minor children in Australia (primary consideration);

3.    Expectations of the Australian Community (primary consideration);

4.    International non-refoulement obligations (other consideration);

5.    The strength, nature and duration of ties to Australia (other consideration);

6.    Impact on Australian business interests (other consideration);

7.    Impact on victims (other consideration);

8.    Extent of impediments if removed (other consideration).

The Key difference between Direction 79 and Direction 65

The new Direction 79 separates crimes of a violent nature against women and children into a new subclause, regardless of the sentence imposed. In other words, this new subclause does not require a person to even receive custodial sentence, simply that the person has been convicted of a crime of a violent nature against a woman or a child.

This greatly lowers the bar for visa cancellation and refusal as any crime against women and children that is considered violent, will result in visa cancellation or refusal, or failure to revoke a cancellation.

Another important thing to note is the primary considerations in relation to revocation requests (Part C of Direction 79) has deleted the criteria regarding ‘the principle that the Australian community’s tolerance for risk of future harm becomes lower as the seriousness of the potential harm increases.’ However, that principle has not been deleted in Part A and Part B of Direction 79 regarding cancellation and refusals.
Contact Us

If your visa has been cancelled or refused on the basis of these aspects, you may be entitled to apply for a revocation or a review of the decision, but generally tight timeframes apply. Therefore, we recommend that you contact us immediately to discuss your options.

Alternatively, if you wish to apply for a visa to avail entry to Australia or remain in Australia, but you think that you might not be able to pass the character test (principles under Direction 79), please also feel free to contact us.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111




NEW Regional Provisional (temporary residence) visas - Subclass 491 & 494 and Regional (permanent residence) visa- Subclass 191 & General Skilled Migration (GSM) “Points Test” will change on 16th November 2019.

Key points:

  • Three (3) new visas to assist regional Australia (designated regional areas).

  • designated regional areas will include all of Australia except for Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Subclass 491 visa – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) from 16 November 2019

  • It substitutes the current 489

  • Must have been invited to apply for this visa through the Expression of Interest (EOI) system

  • Need nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsored by relative in designated regional areas

  • Age limit - 45

  • Must nominate a skilled occupation with skill assessment.

Subclass 494 visa – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (two streams: Employer Sponsored and Labour Agreement) from 16 November 2019

  • It substitutes 187 (RSMS) visa

  • Age limit- 45 (have exceptions)

  • Skills assessment- waiver- qualification obtained in Australia by holding student visa with Studying a registered course OR Previously held 457/482 visa

  • Need 3 years full time work or an exemption

  • Competent English- or satisfy the exemptions

  • Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR)

  • Regional Certifying Body (RCB) advice required

Subclass 191 visa – Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, from 16 Nov 2022, for 491 or 494 holders who meet requirements

  • have earned a minimum taxable income (yet to be released) for three years as the holder of a regional provisional visa; and

  • have complied with the conditions of the regional provisional visa; in particular, including that the holder must live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia.

  • Subclass 489 visa holders will continue to be able to access the Subclass 887 (Skilled – Regional) visa which is the permanent pathway visa for this group, subject to satisfying existing criteria.

Please note that if your current visa or your last substantive visa is a subclass 491 visa or 494 visa, you must have held that visa for at least 3 years at the time of application (with exception) to apply for other visas such as a subclass 124(Distinguished Talent), 132 (Business Talent), 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme), 188 (Business Innovation and Investment- provisional), 189 (Skilled- Independent) and 190 (Skilled- Nominated).

New conditions to 491 & 494 visas:

  • Visa Condition 8578 requires the visa holder to notify Immigration of any change, within 14 days of the change occurring, to the holder’s residential address, an email address of the holder, a phone number of the holder, the holder’s passport details, the address of an employer of the holder, or the address of the location of a position in which the holder is employed.

  • Visa Condition 8579 requires that while the visa holder is in Australia, they must live, work and study only in a designated regional area.

  • Condition 8580 requires that, if requested in writing by the Minister to do so, the visa holder must within 28 days provide any or all of the following: the visa holder’s residential address, the address of their employer or employers; the address of the location of each position in which the holder is employed; the address of any educational institution attended by the visa holder.

  • Visa Condition 8581 requires the visa holder, if requested in writing by the Minister, to attend an interview at a place and time or in the manner specified in the request. The interview may be face to face or undertaken using modern video conferencing applications such as Skype or Facetime.

Transitional arrangement available for Transitional 457 workers and Transitional 482 workers: – Not disadvantaged by the new requirements.

  • Transitional 457 worker means a person who on 18 April 2017 either held a Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa, or was an applicant for a Subclass 457 visa that was subsequently granted. This cohort is referred to subsequently for the purpose of exempting them from the closure on 16 November 2019 of the Temporary Residence Transition stream in the Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa.

  • Transitional 482 worker means a person who on 20 March 2019 either held a Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa in the Medium-term stream, or was an applicant for a Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa in the Medium-term stream that was subsequently granted. This cohort is referred to subsequently for the purpose of exempting them from the closure on 16 November 2019 of the Temporary Residence Transition stream in the Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa.

Changes on Points test for General Skilled Migration: (apply to 189, 190, 489, and 491) from 16 November 2019

  • 15 points for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia;

  • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications;

  • Partner points

    • 10 points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner; Partner need a skills assessment or

    • 10 points for applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who is an Australia citizen or PR or eligible NZ citizen or

    • 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’

Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne for further advice:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111




Who can apply for the Australian Partner Visa?

If you are in a relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, you may be eligible for a grant of a partner visa on the basis of their sponsorship.

You may be eligible for a partner visa if you and your partner:

·      Are married

·      Are engaged to be married

·      Are in a de facto relationship

·      Have registered your relationship with a relevant State/Territory authority

How do I qualify for an Australian Partner Visa?

There are three (3) pathways through which partners of Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents can obtain a visa for Australia.

The most suitable visa option will depend on your individual circumstances, including whether the person applying for the visa is inside or outside Australia at the time of application.

Nevett Ford Immigration Lawyers & Registered Migration Agents can help you select the best option for your circumstances.

(1)  The Subclass 820/801 ‘Onshore’ Partner Visa
This visa is available to those who are married to, or in a de facto relationship with, an Australian Permanent Resident or Citizen, or eligible NZ Citizen. An applicant for this visa must be in Australia.
The initial stage, the subclass 820, requires that you have been in a de facto relationship with your partner for 12 months, be married, or have registered your relationship with a relevant State/Territory authority.
Approximately two (2) years from the date of application for the subclass 820 visa, the applicant is invited to submit evidence that the relationship is continuing, to allow the Department of Immigration to process the permanent residence visa stage (the Subclass 801 visa).

An applicant is entitled to Medicare access, work rights, and study rights, upon grant of the temporary 820 visa.

(2)  The Subclass 309/100 ‘Offshore’ Partner Visa
This visa is available to those who are married to, or in a de facto relationship with, an Australian Permanent Resident or Citizen, or an eligible New Zealand Citizen. This pathway is for applicants who are outside of Australia.
An applicant must be outside of Australia when the temporary Subclass 309 visa is granted, after which they can enter Australia, and access Medicare, work rights and study rights.

In much the same way as the onshore process outlined above, the applicant will initially be granted a Subclass 309 visa, and will be given the opportunity to obtain the permanent visa, the Subclass 100, two years from the date the initial application was submitted.

(3)  Subclass 300 (Temporary Residence) - Prospective Marriage Visa
This visa is available to those who are engaged to be married to an Australian Permanent Resident or Citizen, or an eligible New Zealand Citizen. The applicant must be outside of Australia to apply. Once granted, the subclass 309 visa allows the holder to enter Australia and marry their Australian partner within a nine (9) month period.

Prior to the end of this nine-month period, applicants can apply for an onshore Subclass 820/801 visa as outlined above.

This visa also allows holders to access work and study rights.

How do I apply for an Australian Partner Visa?

Partner visas require an application to be made by both the ‘Visa Applicant’ and the Australian citizen or permanent resident ‘Sponsor’.

All visa options outline above require evidence that your relationship is ‘genuine and continuing’. To satisfy the Department of Immigration that this is the case, you need to be able to provide evidence that addresses the following:

·      Proof of living together (cohabitation);

·      Joint bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investment (financial interdependence);

·      Supporting statements from family and friends (social interdependence);

·      Proof of how you live your lives together, why you want to settle permanent in Australia, what you have in common and your future plans (The nature of your ongoing commitment to one another).

The Department recognises that all relationships are different.  Therefore, the nature and type information and documentation that is submitted in support of a partner visa application will differ from couple to couple.  Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist and advise you on the specific requirements and we can manage the entire process on your behalf.

Please contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial consultation:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111





What Is a DAMA?

The Australian Designated Area Migration Agreement, also referred to as the “DAMA” or “DAMA visa,” is intended to assist employers operating in a specific area through sponsoring skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local Australian workers.

The DAMA is a labour agreement for a designated area that can provide access to a larger amount of occupations and may have lower requirements. The DAMA labour agreement allows employers to be approved to sponsor migrant workers through the TSS 482 and the 186 visa streams. Skilled and semi-skilled workers in occupations which are not on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) may be able to access skilled Australian migration through the DAMA program.

Once a business is approved to be a sponsor under the DAMA, the business will be opened up to a wider range of potential skilled occupations to sponsor.

Who Needs The DAMA?

While the DAMA is focused on the needs of regional business, applicants that would be interested in the DAMA include; semi-skilled, skilled, and other workers looking to live and work in regional areas in Australia. 

Essentially, the DAMA is for Australian business, in regional areas, who are unable to fill positions within their company using an Australian worker. If accepted through a skilled migration stream and the DAMA, the skilled migrant may be given priority processing to receive a temporary entry or permanent residency.

Note: The NT DAMA is an employer-sponsored visa program and individual workers cannot apply for a visa independently.

Why Choose The DAMA?

The Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement (NT DAMA) is the only DAMA which (at the time of publication) has published their DAMA requirements. With that being said, the NT DAMA has outlined some positive allowances applicants can receive through the DAMA.

The concessions available under the NT DAMA include:

  • English requirement concessions (IELTS overall 5 with a minimum of 5.6 in speaking and listening only, NO minimum requirement for writing and reading)

  • Skills concessions for certain occupations

  • Broader occupation lists compared to the TSS short-term and medium-term lists. These are more adapted to the local needs of NT businesses.

  • Employment conditions are better aligned with local conditions – more flexibility in employment contracts compared to the rigid requirements for short-term and medium-term stream TSS.

Concessions for the Warrnambool and South Australian DAMAs, are not available at the date of publication.

DAMA Visa Applicable Locations

Currently, the only DAMA actively accepting applications is the Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement Mark 2 (“NT DAMA Mk II”). It is Mk II as it replaced the previous Northern Territory’s DAMA. While the Northern Territory has a DAMA, and the Great South Coast including the Warrnambool area of Victoria will soon have a DAMA. There are potentially more areas to be added in the near future including, Orana region of NSW, Pilbara and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder regions in WA, as well as Cairns in Far North Queensland.

General Criteria for the DAMA

The DAMA program uses the “labour agreement” stream of the Temporary Skills Shortage (“TSS”) subclass 482 Visa and the Employer Nomination Scheme (“ENS”) subclass 186 visa. Thus, the DAMA does not necessarily have its own requirements. The “DAMA requirements” are subject to the requirements of the stream the skilled migrant is applying through.

The Designated area has requirements for endorsement of a labour agreement which must be met. In fact, the criteria for the DAMA is based around lowering the requirements for the 482 visa and 186 visa.

Some lower requirements include:

  • English Concessions

  • TSMIT Concessions

  • Lower Minimum Pay

The DAMA Application Process

Applying for a visa under the DAMA program is a 4 step process.

The below is tailored to the NT program, however, similar steps are likely to apply once another designated area is open for applications.

  1. The sponsoring business applies to the designated area body (such as the Northern Territory Department of Trade, Business, and Innovation “DBTI”) for endorsement of your business’ labour agreement

  2. The sponsoring business applies to the Department of Home Affairs for a labour agreement

  3. The sponsoring business applies to the Department of Home Affairs for the nomination of an individual worker under the labour agreement

  4. The worker applies for a TSS 482 visa under the labour agreement stream

Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers if you require advice and assistance:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111




The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) has released information after receiving advice from the Department of Home Affairs.

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016, passed by Parliament on 28 November 2018, will provide a framework to separate sponsorship assessments from visa application assessments for Family visas.

The separate sponsorship framework will first be implemented in the new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa which will be open for sponsorship applications from 17 April 2019.

Further regulation and system changes are required for the new framework to apply to other visas. At this stage, there is no timeframe for expansion of the new sponsorship framework to other family visas and therefore the current arrangements for existing visas, including partner visas, will continue to operate from 17 April 2019.

Therefore, at this stage partner visa sponsorship arrangements will not change on 17 April 2019.  

Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne to speak to one of our immigration law team members.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111




The Australian Government has just announced that the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018 will commence on 17 April 2019.

This amendment allows Immigration to implement a separate sponsorship process for Family Visa sponsors – such as the new Temporary Parent visa – and to require that this sponsorship be approved before a visa application can be lodged.

Although it has not yet been announced by Immigration, we expect that the introduction of the separate sponsorship process will affect Partner visa applicants and their sponsors.

Applicants in Australia would not be able to lodge a Partner visa and secure a bridging visa while they wait for the sponsorship to be approved.

If you would like advice or assistance with applying for a Partner visa before 17 April 2019, please contact us and book a consultation now.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111



Young Australians will more easily be able to holiday, work and study in Greece with reciprocal Work and Holiday arrangements set to commence on 1 July 2019.

Five hundred places each will be available annually for young Australians and Greeks to visit each other’s country for up to twelve months.

While on their first visa, Greek nationals may undertake specified work in regional areas to become eligible for a second Work and Holiday visa and extend their stay.

The option of a third year stay will also be available to them if they undertake six months of regional work in their second year in Australia.

The Work and Holiday visa requires first-time Greek applicants to hold or be studying towards tertiary qualifications and to have a functional level of English.

Please contact our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents at Nevett Ford Lawyers for further information and advice.

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111





You are financially responsible for any health debts you incur in Australia.  The Department of Home Affairs (Immigration) might consider any outstanding health debts you have if you apply for a visa in future.

If you are not eligible for Medicare, any treatment you have in a hospital or emergency room will be as a private patient. Most temporary visa holders are not eligible for Medicare.

For routine medical treatment in Australia, out-of-hospital treatment from a general practitioner is normally the most cost-effective solution.

Immigration offer a guide to the minimum level of health cover that will mitigate your financial risk but your healthcare costs are unlikely to be covered completely. You will still be liable for the balance of your healthcare costs.

Consider whether a higher level of cover than Immigration specify here might be more suitable for you.

You can be charged a patient contribution, excess or co-payment for treatment by either or both:

  • your insurance fund

  • any hospital you are treated at

Benefit levels

You should get cover that provides benefits at least equivalent to the following:

Public hospital

For admitted patient treatment, a benefit equal to the state and territory health authority gazetted rates for ineligible patients for:

  • overnight and day only hospital accommodation (all costs including: all theatre, intensive care, labour wards, ward drugs)

  • emergency department fees that lead to an admission

  • admitted patient care and postoperative services that are a continuation of care associated with an early discharge from hospital

This includes all admitted treatments covered by the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS).

Surgically implanted prostheses

For no-gap prostheses and gap-permitted prostheses as listed in the Private Health Insurance (Prostheses) Rules 2007, a benefit at least equal to 100 per cent of the minimum benefit amount listed.


For all PBS-listed drugs, prescribed according to PBS-approved indications, that are administered during and form part of an admitted episode of care, a benefit equal to the PBS-listed price in excess of the patient contribution.

This includes the cost of PBS-listed drugs administered post-discharge if they form part of the admitted episode of care.

Medical services

For admitted medical services with an MBS item number, 100 per cent of the Medical Benefits Schedule fee or less if the patient is charged less.

Ambulance services

100 per cent of the charge not otherwise covered by third-party arrangements for transport by ambulance provided by, or under an arrangement with, a government-approved ambulance service when medically necessary for admission to hospital, emergency treatment onsite, or inter-hospital transfer for emergency treatment.

This includes inter-hospital transfers that are necessary because the original admitting hospital does not have the required clinical facilities. It does not extend to transfers due to patient preferences.

Informed financial consent

The insurer will allow hospitals to check members' eligibility so members are able to give informed financial consent when they are admitted.

Waiting periods

To comply with the minimum level, the only waiting periods that can be applied are:

  • 12 months for pregnancy related conditions

  • 12 months for pre-existing conditions applied in a way that is consistent with Section 75-15 of the Private Health Insurance Act 2007

  • 2 months for psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care, whether or not the condition is pre-existing

Excluded treatments

To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, the only admitted patient treatments that may be excluded are:

  • assisted reproductive treatments

  • elective cosmetic treatments

  • stem cells, bone marrow and organ transplant

Insurance policies may also exclude:

  • treatment provided outside Australia, including necessary treatment en route to or from Australia

  • treatment arranged in advance of the insured's arrival in Australia

  • services and treatment which are covered by compensation or damages provisions of any kind

Insurers don't have to exclude these treatments. They can choose to cover them or not.

Global annual benefit limits

To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, the per-person, per-annum benefit must not be less than AUD1,000,000.

Out-of-hospital cover

For treatment that relates to medical services with an MBS item number, cover up to the Medical Benefits Schedule fee.

Except where otherwise stated, the insurer can decide whether to provide cover for out-of-hospital treatment. The insured person can choose to purchase this additional cover or not.

Excess, co-payment or patient contribution

The insurer can decide to charge an excess, co-payment or patient contribution. Excess, co-payment and patient contributions can be charged on either an annual or per-separation basis.


When determining waiting periods, insurers must recognise previous length of membership on a policy held with another Australian insurer that meets the minimum standards.

That is:

  • when transferring between Australia-based insurers where the customer has been a member of the previous fund for more than 12 months, waiting periods of no longer than 12 months will apply to the higher level of benefits

  • when transferring between Australia-based insurers where the customer has been a member of the previous fund for less than 12 months, any unserved waiting periods must be completed with the new fund. If increasing the level of cover or benefits, further waiting periods of no longer than 12 months will apply to the higher level of benefits. These waiting periods are to be served concurrently

To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, the insurer must agree to:

  • grant a member who transfers between Australia-based insurers continuity of cover for up to 30 days from the date they leave their previous insurer

  • provide members who terminate their policy with a clearance certificate, approved by the Department of Home Affairs, within 14 days of the termination date or the date they were notified of the termination, whichever is later

Buy-out clauses

To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, a policy must not contain a buy-out clause that would have the effect of terminating the insurer’s liabilities in exchange for a predetermined lump sum payment.


The insurer will allow the insured person 60 days from the last financial date of membership to pay a premium without terminating the membership.

Insurers do not have to pay for treatment received during any arrears period until and unless the arrears are paid for the relevant period.

Evidence of adequate health insurance

Some visas require you to provide evidence of adequate health insurance before Immigration grant the visa and where applicable (seek advice).

Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne for advice and assistance:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111




On 1 March 2019, Minister Coleman announced that applications to sponsor a parent for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa will be open from 17 April 2019. 

Once a sponsorship application has been approved, a sponsored parent will be able to apply for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa. Applications for the visa are intended to open from 1 July 2019

The visa provides parents with a new pathway to temporarily reunite with their children and grandchildren in Australia, while ensuring that taxpayers are not required to cover additional costs. The visa responds to community concerns about the limited number of Parent places in the migration program and associated lengthy waiting periods. 

To be eligible for the visa, a parent must be the biological, adoptive, or step-parent of the sponsor, who must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. 

The following information is subject to introduction of supporting regulations which are expected to be released in the near future.

Based on currently available information, parents will be able to stay for up to five years at a time without departing and the Department has announced that up to 15,000 per year will be granted. 


  • Sponsorship application: $420

  • Visa application charge: $5,000 for 3 years duration, $10,000 for five years duration 

The visa application charge is payable in two instalments, with one payment at time of application and the remainder paid prior to visa grant.

Other features include:

  • No Balance of Family test will be applied

  • 'No work' conditions will be applied

  • Require health insurance 

  • Must provide evidence of access to funds

 Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne today for further information, assistance and advice.

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111




A new Legislative Instrument - F2019L00196 - Migration Amendment (Working Holiday Maker) Regulations 2019, increases the maximum number of Subclass 417 and 462 visas a person may hold in Australia to three (3) visas.

These Regulations increase the maximum number of ‘working holiday maker’ visas from two (2) to three (3), where the visa holder meets additional work requirements. 

The applicant is required to complete 6 months specified work in specified circumstances in order to be eligible for a third ‘working holiday maker’ visa. 

Applicants for third WHV must have undertaken 6 months specified work while holding a second WHV and that this work was carried out on or after 1 July 2019

The specified work and circumstances are set out in IMMI 17/018: Working Holiday Visa – Specified Work and Regional Australia) Instrument 2017 and Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with any questions or queries.

This Instrument commences on 1 July 2019.

Please contact our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents at Nevett Ford Lawyers for any questions or queries.

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111




The Department of Health has introduced a ‘Visas for GPs initiative’ which is expected to commence on 11 March 2019. 

Employers wanting to sponsor an overseas doctor will need to obtain a ‘Health Workforce Certificate’ before lodging a nomination application for either a Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage Visa, Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme, or Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa. 

The occupations impacted by this change are:

·         General Practitioner (ANZSCO 2531-11);

·         Resident Medical Officer (ANZSCO 2531-12); and

·         Medical Practitioner not elsewhere classified (ANZSCO 2539-99).

The government is implementing the ‘Visas for GPs initiative’ to direct doctors into areas that have lower access to services such as those in rural, remote and regional areas of Australia, and prevent an oversupply in other areas. The requirement to obtain a Health Workforce Certificate assists the Federal Government achieve this by issuing a certificate only to those employers that can demonstrate a genuine need to fill a position with an overseas doctor. 

The Health Workforce Certificate will need to be uploaded to any nomination application lodged after 11 March 2019.

Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with all visa applications, including employer sponsored applications. 

Please contact us for any information, advice and assistance:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111


Important changes to Partner Visas

Important changes to Partner Visas

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 has passed both houses of Parliament in November 2018 and is now awaiting royal assent.

Who will this affect

Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens who wish to apply to sponsor a family member and family members who want to apply for a sponsored family visa.

What this means for you

This bill will introduce significant changes to the existing Sponsored Family Visas, making it harder for people with a history of domestic violence to sponsor a partner as sponsor partners will be scrutinised before they can be approved as an eligible sponsor.

A key element of this bill requires the sponsor partner to first lodge their sponsorship application and have it approved before a visa application can be made. In addition, the Department of Home Affairs can share personal information with sponsor, visa applications and other prescribed government agencies. This means that the sponsor partners are required to agree to the results of their character checks being shared with the person they are sponsoring, ensuring that visa applicants are aware if their sponsor has a history of domestic violence.*

When will it take affect

There is no commencement date and can commence any date. However, we anticipate that the changes will come into effect in April 2019.

Effect on processing time

The current processing time for a Sponsored Partner Visa can take as long as 25 months to process. We anticipate that the changes will further prolong the process of obtaining a partner visa.

 If you are thinking about applying for a partner visa and are concerned that the changes may affect you, we urge that you contact our experienced team of immigration lawyers and registered agents to discuss your eligibility.

We recommend that you lodge the partner visa as soon as you are eligible before April 2019.


Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers for advice and assistance.


Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111



*(Regulations may prescribe circumstances for disclosure etc.)


Victorian nomination for select business and investor visas is currently paused – with the intention to resume accepting nomination applications in February 2019.

The current pause on applications for Visa Nomination is temporary to manage demand.

The following visa subclasses are currently on pause:

  • 188 - Business Innovation stream

  • 188 - Investor stream

  • 188 - Significant Investor stream

  • 188 - Entrepreneur stream

  • 132 - Business Talent (Permanent) - Significant Business History stream

  • 132 - Business Talent (Permanent) - Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream

Nomination applications received prior to 5 January 2019 will continue to be assessed.

Nomination applications for the following visa subclasses are still being accepted:

  • 405 - Investor Retirement

  • 888 - Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent)

  • 892 - Business Owner

  • 893 - Investor

The immigration lawyers at Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with all Australian visa applications including business visas. 

Please contact us for more information by telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111 or by email:



Fijian workers will work on Australian farms under the expanded Pacific Labour Scheme as Australia sends 1000 hours of television the other way each year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit Fiji on Thursday to also announce an $84 million partnership to provide university education for teachers and lift teaching standards.

"We will work with Fiji to help them access the Pacific Labour Scheme this year, boosting both economies while helping Australian farmers," Mr Morrison said ahead of his visit.

The expanded migrant labour scheme, which was previously capped at 2000 places, allows workers from select Pacific island countries to work in rural and regional Australia for up to three years.

Australia is also expanding its voice in the Pacific, as it pushes back against Chinese efforts to increase its power in the region.

A $17 million program will send 1000 hours of Australian content each year to established media networks in the Pacific for the next three years.

FreeTV will run a study on what Pacific viewers are looking for before the news, sport, drama, lifestyle and children's shows are sent for broadcast.

A six-year, $84 million deal with the University of South Pacific will also help lift teaching training standards.

"Our investment into tertiary education means better teachers, more students accessing study, while creating opportunities for the Australian education sector," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison will meet Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and the two leaders are expected to announce a significant new economic and security partnership, including upgrading the Black Rock military training base.

He will also face questions over Australia's attempt to strip terrorist Neil Prakash of his Australian citizenship.

The Melbourne-born terrorist, who is awaiting trial in Turkey, has a Fijian father but Fiji says Prakash is not one of its citizens.

Mr Morrison visited Vanuatu on Wednesday, where he promised Australia would directly fund projects to tackle the impact of climate change in the Pacific.

Nevett Ford Lawyers migration law team can assist with all Australian and US visa related matters.  Contact us today for assistance.




Warrnambool City Council has signed a Designated Area Migration Agreement, or DAMA with the Commonwealth for the next five years.  DAMAs utilise the existing Temporary Skilled Shortage (or the subclass 457) visa framework to enable overseas nationals to work for specific approved employers within the DAMA-approved geographic region.  However, unlike the TSS program, variations to the standard requirements of this program are available.  These variations typically include:

  • Concessions to the level of English Language of the overseas national;

  • A greater number of occupations than what is permissible under the TSS program; and

  • In some situations, an ability to offer a salary under what is required under the TSS program is also available. 

A new DAMA (“DAMA II”) has also been agreed between the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth.  DAMA II is set to replace the original DAMA for the Territory which expires on 31 December 2018.  Like the previous incarnation, DAMA II will also offer a pathway to permanent residency for the skilled and semi-skilled occupations that have been approved under it.  Given occupations on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List no longer have a pathway to Permanent Residency, further details are required to determine what settlement options are available to visa holders issued through the Warrnambool DAMA, particularly for any occupations which are not otherwise available under the TSS Visa program. 

If you are an employer in the Northern Territory or on Victoria’s Great Southern Coast Region and what to know more about the DAMA and how it may assist with your recruitment difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us directly here or on the details below.



 Last week Vetassess announced changes to their skills assessment criteria which will affect many PhD students studying in Australia.

Previously, Vetassess accepted a full scholarship as ‘work experience’ for the purpose of obtaining 1-year work experience for a skills assessment or for work experience points. However, this is due to change from Friday, 15 December 2018. This is a major change and it will affect many PhD students including those who intend to work in careers such as University Lecturers and Scientists. Applications lodged prior to this date will continue to be assessed under the criteria in place at the time of lodgement.

This new change means that any PhD applicants with a full scholarship will soon be required to obtain paid work experience in their field after completing their PhD to meet the criteria for a positive skills assessment.  For many PhD students studying in Australia, the obvious pathway to gain adequate work experience is to apply for a Subclass 485 Visa after completing their studies.  

The 485 visa is for international students who complete 2 years of study in Australia. Depending on the criteria being met the visa will be granted for either 18 months, 2 years, 3 years or 4 years. PhD graduates may be eligible for a 485 Visa for between 18 months and 4 years depending on when you first studied in Australia. The 485 visa is a great option as it offers full work and study rights. You will be working on steps to help kick start your career or gain permanent residence.

Have you recently completed your PhD? Contact one of our Immigration Lawyers or Registered Migration agents for further information on how to apply for your skills assessment and extend your stay in Australia:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111


Source: Vetassess December News Letter

Visa Refusal Appeal


Visa Refusal Appeal

Have you received a notice of intention to cancel you visa or has your visa been refused? 

Common Visa refusal reasons include:

  • you have not met the conditions of a previous visa

  • you did not provide enough information to prove the claims you made in your application

  • you do not meet Australia’s health or character requirements

  • you gave the wrong information, or made a false claim in your application (bogus documents or misleading information)

  • For student visas, when your preferred course of study is not in line with your previous studies

  • Not showing that you are able to support yourself financially

  • For employer sponsored visas, when the business sponsoring you is not viable or there is no genuine need, the pay is not according to market salary rates and many more.

You have a limited time to respond to a “Natural Justice Letter” so it is important to act quickly and seek professional advice.


Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with all visa refusals and appeals matters at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), Federal Court and in relation to Ministerial Intervention cases. 

Please contact one of our experienced Immigration lawyers & Registered Migration Agents for further information.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111



ATO Changes mean employers face significant fines for not checking employees’ visas


Any business who employs foreign citizens and has not been performing ongoing visa checks can now be automatically caught as a result of new data matching between the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Department of Home Affairs (Immigration).


In respect to Visa holders, the biggest change for employers is the recording of tax file numbers against Visas, combined with release of the ATO’s ‘Single Touch Payroll’. Since December 2017, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has collected tax file numbers from all new visa applicants, enabling simplified data matching between the two departments.

As a result, when an employer submits their payroll / PAYG data to the ATO, the DHA can data match against that and can determine that: a) the employer has not been checking employees’ visas (because the DHA retains a log of every check against a Visa holder), and b) that Visa conditions have been breached.


For example, if the payroll data for a given visa holding employee indicates a salary commensurate with working 60 hours over the fortnight, but the visa holder is restricted to work 40 hours over that period, as is often the case for student visa holders, a breach could be automatically detected.

In the past, detecting a compliance breach typically involved the Department of Home Affairs conducting an audit, which is both time consuming and inefficient. However, with the introduction of ‘One Touch Payroll’, audits can be performed automatically simply through inter-departmental data sharing.


Australian businesses can face fines of up to $315,000 for breaching visa conditions. Company directors can be held personally responsible for non-compliance, even if they are unaware of the specific employee, and can individually face fines of up to $63,000 per illegal worker.

Further, in the scenario listed above where visa conditions were breached, not only would the employer face potentially significant fines, the visa holder would likely have their visa cancelled resulting in deportation for the individual concerned.


Where employees are foreign citizens, employers are required to check that employees have the legal right to work in Australia both during on-boarding, and throughout the duration of employment.


Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist employers in relation to all visa related matters, including compliance matters.  Please contact one of our experienced Immigration lawyers & Registered Migration Agents for further information.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111