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September Update From the Department of Home Affairs – Migration Alliance Summary

The Department of Home Affairs has released their first newsletter for 2020 with some major updates concerning regional 887, TSS, ENS and Business Innovation Program. 

Migration Alliance brings you the recap of announcements and what this means for practitioners as well as potential applications:

887 COVID Concessions – Visas can be lodged and granted offshore

As stated in the newsletter, the concessions are available to eligible applicants that have lived in a specified regional area for six months (the residence concession) and worked full-time in a specified regional area for three months (the employment concession). These applicants can lodge their visa application outside Australia during the concession period and be granted the visa while they are outside Australia.

These concessions will assist eligible prospective Skilled – Regional (subclass 887) visa applicants who have lodged their subclass 887 visa application on or after 19 September 2020 and during the 'concession period' (or within 3 months after the end of the concession period, if the visa applicant is in Australia). The concession period commenced on 1 February 2020, and will continue until a date to be specified .

This is a significant relief to prospective applicants that are currently off-shore and are unable to return due to the travel restrictions. The concession also allows Australian Borderforce to safely measure the intake of overseas nationals.

188 COVID Concessions

COVID-19 concessions are available to eligible Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) applicants.

These concessions apply to applicants who were granted a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) before 1 July 2019, and who wish to apply for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).

These concessions relate to:

  • application requirements
  • visa criteria requiring specified periods of residence
  • specified levels of business and investment activity

Essentially the purpose of these is concessions reduce disadvantages faced by subclass 188 visa holders and former visa holders, and subclass 888 visa applicants, who are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (for example, by not being able to carry on a business or an investment). These concessions ensure that Australia remains competitive in the international market when attracting and retaining business and migrants of high economic value.

TSS Sponsors to notify the Department of Important Changes Via Immi Account:

From late September  sponsors will be able to advise Home Affairs of temporary changes to employment arrangements for 457, TSS & SESR visa holders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic through the 'Notification of sponsor changes form' in ImmiAccount.

Sponsors will be able to notify changes for up to ten visa holders on the one form. One form should be completed to notify commencement of the temporary change, and another form should be completed to notify the completion of the temporary change.

Only one type of change is able to be entered for each visa holder per form. Sponsors should enter the primary reason (for example, ’Reduced working hours’ if the visa holder is temporarily working part-time) for the notification. If a visa holder’s salary has also been reduced as a result of the part-time working arrangements, this can be mentioned in the ‘brief description’ box.

This will ensure sponsors remain compliant with the Sponsorship Obligations as well as the integrity of the program.

More details including new Labour Market Testing Requirements can be found here:

If you need any help or assistance, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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