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Overview of the Disallowable Legislative Instrument

The Migration Amendment (Merits Review) Regulations 2021 (the Regulations) would amend the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Migration Regulations) to increase the fee for certain applications to the Migration and Refugee Division (MRD) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The fee applies to applications for review of decisions relating to visas other than protection visas, and includes decisions in relation to sponsorships and nominations. These are Part 5 reviewable decisions under the Migration Act 1958 (the Act).

The increase to the fee is part of a funding package for the AAT and the Federal Circuit Court (FCC), as announced in the 2021-22 Federal Budget. As part of the package, revenue from the increased fee will offset expenditure to provide additional resources to the AAT and the FCC to reduce the migration related backlogs that have developed as a result of significant increases in application rates as well as the prospective increase in matters that will be heard in the FCC. The increase in the fee will enhance the decision making capacity of the AAT and the FCC for migration matters and thus provide a more timely service by both bodies

The Regulations do not alter the type or nature of decisions that qualify for merits review under the Act, but provide that the prescribed fee required to be paid by an individual in seeking a review is increased from $1,826 to $3,000. In accordance with existing provisions, the Registrar of the AAT can reduce the fee by 50 percent if the fee would cause severe financial hardship to the review applicant; and successful applicants for review remain entitled to a refund of 50 percent of the fee (regulation 4.14 of the Migration Regulations).

Source: Migration-Amendment-Merits-Review-Regulations-2021.pdf and

Migration-Amendment-Merits-Review-Regulations-2021-Explanatory-Statement.pdf

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Overview of the Disallowable Legislative Instrument

The purpose of the Migration Amendment (Visa Application Charges) Regulations 2021 (the Regulations) is to amend the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Migration Regulations) to make changes to visa application charges (VACs) for certain visas as a consequence of the 2017-18 Budget Measure Indexation of visa application charges, and 2020-21 Budget Measure Migration Program – changes to the Business Innovation and Investment Program.

In particular, the Regulations amend the Migration Regulations to increase VACs for a number of visas by the forecast consumer price index (CPI), consistent with the 2017-18 Budget Measure Indexation of visa application charges. From 2017-18, annual indexation of the VAC has been in accordance with the forecast CPI published annually in the Budget papers.

In effect, this means that the affected VACs are increased from their 2020-21 baseline amounts by the 2021-22 forecast CPI as published in the 2021-22 Budget Paper No.1, rounded to the nearest $5. It is intended that these indexation amendments will continue to be made on an annual basis.

In addition, consistent with the 2020-21 Budget Measure Migration Program – changes to Business Innovation and Investment Program, visa application charges for most Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) visas are also increased by 11.345 percent (cumulatively with VAC indexation). This coincides with the closure of three streams of visas with effect from 1 July 2021: the Subclass 132 (Business Talent) permanent visa (with two streams) is being repealed, and the Premium Investor stream of the Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional)) visa is being closed to new applications from 1 July 2021.

Source: Migration-Amendment-Visa-Application-Charges-Regulations-2021.pdf and 

Migration-Amendment-Visa-Application-Charges-2021-Explanatory-Statement.pdf

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LIN 21/043 is being made to accompany changes to applications for the WHM visas made to the Regulations by the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2021 (the Amendment Regulations). 6

The Amendment Regulations insert new regulation 1.15P. The purpose of regulation 1.15P is to describe the visas that are COVID-19 affected visas.

A WHM visa is a COVID-19 affected visa if all of the following requirements are met under subregulation 1.15P(1):

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Citizenship application fee changes take effect from 1 July 2021. Fees are increasing to more accurately reflect the cost of application processing.

Applicants will be charged the relevant fee based on when the Department receives their application. The new fees apply if the Department receives the application and payment on or after 1 July 2021.

Source: The new fee amounts - Citizenship-Fees-1-July-2021.pdf

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Programmers and ICT security specialists will get prioritised visa processing to enter Australia and bypass travel restrictions under an expansion of the skilled migration program.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke on Tuesday announced that 22 new occupations would be added to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List, which was launched in September last year offering prioritised visas and exemptions from travel restrictions for the jobs listed.

The new occupations include electrical engineers, analyst programmers, software and application programmers, ICT security specialists and multimedia specialists.

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