DIBP

Provisional visas could become compulsory for people moving to Australia

by Ray Clancy on August 3, 2017

in Australia Immigration

People moving to Australia for a new life would need to live and work with a provisional visa for a certain period of time and only then be eligible for a permanent visa under proposals being discussed by the Government.

As part of its consultation on visa change, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is exploring the idea of making provisional visas mandatory.

(onephoto/Bigstock.com)

‘Should a prospective migrant spend a period of time in Australia before becoming eligible for permanent residence? What factors should be considered?’ the consultation discussion paper says.

The change is part of a wider move to make it harder for people to get permanent residence and the paper points out that the number applying for permanent residence has grown substantially over the last two decades. In 2015/2016, around half of all permanent visas were granted to people already in Australia on a temporary visa.

‘This means that temporary residence is increasingly becoming the first step to living in Australia permanently,’ the discussion paper explains. Some officials have already indicated that the preferred option is for only the ‘brightest and the best’ talent to be eligible for permanent residency.

Currently, for most of the permanent visa categories, people do not have to spend any minimum length of time in Australia before they are granted permanent residency. Officials point out that this is not consistent with like-minded countries such as the UK and the United States.

However, there are concerns that such a change could undermine Australia’s social cohesion and create a two-tier society where migrants are treated substantially differently to Australian citizens.

Other major changes being discussed during the consultation drastically cutting the number of visa categories from 99 to about 10 so that applicants are less confused about the different visa streams and making the whole programme more flexible.

The consultation is open to everyone and online submission can be made through the DIBP’s website until 15 September 2017.

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