The Federal Budget 2021-22

The federal budget was handed down by treasury on the 11 May 2021 for the 2021-2022 financial year with a focus on resuming migration and welcoming back international students to Australia.

Migration Planning Levels

The Australian Government will maintain the 2021-2022 Migration Program Planning level at 160,000 places.

Family and Skilled stream places will also be maintained at their 2020-2021 planning levels with the Department continuing their focus on onshore visa applicants and continuing to reduce the onshore Partner visa application pipeline.

Skilled Migration Visas will have approximately 50% of the allocated places with a priority focus on highly skilled migrants in the Employer SponsoredBusiness Innovation and Investor Program and Global Talent visa categories.

The Humanitarian Program will be maintained at 13,750 places for the 2021-2022 migration year.

The Australian government has confirmed that the size of the program (the places available) will remain as a ceiling of the amount of places available instead of a ‘target’.

Net Overseas Migration Numbers

The Budget noted that Net Overseas Migration (NOM) is predicted to fall from around 154,000 people in the 2019-2020 year to around -72,000 people by the end of 2020-2021, however it is expected to gradually increaase to around 201,000 people by 2023-2024.

Sponsored Temporary Parent Visas – Extension of validity period

The Department has confirmed that the validity period for Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (subclass 870) visas will be extended by 18 months for people who are unable to enter Australia due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Global Talent Visas

The Australian government has commited $550 million to attract talent and business from overseas to Australia as part of the Global Talent visa program. As part of this commitment the ATO will provide fast-track tax advice to foreign investors and individual tax residency rules will be simplified to increase the attractiveness of Australia for highly skilled indiviudals and innovative businesses looking to come to Australia.

Temporary Visa Holders

Temporary visa holders in Australia looking to apply for the Temporary Work (subclass 408) ‘COVID-19’ visa will no longer need to demonstrate their attempts to depart Australia if they intend to undertake work in the agricultural sector.

The period in which a temporary visa holder can apply for the Temporary Work (subclass 408) ‘COVID-19’ visa has also been extended from 28 days prior to their visa expiry to 90 days prior to their visa expiry.

Student Visa Holders

As previously announced by Thames Migration, student visa holders will temporarily be permitted to work for more than 40 hours per fortnight if they are working in the tourism or hospitality sectors.

More Information

If you would like further information on your migration options in Australia, what these announcements mean for you or any other matter please contact our office on 1300 799 877 or schedule a consultation with us online.


Festive Season Office Closure

From the entire Thames Migration team, we wish you all a merry festive season and a Happy New Year!

Further inbound travel exemptions announced

The Department’s COVID mini site has been updated today to allow additional categories of persons to be automatically exempt from travel restrictions and can enter Australia, without obtaining an individual exemption.

Those exempt from requiring individual exemptions are:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent resident of Australia
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident*
  • a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members
  • a diplomat accredited to Australia (holding a subclass 995 visa)
  • a traveller transiting Australia for 72 hours or less
  • airline crew
  • maritime crew including marine pilots
  • recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • holder of a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa

Further information on the requirements for these exemptions are available on the Department’s site

COVID -19 – Subclass 408 stream announced

The purpose of the visa is to provide a pathway for certain former and current holders of temporary visas to lawfully remain in Australia and who would otherwise be required to depart Australia who, but for the COVID-19 pandemic, are unable to leave Australia.


  • Must hold a visa that is 28 days or less from ceasing to be in effect
  • Or, held a visa that is no more than 28 days from ceasing to be in effect
  • And, are unable to apply for the same temporary visa they hold or held or any other subclass of temporary visa other than the Subclass 408 visa

To learn more or apply contact us.

COVID-19 Update

We are writing to assure you that we, and the staff of Thames Migration, are doing our best to support you during these strange and unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The majority of our services are not affected, and it is our team’s intention to continue our high level of service to you.

We have been testing our systems in preparation for all staff to work remotely, which is occurring this week in our Australian and UK offices.

We are in regular contact with clients and other stakeholders as we implement new ways to deliver our services and we thank them for their understanding.

You may experience some delays in dealing with us, but we will do as much as we can to assist you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on if you have any concerns or questions.

Regular updates concerning both Australian and UK visa and immigration news will continue to be publish via our social media and website news.

We thank you for your support and we will be in touch as soon as we can provide more information.

From the entire Thames Migration team we wish you and your staff and families all the best during this difficult time.

David A G Knox & Hannibal Khoury

COVID-19 and Visa Update

Dear valued clients and industry partners,

As you will all be aware, the United Kingdom and the world are facing an unprecedented challenge in dealing with the novel coronavirus. Following the British Prime Minister’s advice this week, the staff of Thames Migration (both in the UK and Australia) have moved to remote working. We have also taken the precaution of postponing our seminar programme for March and April.

I know that for many of you the visa process maybe daunting, especially in light of the current situation, and I want to reassure you that the team and I are fully available over email and telephone and can continue to reply to you during this period. We do however bring to your attention, due to the unprecedented amount of enquiries, we appreciate your patience in affording us at least 48 hours before we respond to your enquiry regarding your visa or immigration specific questions for both Australia or the UK. If you matter is urgent, please flag this with us when you make contact via email or phone.

We know you appreciate the work we all do, and there is more to come, once we get past this lock down we aim to resume normal face to face consultations rather than Skype.

We will continue to provide updates and news throughout our website and social media pages, and please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, the team if you have any questions. We will get through this. In the meantime, we trust you and your families and communities are able to join us and follow best practice advice to stay well.

Best wishes,

Hannibal Khoury

Extended Working Holiday Visa for Australia

Backpackers helping with the recovery from the bushfires can now apply for 12-month visas

It has just been announced that working holiday visas for Australia have now been extended to allow visitors to work for 12 months in one place, with immediate effect. The aim is to encourage more people to help with the extensive recovery effort following the bushfires. It will allow people travelling to Australia on a year out to stay for longer at one location so that they can assist with essential work in construction and on farms and help out communities down under impacted by the recent events.

Why extend my working holiday visa?

If you want to do something to help after the bushfires and subsequent floods in Australia, a working holiday visa could be a great way to travel and help restore the many impressive sights. Other visas are available for skilled workers and those looking for a longer term career in Australia, but if you’re unsure whether you’re ready to make the move, a working holiday visa can be a great way to give you a taste of life down under and consider whether it’s right for you. In addition, you’ll be doing vital work to help the country heal, protect the landscape and support the fascinating wildlife.

To learn more Contact Us

Festive Season Office Closure

During the festive season, Thames Migration offices in both Australia and the United Kingdom will close from Monday 23rd December 2019 and reopen on Thursday 2nd January 2020.

From the entire Thames Migration team, we wish you all a merry festive season and a Happy New Year!

16 November 2019 changes & Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

On 16 November 2019, the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) commenced.

This visa is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia and is valid for five years.

People who are granted a subclass 491 visa may be able to apply for a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) once certain requirements are met.


Intending migrants can now submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the new subclass 491 visa.


Points test changes


On 16 November 2019, changes were made to the points test for General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas. These changes apply to all GSM visa applications which have not been assessed under the GSM points test prior to 16 November 2019.


Changes to Partner points


Intending migrants:

 who do not have a spouse or de facto partner are eligible to claim 10 points

 with a spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident are eligible to claim 10 points

 with a skilled spouse or de facto partner who:

o will be included in the visa application for the same subclass of visa as the intending migrant;

o is not an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident;

o is under 45 years of age;

o has nominated a skilled occupation;

o has a suitable skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority for the nominated occupation and the assessment was not for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa; and

o has at least ‘Competent English’


are eligible to claim 10 points (increased from 5 points)


 with a spouse or de facto partner who has ‘Competent English’, who is not an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident and who will be included in the visa application for the same visa subclass as the intending migrant, are eligible to claim 5 points.


Other changes to the points test from 16 November 2019


Intending migrants:


 who claim a specialist education qualification are eligible to claim 10 points (increased from 5 points)

 who seek visa subclass 491 nomination from a State or Territory government agency or are sponsored by an eligible family member can claim 15 points (previously 10 points).


More information on the points test is available at: subclass 491 – points-table


New Regional Postcodes

On 16 November 2019, the Designated Regional Area instrument commenced. The instrument specifies postcodes eligible for points in Regional Study or subclass 491 nomination by a State or Territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member.

More information is available at: eligible regional areas


Regional Study

Intending migrants who had an EOI in ‘submitted’ status prior to 16 November 2019, may now be eligible for regional study points because areas regarded as regional have expanded as a result of the new Designated Regional Area definition.


EOIs submitted before 16 November 2019

SkillSelect will automatically update EOIs in ‘submitted’ status to attribute any additional points, where required information was held in SkillSelect before 16 November 2019.

This includes cases where an intending migrant indicated in their EOI, they do not have a spouse or de facto partner; or their spouse or de facto partner is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. The date of effect* will not change where points are automatically updated.

Points will also automatically update when claiming skilled partner points and/or a specialist educational qualification. The date of effect will not change.


Updating an EOI on or after 16 November 2019

Where an EOI was submitted before 16 November 2019 and information was not held in SkillSelect at that time, an intending migrant can choose to update their EOI to claim any additional points (as applicable). The date of effect will change in these cases.


This includes situations where an intending migrant wants to claim points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘Competent English’ only. In this circumstance, an intending migrant can now update their EOI to answer questions on their partner’s English language ability. Where additional points are claimed, the date of effect will change.

Where an intending migrant chooses to update their EOI to claim points for regional study, because they are now eligible, the EOI date of effect will also change. However, if they had submitted an EOI prior to

16 November 2019 and had already claimed points for regional study, the EOI date of effect will not change.


EOIs in ‘suspended’ status

EOIs which had a ‘suspended’ status on 16 November 2019, will not have any points automatically attributed or updated.

Intending migrants can update EOIs with a ‘suspended’ status and may be required to answer new questions as a result of changes to the points test. If their points score changes, their EOI date of effect will change.


EOIs in ‘draft’ status

From 16 November 2019, intending migrants with an EOI with a ‘draft’ status can update their EOI in SkillSelect. They may be required to answer additional questions as a result of changes to the points test.

Adding subclass 491 to an existing EOI

From 16 November 2019, intending migrants can add subclass 491 to a submitted EOI. The date of effect for the subclass 491 will be the date it is added. Where this is the only change, the date of effect for previously selected subclasses will not change.

If an intending migrant updates their EOI and this changes their indicative points test score, the date of effect will change for the relevant visa subclass/es.


* Date of effect is the date and time the intending migrant submitted their EOI for the relevant visa subclass.


To learn more if you maybe eligible complete our FREE online assessment today

Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494)

New regional work visas from 16 November 2019. The visa subclass 491 will offer 14,000 places each year for the foreign skilled workers living and working in regional areas.

Permanent residency (PR) pathway is also available for eligible applicants and their families.


Two temporary visas, Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494) will be available from 16 November 2019.

The much-anticipated visas will offer 23,000 places each year and will replace the existing visa subclasses 489 and 187.

The holders of these visas will be required to work and stay in the designated regional areas until they become eligible for permanent residency. Perth and the  Gold Coast now included.

Key features of visa subclass 491

This is a temporary visa which is available for eligible skilled workers and their families to live, work and study in regional Australia for 5 years.

It is a point-based visa where an applicant requires either a state nomination or a sponsorship from an eligible family member who is settled in designated regional areas.

Here are some key features of Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491):

  • 14000 places to be allocated each year
  • A wide range of occupations are eligible (over 500)
  • Age limit is set at 45 years
  • Visa to be granted for 5 years
  • Must live and work in regional areas for at least 3 years before being eligible for PR
  • Regional area is mainly anywhere except metropolitan Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth
  • The applicant should be earning a minimum wage of $ 53,900 per annum for three years (concessions may apply)
  • Visa holder is allowed to move from one regional area to another
  • PR pathway available through visa subclass 191 that will commence from 16 November 2022
  • Visa is available for an application fee of $4,045 and the partner fee is set at $2,025.

Difference between the 489 visa (ceased) and 491 visa

The 491 visa holders will now have to wait for 3 years for PR while it used to be 2 years in the visa subclass 489.

The new visa covers more regional areas compared to 489 visa. The areas where the holders of 491 visa can live include all areas in Australia except metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane.

There will be more points available under the new visa – unmarried or single applicants will get extra points that serve as a bonus for bachelors and there will be more points to available for eligible relative sponsors and skilled partners with competent English.

How the point system will work for this visa

This is how the points will be awarded:

  • 10 points for a skilled partner or spouse (previously 5 points with 489 visa)
  • 5 points for applicants with a spouse or partner with competent English (no points previously)
  • 10 points for applicants who are single (no points previously)
  • 15 points if nominated by State or Territory (previously less than 10 points)
  • 15 points if the applicant is sponsored by a family member residing in regional Australia (previously 10 points)
  • Certain STEM qualifications will get 10 points


To learn more contact us today.