Skilled Visa Newsletter – September 2021

The Skilled Visa Newsletter for September 2021 has been published on the Department’s website.

Topics in this newsletter include:

  • Australian Agriculture Worker Visa
  • Global Talent (subclass 858) Visa Program (GTVP)
  • Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP)
  • Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)
  • Employer Sponsored Visa Program
  • Temporary Skill Shortage Program
  • SkillSelect
  • Labour Agreements
  • Jurisdictional error claims
  • Register with the Department as a legal practitioner
  • Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

Here are the details of newsletter. 

Australian Agriculture Worker Visa

On 23 August 2021, the Australian Government announced the Australian Agriculture Worker (AAW) visa program for primary industry sectors including horticulture, meat processing, dairy, wool, grains, fisheries (including aquaculture) and forestry. 

The Australian Agriculture Worker visa program will be industry-led, scalable to meet identified Australian labour market needs, and accessible to smaller primary industry employers. The program will be open to applicants from countries negotiated through bilateral agreements.

The Government is consulting with industry on the design of the Australian Agriculture Worker visa program to ensure that the visa arrangement is fit-for-purpose and meets industry needs.

Global Talent (subclass 858) Visa Program (GTVP)

Scope of the program

We continue to receive a large number of EOIs from candidates who are out of scope for the program, including entry-level academics, entry to mid-level professionals and managers (including engineers, teachers, technicians, business analysts, accountants and health professionals). Agents are encouraged to consider other skilled visa options for these applicants.


We anticipate that candidates with internationally recognised records of exceptional and outstanding achievement will have contacts within the sector in Australia willing to attest to their achievements, and anticipate that a nominator would draw from a professional relationship with the applicant.

The evidentiary value of a nomination may be lower if the nominator is unfamiliar with the applicant’s achievements, or has received a payment for completing Nomination for Global Talent Form 1000.

Australian peak bodies may charge an administration fee. We may accept a nomination if satisfied that the organisation has conducted appropriate enquiries to verify that the candidate has an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in the sector in which the peak body has a national reputation.

Agents are strongly discouraged from recruiting and paying nominators who are unfamiliar with the achievements of Global Talent visa applicants.

Education sector

Some candidates for the GTVP have sought to demonstrate achievements in the Education sector by their academic appointments.

A senior academic and researcher appointment at Australian Academic Level D or E, or their international equivalents in fields other than Education, may be considered an indicator of internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in the Education sector. Candidates should provide evidence of publications, citations, patents, awards and/or other accolades.

Academics and researchers in fields other than Education below Australian Academic Level D, or its international equivalent, are only considered favourably if they have other exceptional and outstanding achievements in the field of Education.

Procedural Instruction changes

The new Subclass 858 (Global Talent) visa Procedural Instruction was published on 15 August 2021 and is available in A summary of these changes are provided below.

Specialisations for Global Talent sectors

The Procedural Instruction now includes examples of specialisations in each of the priority sectors.

PhD graduates

Candidates can continue to provide evidence of completing the academic requirements (prior to conferral) for a relevant PhD to demonstrate that they have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement.

PhD graduates may be considered prominent in their area of academia and research for 3 years from the conferral date of the qualification. Decision makers also consider whether applicants have remained engaged in their field if they graduated more than 12 months prior to application.

PhD students

Relevant PhD studies, irrespective of graduation date, are now considered for the assessment of prominence in the area. PhD students must demonstrate that they have a prior internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in a priority sector.

Exceptional benefit for applicants under 18 or at least 55 years old

Applicants who are under 18 or at least 55 years old need to demonstrate that they would be of exceptional benefit to the Australian community.

Athletes and artists under the Distinguished Talent pathway

Guidance has been clarified in relation to assessing international recognition for athletes and artists applying for the Distinguished Talent (DT) pathway.

Eligible NZ citizen nominators must be onshore at the time of visa application

An Eligible New Zealand citizen is a New Zealand citizen who is a protected Special Category visa holder within the meaning of Section 7 of the Social Security Act 1991.

Special Category visas only remain valid while the holder is in Australia. New Zealand citizens outside of Australia are not holders of a Special Category visa and are not eligible to complete a Form 1000.

Prime Minister’s Special Envoy

The Procedural Instruction details arrangements for Global Talent visa applicants endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for the Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce.

Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP)

Processing times for Hong Kong nationals

The global-visa-processing-times are a reflection of applications finalised in the most recent month. Certain skilled visas are given processing priority in accordance with a Ministerial Direction made on 6 July 2021 under s499 of the Migration Act 1958 and this will affect processing times for specified visas.

Applications for Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment) from holders of a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China passport or a British National (Overseas) passport are given processing priority in accordance with Ministerial Direction. These applications are expected to be finalised well in advance of the published global-visa-processing-times.

Documentation required for BIIP

We continue to receive a high number of incomplete BIIP visa applications, which results in significant delays for applicants. Please ensure all relevant documents are included.

Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)

The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) was updated on 27 July 2021, with the addition of three occupations to the PMSOL bringing the total number of occupations to 44. These occupations were added to support the provision of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Hospital Pharmacist (ANZSCO 251511)
  • Industrial Pharmacist (ANZSCO 251512)
  • Retail Pharmacist (ANZSCO 251513)

Additional occupations currently not on the PMSOL may be considered for inclusion in later updates.

The PMSOL is applicable only to the following employer sponsored visas:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187)

Employer Sponsored Visa Program

Work experience requirements

We use the National Employment Standard to define full-time and part-time employment arrangements for the assessment of work experience. Employment experience gained from part-time work arrangements can be counted towards the work experience requirement, if it can be demonstrated that the work experience was gained at the required skill level.

Part-time employment experience will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, e.g. two years of part-time experience will be counted as one year towards the requirement. Employment experience gained from casual employment cannot be counted towards the work experience requirement.

Including babies and children in visa applications (including e-lodged)

We encourage the inclusion of children under the age of five years in visa applications (including e-lodged applications), whether they have a passport or not. Dependent children cannot be added to an application after the primary applicant’s substantive visa expires.

Meeting health requirements

The My Health Declarations service has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. The Health Requirement, including the health examinations, will be determined once the visa application is lodged.

Temporary Skill Shortage Program

Sponsorship applications

When completing a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) sponsorship application or a TSS nomination application, ensure that the relevant Related Sponsorship identification number (ABN or TRN) is entered correctly. If not, the application will be linked to the wrong entity. Identify an applicant seeking to become, or renewing, a sponsorship as per the Standard Business Sponsorship Procedural Instructions at section Identity of the applicant must be confirmed.

Where a sponsor has changed their ABN and has registered under a new entity name, sponsors must not use old identifiers to lodge applications (TRN, RID, CID or ABN). This may lead to processing delays or possibly refusal of the application.

Where a sponsor operates under a trust structure, the trust cannot be approved as a Standard Business Sponsor. The sponsorship application must be made by the trustee, or trustees, acting on behalf of the trust, under the correct name.

Use of Notification of Sponsorship Change forms

If there are changes to the sponsoring business or the sponsored person’s circumstances, you need to notify us by completing the ‘Notification of Sponsorship Changes’ form in ImmiAccount.

Do not use this form for circumstances where the business entity has changed. In this situation, the new business entity must lodge a ‘Standard Business Sponsor’ application to become an approved sponsor and to continue to sponsor overseas workers by using the TSS visa program.

Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirements

Ensure that complete and up-to-date Labour Market Testing (LMT) evidence is submitted at the time of nomination application for the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR) (subclass 494) programs. Incomplete or out-of-date evidence is likely to lead to delays in processing or application refusal.

The LMT legislative instrument requires two advertisements in addition to providing evidence of the position being advertised on the Employment Department’s Jobactive website.A sponsor cannot only use the Jobactive website to satisfy the LMT criterion.


SkillSelect – password resets

SkillSelect support has a new process for manual password resets. If you have forgotten your password, go to change a SkillSelect password and follow the instructions.

Note: requests for manual password reset emailed directly to SkillSelect technical support will not be actioned. All requests for manual resets must be submitted via the password reset request form.

SkillSelect 26 July 2021 invitation round – engineering occupations

The last SkillSelect invitation round for Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) and Skilled Work Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 491) (Family Sponsored) took place on 26 July 2021.

SkillSelect invitations are issued via an automated process and uses a ranking system of the highest points score followed by the earliest ‘date of effect’. EOIs across non-engineering occupations also received invitations in this round. Not every EOI in each of the following engineering occupations received an invitation in July.

This round invited applicants across the following engineering occupations:

Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) (Family Sponsored) invitations – engineering occupations
2332233212 Geotechnical Engineer
233215 Transport Engineer
233211 Civil Engineer
2333233311 Electrical Engineer
2336233611 Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum)
233612 Petroleum Engineer
2339233912 Agricultural Engineer
233913 Biomedical Engineer
Skilled Independent (subclass 189) invitations – engineering occupations
2335233513 Production or Plant Engineer
2336233611 Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum)
233612 Petroleum Engineer
2339233912 Agricultural Engineer
233913 Biomedical Engineer
233915 Environmental Engineer

Note: engineering occupations not included in this list did not receive an invitation this round.

Labour Agreements

Changes to Labour Market Testing requirements for Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)

From 1 September 2021, businesses using the DAMA program have access to more flexible Labour Market Testing (LMT) options. This includes the ability to provide evidence of LMT conducted in the 12 months immediately before lodging a Labour Agreement request (previously four months).

Businesses in a Category 3 regional area, will only require evidence of two advertisements, with one of the two advertisements able to be advertised locally only (without national reach).

Regional-based concessions: meat, pork, dairy, horticulture, and fishing industry labour agreements

We have received feedback from the dairy, fishing, horticulture, meat and pork industry peak bodies regarding a proposal to incorporate regional-based concessions in labour agreements to fill critical skill shortages. Similar concessions will be made available under Company-Specific Labour Agreements.

The proposed concessions, which include skills, work experience, English, age, salary and labour market testing requirements, will be scaled based on the regional category. More generous concessions will be available to businesses operating in Category 2 and 3 locations.

Subject to approval of new concessions by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, we will provide further information on how existing or prospective labour agreement holders in these industries can access the new concessions and will publish the updated template agreements on our website.

Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement pilot program

From 1 July 2021, the Australian Government in collaboration with Talent Beyond Boundaries, is piloting a Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement program aimed at providing skilled refugees with a pathway to live and work in Australia. The Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement pilot program can be used by endorsed Australian employers to sponsor an approved skilled overseas worker on a permanent or temporary basis.

Before an Australian business can apply for a labour agreement under the pilot program, they must receive written endorsement from Talent Beyond Boundaries. Employers interested in participating in the pilot program, can register their interest.

Jurisdictional error claims

Requests for further information

We are continuing to see jurisdictional error claims on the basis that the decision maker did not seek additional documentation or clarification. The Notification of Application Received sent to applicants provides advice confirming that a decision can be made on a visa application without asking for additional information. 

The Code of Procedure in section 54 (s54) to section 56 of the Migration Act sets out the provisions relevant to making decisions on visa applications. To comply with the requirements of s54, a decision maker must consider all information provided in an application. s54 also provides that a decision can be made without providing an opportunity for further submissions.

Whilst s55 and s56 of the Act provide that further information may be sought or may be given, a decision maker is not compelled to seek further information before making their decision.

We encourage the lodgement of complete applications with all supporting documentation, and any explanatory statements where you believe clarification is required. If an application is refused on the basis of missing information, we will not vacate the refusal decision.

Jurisdictional error claims and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

We are seeing an increase in jurisdictional error claims seeking to have the refusal decision set aside on the basis of saving the time of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal merits review process. This is not an accepted basis on which to vacate a decision. 

Register with the Department as a legal practitioner

If you are an Australian legal practitioner providing immigration assistance in connection with legal practice, you can open an ImmiAccount to lodge applications on behalf of your clients by completing Form 1548 – Application for an Australian legal practitioner number (LPN) (223KB PDF) and submitting it to 

You must include a copy of your Australian legal practising certificate with the form.

Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

Major reforms to the AMEP

The AMEP is a government-funded service to assist eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants to improve their English language skills.​ Recent reforms to the AMEP mean more people are now able to access free English tuition for longer and until they reach a higher level of proficiency.

Changes to the AMEP mean people can:

  • access unlimited hours of English classes until they reach vocational English (previously functional English)
  • apply to enrol, even if they have enrolled in the AMEP before and have been living in Australia for many years
  • keep studying with the AMEP, even if they have completed 510 hours (the previous limit), until they reach vocational English.

The AMEP offers face-to-face and online classes, a volunteer tutor scheme and distance learning. Full-time, part-time, evening and weekend classes are available. The AMEP also provides free childcare for children under school age while clients are in face-to-face classes.

Permanent visa holders, those who hold an eligible temporary visa, and Australian citizens who previously held a permanent visa may be eligible for the AMEP.  People can contact their nearest service provider to check their eligibility.


AMEPOnline is a free, new resource for anyone wanting to study English. AMEPOnline has been developed to assist people to engage online in self-paced learning at a time and place that suits them.

AMEPOnline provides over 170 English learning modules across three different levels (Pre beginner, Beginner and Intermediate) based on identified themes and issues relating to settlement in Australia.

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