🦘 🇦🇺 Immigration Updates & Information For January 2021 🦘 🇦🇺 (February 02, 2021)



Welcome to 2021! As we end the first month of the new year, join us for a look at the latest news and developments in the world of Australian Immigration.

SkillSelect Invitation Rounds

Immigration is now conducting SkillSelect invitation rounds on a quarterly basis (i.e. every 3 months) until the end of the 2020-2021 financial year. A round was due to be conducted in January, but results have not been made available as yet.

Carer and Personal Assistant Occupations

Acacia has received a number of enquiries regarding visa options for ‘Aged or Disabled Carer’ or ‘Personal Care Assistant’ occupations. Unfortunately, these are not on any of the Skilled Occupation Lists for migration to Australia.These occupations were flagged for addition to the occupation lists back in December 2019 (see our blog here), but due to the COVID pandemic no changes have actually been made.

At this stage, it is only possible to nominate these occupations for an employer-sponsored visa through a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA). Employers based in specified areas of the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Far North Queensland have access to a DAMA with these occupations.

Acacia Immigration will publish any changes to the Skilled Occupation Lists as soon as they have been announced.

VETASSESS Fee Increase

On 1 February 2021, VETASSESS skill assessment fees will increase from $880 for a full assessment, to $927 (plus GST if onshore).

Travel Exemption Update

The Border Force Commissioner’s Guidelines for travel exemptions has been updated, with more detail on circumstances that will be considered for entry into Australia during the current border closures. This is particularly useful for those who wish to apply through the ‘Compassionate and Compelling’ pathway.

Immediate family members of Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents, or New Zealand Citizens usually resident in Australia can still access an exemption based on their relationship.

Temporary visa holders who need to travel overseas for a short period can also apply for an inward travel exemption before they leave. Exemptions would generally only be granted where there were strong compassionate and compelling circumstances, or if travel was essential for business.

COVID Testing for Travel

From 22 January 2021, all travellers to Australia are required to undertake a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departure. Only tests specified by the Australian Department of Health will be accepted, and negative test results must be presented to the flight crew before boarding.

After a much-delayed release of invitation allocations, almost all of Australia’s State and Territory Migration programs have restarted or will recommence shortly. Here we look at the latest news from January 2021.

Queensland State Nomination

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) has announced they will reopen their 491 and 190 program from 1 February 2021. Only new EOI applications lodged from this date will be considered.There is no occupation list information available at time of publishing.

The ‘491 Small Business Owner’ program and Business Migration program are already open. BSMQ will prioritise businesses which:

  • create jobs, or
  • support COVID recovery industries, or
  • are located in a regional area

Northern Territory State Nomination

The Northern Territory Migration program is currently only open to onshore applicants currently living in the NT.Student visa holders who have not completed their studies will not be considered for nomination.

New South Wales State Nomination

From February 2021 the NSW Government will begin accepting applications for:

  • all Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) streams, and
  • the Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132) Significant Business History stream

The Skilled Migration program is open, with invitation rounds focusing on applicants who are already in NSW who have nominated selected health, ICT, and engineering occupations.

Invitation rounds occur throughout the financial year, however, there are no set dates. NSW will not provide details on the points score, English level, or amount of work experience required in order to obtain an invitation.

Victoria State Nomination

The Victorian State Government has a set timetable for submission windows and when invitations will be issued. According to their website, the next window will be open from 9am on 2 February to 5pm 8 February (Eastern Daylight Savings Time). Dates for following rounds in March, April, and May have also been published.

Australian Capital Territory State Nomination

The ACT program remains closed to offshore applicants, and is focused on those already living and working in the territory, in occupations on their ‘Critical Skills List’.The next matrix selection round will be on or around 9 February 2021.

Tasmania State Nomination

The Tasmanian program opened at 1pm on 29 January 2021. They advise that applications lodged before 5pm (AEDT) on 28 January will only be considered if the applicant was engaged in a critical role, as defined on their website. New nomination requirements are also available on the TAS Government website.They further advise that approximately 40% of skilled visa nomination places have been used.

Western Australia State Nomination

The WA Government issued their first round of invitations on 15 January 2021, with a total of 349 places as follows:

  • 178 invitations for a 190 visa
  • 171 invitations for a 491 visa

The vast majority of applications went to EOIs in the ‘Graduate Stream – Higher Education Graduates’ (PhD, Masters, Bachelor degree graduates).

South Australia State Nomination

The South Australian program remains closed, with no set date for reopening.


As legislation and travel requirements are constantly changing, we strongly recommend obtaining advice on your individual situation from a Registered Migration Agent.