Your guide to Australian visa changes for 2024-25

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul2,2024
In December 2023, the federal government announced a raft of changes to visas in its new Migration Strategy, which will affect people currently studying and working in Australia, and those who wish to apply.
The government says the strategy will streamline the system, target labour and skills shortages in Australia and help tackle the exploitation of migrant workers and ‘permanent temporariness’ among visa holders.
Some changes have already come into effect, but many new measures begin on 1 July 2024.

This is what we know.

What visa changes are coming into effect on 1 July?

The government is introducing a pre-application ballot process for certain kinds of visas.
From 1 July, nationals of China, Vietnam and India who want to undertake a working holiday in Australia will first have to apply for one of a limited number of places via a ballot — which comes with a $25 price tag.

If selected, they will then be eligible to apply for the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462).

The ballot will replace the current ‘first-come-first-served’ system, which the government says will make the process fairer and more efficient.
That’s because the Work and Holiday visa has caps: for Vietnam, there are 1,500 places, India’s program has not yet commenced, but it’s expected to be set at 1,000. Of the three countries, China has the highest cap, with 5,000 places.

The pre-application ballot will also be introduced for a new visa for young professionals from India.

Backpackers look at a smartphone while waiting near an airline check-in counter.

A pre-application visa ballot process will be introduced for working holiday makers from Vietnam, China and India. Credit: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

From 1 July, Indian nationals aged 18-30 with qualifications in sought-after technology fields will be eligible for a new temporary visa of up to two years.
The program is called MATES, which stands for Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme.
The pilot program has 3,000 places for primary applicants with qualifications in renewable energy, mining, engineering, information and communication technology, artificial intelligence, financial technology, and agricultural technology.
Eligible individuals who win a place in the ballot process can then apply for the visa — for a $365 fee.
Immediate family members included on this visa will not count towards the 3,000 place cap.

This visa is the result of the Australia-India Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement, made in May 2023.

A range of measures affecting international students have already come into effect this year. Now, the government is tightening restrictions on who can apply for Student visas while in Australia.
From 1 July, holders of certain Visitor, Maritime and Temporary Graduate visas will no longer be eligible to make onshore Student visa applications.

Holders of these visas will no longer be allowed to apply from within Australia:

  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)
  • Visitor (subclass 600)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)
  • Medical Treatment (subclass 602)
  • eVisitor (subclass 651)
  • Maritime Crew (subclass 988)
The length of stay for Temporary Graduate visa (TGV) holders is being reduced, and a new age limit is being imposed.

The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 486) is being streamlined from four streams into three, and renamed as follows:

  1. Graduate Work Stream → becomes the Post-Vocational Education Work stream
  2. Post-Study Work Stream → becomes the Post-Higher Education stream
  3. Second Post-Study Work Stream → becomes the Second Post-Higher Education Work stream
  4. Replacement Stream → removed
A woman writes in a library.

The length of stay for Temporary Graduate visas is being reduced, and an age limit will be imposed. Source: Moment RF / skaman306/Getty Images

The age limit has been reduced to 35 years of age or under.

After undertaking a masters or doctorate (PhD) the government has clarified: they will still be eligible until the age of 50. Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders will also still be eligible until age 50.
The length of stay doesn’t change for holders of a TGV in the Post-Vocational Education Work stream — it remains up to eighteen months.
But for those in the Post-Higher Education Work stream, the length of stay changes: individuals completing a bachelor degree, including honours, can stay up to two years. For a masters by coursework, the maximum stay will be up to two years, and for students studying a masters by research or a PhD, three years.
The length is different for TGV holders who graduated from a regional educational institution and have lived in a regional area for at least two years.

For Indian nationals, initial stay periods won’t change.

There are also some changes to conditions for migrants on certain temporary visas, who will have longer to make arrangements if they stop working with their sponsoring employer.

The changes affect holders of the following visas:

  • Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457)
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) (subclass 494)

They will now have longer to find a new sponsor, apply for a different visa or arrange to leave Australia:

  • 180 days at a time, or
  • A maximum of 365 days in total across the entire visa grant period.

Visa holders will be allowed to work for other employers during this time. The changes apply to existing visa holders as well as those granted a visa on or after 1 July.

The government is closing the Business Innovation and Investment (provisional) visa (subclass 188) — the visa that allows holders to own and manage a business, conduct business and investment activity or undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia.
From 1 July, no new allocations for the BIIP will be provided. Instead, a National Innovation visa will be available at the end of 2024.

Holders of the provisional BIIP (subclass 188) who are eligible for the subclass 888 — the permanent equivalent — can still continue on this pathway after July 2024.

What other changes are ahead in 2024?

A major commitment in the Migration Strategy is the creation of the Skills in Demand visa, which the government will introduce towards the end of 2024.

Workers in hi-vis orange vests talk at solar thermal research facility

A Skills in Demand visa hopes to attract migrants with experience in areas like green technologies. Credit: Michael Hall/Getty Images

This four-year temporary skills worker visa is intended to replace the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482), which currently permits holders to live in Australia while working full-time for a sponsoring employer.

The Skills in Demand visa targets three pathways:

  1. Specialist Skills: fast-tracks applications from high-earning professionals with skills in areas like technology and green energy industries
  2. Core Skills: focuses on areas with shortages, to simplify the application process and create an occupation list designed to be regularly updated
  3. Essential Skills: targets lower-paid workers in critical sectors like aged care

Not many details have been released about this visa, but it is intended to attract high-performing researchers and investors. It will combine and replace the Global Talent visa (subclass 858) and the BIIP.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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