The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has presented a Determination that caps the number of visas that can be granted in the current program year to the 30th of June, 2016 under three of the old visa subclasses.
Also – and importantly for those who have been waiting on a visa decision for a number of years – the Explanatory Memorandum to the Instrument advises that: ” … it has the effect that when grants of that relevant subclass have reached the ministerially determined maximum, any outstanding applications for visas of that subclass are taken not to have been made.”
This is often referred to as a “cap and cease provision.”
The old visa subclasses and the number of visas available for 2015/16 are:
- Subclass 175, Skilled – Independent: 219
- Subclass 176, Skilled – Sponsored: 36
- Subclass 475, Skilled – Regional Sponsored: 29
Applications for these visa subclasses ended on the 30th of June, 2012, and were replaced by visa subclasses 189, 190, and 489 respectively.
Applications under the old subclasses remain in the system as what are called “priority category 5” cases – as readers may know skilled visa applications are subject to prioritisation of processing. There are a residual number of visa applications under these old subclasses where the occupation nominated is not on the current Skilled Occupations List.
It appears the Department of Immigration has decided that priority category 5 case applications will not be processed to a decision at any time in the next few years, and have therefore decided to treat the outstanding applications as not having been made.