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The covid-19 pandemic has seen visa grants grind to a halt and massive processing delays, however some visas are still being granted.

The Minister of Home Affairs publishes directions regarding the exercise of powers and performance of functions carried out by department staff, including directions in relation to the processing of visa applications. Recently the Minister made a direction as to the processing order of work related visas.

At the top of the list are visa applications in relation to employed sponsored visas and regional sponsored visas where the occupation is on the PMSOL (priority Migration Skills Occupation List) (this list includes occupations such as CEO, Managing Director, Construction Project Manager, Mechanical engineer, Veterinarian, GP and other medical professionals, Registered Nurses, Developer Programmer, Software Engineer, Social Worker and Maintenance Planner. If you believe you are adequately qualified in one of these occupations you may be an eligible candidate for travel exemptions and a Permanent Residence Visa.

Equally important to the Department are significant investment visa, particularly where the applicant is willing and able to invest $5 million AUD or more in eligible investments in Australia.

Next are visa applications made in relation to the DAMA (Designated Area Migration Agreement) labour agreements, these exist in particular regional areas that are short skilled in certain occupations. The DAMA areas and agreements can be found on the department website or you can contact our office for further information.

This is followed by other sponsored regional work visas such as the 494, 491 and 187.

Finally the department lists the 190, 189 and then all other visas applications.

With the exception of PMSOL occupations and the significant investment visas priority is given to onshore applications over offshore applications.

Given the current climate, the difficulty in obtaining a visa and the long wait times it may be beneficial to find out if you can apply for a visa being given higher priority. Please contact our office for further information.

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