Publish Date: May 09, 2013

There is a lot of speculation around what the outcome of the upcoming Federal election will be and the impact it will have on people’s ability to qualify for a visa.

Immigration in Australia is, for better or worse, a very contentious issue. Governments have won and lost elections based on the immigration policies they have pursued.

It is impossible to predict what changes any future Government will make to Australia's immigration laws if they are elected. It may be that significant changes are confined to refugee visas, while other visas remain the essentially the same; although there could be changes across the board.

Any change in the law could disqualify you from being able to stay in Australia. Faced with this uncertainty it is very important that if you qualify for a visa, or you think you qualify for a visa, you act immediately and get advice from an experienced immigration lawyer.

Anyone who has been an overseas student in Australia and who then applied for permanent residence on the basis of their skills will tell you that you must heed this message.

The Labor Governments of the last six years have been responsible for making significant changes to the General Skilled Migration program that has effectively made it impossible to be granted a permanent residence visa or, for the lucky few, to be granted a one of those visas any time soon.

The Labor Governments were able to do this by forcing people to ask for permission to apply for visas and by delaying the time it takes to finalise applications.

There is no way of knowing whether any new government would expand or extend this program of seeking permission to apply for a visa to other visa classes and further extending the processing time frames.

Another way that Governments restrict the ability of people to qualify for visas is to increase the threshold English-language level or age requirement. The past 10 years have seen significant increases in the level of English language proficiency required for a number of visas and, in our view; there is no reason to think that this trend will not continue.

For these reasons, it you should get advice from an experienced immigration lawyer sooner rather than later about whether or not you qualify for an Australian visa now. If you want advice from our experience immigration lawyers please phone us on +61 2 8268 4000 for a consultation.

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