NEWS 1 July 2017 changes

A summary of 1 July 2017 changes by the Department. 

A summary of 1 July 2017 changes by the Department.

Visa and migration changes

New Zealand pathway

An additional pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand Special Category visa holders has been introduced and is available to certain New Zealand citizens. This pathway is included in the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa as a new stream. For more information, visit An additional pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand citizens page.

Changes to the Eligible New Zealand Citizen definition

The definition of Eligible New Zealand Citizen has been amended to align with Australian social security law. Consequential changes have also been made to the New Zealand Family Relationship (Subclass 461) visa. For more information, see the changes to the Eligible New Zealand Citizen definition on the Definitions page.

Online Visitor visa lodgement for Indian nationals

Indian passport holders can now lodge Visitor (subclass 600) visa applications online. For more information, visit the Visitor visa (subclass 600) page.

Online lodgement of Visitor visa Priority consideration service requests

Eligible countries (China, India, and United Arab Emirates) will be able to apply online for the Priority consideration service for Visitor visa applications. For more information, visit the Priority consideration (fast-track) service page.

Skilled visas (including 457 visas)

A number of changes are being made to the temporary and permanent skilled visa programmes. For more information, visit the 1 July 2017 changes to skilled visa programmes page, including the relevant webpages of each individual programme for the latest policy updates.

Medical Treatment visa

Amendments have been made to the Medical Treatment (subclass 602) visa. Applicants who are in Australia and do not hold a substantive visa need to provide additional documentation from 1 July regarding their proposed medical treatment in order to lodge a valid application. For more information, visit the Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602) page.

Visa office closures

Visa offices at the Australian missions in Apia, Athens, Nuku’alofa and Vientiane closed on 30 June 2017. From 1 July, visa applications from residents of:

  • Laos will be processed at the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Samoa and Tonga will be processed at the Australian High Commission in Suva, Fiji
  • Greece will continue to be processed at the Australian Embassy in Berlin, Germany.

Visa application charges

As part of the 2017–18 Budget, the Australian Government announced a number of changes to existing visa application charges, including the introduction of a number of new products. For more information, visit the Fees and charges for visas page.

Refugee and humanitarian changes

Lodgement of Protection visa available online  

If you are seeking a protection visa in Australia, you can now apply online for a Temporary Protection visa , Safe Haven Enterprise visa  or Permanent Protection visa. If you are lodging a paper application, you can now only apply by post. For more information, visit the Introduction of online lodgement for protection visas and changes to paper application forms page.

Community Support Programme

The Department is providing more information for prospective approved proposing organisations on the Community Support Programme (CSP) from 1 July. The CSP enables communities and businesses—as well as families and individuals—to propose humanitarian visa applicants and support new humanitarian arrivals in their settlement journey to Australia. For more information, visit The Community Support Programme page.

Traveller changes

Outgoing passenger card retired

Passengers departing from Australia no longer need to complete the outgoing passenger card from 1 July. This will help departing passengers clear the border more efficiently. Arriving passengers will still need to complete the orange incoming passenger card. For more information, visit the Passenger card page.

Reduction in the duty free tobacco allowance

Travellers 18 years and over can only bring 25 grams of duty free tobacco into Australia from 1 July. The 25 grams can be in any form (cigarette, loose leaf and so on) and is equivalent to approximately 25 cigarettes. Ensure that you are familiar with what you can bring into Australia. For more information, visit the Can I bring it back page.

Other changes

APEC Business Travel Card for Australian citizens

Business people who are Australian citizens can apply online for the APEC Business Travel Card from 1 July. For more information, visit the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) for Australian citizens page.

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