Just last week Tasmania announced changes to its nomination requirements. They introduced new pathways for overseas applicants, but tightened onshore rules for their state sponsorship.
Amongst those rules were to lengthen the minimum study requirement for international graduates from one year to two years who intend to be applying for the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190). This was to come into effect on 1 January 2018. The state sponsored Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) study requirement remains at one year for international graduates
These new sudden changes were seen by many international students as an unfair shifting of the goal post whereby they would be forced to study an additional 12 months of study to obtain the PR sponsorship. Really the announcement was a breach of trust students had placed in the Tasmanian government and as a result many were withdrawing from the courses they had paid for, particularly at Tasmania TAFE.
Most of the international students we had spoken to after the Tasmania’s governments first announcement thought there was little trust that Tasmania would change the rules again even before they finished their course.
Yesterday morning I spoke to a student who had learnt of Tasmania’s shift to the 2 year rule and he was about begin his course at TAFE in July. After our chat he decided he was going withdraw from the course and accept the money loss because he felt he could not trust the Tasmania government even he he did study for 2 years and did another Diploma. He sent in an email to TAFE asking to withdraw.
However after hearing of yesterdays announcement that the government would honour students who enrolled before the 31 July 2017 he had hope that the government would do the right thing in the future and cancelled his withdrawal today.
We are hoping the Tasmanian Government has learnt its lesson that if new changes are going to be brought in, they should always include a transitional arrangement so as not to disadvantage those who have already taken steps to travel to Tasmania to meet previously advertised arrangements for state sponsorship.
Current international students who have commenced an eligible course in a CRICOS registered Tasmanian tertiary institution before 31 July 2017 will NOT be affected by the changes to the Tasmanian Graduate Category (190 visa). If enrolled prior to 31 July 2017, requirements introduced on 1 January 2018 will not be applicable and the following requirements need to be met in order to be eligible for 190 visa nomination:
- completed and graduated from a CRICOS registered tertiary institution in Tasmania
- course undertaken must be either a degree (a bachelor or any higher degree), a diploma, an advanced diploma, or a trade qualification (minimum Cert III level for a skilled occupation in Major Group 3 in ANZSCO)
- must have a minimum duration of one academic year (40 weeks) must be full time and on site in Tasmania
- currently in Tasmania and lived in the state for at least 12 months during your period of study
We are glad for these new ‘transitional’ changes, they are definitely a humane adjustment.
Quite possibly it was the amount of withdrawals that Tasmania’s tertiary institutes would have received that triggered the this amendment.
If however you haven’t heard the news yet and are intending to apply for courses in Tasmania for a period of academic study under two years, please be aware that enrollments after 31 July 2017 will be affected by the new two year study requirement.
Managing Director, Australian Immigration Law Services