DHAKA: The latest set of changes introduced to skilled permanent visas has lowered the maximum age of a skilled partner to 45 for which an applicant can claim additional points in the general points test. Earlier, applicants for general skilled visas whose spouses and de facto partners were under 50 years of age, were able to claim additional five points. The change, introduced last week, will apply to Skilled Independent visas Subclass 189 and Subclass 190 and Skilled Regional Subclass 489 with effect from 1 July 2018. During recent years, Indians have emerged as the largest migrant group in Australia to receive 189 and 190 visas that are both permanent visas, while Subclass 489 visa is a temporary visa with a pathway to permanent residency. In an amendment made to the Migration Legislation last year in July, the maximum age for which a visa applicant could claim points was lowered from under 50 years to under 45 years at the ‘time of invitation’. However, the maximum age of the skilled partners for claiming additional points wasn’t lowered at that time.
In an explanatory statement the Department of Home Affairs said the purpose of this amendment is to rectify this “oversight” to make the maximum age for claiming points consistent for primary applicants and their skilled partners. The Department says lowering the maximum age at which visa applicants and their spouses can claim points for migration would benefit the Australian economy as those migrants arriving in the country at an older age have lower rates of labour force participation. Citing the Productivity Commission’s findings, the Department said such migrants “contribute to higher cost due to the use of government-subsidised health care and support services. In light of the Productivity Commission’s findings, it is appropriate to make amendments to provide that skilled migration visa applicants can only claim points for having a skilled partner if their partner is under 45 years of age.”
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