In Australia, New Zealand citizens can have a unique pathway to permanent residence if they can show they meet certain criteria. One of the key requirements is showing that an applicant’s income for the past three financial years has exceeded $53 900 each year. Owing to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, some exemptions to this income threshold have now been put in place.
The Regulations have just been changed to set out:
- the minimum taxable income for all relevant income years and inserts the 2020-21 income year for a Subclass 189 visa applicant in the New Zealand stream; and
- creates a new class of applicants exempt from the minimum income threshold ie applicants whose income has been affected by the COVID -19 pandemic.
The Threshold income –
2020-2021 is the same as years 2013-14 onward of $53,900 pa.
Exempt applicants –
Currently applicants may be exempt from meeting the income threshold base on various grounds including court and parenting court orders, receiving injury compensation and rehabilitation and parental leave.
There is a new class of exempt applicant. Those who:
- would likely have met the minimum amount of the income requirement for the 2019-20 income year if not for the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian economy
- could not meet the minimum amount of the income requirement for the 2019-20 income year because of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian economy
Required evidence –
The following evidence is required to demonstrate the applicant falls within this class of exempt applicants:
- a signed letter written on company letterhead by the applicant’s current or former employer stating the applicant’s salary before 1 February 2020; or
- the applicant’s pay slips, salary advices or employment contracts (stating the applicant’s salary) for a period in the 2019–20 income year to demonstrate that the applicant was likely to meet the income threshold in the 2019–20 income year
AND any of the following documents:
- A statutory declaration by the applicant’s employer acknowledging the applicant’s 2019–20 taxable income has reduced, due to:
- (A) reduced availability of shifts/hours resulting in a drop in income, or
- (B) the applicant contract that prevented the applicant from working and resulted in a drop in income. or
- medically directed orders to self-isolate, preventing the applicant from working and resulting in a drop in income, or
- caring responsibilities as a result of COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns (e.g., schools, childcare centres) that prevented the applicant from working and resulted in a drop in income.
If the applicant’s employment was terminated
- a statutory declaration by the applicant’s former employer stating that the circumstances of the applicant’s dismissal were related to the COVID-19 pandemic effects on the business; and/or
- documentation proving that the applicant had access to the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy for a period in 2019–20 income year including either:
- employee nomination form; other statements or documents provided by the ATO demonstrating that the applicant had access to the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy, or
- alternative statements provided by the ATO at the applicant’s request
- Services Australia-Centrelink letters showing the applicant claimed and received the JobSeeker payments for a period in 2019–20 income year.
How can we help?
Snedden Hall & Gallop has an experienced team than is able to assist with visa and migration issues.