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    Australian 189 Skilled Independent Visa Age Threshold Lowered

    Australian skilled visa age threshold

    The Australian Government has introduced new changes for the subclass 189 Skilled Independent visas resulting in applicants aged over 45 years will no longer qualify to apply under the 189 Skilled Visa Stream.

    New age ceiling for subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa

    The new requirement for applicants to be under age 45 will be implemented on 1 July 2017. This change will not affect you if:

    • You have received an Invitation to Apply from SkillSelect before 1 July 2017, and you have submitted the visa application before 1 July 2017.
    • You are applying as a secondary applicant

    All applicants will need to be below 45 years of age to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

    Ae you affected? Let us know in our comments!

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    Australian De Facto Visa Tips To Prove Your Relationship

    Australia De Facto Visa Requirements

    The Australian De Facto Visa is a popular visa for those overseas candidates who are in a de facto relationship with an Australian Citizen or permanent resident.

    To qualify for an Australian de facto visa, you need to provide evidence that you are in a ‘real’ relationship and not simply using the de facto status as a means to gaining an Australian Visa.

    One of the ways in which the Australian Migration department validates the legitimacy of a relationship is by having a one year relationship requirement as a condition of application.

    What is the one year relationship requirement?

    The one year de facto relationship requirement is a criterion that must be met by applicants for the following visas who claim to be in a de facto relationship:

    • a permanent visa
    • a business skills (Provisional) (Class UR) visa
    • a business skills (Provisional) (Class EB) visa
    • a student (Temporary) (Class TU) visa
    • a partner (Provisional) (Class UF) visa
    • a partner (Temporary) (Class UK) visa
    • a general skilled migration visa.

    To satisfy this requirement, the couple must demonstrate that they have been in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months before the visa application is made. For migration purposes, a person is in a de facto relationship with another person if they:

    • are not married to each other
    • have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others
    • are in a genuine and continuing relationship
    • live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis
    • are not related by family.

    Living together

    Living together is regarded as a common element in most on-going relationships. It is recognised that, for various reasons, couples may sometimes have to live apart. Provided the separation is temporary and the couple had, at some point since commencement of the relationship lived together, their relationship might still satisfy the requirements of a de facto relationship.

    For this reason, the one year relationship criterion does not require the couple to have physically lived together for the entire 12 months, but rather to have been in a de facto relationship for that period.

    Partners who are currently not living together may be required to provide additional evidence that they are not living separately and apart on a permanent basis in order to satisfy the requirements of a de facto relationship.

    What evidence is considered?

    When submitting evidence of a de facto relationship, applicants must be able to demonstrate that their relationship has existed for at least one year before the application is made. Evidence may include but is not limited to:

    The history of the relationship through a signed statement regarding:

    • how, when and where the couple first met
    • how the relationship developed
    • the couple’s domestic arrangements, that is, how they support each other financially, physically and emotionally and when this level of commitment began
    • any periods of separation, when and why the separation occurred, for how long and how the couple maintained their relationship during the period of separation
    • the couple’s future plans.

    Financial aspects of the relationship, such as:

    • joint ownership of the house or joint names on a lease
    • correspondence addressed to the couple at the same address
    • details of financial commitments including bank statements, and any joint liabilities.

    The nature of the household, such as:

    • any joint responsibility for the care and support of any children
    • the couple’s living arrangements including sharing responsibilities within the home.

    Social context, such as:

    • evidence that the couple is generally accepted and recognised as a couple socially such as joint invitations
    • evidence of common friends
    • assessments by the couple’s friends and family of the relationship
    • joint travel or joint participation in sporting, social or cultural activities.

    The couple’s commitment to each other, such as:

    • the duration of the relationship including knowledge of each other
    • intention to have a long term relationship, for example, through terms of their wills
    • correspondence and telephone accounts to show that the couple maintained contact during any periods of separation.

    Australian De Facto Visa – Evidence Tips

    Now let’s dig into some examples of the types of evidence you can prepare in support of your Australian De Facto visa Application. Collating your evidence for an Australian de facto visa is not an easy task, however to help you get started, we have included a collection of tips to assist you on your way.

    Financial Evidence Tips for your de facto Visa application:

    Don’t have a joint lease? Bills? Did you travel together for a year or live with your parents? Did one of you support the other? Relax.

    Very meticulously go through bank statements, for at least the past 12 months you have been together. Whether you paid bills, rented a campervan, paid for a flight to see your partner, bought them a Christmas present, paid for insurance, groceries, rent and so on, even if you don’t have the actual bill/piece of paper that says you did, it will be on your statement.

    Highlight each relevant purchase/payment and put a one or two word description next to it. If you are in this situation, then definitely write a declaration that explains it all. You can also provide some bills (say one or both of your names aren’t on it) and include them in this section—your CO could match the billing date to when the payments were made in the bank statement.

    Bills and even grocery stores also have “codes” that can be matched. ATM withdrawals will also have a location near them which can be matched to things you say in statements (eg: my BF and I traveled to NSW together… oh look there is an ATM withdrawal from NSW at the same date they went…get where I am going with this?)

    You will be surprised as to how much stuff is on your bank statements—one idea to do while you are highlighting is, for example, if you find a purchase of a present your partner gave you try to find the card or the letter that came with it… copy it and provide it with your application.

    Bank statements can also serve to show you have been living together even if your names weren’t on the lease—if your billing addresses are where you both lived make a note of that in the stat dec for this section to bring the CO’s attention to it.

    Other examples:

    – Receipt for a computer you might have bought together
    – Documents showing joint bank account and online banking accounts
    – Bank statements showing transfers between accounts
    – Receipts from Australia Post, money spent on sending letters and packages to partners family
    – Receipt for registering domestic relationship
    – Receipt for English classes
    – Receipt for working holiday visa

    Nature of the household tips:

    Nature of the household is evidence that you and your partner share responsibilities within your household. This includes things like living arrangements, housework, joint ownership of your house, joint responsibility for bills, and correspondence addressed to both you and your partner at the same address.

    The Nature of the household section is probably the most straightforward when it comes to your de facto partner application.

    Write a statement as to who did what in the house, who paid for what (see partner migration booklet linked at the bottom of this article), get bills together (if you have them, if not refer back to the financial tips), and correspondence addressed to both of you if you have it.

    Consider including letters and cards given to you by your partner or your partner’s family.

    Social Context Tips:

    You can get cards together, ticket stubs etc. You may have already shown joint travel in your financial section if you used bank statements.

    • Can your friends and family prove anything you have said along the way? Get them to write that in their stat decs (eg: if you lived with your mother, get her to mention that you did) along with stuff to prove your relationship is real.
    • Pictures: don’t include too many (they don’t like it apparently) but do include ones showing you with each others families, out with friends, and traveling together if possible. Have you known each other for ages? Include one of you two where you look visibly different than you do now.
    • You can write a short explanation/stat dec here too in order to explain what you are showing your CO
    • If it’s a lot of small pieces, stick it in a plastic baggy so they wouldn’t all fly around and I labeled the bag.

    Other examples:

    – Statutory declaration from best friend
    – Statutory declarations from family: mother, father, sister
    – Joint activities together in Australia: e.g. ACMI Disney exhibition, Phillip Island Penguin Parade, Otway Fly Treetop Walk, Eureka Tower, Melbourne Zoo

    Couples commitment tips:

    Need to include itemised phone bills?

    Put a key at the top to what each number is (eg: Daves work number, Jackies house number). Remember, these CAN be hard to get and you might have to pay for them depending on your company and how far back you need to go.

    Need to show your intent that the relationship will last—if you are planning on getting a house together, you can include a quote from a bank for a mortgage.

    Exemptions from the Australian Defacto Visa one year relationship requirement

    The one-year relationship requirement does not apply if the applicant can establish that:

    • there are compelling and compassionate circumstances for the grant of the visa, for example, there is a child of the relationship
    • the relationship is registered under a law of a state or territory prescribed in the Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008 as a kind of relationship prescribed in those regulations
    • their partner is, or was the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa and, before the humanitarian visa was granted, was in a de facto relationship with the applicant that was declared to the Department at the time
    • their partner is an applicant for a permanent humanitarian visa.

    Australian Defacto Visa – Commonly asked questions

    I have been in a de facto relationship for 11 months. Do I still have to wait for another month before I can apply?

    No. You can apply for a visa even if you have been in a de facto relationship for less than one year. However, your application is likely to be refused unless:

    • there are compelling and compassionate circumstances for the grant of the visa, for example, there is a child of the relationship or the laws in your home country prevent you living with your partner
    • your relationship is registered under a law of a state or territory prescribed in the Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008 as a kind of relationship prescribed in those regulations
    • your partner is, or was the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa and, before the humanitarian visa was granted, was in a de facto relationship with you that was declared to the Department at the time
    • your partner is an applicant for a permanent humanitarian visa.

    My partner and I met when we were travelling around the world and realise now that we want to remain together. Does our time travelling together count towards the one year requirement?

    If your relationship has been on a more casual basis you are unlikely to be able to establish that you are in a de facto relationship. This may be the case if, for example, during your travel, you shared accommodation but you each paid your own expenses, were not committed to a mutually exclusive relationship and made no long-term plans for your future until recently.

    To be considered a de facto couple for migration purposes, you must not be related by family and be able to demonstrate that:

    • you have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others
    • your relationship is genuine and continuing
    • you live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.

    The factors that might be taken into account by the Department in assessing whether you are in a de facto relationship include the history of the relationship, social and financial aspects of the relationship, the nature of the household and your commitment to each other. The one year de facto relationship will only commence from the time you can demonstrate you are in an established de facto relationship.

    We have been in a de facto relationship for longer than one year but, as my job in Australia does not allow me to travel to my partner’s country, we have only lived together for eight months. Will I be eligible to sponsor my partner on a partner visa to Australia?

    Despite not living together for one year, your partner may still be eligible for a partner visa. It is expected that couples will have physically lived together at some time since they committed to the relationship. However, it is recognised that couples may be physically apart for periods of time, for example, due to work or travel commitments, yet remain in a genuine and continuing relationship and are committed to a shared life to the exclusion of all others.

    In assessing whether you are in a de facto relationship, the Department may take into account a number of factors other than periods of physical cohabitation such as the history of the relationship, social and financial aspects of the relationship, the nature of the household and your commitment to each other.

    I have been in a de facto relationship with my partner for less than one year. My partner has a child from a previous relationship who will be migrating to Australia with my partner. Will my partner be exempt from the one year de facto relationship requirement?

    Your partner might be exempt from the one year requirement if she/he can demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances or one of the other exemptions outlined in this fact sheet.

    Compelling and compassionate circumstances may exist if you and your partner are both parents of the child (for example, through birth or adoption) and the child is dependent on you.

    My partner and I met over the internet and we established a close relationship before we had physically met. Can the time since we began our relationship before meeting be considered as part of the relationship requirement period?

    No. In order to be in a de facto relationship, you must be able to demonstrate that you have met and have lived together, even if you later lived apart temporarily. The one year relationship requirement will only commence once you have established a de facto relationship.

    I want to apply for a partner visa. My partner came to Australia on a permanent visa as a refugee under the humanitarian programme. Are we still required to meet the one year relationship requirement?

    No, provided you can show that you were in a de facto relationship with your partner at the time she/he was granted the permanent humanitarian visa and this was declared to the Department at the time.

    Where can I register my de facto relationship?

    Currently only the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria have laws in place allowing a relationship to be registered in accordance with the Acts Interpretation Act (Registered Relationship) Regulations.

    You should contact the relevant authorities in your state or territory for information about how to register your relationship.

    I have been living away from my partner to fulfil a work contract and therefore cannot satisfy the one year relationship requirement. Does this qualify as a compelling and compassionate circumstance?

    There is no clear definition of compelling and compassionate circumstances as it requires an assessment of the individual circumstances of the case.

    Compelling and compassionate circumstances may include, but are not limited to, applicants who have a dependent child of the relationship or where the laws of the applicant’s country of residence in the one year prior to making the visa application prohibit de facto relationships.

    Do you have your own De Facto Visa Tips?

    If you have your own tips, please consider contributing by adding your comments in the comment form below.

    Information Sources:

    Aussie Immigration Factsheet: https://www.border.gov.au/
    Partner Migration Booklet: https://www.border.gov.au/Forms/Documents/1127.pdf

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    Baby born in Australia – What is my babies Australian residency and Citizenship status?

    baby born in Australia citizenship residency status

    Since giving birth to our own baby girl since migrating down under we’ve had a number of comments made on this associated post asking what the immigration status,  residency or citizenship status of their own  baby will be following the birth.

    With this in mind I thought I’d write up a quick article to summarise the residency and citizenship status of your baby should you be blessed with the birth of a new child whilst spending your time down under.

    On the assumption that you applied for your Permanent Residency visa before your baby was born the following circumstances will normally apply.

    If your baby is born in Australia, and at least one parent is an Australian permanent visa holder or Australian citizen, your baby is an Australian citizen by birth. No Australian visa is required for this baby.baby born australian citizen

    If your baby is born in Australia and neither parent is an Australian citizen or permanent visa holder, your baby will generally automatically acquire the visa of either parent dependent on whichever visa is more “beneficial”.

    If your baby is born outside Australia, and at least one parent is an Australian citizen otherwise than by descent, your baby is eligible for Australian citizenship by descent.

    If your baby is born outside Australia and at least one parent is an Australian citizen by descent and that parent was present in Australia lawfully for at least 2 years before your baby’s citizenship registration, your baby is eligible for Australian citizenship by descent.

    If your baby is born outside Australia, and neither parent is an Australian citizen, your baby has no immigration status in Australia and will need a visa to enter Australia. Continue reading

    Originally posted 2009-01-08 09:10:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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    What is the difference between permanent residence and migration?

    Australia Australia The Land Down Under

    I thought it may be useful to add a FAQ to gettingdownunder.

    This way folks who may just want a quick overview can do get one by clicking on the FAQ Link from our main menu.

    So, to kick off. What is the difference between permanent residence and migration?

    Well, people wishing to live permanently in Australia must apply for, and be granted, a permanent visa. If you apply outside Australia, you are applying to migrate. If you apply in Australia, you are applying for permanent residence.

    Simple as that.

    Originally posted 2006-01-30 18:04:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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    Australian 457 Visa Changes – FAQ

    457 visa changes latest

    So since we announced the abolishment of the 457 visa on the 19th April, we’ve had literally hundreds of comments posted trying to seek additional information on clarification on the announcements.

    I’m a 457 holder, will I still be able to get PR?  My occupation is no longer on the list, can I still apply? What do the 457 grandfathering provisions mean?

    We’ve tried our best to help where we can but to a certain extent, we’ve struggled as the amount of information which has been made available since the announcement has been extremely limited so we’ve had to base our responses on our own interpretation of the information.

    Thankfully, today we received a copy of one of the guidance newsletters issued by the Australian department of Immigration to Australian Migration agents to assist with their client’s enquiries.

    Though the clarification notes don’t answer all the questions, they certainly help. I have to say though, It’s really frustrating that these clarification points are not readily available so with this in mind, we’re publishing the clarification notes below.

    Even though it’s evident that there is still some work to be done on the migration departments part (ie. in some instances, the answer to some of the questions appear to be work in progress). We are hopeful that you’ll find these clarification points useful!

    19 April 2017 changes

    Q1. What has already changed?

    A. As of 19 April 2017:

    • the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) has been replaced with the new Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL);
    • the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has been replaced with the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL);
    • there has been a reduction of 216 occupations available for subclass 457 visa programme applications;
    • 59 caveats now apply to specified occupations – these either relate to work experience, regional location or are occupation specific; and
    • new visa validity periods also apply under the standard subclass 457 programme with a maximum 2 year period available for occupations that are eligible for the subclass 457 programme but not on the new MLTSSL.

    Q2. Can people still apply for subclass 457 visas?

    A. Yes. The subclass 457 programme remains open until the new TSS visa comes into effect in March 2018. The occupation list has been restricted (19 April 2017) and integrity settings will be further tightened.

    Q3. Where can I find a list of removed occupations?

    A. This is available on the Department’s website or on the getting down under website here.

    Q4. Why were occupations removed?

    A. They were removed due to a wide range of factors including: immigration integrity concerns, low usage over the last five years, being reserved for Australian citizens (e.g. magistrate) and based on advice from the Department of Employment.

    Q5. Where can I find information about the caveats?

    A. This is available on the Department’s website. Agents have also been provided with interim guidelines on these caveats until the 457 Nominations Procedural Instructions (PI) are updated for 1 July 2017. We will continue to expand this advice in the future based on feedback from agents and staff. Note: Additional FAQs specifically on caveats is also provided below.

    Q6. Do the above changes have any impacts on existing subclass 457 visa holders?

    A. No – unless they wish to change employers or positions, in which case a new nomination will need to be approved under the new arrangements. Note:

    • This will include situations where due to business structure changes, an employer is required to lodge a new sponsorship application and is required to lodge new nomination applications to accommodate existing subclass 457 visa holders (unless they continue to work for an associated entity of an Australian sponsor).
    • A new nomination approval for an occupation listed on the STSOL will not result in a reduction of the visa period already held by the visa holder.

    Q7. My client has a pending application where the occupation has been removed from the list – what happens now?

    A. Once the application has reached the assessment stage, you will be contacted by the Department and given the opportunity to withdraw your application in writing. The letter will specify a period for required response (i.e. 14 days for nomination applications and 28 days for visa applications).

    Alternatively, you can request a withdrawal in writing at any time and your client will then be entitled to a refund of the application fee. If you do not withdraw your application, it will be refused. Note: • If seeking to withdraw a visa application, we ask that you complete and attach Form 1446 to ImmiAccount where possible to facilitate faster processing.

    • If seeking to withdraw a nomination application, we ask that you attach a written request to this effect to ImmiAccount where possible to facilitate faster processing.
    • Once a withdrawal has been actioned, the process to facilitate a refund will be initiated. Applications which do not meet the requirements and are not withdrawn within the prescribed timeframes will be refused. No refund will be provided in such circumstances.

    Q8. What about situations where my client has a pending application but a caveat now applies?

    A. Once the application has reached the assessment stage, an officer will assess whether or not the caveat applies. If it does, the same withdrawal and refund options as noted above (Q7) will be made available to the client – as the occupation is no longer ‘on the list’ in the circumstances specified.

    Note: where a caveat may apply, but the nomination has already been approved and it is only the visa application that is outstanding, the Department will assess caveats for visa applicants based on information already available on Departmental systems. We will not seek further information if there is no clear indication that a caveat applies.

    Q9. Can I get a refund for an approved nomination if a related visa application now cannot be approved?

    A. Yes, if, a subclass 457 visa application is unable to be granted where the approved nomination is for an occupation that has been removed from the list, the sponsoring business can request that the nomination be withdrawn and request a refund of the nomination fee. Note:

    • If seeking to withdraw your approved nomination, we ask that you utilise Form 1446 where possible to facilitate faster processing. The completed form should be emailed through to 457@border.gov.au.
    • Once a withdrawal has been actioned, the process to facilitate a refund will be initiated. 457 agent news May 2017 | 3

    Q10. Can I get a refund of my sponsorship fee if my sponsorship application has been lodged and/or approved but I no longer wish to use the subclass 457 programme due to the changes in occupation lists?

    A. No – a refund is not available under the legislative framework.

    Q11. Can I change the nominated occupation?

    A. No – but you can withdraw and lodge a new nomination with a new occupation specified for the nominee. This may, however, raise concerns about the genuineness of the position – particularly if the new occupation is substantially different.

    Q12. Can I change the nominated base salary for a position post lodgement of the nomination?

    A. Yes – you can provide updated information to the Department via ImmiAccount, but you must also provide an updated contract of employment reflecting the new salary rate. This may, however, raise concerns about the genuineness of the position and whether the local labour market has been effectively tested.

    Q13. What is the impact of 19 April 2017 changes on the subsequent dependant applications?

    A. Nil – if the primary visa application has been granted, then subsequent dependant applicants can still be granted for the same period as the primary (subject to any 457 MOFU extension restrictions).

    Q14. Do the changes impact cases that have a review application pending?

    A. Yes – the AAT must make a decision based on the current framework – i.e. they are required to take into account recent occupation removals and caveats.

    Q15. Will the reforms affect visa processing times?

    A. Processing times are expected to slow down in the short term as staff become familiar with the new arrangements. Additional concurrent measures are, however, being considered for 1 July 2017 to streamline processing for lower risk sponsors – including possible further expansion of 457 accredited sponsor arrangements.

    Q16. What are caveats?

    A. Occupational caveats are additional requirements for certain occupations to demonstrate that the position you have nominated is appropriate for a skilled visa programme. Caveats do not prevent lodgement of all applications for that particular occupation. They limit use of the occupation in certain circumstances. These caveats will be subject to regular review and may be added, altered or removed in future.

    Q17. Where the caveat requires a business to have a turnover of at least $1M, what is the period in which $1M turnover is considered?

    A. From 1 July 2017, the subclass 457 nomination form will collect information regarding the turnover of the business for the last financial year, which will be used to determine whether or not this caveat applies. Up until this time, the Department will use existing information available on our systems if they indicate that this element of a caveat is met.

    Where such information is not available in Departmental systems, additional information will be sought from the sponsoring company. If this occurs, it is recommended that agents provide financial information to cover the last financial year. Independently verifiable information should be provided where possible.

    Q18. Can the $1M include turnover from related entities?

    A. No – this relates to the sponsoring business only.

    Q19. Can the $1M turnover figure include GST?

    A. No.

    Q20. Will occupational caveats apply to businesses that have traded for less than 12 months? If so, will projected turnover suffice where relevant?

    A. Yes – they apply. In general, projected turnover will not suffice. As above, the turnover needs to be at least $1M for the last financial year. However, the Department will consider exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis.

    Q21. Where the caveat requires a business to have a minimum of five employees, are there any restrictions on the type of employee (e.g. do they have to be full time, Australian)?

    A. No – not at this stage. If the business declares that they have five employees and this is consistent with other information provided (e.g. structure chart for business etc.), then this will be accepted unless the Department has concerns that this is not the case. From 1 July 2017, the subclass 457 nomination form will ask companies to declare their total number of employees and how many are Australian/overseas workers, as per the current subclass 457 sponsorship form.

    Q22. Where the caveats require at least two years of work experience, what does this mean?

    A. This means that a successful candidate for the nominated position would be expected to have completed at least two years full time (as per the industry standard) work experience in the relevant occupation post qualification. The Department recognises that work experience may take different forms for different occupations. For example, relevant experience for a University lecturer could include conducting research in a particular field of knowledge and/or teaching experience. Additional permanent visa questions

    Q23. Is the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme impacted by the 19 April 2017 changes?

    A. No – this is because you can nominate any occupation that is ANZSCO skill level 1 to 3 for this programme (i.e. you are not restricted to the MLTSSL and the STSOL at this stage).

    Q24. How do the above changes impact other permanent visa programmes?

    A. The above changes do not impact on hand (‘pipeline’) applications for other skilled permanent visa programmes. The removal of occupations from the list will, however, impact clients who lodge an application for one of the following on or after 19 April 2017:

    • Employer Nominated Scheme (subclass 186) – Direct Entry Stream
    • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) • Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) That is, any applications already lodged before 19 April 2017 for the above visa subclasses (other than a 457 visa) will not be impacted (even if the occupation was removed for these visas on 19 April 2017).

    Q25. Do the caveats impact permanent visa applications?

    A. No – the new caveats only impact subclass 457 applications. Caveats existing prior to 19 April 2017 that impacted other visas remain unchanged.

    Q26. Can you still apply for ENS if your occupation is on the STSOL but not the MTSSL?

    A. Yes – currently, if your occupation is on the STSOL or an eligible occupation on the MLTSSL you can apply for the ENS Direct Entry stream. Current holders of subclass 457 visas continue to be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the ENS visa. Access to the TRT stream is not based on the occupation lists and is therefore unaffected by these changes. Other temporary visa questions

    Q27. Do the above changes impact on hand (‘pipeline’) applications for other temporary visa programmes that utilise the MLTSSL and/or the STSOL?

    A. The above changes do not impact on hand (‘pipeline’) applications for other temporary visa programmes that utilise the MLTSSL and/or the STSOL. The removal of occupations from the list will, however, impact clients who lodge an application on or after 19 April 2017 for the Training visa (subclass 407).

    1 July 2017 changes

    Q28. What reforms are being implemented on 1 July 2017?

    A. Key reforms that will be implemented from July 2017 for subclass 457 visas include:
    • expanding mandatory skills assessments;
    • introducing mandatory penal clearance checks consistent with other visas;
    • tightening existing training benchmarks; and
    • removing English language exemptions based on a skilled migrant’s salary (e.g. if their salary is higher than $96,400).

    Q29. Will there be further changes to the occupation lists for 1 July 2017?

    A. Yes – it is expected that the occupation lists will be regularly updated, based on a range of factors including advice from the Department of Employment and the Department of Education and Training.

    Q30. Why are mandatory skills assessment requirements being expanded?

    A. The skills assessment requirements are being considered for expansion to cover a small number of new cohorts of concern. For example, where particular combinations of occupation and nationality have been identified as an integrity risk.

    Q31. What nationalities/occupations will be impacted?

    A. A final decision has not been made in this space. Registered migration agents will be informed of the specific changes proposed via an agents newsletter prior to 1 July 2017.

    Q32. What changes are being made to character requirements and why?

    A. As of 1 July 2017, all subclass 457 applicants aged 17 years or older will be required to provide penal clearance certificates for countries in which they have lived for a significant period. This measure will strengthen current character and integrity measures and will bring subclass 457 visas into line with other longer stay temporary visa products.

    Q33. What changes are being made to the training benchmarks?

    A, Policy settings for training benchmark requirements are being clarified and tightened, by setting out:

    • the types of training funds eligible for training benchmark A; and
    • setting out the types of expenditure on training that are acceptable for training benchmark B.

    The Department also intends to provide agents with additional guidelines around documentation required to demonstrate that an applicant has met the relevant training benchmarks via a later edition of this newsletter. Additional permanent visa questions

    Q34. What reforms will be implemented on 1 July 2017 for ENS and RSMS?

    A. On 1 July 2017, the additional changes below will be implemented for ENS and RSMS:

    • raising English language requirements to “competent” for all applicants (IELTS 6) – with TRT and Direct Entry requirements to be consistent;
    • upper age limit of 45 for Direct Entry applicants;
    • 3 years skill and experience for Direct Entry applicants; and
    • further changes to the occupations lists and their application to relevant visas. Note: This above looks like an error in that the RSMS (direct entry) change that 3 years work experience is needed is scheduled for March 2018. We are trying to confirm this March 2018 changes

    Q35. What is the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa?

    A. The new TSS visa will replace the 457 visa. It will have two distinct streams: a Short-term stream of up to two years and a Medium-term stream of up to four years.

    Q36. How much will the TSS visa cost?

    A. There will be different Visa Application Charges (VAC) for the TSS visa. The base VAC for:

    • the Short-term stream is $1150; and
    • the Medium-term stream is $2400.

    Q37. What are the changes to the English language requirements?

    A. The English requirements for the Short-term stream of the new TSS visa will be the same as the current 457 visa, with a minimum IELTS result (or equivalent) of 4.5 in each test component required, and an overall score of 5. There will be a higher standard required for the
    Medium-term stream with a score of 5 required in each test component.

    Q38. Will holders of the TSS visa have a pathway to become Australian permanent residents?

    A. Yes – under the Medium-term stream only.

    Q39. Will the Temporary Income Skilled Migration Threshold (TSMIT) be indexed?

    A. No – in considering options for the abolition of the subclass 457 visa and its replacement with a new TSS visa, the Government decided not to index the TSMIT at this time.

    Q40. What will change in terms of labour market testing?

    A. Labour market testing will be a mandatory requirement for the TSS visa, unless international trade obligations apply.

    Q41. How will the TSS visa require employers to assist with training Australian workers?

    A. The TSS visa will require employers nominating skilled overseas workers to contribute to training Australian workers. Details of the revised training requirement will be provided in a subsequent edition of this newsletter. Additional permanent visa questions

    Q42. What reforms will be implemented for ENS and RSMS in March 2018?

    A. From March 2018, new eligibility criteria for ENS and RSMS will include:

    • an upper age limit of 45 (from 50) for most applicants;
    • occupation must be on the MLTSSL (unless an additional occupation approved for regional areas); • a minimum market rate salary: all visa holders must earn at least a minimum salary of $53,900 – that is the TSMIT;
    • at least three years’ relevant work experience; and
    • a pathway to permanent residence through TRT requires 3 years on Medium-term TSS visa. More information will be provided about these changes to registered migration agents closer to 2018.

    Q43. What transitional or ‘grandfathering’ arrangements will be in place for those who already hold a subclass 457 visa before March 2018?

    A. More information concerning the legislative details of future changes will be available closer to their implementation date. This will include information about transitional arrangements for visa applicants and visa holders.

    Labour agreements

    Q. Do these changes have any impact on labour agreements?

    A. No – the subclass 457 visa abolition and replacement changes have no immediate impact on the labour agreement programme with:

    • existing labour agreements remaining in effect;
    • existing visa holders not impacted unless they apply for another visa impacted by the changes outside of the labour agreement programme; or
    • new nominations that labour agreement sponsors intend to lodge and related visa applications are not impacted – including applications for occupations which are specified in the relevant labour agreement, but have were ‘removed’ from the standard programme on 19 April 2017.

    The Department will amend all existing labour agreements at some time prior to March 2018 to reflect the abolition of the subclass 457 visa – with no further applications for subclass 457s accepted after the introduction of the TSS visa in March 2018.

    Q. Will the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) remain in place?

    A. The DAMA with the Northern Territory will remain in place.

    Q. Has anything else changed in the labour agreement programme?

    A.The Department continues to review labour agreement arrangements to ensure that:

    • they reflect current economic and employment conditions
    • the local labour market is not undercut
    • Australian workers are given priority.

  • ,

    Australian Visa Costs From 1st July 2017

    AUSTRALIAN VISA COSTS FROM 1ST JULY 2017

    The 2017-18 Federal Budget saw several changes announced to the immigration programme which will affect the cost of visa applications from 1 July. Additionally, information has also been provided regarding the changes forecasted to the training benchmark, which will affect 457 and 186 applications, and their sponsors, from March 2018.

    Increase to Australian Visa Application Charges from 1 July

    The increase to the Visa Application fees will be minimal. The below fees do not include the credit card surcharges applied by the Department of Immigration at the time of lodgement

    1. Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa – Subclass 457 visa

    The visa application fees for Subclass 457 visa applications will increase for adults and children from AUD1,060 and AUD265 respectively, to the following:

    • AUD1,080 for each adult applicant
    • AUD270 for each child under 18

    These application fees will apply until March 2018. After this time, the Subclass 457 visa will be replaced by the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (“TSS”) and the cost of the application fee will depend on whether the nominated occupation falls within the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List or the Short-term Skilled Occupation List.

    2. Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa – Subclass 400 visa

    The Visa Application fee for the Subclass 400 visa will increase from AUD275 to AUD280.

    3. Employer Nomination Scheme – Subclass 186 visa

    Currently, the Base Visa Application fee for a Subclass 186 is AUD3,600. The fee for an accompanying spouse or de facto partner is AUD1,800 and AUD900 for a child. These fees will increase to the following:

    • AUD3,670 for the Base Visa Application fee
    • AUD1,835 for each additional adult
    • AUD920 for each child under 18

    Replacement of Training Benchmark

    Employers/Sponsors applying for business sponsorship approval have, to date, been required to satisfy a training benchmark in order to be approved as a Standard Business Sponsor under the Subclass 457 visa scheme. This benchmark currently requires expenditure towards training existing employees or investing into a training fund.

    This training benchmark also applies to Employer Nomination Scheme – Subclass 186 visa applications. Effective from March 2018, the existing training benchmark will be replaced by a Skilling Australians Fund Levy’, affecting employers sponsoring Subclass 457 visa holders and those applying for the Subclass 186 visa.

    The requirements of the Skilling Australians Fund Levy will be based on two categories – determined by the annual turnover of the business:

    1. Turnover of less than AUD10 million per year

    • For each employee sponsored on a TSS, an upfront payment of AUD1,200 per visa per year
    • For each employee’s Subclass 186 visa application, a one-off payment of AUD3,000

    2. Turnover of AUD10 million or more per year

    • For each employee sponsored on a TSS, an upfront payment of AUD1,800 per visa per year
    • For each employee’s Subclass 186 visa application, a one-off payment of AUD5,000
  • ,

    2017 – 2018 Skilled Migration Intake Announced

    Today, Treasurer Scott Morrison announced his annual budget to Parliament which included a couple of items of interest to people looking to emigrate to Australia.

    An annual foreign worker levy of $1,200 to $1,800 per annum will be applied to employers of temporary foreign workers, whereas employers of permanent skilled workers will be levied a one-off $3,000 to $5,000 fee.

    The measures are expected to raise $1.2 billion over the forward estimates, with the money raised to be put into training initiatives for local workers.

    2017 - 2019 Australian Migration Intake

    Importantly, there will be no cut in the skilled migrant intake from the current level of 130,000 people per year, this number is important as it will ultimately form the basis for the skilled occupations ceilings which we expect to be announced in the coming weeks.

  • , ,

    What Are My Chances Of Getting An Australian Visa

    How long to get an Australian Visa

    So you’ve got an occupation on one of the Australian Skilled Occupations Lists. You have registered an Expression Of Interest (EOI) with Skillselect and you’re now left waiting to see if you’ll get that sought after an invitation to apply for an Australian Visa.

    As a skilled migrant, you’re probably already familiar with the Australian points test and the requirement to reach a certain points threshold to qualify for migration under your occupation. However beyond that. How long should you be expected to wait for an invitation to apply and what are your overall chances of getting an Australian Visa?

    What Are My Chances Of Getting An Australian Visa?

    We get asked this question quite a lot here at Getting Down Under and to be honest, it’s a pretty difficult question to answer because there are so many dependencies to being successful.

    Sure, you have a confirmed occupation in demand, you have reached the points threshold and English language requirement, however, there is something that’s really difficult to take account for, and that’s the other applicants.

    You see, once you have registered an Expression Of Interest with SkillSelect, you are automatically ranked against the other Australian visa applicants who have also applied.

    Your ranking is based on the information you provide within your EOI. EOIs are ranked using points achieved on the skilled migration points test. A prescribed pass mark will be set as the minimum points score required for each visa category.

    Where you have the same number of points as another applicant, then this equally scoring EOIs will be separated by the time of submission with earlier submission dates ranking more highly.

    Now let’s look at a few scenarios to see how this would work in practice.

    Australian EOI Scenario 1

    What Are My Chances Of Getting An Australian Visa

    So in the above scenario, you have qualified for an Australian skilled Visa with 65 points. You have been added to the SkillSelect queue for your occupation.

    As you have qualified with more than the minimum number of points for this occupation (in this example the minimum is 60 points), you will receive an application before those applicants who have qualified with only 60 points.

    The small number of applicants who have qualified with more than 65 points or those who have the same number of points as you but registered their EOI before you will be invited first.

    EOI Scenario 2

    How long to get an Australian Visa

    In this second scenario, with 65 points you have joined your fellow applicants at the front of the SkillSelect queue.

    Even though these applicants registered with SkillSelect months before you did. As your points score is higher. You will be invited to apply for a skilled visa first

    Australian EOI Process – Scenario 3

    Australian Expression Of Interest (EOI) Process

    In this final scenario, you’ve completed your EOI and feel pretty good about yourself. Despite only needing 60 points to qualify for your application, you’ve managed to score 65 points.

    What you don’t know, however, is there is a large number of applicants who have been waiting for an invitation with even more points.

    In this instance, even though you have qualified with a high points score. The fact that there are applicants with even more points means that you will not receive an invitation until these applicants receive an invitation first.

    Other Considerations

    After submitting your EOI, you can view your point score; however, because your ranking is continuously changing as new EOI’s are submitted and invitations issued, you will not see your ranking.

    Your EOI will stay in SkillSelect for a maximum of two years. At any time during the validity of your EOI, you can update your details to reflect any additional qualifications or experience you might have obtained. This might increase your likelihood of being invited or an employer contacting you.

    After each invitation round for the independent and skilled regional (provisional) sponsored visas, the Australian government published via the SkillSelect website, the lowest points test mark for which an EOI received an invitation.

    This will give you an indication of your potential for receiving an invitation in future rounds.

    Have any questions?

    Have any questions? Post these in our comments below or pop on over to our Australian Migration forums and we’ll look to help where we can.

  • ,

    Eleven Tips to Help You Safely Transport Your Pet to Australia

    made the move to australia

    If you are thinking of moving your pet to Australia, I suggest you first get an idea of what’s involved in this process so that you don’t get hassled mid-way. The most important fact that you need to remember is that the entire procedure can be an expensive one and requires that you navigate through a few controls and restrictions. I will briefly guide you through the various stages involved in moving your pet to Australia and, hopefully, save you time, hassle and money.

    1. The most important thing to do first is to confirm that your breed is allowed in Australia (certain dog breeds like dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa, Pit bull Terrier are refused entry) and also whether your pet’s age permits it to travel.

    2. Micro chipping your pet will be the next step you take. This needs to be completed before you apply for an import permit. The micro chip must be identified by any ISO compatible reader like a Trovan or Destron.
    Continue reading

    Originally posted 2010-01-23 01:50:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

  • , ,

    Existing 457 Visa holders – Can I Still Get PR?

    457 to PR - Options after March 2018

    It’s fair to say, the recent announcement that the current 457 Visa system will be scrapped, has caused some concern and angst for 457 Visa holders hoping to gain Permanent Residency (PR) at the end of the 457 Period.

    We’ve had various comments in response to our recent articles including questions along the lines of

    I’m a current 457 visa holder. Will I still be able to transition to PR after March 2018?

    or

    457 to Permanent Residency, Is it still possible under new process?

    The confusion stems from the fact that, unlike the current visa arrangement, the replacement — a two-year Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa will not allow permanent residency at its conclusion.

    However, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has also said that the 95,000 people already in the country on a 457 work permit would be unaffected by the change and permitted to apply for residence, stating that “they will continue under the conditions of that visa”.

    So which is it?

    457 to PR – Will it still be possible?

    The usual approach taken by most 457 Visa holders seeking to gain permanent residency is through the Employer Nomination Scheme.

    At the time of typing (April 24, 2017), the Regulations or Policy changes to the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186 visa) pathway, are proposed changes only.

    As such the information is limited to what is on the Australian Immigration website, however, this information is not clear and in some cases contradictory which in turn is leading to even more speculation and confusion.

    As an example, It has been stated that current 457 visa holders will not be affected and the current rules will apply to them, but then, this is contradicted by the statement which says all ENS and RSMS post-March 2018 will need to nominate an occupation on the MLTSSL!

    The reality is, until regulatory changes are made and the relevant Regulations and Policy are updated, everything else is just speculation.

    We’ll provide a further update on the options for 457 Visa holders to gain PR when this speculation becomes fact.

  • , ,

    Australian Occupations List

    Australian Occupations List

    One of the most, if not THE most important criteria you need to possess to qualify for an Australian visa is having a job considered ‘in demand’. These occupations are flagged within a number of Australian Occupations Lists published every 6 – 12 months by the Australian government.

    Australian Occupations Lists

    There are two main occupations lists currently published by the Australian Government. The MTSSL or the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List and the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List which is referred to as the STSOL.

    As the names suggest, each of the lists contains occupations qualifying for visas which are valid for a range of different durations starting from 2 years to the more sought after Permanent Australian Visa.

    When reviewing the different Australian occupations lists, keep in mind that the MLTSSL lists occupations that qualify for a permanent Australian Visa whilst the STSOL lists occupations that qualify for a short-term visa for between 2 – 4 years.

    MLTSSL -Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List

    Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MTSSL)

    If you would like to see if you have an occupation which might qualify for a permanent Australian Visa then check the MTSSL list by clicking here.

    STSOL - Short-term Skilled Occupation List

    Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)

    If you would like to see if you have an occupation which would qualify for a short-term visa, check out the STSOL list by clicking here.

     

  • ,

    Planned Australia Visa Changes – April 2017 – March 2018

    australia migration planned changes

    So it’s been a big week as far as Australian Immigration news is concerned and we’ve had quite a few questions posted on our forums and in the article comments in relation to when certain changes will come into effect.

    With this in mind and with input from one of the recently published fact sheets, we thought it would be useful to provide a summary of the key events planned over the next 12 months and the consequences of these events on people looking to emigrate to Australia, starting from the date the changes were announced through to March 2018.

    Changes from April 2017

    From 19 April 2017, for new applicants for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programmes:

    – Occupation lists: The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will be significantly condensed, with 216 occupations removed, and access to 24 occupations restricted to regional Australia (e.g. occupations relating to farming and agriculture). The CSOL currently underpins the Direct Entry stream of the ENS visa.

    – The CSOL will also be renamed the new Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and will be
    updated every six months based on advice from the Department of Employment.

    – The other occupations list used for skilled migration, the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) will be renamed the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). This list will contain occupations that have been assessed as being of high value to the Australian economy and aligning to the Government’s longer term training and workforce strategies.

    Changes from July 2017

    From 1 July 2017, for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programmes:

    Occupations lists:

    • The STSOL will be further reviewed based on advice from the Department of Employment.
    • The MLTSSL will be revised based on outcomes from the Department of Education and Training’s 2017-18 SOL review.

    English language requirements:

    • A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 6 in each component.

    Age:

    • A maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application will apply to Direct Entry stream
      applicants.
    • A maximum age requirement of 50 at the time of application will continue to apply to Temporary Residence Transition stream applicants.

    Changes by December 2017

    Before 31 December 2017, for permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programmes:

    • The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) will commence the collection of Tax File Numbers for these visa holders, and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
    • The Department will commence the publication of details relating to sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulation 1994 and related legislation.

    Changes from March 2018

    From March 2018, for ENS and RSMS:

    • For the ENS and RSMS visa: The MLTSSL will now apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers for the RSMS.
    • Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the

    Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.

    Residency

    • The permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years.
    • Work experience: At least three years’ relevant work experience.
    • Age: All applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application.
    • Training requirement: a strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers.