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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today welcomed the final report of the Baird Review on the legislation governing international education.

It is most pleasing to note Mr Baird’s support for the Rudd Government’s changes to the skilled migration program announced on 8 February 2010.

The skilled migration program changes will encourage overseas students to focus on obtaining a quality education from a high quality provider by removing incentives for students to apply for a course simply in the hope of being granted permanent residence.

Under the changes, the wide-ranging migration occupations in demand list was revoked and will be replaced mid-year by a new and more targeted skilled occupations list to be developed by the independent body, Skills Australia.

The new skilled occupations list will be tightly focused on high value skills that will assist in addressing Australia’s future skills needs. It will deliver a mix of skills across the professions and trades in areas such as healthcare, engineering and mining.

International students currently studying in Australia who hold a vocational, higher education or postgraduate student visa will still be able to apply for permanent residence if their occupation is on the new skilled occupations list.

Students currently studying a course in an occupation that is not on the new skilled occupations list will have until the end of 2012 to apply for a temporary skilled graduate visa which will enable them to spend up to 18 months in Australia to acquire work experience and find an Australian employer willing to sponsor them.

It must be remembered that a student visa is just that: a visa to study. It does not give someone an automatic entitlement to permanent residence.

International students should be focused on obtaining a good qualification from a quality education provider in a field in which they want to work. The changes will in no way impact on international students coming to Australia to gain a legitimate qualification and then return home.

Similarly, Australia’s migration program is not and should not be determined by the courses studied by international students.

Australia will continue to welcome international students and provide an opportunity for those who have the necessary qualifications and skills to find an Australian employer willing to sponsor them for a permanent visa.

Source  :  www.immigov.au

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At the meeting with David Wilden at Australia House today, we were told as follows:

All the applications in hand from people in Categories 1 – 4 as listed in the FAQ of 23rd September 2009 are now under control.

DIAC estimate that there are about 3,500 applications in Category 5 – that is, State sponsored but the main applicant’s occupation is not on the CSL. Mr Wilden has been told that DIAC are now in a position to make a start on processing the Cat 5 applications.

Mr Wilden said as follows:

  • Roughly 3,500 is the number of actual visa applications, not the number of people involved. (I checked this with him specifically and he was definite about it.)
  • They will start to process the Cat 5s according to the dates when the visa applications were lodged and they will deal with the oldest applications first.
  • They will make no distinctions between the different visa subclasses – first come, first served means what it implies in a situation where the occupation is not on the CSL but the applicant does have State sponsorship.
  • There is no foundation to the rumour that tradies may be excluded from Cat 5 processing – the tradies are to be treated identically to people whose occupations are in ASCO Groups 1-3.

Mr Wilden said that we have had him up late at night and out of bed before the birds in order to phone his colleagues in Australia to discover exactly what the plans are for the Category 5s because he had seen from Poms in Oz that everyone is particularly worried about this question in particular.

Mr WIlden stressed that he cannot say how long it will take to clear the backlog of about 3,500 Cat 5 applications. As & when they receive further applications from people with greater claim to priority, the applications with greater priority will be dealt with first.

The Famous Five were all PiO members (DanB1, Floater, Gollywobbler, RonnieRocket and Watneyni to put us in alphabetical order.) We were all sitting round the same table with Mr Wilden and we all heard him say exactly the same things. (Needless to say we repaired to a London hostelry afterwards to compare notes – thanks very much indeed to Watneyni for very kindly buying a round of drinks for us all.)

We were joined unexpectedly by a very helpful young man called Andrew. He has worked at the ASPC for a while but he is now in the UK, working with John Adams RMA at Immigration2Oz.com Andrew is not a PiO member [yet] but I am trying to encourage him/twist his arm! Andrew was involved with this part of the discussion so he heard Mr Wilden as well.

That they can’t say how long it will take to clear the 3,500 or so Cat 5 applications is reasonable enough. Mr Wilden promised to find out how many of the 108,100 skilled PR & Provisional visas for 2009/10 have been granted as at 30th November 2009 and he said he will let us know as soon as he knows. Once we have that figure it will probably be possible to start making reasonably sensible guesses.

After the meeting the Famous Five agreed that this information is probably the most significant piece of info from today and that we would get it onto the forum with all possible speed, in its own thread to make it stand out.

Cheers

Gill

Source  :  http://www.pomsinoz.com/forum/migration-issues/73648-category-5-news.html

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Ten schools in the northern suburbs were granted over $18 million in new funding as part of the governments stimulus package.

  • Butler Primary School gets $2.95 million                                                   
  • Beldon Primary School gets $1.4 million
  • East Butler Primary School gets $1.8 million
  • Edgewater Primary School gets $2.9 million
  • Quinns Beach Primary School gets $1.55 million
  • Quinns Rocks Primary School gets $2.35 million
  • Girrawheen Senior High School gets $1.75 million
  • Mercy College gets $1.5 million
  • Warwick Senior High School gets $1.97 million
  • Yanchep District High School gets $300,000 

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Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard has welcomed the announcement in Parliament that the Joondalup City will be granted tourism precinct status later this year.hillarys

The announcement was a fantastic result for the City of Joondalup.  Becoming a tourism precinct will allow trading hours similar to those in Fremantle and Perth for local Joondalup businesses.

As a tourism precinct it will allow the City to improve on existing attractions like the award winning Joondalup resort and Hillarys Marina the second most visited tourism venue in WA.

It will create a more exciting City and will encourage and attract a variety of businesses and visitors to the North West region of Perth.

Becoming a tourism precinct will complement the large number of events, concerts and festivals held in Joondalup City and will help assist Joondalup to become an even more vibrant and bustling place to visit.

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1 July 2009 Legislation Change                                                                                                                           

From 1 July 2009, the Migration Regulations 1994 (‘the Regulations’) are amended to provide Retirement visa holders with full work rights by removing mandatory condition 8104 from the visa.

Current visa holders will not automatically receive the benefit of this change.

Retirement visas granted before 1 July 2009 will still have limited work rights (up to 20 hours per week).  Access to the no work limitation will take effect when the visa holder next renews his or her Retirement visa.

Source  :   www.immi.gov.au

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DIAC have just announced that the anyone obtaining their Contributory Parent Visa after 1 July and then planning to sponsor an existing partner will be faced with a potential 5 year wait. What this means, as an initial response, is that people going down that route who have not included an existing spouse in the application should be doing so immediately.

This is the text of the announcement:

Amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 in relation to Contributory Parent visas and split applications

1 July 2009 Legislation Change

Client summary

From 1 July 2009, the Migration Regulations 1994 (the ‘Regulations’) are amended to prevent persons who are granted a permanent Contributory Parent category visa (Subclasses 143 and 864) from sponsoring their partner or fiancé for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa for five years from the day of their visa grant, if they:

* were granted their permanent Contributory Parent category visa on or after 1 July 2009; and
* were in a spouse or de facto partner or fiancé relationship on or before the date their permanent Contributory Parent category visa was granted and now wish to sponsor that partner or fiancé.

This limitation may not apply in compelling circumstances which are not financially related.

Additional information:
There have been a number of instances in which couples seeking to migrate under the Contributory Parent category visa provisions have resorted to the split application strategy, whereby:

* only one member of a parent couple applies for and is granted a permanent Contributory Parent category visa; and
* once eligible (usually after two years of being lawfully resident in Australia), this parent subsequently sponsors their spouse (the other parent) under the partner visa category which has a much smaller Visa Application Charge (VAC).

Up until 1 July 2009, this strategy is not prohibited by migration legislation and it is being used in order to reduce the costs associated with migration under Contributory Parent category visa. However, it clearly undermines the Government’s policy intent of ensuring that those parents who migrate under the Contributory Parent visa category make a contribution by means of the VAC to partially offset the significant costs of parent migration to the broader community. Contributory Parent migrants are also subject to the provision of a ten year Assurance of Support (AoS) and payment of a bond.

Furthermore, those who lodge a split application benefit by by-passing the ten year waiting period for parent visa holders to access Government benefits and assistance, whilst spouse visa holders are able to access such benefits within two years of visa grant.

Amendments are being made to information products affected by this legislative change.

Source  :  http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=616147

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A new way of luggage screening could reduce waiting for frustrated passengers at Perth International Airport, its proponents say.                                                   3-perth-airport

The company contracted to screen international passenger baggage says it is testing a system which helps overcome problems caused when luggage is loaded on to a plane but the passenger fails to board.

Unisys, which was recently granted a five-year extension to its contract, says the new technology will allow its existing barcode tracking system to link passengers to bags.

Currently at Perth Airport, the barcode is linked only to the bag, meaning substantial delays can often result as staff try to find and remove baggage should a passenger fail to board.

A Unisys spokeswoman said the new system would be implemented in Perth “in the near future” once testing had finished.

The new technology was part of the requirment of the renewal of the contract with the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia, the peak aviation industry body.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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