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From 31 October 2009, the South Australian Government Financing Authority (SAFA) has announced it will not accept any further applications from General Skilled Migration (GSM) applicants who wish to lodge a capital investment, as it will close the scheme.

Since the announcement of the reopening of the capital investment scheme by SAFA on 29 January 2009, the department has contacted all applicants whose cases had been assessed and who indicated they intended to lodge a capital investment.

Any applicants who have indicated on their application form that they intend to lodge a capital investment, but have not yet done so, are advised to finalise their capital investment before the scheme is closed.

Applicants who did not indicate on their application form that they intended to lodge a capital investment, but now wish to do so because they will be relying on the five bonus points to meet the Point Test, should also contact the department and finalise their capital investment before the scheme is closed.

This is the final opportunity for all pre 1 September 2007 GSM applicants to lodge a capital investment. As there will be no further capacity for applicants to make a capital investment to gain the bonus five (5) points, the department will not provide applicants any additional time to make a capital investment once the scheme offered by SAFA closes. Please note that this also applies to those applicants who have appealed to the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and those applicants seeking judicial review.

Applicants who still intend to make a capital investment are strongly urged to do so before 31 October 2009.

Please note that only SAFA provides an approved designated security that enables an applicant for a pre-1 September 2007 GSM visa to be awarded bonus points for making a capital investment.

For more information  :  http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/capital-investment-scheme-faqs.htm

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The professional association representing migration agents, the Migration Institute of Australia, is concerned about allegations raised on tonight’s Four Corners program on migration and education scams.

“Unfortunately, hearing reports about international students and visa applicants falling prey to unscrupulous operators is not a new issue”, says Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia.

In May 2008, the MIA reported 60 rogue agents from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and is unaware if any of these were prosecuted.

Any unethical or illegal behaviour by registered migration agents is not tolerated by the Institute and should be cracked down on by the Department.

“We’ve been asking government to sort out problems with education agents and illegal or unscrupulous operators for an extended period of time. The announcement that education agents will have a register is a first step but doesn’t go far enough in reforming the sector,” says Ms Horder.

A recent independent report, entitled Changing Together, confirms the nature of some of the problems which affects the profession – that the bad behaviour of a minority of unscrupulous operators’ impacts negatively on the entire migration advice profession.

“Following the report’s release, the MIA is acting on a comprehensive range of reforms to strengthen standards and ethics of migration agents.” says Ms Horder. These include:

• Comprehensive reform to the education and training of agents
• Requiring current Registered Migration Agents to requalify to a higher standard of English language and professional competence
• Introduce a tiered system of registration to protect consumers
• Formation of an independent complaints body with the power to review fees

Responsibility for change should be shared by education providers, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

“I wait with interest to see tonight’s Four Corners episode and hope that it will provide an added impetus for the key stakeholders to come together and develop appropriate policies to meet Australia’s educational and immigration interests without anyone being exploited.”

  • Source  :  www.mia.org.au
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    The public are being asked not to approach whales during their annual migration.

    Several whales have been spotted near Perth, off Ocean Reef over the weekend.

    Whales often seek out protected waters close to shore and if people harass them they are likely to leave the area.

    Whales are not accustomed to people, and may defend themselves when approached.

    People who get up close on surfboards and boats are at particular risk, as these whales may react violently, which can result in serious injury or death.

    In Western Australia, boats must be within 100m of a whale by law.

    You need to keep your distance so they can continue their journey without interference.

    People should be able to enjoy the spectacular sight of  whales off Perth’s shores for the next few weeks.

    If boats and surfers keep their distance, we can all get a view of these creatures from the beach as they pass through our waters.

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    Peter McDonald,  Director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University, has said that specific immigration policies are shaping the nation’s size.

    Answering points raised in the McCrindle report – which said Australia’s population is set to hit 22 million before the end of the year- Professor McDonald talked about how migration to Australia is bringing about colossal social and demographic change.

    “Migration to Australia has changed. You know people think about migrants coming to Australia as those coming on the classic government permanent residents program. That’s the skilled migration, family reunion, refugees,” he said.

    “Only 30 per cent of the population increase through migration comes through those sources, the rest of it is from people coming in on temporary visas to Australia and the biggest group is the overseas students and overseas students coming in.

    “We’re desperately trying to keep them coming at the moment in case they get frightened away because it is a big export earner for Australia.”

    Professor McDonald says as the population ages, the birth rate will fall, and Australia’s population growth in 20 years will entirely rely on migration.

    You can find out more about migrating to Australia at our Down Under Live show – coming to Birmingham on the 19th & 20th September.

    Source  :  www.australiamagazine.co.uk

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    THE education export industry has to find a new way to prosper now that the government has made it harder for would-be migrants to use study as a route to permanent residency, social researcher Bob Birrell says.

    In the Monash University journal People and Place, Dr Birrell said the industry, whose phenomenal growth had been helped by foreign students seeking permanent residency as skilled migrants, had reached a crossroads.

    Dr Birrell is co-director of Monash’s Centre for Population and Urban Research, People and Place’s publisher.

    He said a change to the skilled migration rules in December last year, coupled with other reforms, would put permanent residency beyond the reach of many former overseas students with poor English, little work experience and low-value qualifications in hospitality and cooking.

    “Those providers who have built their business around marketing a credential that will lead to permanent residence must refocus their business,” he said. “They need to sell credentials that overseas students believe they can take back to their country of origin with profit.”

    But Dennis Murray, executive director of the International Education Association of Australia, said the new rules would have little effect on universities although they would cut growth in hospitality courses. “We don’t see a wholesale collapse of the industry, which is what Bob would like to see,” he said.

    Dr Birrell argued the appeal of permanent residency and lax rules for skilled migration delivered strong growth in business and information technology courses at universities in the early 2000s and even more dramatic growth since 2005 in hospitality, cooking and hairdressing courses at private colleges and TAFE institutes.

    But the education business had come to distort the migration program, producing graduates ill-equipped or uninterested in the jobs they were supposedly trained for. Dr Birrell said the government took a stand, culminating in the tough new rules of December last year, but the surge in student numbers had carried through into the first few months of this year, for which there was official data.

    “My expectation would be that the enrolments in the hospitality area will decline significantly once the message gets back via the recruitment network to the countries of origin,” he said.

    Dr Birrell said higher education also would lose fee income because graduates in accounting, a field that had enjoyed strong growth, had to have better English or take on an extra year of professional training.

    But he said the government needed to back its tough policy changes with a clearer message to the industry. Instead, it had allowed more than 40,000 former students to stay on temporary and bridging visas, even though most had little chance of securing permanent residency. Most had taken up temporary visas created to soften the blow of September 2007 reforms aimed at the poor English and poor employment prospects of former students.

    Dr Birrell said another, sizeable group had found a loophole. In the year to May the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had allowed 15,417 former students to apply for permanent residency as skilled migrants, despite their lacking occupations on the tough new critical skills list ushered in last December. The department had put off the processing of applications by those lacking critical skills, meaning these students remained on bridging visas.

    The department’s decision to accept these applications, and the $2105 fee, was “contentious and unwise” because it suggested these students eventually might win permanent residency despite not meeting the tight new rules.

    “I think there’s something of a battle going on within government as to which should be given priority: the maintenance of the (overseas student) industry on the one hand and dealing with the immigration problems generated by it on the other,” Dr Birrell said.

    An Immigration Department spokesman said the government was pursuing a more carefully targeted migration program, given the difficult economic times.

    “Australia is giving priority to those people sponsored by employers or on the critical skills list, thus ensuring the nation gets people with the skills the economy and employers need,” he said.

    Source  :  www.theaustralian.news.com.au

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    The MIA WA State Conference is a ‘must attend’ event, with a host of experienced industry speakers confirmed to participate. This annual event will inform and update migration practitioners on the latest issues affecting the profession and wider community.

    The conference is a full day event, taking place at the Frasers Conference Centre, Kings Park, Perth on Friday 21 August, 2009.

    The WA State Executive have secured the following DIAC representatives and Immigration experts:

    • Paul Farrell, WA State Director, DIAC
    • Glen Dival, Manager, 457 Centre of Excellence, Perth DIAC
    • Tim McDonald, Assistant Director, Service Channel Support, DIAC
    • Bruce Needham, Regional Manager, WA Community and Detention Operations, DIAC
    • Wayne Parcell, RMA and lawyer, Executive Director, Human Capital, Ernst and Young
    • Kim Hunter, RMA and lawyer, Migration Professionals
    • The new CEO of the Office of the MARA, Christine Sykes, has also been invited to present.

      Following the event, a gala dinner will be held at the Frasers Restaurant. This is an excellent opportunity to network with your colleagues, whilst enjoying a three course meal overlooking Kings Park. 

    • Source  :  http://mia.org.au/latest-news/WA-State-Conference-Program-announced-209.html

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    Migration agents operating in Australia are required by law to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA).

    Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA)

    Prior to 1 July 2009, the MIA acted as the MARA under a Deed of Agreement between the MIA and the department. The 2007-08 Review of Statutory Self-Regulation of the Migration Advice Profession, which was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the regulatory scheme, recommended that the government consider establishing a regulatory body separate from the MIA.

    In response to the review recommendation, the Minister announced the establishment of the Office of the MARA as a discrete office attached to the department and headed by a specifically designated senior officer solely responsible for Office of the MARA activities. The new body is located in Sydney and assumed functions from the MIA from 1 July 2009.

    The Office of the MARA is supported by a representative advisory board, which includes a nominee from the MIA, a nominee from the Law Council of Australia, a consumer advocate and a community representative.

    The Office of the MARA undertakes a range of functions including:

    • processing registration and re-registration applications
    • administering the profession’s entrance exam and continuing professional development program
    • monitoring the conduct of registered migration agents
    • investigating complaints about registered migration agents
    • taking appropriate disciplinary action against registered migration agents who breach the migration agents Code of Conduct or otherwise behave in an unprofessional or unethical way.

    See: Office of the MARA website

    Source  :  http://www.immi.gov.au/gateways/agents/regulation-of-advice-profession.htm

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    Down Under Live!, the UK’s biggest event for Australia and New Zealand returns to London in 2010 at the Business Design Centre in Islington.

    The show will be bigger and better, with dedicated travel, working visa and recruitment zones, as well as the best advice and help for anyone planning the move of a lifetime down under.

    Come and listen to our dedicated migration seminar programme, where visitors to the show can hear from recognised migration experts on every aspect of making the move of a lifetime. Topics covered include the visa process, how to avoid paying too much to have your goods shipped overseas and specialist areas such as healthcare and schooling.

    State Governments such as South Australia will be on hand to discuss job opportunities, and highlight the best that their state has to offer migrants from the UK.

    This is the ONLY show for Australia and New Zealand. Make sure you’re there.

    COMING SOON! Check back regularly for exhibitor and seminar programme updates

    January 30th – 10.30am to 5.30pm
    January 31st – 10am to 4.30pm
    Tickets from £5 per person. Under 16’s are admitted free.

    SKILLED MIGRANTS! IF you are under 45, and are skilled in areas such as nursing, healthcare, engineering, construction, IT or finance, then you may qualify for a FREE ticket.

    Source  :  www.downunderlive.co.uk

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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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    alliedhealth4Skilled health professionals in the west of the UK are being given the chance to find out about a new life in Australia at the Down Under Live event in Cardiff. on the 11th July. 

    There is currently a significant shortage of doctors, medical specialists and nurses in Australia, particularly in regional areas. One of Australia’s leading healthcare recruitment companies, HealthStaff Recruitment, will be coming from Australia to interview candidates for positions in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and other cities.

    Candidates will also be able to talk to a range of companies that will make the move possible, including migration agents, state governments, banks and shipping companies.

    Tickets are free to any skilled professionals in the healthcare professions. For further information or to apply for tickets, go to www.emigrationseminars.com/cardiff.php

    Source  :  www.australiamagazine.co.uk

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