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As all of you have been waiting for the news on changes of migration program rules, the DIAC has today announced the forthcoming changes in the program. It focus, especially on the 175, 176, 475 visa application where a successful skill assessment is a MUST for all applicant regardless of their location. It means the same rules apply for both the on-shore and offshore applicants.

To read more about the changes please follow this link.

The department has also changed their refund policy which applies to all refund applications made after 21 December 2009; those who already applied for a refund prior to this but the case has not yet been finalized are also covered by the same policy. However, the detail of the policy is not available yet. I think if anybody wish a refund should contact the department to make sure whether they are eligible for a refund or not. To read more about the changes please follow this link.

I assume that there are more changes to come in the program, especially in the prioritization and MODL or CSL or whatever they may call it.

Source  : http://www.pomsinoz.com/forum/migration-issues/74743-01-january-2010-changes-migration-program-announced.html

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Legislation has either been passed earlier this week or is about to be passed (I’m not sure which) that will have a substantial impact on some of the people who hope to apply to migrate to Australia but who have not yet lodged an application for a GSM visa. GSM = General Skilled Migration = no employer sponsorship. GSM visas can be unsponsored, State sponsored or family sponsored but they are not employer sponsored.

The relevant document is here:

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/ComLaw/Legi…0A091201EV.pdf

A well-known migration agent gave me his initial reaction to the document above in an e-mail yesterday evening. I quote verbatim:

Quote:
I was just reading changes coming in on 01 January 2010 require 175/176 applicants (in to-be- gazetted trade occupations) will require 12 months experience in that nominated trade occupation and not “in any skilled occupation.”So those tradies who’s recent experience does not exactly match their nominated occupation, had better try and lodge prior to 01 January 2010.

It could affect recognised tradespersons who are working as supervisors unless they can convince DIAC they are working hands-on in the nominated trade for at least 20 hours per week

It will affect the tradesman who has become a production manager or any other related or unrelated occupation

Bigger things happening on-shore with 885/886 applicants requiring to get suitable skills assessment before applying for the visa AND, for gazetted tradies, a requirement to get a skills assessment dated 01 January 2010 or later.

I wondered where my informant obtained his information till I happened to look at ComLaw for a completely unrelated purpose just now. As far as I can see, there is nothing on the DIAC website about these latest changes from 1st Jan 2010 as yet? I can’t find anything specific, anyway.

I think we will see more about all this soon – probably next week sometime, I suspect.

Cheers

Gill

Source  :  http://www.pomsinoz.com/forum/migration-issues/74537-significant-changes-gsm-program-1st-jan-2010-a.html

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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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A SPECIALIST integrity unit has been formed inside the Department of Immigration to deal with widespread fraud in the working holiday visa program, on which industries such as fruit growing depend.

More than 200 internet advertisements have been found offering to buy or sell documents allowing backpackers to claim they had worked in rural jobs without them leaving Sydney, and thus extend their working holiday visas. The standard fee is $400. So far, 64 visas have been cancelled over the fraud and at least 19 more are being reviewed.

One man, an Irish national, has been convicted of fraud. ”There’s been more than 100 fraudulent claims identified this financial year,” a spokeswoman for the department said. ”The answer is we don’t know [the full extent of the fraud]. At this stage it’s too early to determine and we will be looking at it over the next six months.”

The working holiday visa (subclass 417) allows people to extend their stay in Australia by a year if they can prove they have worked in a rural area for three months. Applications are lodged online but have been abused by people selling Australian business numbers linked to farms so backpackers can falsely claim they worked on farms.

”Second year visas for sale,” one ad read. ”Will email completed 1263 form and add your details to my books so you can gain second year visa with ease.”

Another ad offering similar services, posted on the Gumtree website on Saturday, had received more than 2000 hits by last night. Unlike visa scams targeting international students, mainly Indians, this fraud is used mainly by European visitors.

One backpacker told the Herald he had been offered the false documentation as soon as be arrived in Australia, by people staying at the same hostel.

”People told me about buying the documents – getting the numbers to put in,” he said. ”When I arrived here people said you can go there [to a farm] or you can buy. Everyone knows about it. It’s easy. All the people who are here know about that.”

The federal Opposition spokeswoman on immigration, Sharman Stone, said the widespread fraud reflected under-resourcing of the department.

Source  :  www.smh.com.au

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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said that from 1 January 2010, overseas students who require a new visa to complete their studies at another school or college will be exempt from paying the $540 student visa application charge.

Senator Evans said that although most students will be able to complete their studies on their existing student visa, some may need to enrol in a new course that finishes after their existing student visa expires and will require a new visa.

Twelve education providers have closed in 2009, affecting about 4,700 students. ‘In situations where an education provider can no longer offer a course, the government’s primary concern is the welfare of the student,’ Senator Evans said. ‘We understand that these situations are not the fault of the student and the introduction of a fee exemption will ensure they are not shouldered with an additional financial burden.

In the interim, students will be able to apply to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for a refund of their visa application fee if they’ve been affected by the closure of an education provider in 2009 and have had to apply for a new student visa. Senator Evans said the government is also increasing the minimum financial requirements for overseas students to ensure they can meet their living costs while in Australia.

From 1 January 2010, prospective overseas students will need to demonstrate that they have access to at least $18000 a year to fund their living costs in Australia, instead of the current $12 000.

The new figure better reflects student costs in Australia and is consistent with information published for international students in Australian Education International’s (the international arm of DEEWR) ‘Study in Australia’ guide.

Living costs are one component of the financial requirements for a student visa. Students must also have sufficient funds for tuition fees, travel costs and costs of any dependents.

‘It is important that students understand these financial requirements are only the minimum amount required for a student visa,’ Senator Evans said.

‘International students can supplement their income through part-time work in Australia but the primary purpose of a student visa is to study and students should not rely on part-time work to meet their expenses.

‘Prospective students are encouraged to conduct their own research so they can make an informed decision about what study in Australia will cost.’

DIAC will also make an assessment of whether the funds demonstrated by students will be available to them while they are in Australia.

‘The Australian Government values international students and is determined to make sure they have a rewarding and successful study experience in Australia, without financial hardship,’ Senator Evans said.

The latest measures will be implemented through regulation change later this month subject to approval by Parliament and the Governor-General.

The changes will support the enhanced integrity measures for the student visa program announced in August this year. Those measures included:

  • upgrading the interview program to build a strong evidence base around fraud
  • removing or restricting eVisa access for some agents where there is evidence of fraud or inactivity
  • restricting access to eVisa for some segments of the caseload if analysis demonstrates restricted access would allow for better control of fraud.

The measures target parts of the student visa caseload in India, Mauritius, Nepal, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

Since these enhanced integrity measures were introduced, there has been an increase in the number of applications being withdrawn, from five per cent in July to 17 per cent in September.

The new figure better reflects student costs in Australia and is consistent with information published for international students in Australian Education International’s (the international arm of DEEWR) ‘Study in Australia’ guide.

Living costs are one component of the financial requirements for a student visa. Students must also have sufficient funds for tuition fees, travel costs and costs of any dependents.

‘It is important that students understand these financial requirements are only the minimum amount required for a student visa,’ Senator Evans said.

‘International students can supplement their income through part-time work in Australia but the primary purpose of a student visa is to study and students should not rely on part-time work to meet their expenses.

‘Prospective students are encouraged to conduct their own research so they can make an informed decision about what study in Australia will cost.’

DIAC will also make an assessment of whether the funds demonstrated by students will be available to them while they are in Australia.

‘The Australian Government values international students and is determined to make sure they have a rewarding and successful study experience in Australia, without financial hardship,’ Senator Evans said.

The latest measures will be implemented through regulation change later this month subject to approval by Parliament and the Governor-General.

The changes will support the enhanced integrity measures for the student visa program announced in August this year. Those measures included:

  • upgrading the interview program to build a strong evidence base around fraud
  • removing or restricting eVisa access for some agents where there is evidence of fraud or inactivity
  • restricting access to eVisa for some segments of the caseload if analysis demonstrates restricted access would allow for better control of fraud.

The measures target parts of the student visa caseload in India, Mauritius, Nepal, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

Since these enhanced integrity measures were introduced, there has been an increase in the number of applications being withdrawn, from five per cent in July to 17 per cent in September.

And to date, more than 150 agents have had their eVisa access suspended due to evidence of fraud or inactivity.

More information on the changes will be available on the department’s website in coming days.
See: What’s New for Students and Sponsored Training?

 

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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, 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.

Source  :  www.downunderlive.co.uk

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The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is urging the media and the public to ignore hoax emails circulating on the internet about government benefits provided to asylum seekers and refugees permanently settling in Australia.

Some of the hoax emails also falsely claim Australia accepts terrorists and other criminals under its international obligations.

“The text in these emails has many gross inaccuracies,” a DIAC spokesman said.

“Irregular maritime arrivals are subject to thorough security and identity checks and must satisfy the character test before being a decision is made about protection.

“Only those who engage Australia’s international obligations receive refugee status; indeed, the government has already returned people who were not refugees.

“Figures quoted in these emails also bear no resemblance to income-support payments to asylum seekers and refugees settling in Australia.

“Asylum seekers in Australia who have not yet had their protection claims decided have no access to Centrelink benefits.

“In Australia, refugees granted permanent visas have access to benefits on the same basis and at the same rates as other Australian permanent residents.”

The spokesman said refugees received no cash payments under Australia’s Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy. He said any claims that refugees are given free houses were ridiculous.

“DIAC helps eligible refugees with English-language lessons and settling-in assistance including basic goods to start a household, as well as subsidies for rent and utilities for their first four weeks in the country,” the spokesman said.

“We would strongly encourage anyone who receives an email claiming asylum seekers or refugees are treated more favourably than Australian permanent residents to hit the delete button and ignore these ridiculous claims.”

Media Enquiries: (02) 6264 2244

Source  :  http://www.newsroom.immi.gov.au/media_releases/750

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