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Emergico by Leanne Stevens - 4M ago

Paying Attention??

We’ve been harping on for ages about the trend towards regional migration and how it’s going to shape our future in migration.     For a long time now – approximately 2 years – I’ve been encouraging people who contact me, fixated on a 189 visa, to seriously consider migration to a regional part of Australia.   Places which are extremely liveable, but they are not Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane or Perth.

After this weeks’ headline announcements by the Australian Government, forget the  “I only want to be in Perth” and “I can’t possibly live anywhere apart from Sydney” sentiment.

Officially, the chances of an independent visa allowing unrestricted choice of abode AND permanent residency from grant, are more than halved.   And, your most likely pathway to a blissful life Down Under, officially rests in the regional areas.

In the last few days the Government has made a number of significant policy announcements.   These are worth exploring in detail, as they may affect YOU, if you are in the process of applying for a visa, or waiting for an invitation to apply.

Significant Announcement # 1.   Reduction in Numbers and the Breakdown of the Migration Program 2019-20.

The total Permanent Migration Program has been officially slashed from 190,000 a year, to 160,000 a year.  That’s a reduction of 16%.    Highly significant.  Of course, we have been “warmed up” to the idea of lower numbers when the Government only issued 162,000 permanent visas in 2017-18, against a “target” of 190,000.     The reason for the under-fill was said to be “integrity issues” and a lack of suitable people to be awarded visas to fill to the target of 190,000.  And, suddenly the “target” became instead a “ceiling”.

The Government breaks down the 160,000 places on offer into allocations for the various streams.  Here’s the 2019 Migration Program Planning Levels; and a comparison with the 2017-18 ACTUAL allocations:

Taking all of this into account, we’d hazard a rough guess-timate that in 2017-18,  23,210 invitations resulted in the issue of 37,137 Subclass 189 points tested visas.

In 2019-20;  with an allocation of only 18,652 places; let’s take out 2,000 for New Zealanders again; that’s 16,652 available places.  Divide by 16 and you get 10,407 Invitations.

Given that we have been seeing recent Skill Select Invitation Rounds yielding between 1500- 3500 invitations for 189, the reduction would suggest we might be seeing invitation rounds with less than 1000 invitations for 189 each month.

This means, of course, much greater scarcity of the 189, and higher points required for an invitation, and possible pro-rata allocations of some in-demand occupations.

In the face of this, the State Sponsored Regional Visas will become immensely attractive!!

The good news is that the Family Places will remain unchanged from their actuals from 2017-18.

Significant Announcement # 2 – New Regional Visas and the Death of some Old Visas.

Commencing November 2019, there will be two new Regionally focused Visas available.

One – will be a Skilled – Employer Sponsored (Provisional) Visa – similar to the current TSS Visa (Subclass 482) but specifically for regional areas.    The Visa will require an employer sponsor and will have a pathway to permanent residency after three years.    This visa will have over 700 eligible occupations.

The other – will be a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa, for people who are nominated by a State or Territory Government, or an eligible family member.   This visa will have over 500 eligible occupations.  There will be some concessions on points, and priority processing of this visa.

Both of these visas will have a pathway to permanent residence from November 2022, under the new Permanent Residence  (Skilled Regional) Visa.    This will provide further incentives for overseas skilled workers to remain in the regional areas of Australia.

Rest In Peace – Subclass 187 ( Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) Visa; and Subclass 489 (Skilled Designated Area Provisional) Visa.   

These Visas will cease to be open for new applications from the 1st November 2019.  Until that time, they will be processed as usual.

Transitional Arrangements to Permanent Residency will be available for existing Subclass 489 Visa holders.

Significant Announcement # 3 – Expansion of the definition of Regional Australia 

To simplify things, ALL of Australia will be designated Regional with the exception of:

Sydney; Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth.

This allows Newcastle and Woolloongong, which were previously non-regional, to have access to the new Regional visas.

Over the last couple of years we have observed the jigsaw puzzle pieces slowly fall into place, to enact these significant changes.   Most recently, a couple of weeks ago we saw a swag of occupations added to the Regional Occupation List, which was, in itself, only created a couple of years ago.

Regional Australia has been doing it tough; and an injection of skilled workers could be just what the doctor ordered, to stimulate our regional economies.    There are lots of fabulous and very liveable communities outside the major cities in Australia.   Why not make it a resolution to research them and change your focus?

Contact us if you would like to register interest in the new visas.   Bear in mind that as this announcement is very new.  We do not currently have Fact Sheets or detailed information on the new visas, and we won’t be offering consultations just yet to discuss them.    You could choose to join our Mailing List; where we will publish information as soon as it comes to hand.

The post The News We Have Been Waiting For… appeared first on Emergico.

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Today there was a release of information about occupations which have changed on the various lists which permit visa applications for Subclass 485, 489, 189 and 190 (Skilled Visas);  482, 186 and 187 (Employer Sponsored Visas) and 407 (Training Visa).

Some welcome additions!   Overall this is very good news!

It gets a little confusing; as there are now three occupation lists – the Medium Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL); the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Regional Occupation List (ROL).    Further; each List may be applied differently (through legislative instrument) to the different visas – Skilled Visas (189, 190,485  and 489); Employer Sponsored Visas (482; 186 and 187) and Training Visa (407).

Here’s a summary of the changes.    When an occupation is moved on to the Medium Long Term Skills Shortage List – there is a possibility of a Permanent Residency Visa – either directly, or through transition after being on a Temporary Skills Shortage Visa.

These Occupations have been Added to the MLTSSL – for the purposes of Subclass 482 (Temporary Skills Shortage); 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme);. 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme); 189 and 489 (Skilled Migration):  

  • Telecommunications network planner (ANZSCO code 313213)
  • Pressure welder (ANZSCO code 322312)
  • Environmental Manager (ANZSCO code 139912)
  • Musician (Instrumental) (ANZSCO code 211213)
  • Statistician (ANZSCO code 224113)
  • Economist (ANZSCO code 224311)
  • Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum) (ANZSCO code 233611)
  • Petroleum Engineer (ANZSCO code 233612)
  • Engineering Professionals nec (ANZSCO code 233999)
  • Chemist (ANZSCO code 234211)
  • Food Technologist (ANZSCO code 234212)
  • Environmental Consultant (ANZSCO code 234312)
  • Environmental Research Scientist (ANZSCO code 234313)
  • Environmental Scientists nec (ANZSCO code 234399)
  • Geophysicist (ANZSCO code 234412)
  • Hydrogeologist (ANZSCO code 234413)
  • Life Scientist (General) (ANZSCO code 234511)
  • Biochemist (ANZSCO code 234513)
  • Biotechnologist (ANZSCO code 234514)
  • Botanist (ANZSCO code 234515)
  • Marine Biologist (ANZSCO code 234516)
  • Microbiologist (ANZSCO code 234517)
  • Zoologist (ANZSCO code 234518)
  • Life Scientists nec (ANZSCO code 234599)
  • Conservator (ANZSCO code 234911)
  • Metallurgist (ANZSCO code 234912)
  • Meteorologist (ANZSCO code 234913)
  • Natural and Physical Science Professionals nec (ANZSCO code 234999)
  • University Lecturer (ANZSCO code 242111)
  • Multimedia Specialist (ANZSCO code 261211)
  • Software and Applications Programmers nec (ANZSCO code 261399)
  • Horse Trainer (ANZSCO code 361112)
  • Physicist – no longer restricted to medical physicist


These Occupations have been Added to the STSOL for the purpose of the Subclass 186 Visa  (Employer Nomination Scheme):

  • visual arts and crafts professionals (nec) (ANZSCO code 211499)
  • textile, clothing and footwear mechanic (ANZSCO code 323215)
  • watch and clock maker and repairer (ANZSCO code 323316)
  • chemical plant operator (ANZSCO code 399211)
  • library technician (ANZSCO code 399312)

These Occupations have Moved from the STSOL to the MLTSSL, for the purpose of the 187, 482, 186 and 407 (Training) Visas. 

  • arts administrator or manager (ANZSCO code 139911)
  • dancer or choreographer (ANZSCO code 211112)
  • music director (ANZSCO code 211212)
  • artistic director (ANZSCO code 212111)
  • tennis coach (ANZSCO code 452316)
  • footballer (ANZSCO code 452411

    These Occupations are No Longer permitted for the Subclass 407 (Training) Visa.
  • Visual Arts and Crafts Professionals (ANZSCO code 211499)
  • Textile, Clothing and Footwear Mechanic (ANZSCO code 323215)
  • Watch and Clock Maker and Repairer (ANZSCO code 323316)
  • Chemical Plant Operator (ANZSCO code 399211)
  • Library Technician (ANZSCO code 399312)
  • Arts Administrator or Manager (ANZSCO code 139911)
  • Dancer or Choreographer (ANZSCO code 211112)
  • Music Director (ANZSCO code 211212)
  • Artistic Director (ANZSCO code 212111)
  • Footballer (ANZSCO code 452411)
  • Aquaculture Farmer (ANZSCO code 121111)
  • Cotton Grower (ANZSCO code 121211)
  • Fruit or Nut Grower (ANZSCO code 121213)
  • Grain, Oilseed or Pasture Grower (ANZSCO code 121214)
  • Mixed Crop Farmer (ANZSCO code 121216)
  • Sugar Cane Grower (ANZSCO code 121217)
  • Crop Farmers nec (ANZSCO code 121299)
  • Beef Cattle Farmer (ANZSCO code 121312)
  • Dairy Cattle Farmer (ANZSCO code 121313)
  • Mixed Livestock Farmer (ANZSCO code 121317)
  • Pig Farmer (ANZSCO code 121318)
  • Sheep Farmer (ANZSCO code 121322)
  • Livestock Farmers nec (ANZSCO code 121399)
  • Mixed Crop and Livestock Farmer (ANZSCO code 121411)
  • Dentist (ANZSCO code 252312)
  • Anaesthetist (ANZSCO code 253211)
  • Tennis Coach (ANZSCO code 4542316)

These occupations have been added to ROL for a Subclass 482 Visa 

  • deer farmer (ANZSCO code 121314)
  • goat farmer (ANZSCO code 121315)

These occupations have been added to the ROL but removed from the STSOL, for the Subclass 482 Visa:

  • aquaculture farmer (ANZSCO code 121111)
  • cotton grower (ANZSCO code 121211)
  • fruit or nut grower (ANZSCO code 121213)
  • grain, oilseed or pasture grower (Aus) / field crop grower (NZ) (ANZSCO code 121214)
  • mixed crop farmer (ANZSCO code 121216)
  • sugar cane grower (ANZSCO code 121217)
  • crop farmers (nec) (ANZSCO code 121299)
  • beef cattle farmer (ANZSCO code 121312)
  • dairy cattle farmer (ANZSCO code 121313)
  • mixed livestock farmer (ANZSCO code 121317)
  • pig farmer (ANZSCO code 121318)
  • sheep farmer (ANZSCO code 121322)
  • livestock farmers (nec) (ANZSCO code 121399)
  • mixed crop and livestock farmer (ANZSCO code 121411)
  • dentist (ANZSCO code 252312)
  • anaesthetist (ANZSCO code 253211)

 

Tennis Coaches can now become  Permanent Residents

Removed from ROL and moved to MLTSSL for the RSMS (187) and ENS (186) Visas 

  • arts administrator or manager (ANZSCO code 139911)
  • dancer or choreographer (ANZSCO code 211112)
  • music director (ANZSCO code 211212)
  • artistic director (ANZSCO code 212111)
  • tennis coach (ANZSCO code 452316)
  • footballer (ANZSCO code 452411)
  • telecommunications network planner (ANZSCO code 313213)
  • pressure welder (ANZSCO code 322312)

These occupations have had some special conditions added – namely, they can only be used when a person is nominated in a regional area under a Health Workforce Certificate. 

  • general practitioner (ANZSCO code 253111)
  • medical practitioners (nec) (ANZSCO code 253999)
  • resident medical officer (ANZSCO code 253112)

Does this present any opportunities to you?   If you’ve already been in touch with us, let us know if you qualify under any of the occupations which now have a residency pathway.  We’ll be pleased to check it out for you!    Why not complete our Free Online Assessment at www.emergico.com.au?

The post Skilled Occupation List Updates – Some Pleasant Surprises! appeared first on Emergico.

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Emergico by Leanne Stevens - 4M ago

Reunite your family!

The much anticipated Temporary Parent Visa has been announced, and will commence on the 17th April 2019.

This news will bring much joy to grandparents and parents around the world, who will now have the opportunity to obtain a long term, temporary visa, for 3 or 5 years, which will allow them to enter Australia and spend time with their children and grandchildren – WITHOUT having to leave the country every 3 or 12 months.   The visa may be renewed once, provided the visa holder spends at least 3 months outside Australia in between sponsored parent visas.

It’s also a great way for people who have already applied for a Parent Visa, to enter the country and remain while their Parent visa is under consideration.

A Sponsorship is required.

The “Balance of Family Test” does NOT have to be met for this visa.  But, the visa applicant(s) must be sponsored by a child or stepchild of the visa applicant who is at least 18, and a permanent resident or citizen of Australia, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, and has been usually resident for at least 4 years.   The sponsorship must be approved before a parent visa may be lodged.    And, only two parents per household can be sponsored at a time. 

Can I work on the visa?

A No Work condition will be imposed on the visa.   It is being described as a visa which will allow people to “temporarily reunite” with their children and grandchildren.

Will the visa lead to Permanent Residency?

The Temporary Parent Visa is effectively a “visitor visa on steroids”.   It allows a parent to enter temporarily, but not work, and the sponsorship ensure that no undue costs to the Commonwealth will arise.     It does not have a pathway to permanent residency, and it will only be for a maximum of 10 years.  However, parents who meet the Balance of Family Test may still have options for a separate permanent Parent visa, under the existing pathways.

Cost of the Visa 

The cost is broken down into Sponsorship and Visa charges.  It will cost $420 to lodge a sponsorship.  A three year Temporary Parent Visa will cost $5000; a five year Temporary Parent Visa will cost $10 000.      Further, the introduction of the Temporary Parent Visa will replace the current concessional 3 and 5 year Tourist Visas, which are now available to parents who have applied for a Parent Visa, or who have Australian citizen or permanent resident children.   Effectively that means that the Department will now charge $5000 and $10000 for a very similar visa that currently can be applied for with a $140 visa application charge.  The main difference is that, on the Temporary Parent Visa, you will not have to leave the country every year, so can become a little more “settled” while accepting it is not permanent.

Interested to know more?

We have a Fact Sheet on the Temporary Parent Visa, outlining full costs, and we anticipate strong demand for the visa.   There will be a limit of 15,000 places per year.   Please contact us if you are interested in pursuing an application for a Temporary Parent Visa.

The post A New Temporary Visa for Parents appeared first on Emergico.

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Emergico by Leanne Stevens - 4M ago

Licensed Electrician

News about Trade Skills Assessment for licensed occupations this week has indicated a significant price hike by the Australian Government.

Licensed tradespeople fall under three occupations in Australia:

  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Air conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic.

People with these occupations, who are from certain countries, must undertake a multiple-stage Skills Assessment Process,  called an OSAP (Offshore Skills Assessment Program)  aimed at ensuring they can meet the same standards as an Australian trained technician, in order to qualify for a Skilled Visa.

Until recently, the OSAP process was that the Licensed Trades people undertook a skills assessment which involved a Document Review (at a cost of around $1080); and a Practical Assessment (around $2200).

From the 1st March 2019, there has been a fundamental change in the OSAP skills assessment process – and costs – for licensed tradespeople.

Now, they will have to pay for three distinct phases – a Document Review ($1280); followed by a Technical Interview ($2000) and then a Practical Assessment  ($2200) – bringing the total cost to $5480.

On top of the gap training that licensed tradies need to complete in order to obtain an unrestricted Australian license to practice their trade, it’s a big whack of money.

Vetassess has indicated that they will facilitate the Technical Interview and Practical Assessment together, to minimise inconvenience to the client.  However, the fees are legislated by the Government, and payable to Trades Recognition Australia.

People who lodged their Stage 1 and Stage 2 assessments before the 1st March 2019, will be UNAFFECTED by the change.  But if you’ve yet to lodge; or you’ve only lodged Stage 1, expect to pay more for completion of the skills assessment.

The post A Nasty Shock for Sparkies appeared first on Emergico.

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Breaking News!  Here’s a real time update on Parent and Partner Visas, as a result of some action today in Australia’s Parliament.

For the last two years there has been a significant piece of legislation before Australia’s parliament, which has a significant impact on Parent and Partner applicants.  The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 has now been passed by the Senate, just a few minutes ago, and this is now the final step before the Bill will become law, probably within the next week.

Here’s how the new law will affect people planning to lodge a Partner or a Parent visa.

Partner Visas

Onshore Partner Visas

Currently, a partner visa application is lodged and paid for first, and then the associated sponsorship from the partner, is lodged as a second application.  When the new law commences, it will be mandatory for the Sponsor to be approved in advance of a partner visa application being lodged.  Sponsor approval in the main involves character checks and clearances from any country where the sponsor has lived for more than a year.  The sort of character matters which may require further departmental consideration prior to approval of a sponsor would be violent offences, paedophilia and other sexual offences.  Further, any such offences would have to be declared to the visa applicant as part of the process.

Should a sponsorship be refused under the new law, it will not be possible for the visa applicant to lodge a partner visa.

While the vast majority of our clients will not be affected by this, as their Australian partner does not have anything like this on their police record, we can envisage the new process becoming a potential timing issue for people who wish to lodge an onshore partner visa.  It will take additional time to obtain sponsor police clearances and go through the required sponsorship process, prior to being able to lodge a partner visa.  Therefore, it could adversely affect someone whose visa is expiring and who wishes to lodge a partner quickly visa to remain lawful.

The Department of Home Affairs does not yet have any idea of how long the clearance process will take for sponsors; as with all character checks, this is dependent on a range of variables.

If you are in the process of lodging a Partner visa, we strongly recommend you seek professional advice as to whether you should lodge the visa application as soon as possible, to avoid the new legislation.
~ If you have already lodged a Partner visa application, you should not be affected by the changes. ~  Parent Visas

New Temporary Visa for Parents

The Bill also paves the way for the introduction of the long-awaited Temporary Parent Visa.  This will be a five year visa, which does not require the Balance of Family test to be met.  Parents of Australian permanent residents or citizens will be able to apply for this visa, and it can be extended once, to allow a total stay of 10 years.

Our understanding is that work will not be permitted on the visa, and the applicants will need to hold private health insurance.

We have many clients waiting anxiously for news of this Visa, and we are pleased to see this initiative come closer to fruition.    As soon as full details are available we will be compiling a fact sheet to send to interested people.

In an announcement, Minister Coleman announced that the visa would become available in the first half of 2019.

The unknown issue is, will this have any impact on the current Parent Visas – the 103 (Non-Contributory), 173 and 143 (Contributory) and the 804 (Aged Parent Non-Contributory) and 884 and 864 (Aged Parent – Contributory) Visas?  We know that the Government has already once closed the Non-Contributory visas to new applicants – this happened a few years ago and was overturned by a dis-allowance motion in the Senate.  Will the Government move to again close off these visa classes, now that a reasonable alternative will exist for parents who wish to spend time with their Australian children?

If you are currently eligible for a Parent Visa, and are considering lodging a Parent Visa application of any kind, we recommend that you seek professional advice as to whether you should lodge an application as soon as possible.  When visa subclasses are discontinued, there is usually very little notice given. 
~ If you have already lodged a Parent Visa application, you should not be affected by the changes. ~ 

Please contact us at Emergico if you would like to discuss either the new Parent Visa, or an existing Parent or Partner Visa application.

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Emergico by Leanne Stevens - 5M ago

Reunite your family!

The much anticipated Temporary Parent Visa has been announced, and will commence on the 17th April 2019.

This news will bring much joy to grandparents and parents around the world, who will now have the opportunity to obtain a long term, temporary visa, for 3 or 5 years, which will allow them to enter Australia and spend time with their children and grandchildren – WITHOUT having to leave the country every 3 or 12 months.   The visa may be renewed once, provided the visa holder spends at least 3 months outside Australia in between sponsored parent visas.

It’s also a great way for people who have already applied for a Parent Visa, to enter the country and remain while their Parent visa is under consideration.

A Sponsorship is required.

The “Balance of Family Test” does NOT have to be met for this visa.  But, the visa applicant(s) must be sponsored by a child or stepchild of the visa applicant who is at least 18, and a permanent resident or citizen of Australia, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, and has been usually resident for at least 4 years.   The sponsorship must be approved before a parent visa may be lodged.    And, only two parents per household can be sponsored at a time. 

Can I work on the visa?

A No Work condition will be imposed on the visa.   It is being described as a visa which will allow people to “temporarily reunite” with their children and grandchildren.

Will the visa lead to Permanent Residency?

The Temporary Parent Visa is effectively a “visitor visa on steroids”.   It allows a parent to enter temporarily, but not work, and the sponsorship ensure that no undue costs to the Commonwealth will arise.     It does not have a pathway to permanent residency, and it will only be for a maximum of 10 years.  However, parents who meet the Balance of Family Test may still have options for a separate permanent Parent visa, under the existing pathways.

Cost of the Visa 

The cost is broken down into Sponsorship and Visa charges.  It will cost $420 to lodge a sponsorship.  A three year Temporary Parent Visa will cost $5000; a five year Temporary Parent Visa will cost $10 000.      Further, the introduction of the Temporary Parent Visa will replace the current concessional 3 and 5 year Tourist Visas, which are now available to parents who have applied for a Parent Visa, or who have Australian citizen or permanent resident children.   Effectively that means that the Department will now charge $5000 and $10000 for a very similar visa that currently can be applied for with a $140 visa application charge.  The main difference is that, on the Temporary Parent Visa, you will not have to leave the country every year, so can become a little more “settled” while accepting it is not permanent.

Interested to know more?

We have a Fact Sheet on the Temporary Parent Visa, outlining full costs, and we anticipate strong demand for the visa.   There will be a limit of 15,000 places per year.   Please contact us if you are interested in pursuing an application for a Temporary Parent Visa.

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Monitoring, compliance and cancellations are on the rise, just as visas are becoming “simpler” and “streamlined”.

Each January, we review the profile of our workload, and the type of inquiries that we receive daily in our migration practice, so we can plan the next twelve months.  

This year, there are two clear trends that stand out from the rest.  We expect our Migration Agents will be spending much of their time this year on these issues.  

If everyone plays nicely in the Visa Sandpit, and does everything by the book, you might not need us.   But, going by the number of people who think “it’ll be right” and “it won’t happen to me”, we’re not planning to go anywhere soon!

#1 - Employer Compliance and Sponsor Monitoring

We’re seeing a large increase in Sponsor Monitoring activities, and employer sanctions, when an employer does the wrong thing or simply omits to do the right thing.

If you’re an employer who employs people that are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, you must fully understand their visa conditions, so that you don’t risk acting illegally – regardless of whether your employees are sponsored or hold another visa.  If you’re an approved Sponsor, you must also understand your Sponsor Obligations.  

In July 2018, the Government introduced an initiative called “Single Touch Payroll”.   This is a method by which the Australian Taxation Office can gather real time data on all employees, rather than waiting until a PAYG summary is issued at the end of a financial year.    The sort of data collected includes salary and superannuation payments – and the data is provided at the point of payment – usually every month or fortnight.

The idea of Single Touch Payroll is that data can be shared with other government departments – in particular, the Department of Home Affairs, in order to identify visa restrictions and compliance with any conditions.   Law has recently passed the Parliament to allow free data matching between the departments.  This means that identification of visa non-compliances are being identified much more quickly than before.

What might Data Matching reveal?  Below are some examples. 

  • An employer not paying a 457 or 482 visa holder in accordance with their contract;
  • A student with 20 hours a week work restriction earning a higher wage than expected;
  • A Working Holiday Visa Holder who has exceeded 6 months with one employer;
  • A 457, 482 or 187 visa holder is not receiving a salary from their sponsor;
  • A subclass 457 or 482 visa holder having more than one source of PAYG income;
  • A person on a visitor visa with no work rights, earning an income in Australia.


The number of sponsor monitoring cases that we are now managing on behalf of employers, has increased by 300% since last year.    Historically, sponsor monitoring is triggered by a dob-in or complaint, but we believe now that many sponsor monitoring processes are being triggered by irregularities in data matching.

Penalties are high for employers who are caught employing someone in breach of visa conditions, so please be aware of the increased focus on compliance.

#2 - Unexpected Visa Cancellations

When a Permanent Residence visa is granted, every visa applicant heaves a huge sigh of relief.  “It’s here!  PR Visa, no conditions!    They can’t touch me now!!”

Roll forward the clock to Citizenship application time… we’re now seeing a higher than average number of people who check their emails and, instead of receiving an invitation to sit their Citizenship test; are opening a very unwelcome “Natural Justice Letter”,  advising that cancellation of their Permanent Visa is being considered. 

There is a backlog of around 240,000 Citizenship applications awaiting processing, and processing times are blowing out to almost 2 years.    One reason is that the Department is now checking on the compliance of visa holders before they will grant citizenship.  

There are several parts of the Migration Act which allow any visa to be cancelled.   Although permanent residency visa holders rarely have “conditions” listed on their visa, there are ways that these visas can be cancelled, too, sometimes many years after grant.

Here are some of the various Act based Cancellation Provisions, and examples of how they could work.

Section 116
Cancellation may occur in response to a breach of a visa condition.   Say for example you have a condition on your visa that states you must not work.    If you are found working in Australia, there are grounds for cancellation under section 116.

People holding a Subclass 489 – Skilled Designated Area Visa – have a condition that requires them to only live, work and study in a designated postcode.    Failure to comply with this condition can lead to two major problems.    Firstly – their ability to obtain Permanent Residency under Subclass 887, is in doubt – as they must show “substantial compliance” with all visa conditions.   But as a double whammy, their 489 visa could also face cancellation if the Department becomes aware of a breach.  

Section 109
A visa can be cancelled if incorrect information was provided, OR relevant information was not provided.    Let’s say you’re on a 457 visa and apply for permanent residency through the Transition Stream.  Shortly before permanent visa grant, your employer terminated your employment, however you did not notify the Department.    The circumstances prescribed for the visa grant did not exist at the time of grant, so the visa may be cancelled – even years after the grant.  

Although this sort of scenario used to be fairly rare, it is becoming much more common now, given the unavoidably long processing times for the 186 and 187 visas.    And, we’re seeing more and more cancellations as data matching reveals the lack of employment evidence at the time of visa grant.

Section 137Q 
If you hold a visa under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187), there’s an obligation to remain with your nominating employer for 2 years.    Although it’s not listed as a visa condition, there is a separate cancellation provision under Section 137Q, which can be used.  Subclass 187 cancellation used to be rare, and the Department appeared quite forgiving where employment ceased within 2 years and the visa holder had made a genuine effort to commence and continue work.    But the latest trend appears to be a bigger focus on 187 visa holders.

Section 501
Character is another increasingly common reason for visa cancellation.   To obtain, and hold, an Australian visa, you must be of good character, as evidenced by police clearances.   Character based cancellation has particularly affected many New Zealand citizens with criminal records who were living in Australia on Special Category Visas (Subclass 444) under the Trans Tasman Agreement.    But it can equally affect any visa, even a permanent one.  If you are convicted of a serious offence while holding any sort of visa, there is a possibility of visa cancellation under Section 501.

More Resources are going into Compliance

The Department of Home Affairs has been very open about its agenda to simplify visa applications and put a much greater focus on compliance and cancellation.     

If visa application and processing is simplified, it means less government resources are taken up with routine visas.  Instead, clients will pay handsomely for a visa; and if it’s granted, the onus is always fairly and squarely on the visa applicant to be 100% honest when making an application, and 100% compliant while holding a visa.  

Government resources are being redirected into identifying fraud, managing compliance and protecting our borders.   Meaning, a bigger focus on what you’re doing.   And – you’re funding it with your Visa Application Charge!

While it might sound easy to comply with everything, going by the number of inquiries we take from people who really don’t comprehend their visa conditions, nor accept the consequences for breaching a condition or undertaking they made when lodging their visa, we don’t envisage any decline in our business anytime soon!

Contact Emergico for help with any compliance or cancellation matters, or for assistance with understanding your visa condition.   Don’t wait until it’s too late!

It’s just not worth the risk!!

The post Why you Must Play Nicely in the Visa Sandpit in 2019 appeared first on Emergico.

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Emergico by Leanne Stevens - 5M ago

In the last week, at Emergico we’ve been inundated with calls from people who have discovered a new way to enter Australia – and want help to make it happen for them.   Baristas, personal care workers, childcare workers, truck drivers, tour guides – you name it – lots of willing workers without occupations on the Skilled or Sponsored lists.

The reason for the influx of inquiries is that the media has started reporting on the Designated Area Migration Agreements – DAMA’s – and in a simplified way, describing how they offer opportunities now to people who before could not get a visa.   (After reading the SBS article, one caller even insisted that there was a new “Subclass 117” Visa that we should know about!) 

Let’s find out what a DAMA is, and whether there’s any truth in the hype.

What exactly is a DAMA?

In the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs’ recent speeches, he has indicated that Australia has a problem with population growth in the major cities, and a corresponding lack of workers in regional areas.   A solution that has been proposed is a series of DAMA’s around Australia.

A DAMA is, in simple terms, a special migration deal which can be negotiated by the local or state government of a specific geographical area of the country which has unique or emergent labour market needs.  The DAMA allows approved businesses in the area to sponsor workers.    The benefit of the DAMA is that there might be additional scope for occupations which are normally not “skilled” enough for migration.  The DAMA can also offer exemptions, such as a concession on the minimum salary payable, and the level of English required.

The idea of a DAMA is not completely new.  There has been a DAMA in the Northern Territory for 3 years now, and it has recently been updated tp include a permanent residency pathway for visa holders.     A new DAMA for the Warrnambool area of Victoria, is in final stages of negotiation, and we expect occupations to be announced soon.     We also understand that a DAMA for the Orana region of New South Wales is being considered.

The selling point is that local and state governments, who are the best positioned to advise on chronic local labour shortages, can positively influence the mix of skilled migrants that settle in their area.  

How does it work?

It’s not an easy or quick process to access a visa under the DAMA.    Once a DAMA is negotiated, a business who wishes to employ people under the DAMA, must apply to the Government for a Labour Agreement.   This is a fixed term, individual agreement in which the Government checks the business’ claims that they cannot find local workers and there is a genuine need for the workers. 

Once the Labour Agreement is in place, the business will then be authorised to lodge a specified number of Subclass 482 nominations using the concessions of the DAMA; and their proposed employees can lodge Subclass 482 visa applications.

Effectively there is another layer of approval thrown into the process under a DAMA, because businesses need to apply for a Labour Agreement, which is a substitute for being a Standard Business Sponsor.  

I’m a Barista.  Can I get a Skilled Visa in Northern Territory because my occupation is on the DAMA?

No – the DAMA cannot be used for independent or state sponsored skilled migration.  It is only for employer sponsored migration, meaning that you would need to have a sponsored job offer from one of the businesses which has been approved for a Labour Agreement under the DAMA.

For this reason the DAMA is not going to be the panacea for migrants that many people think it will.  It’s quite difficult to find an employer sponsor; and even more so, when you are outside Australia.

DAMA – it’s the Future!

While it’s being heavily promoted at the moment and generating lots of interest, we don’t envisage the DAMA’s providing widespread opportunities for offshore people to come to Australia.   It’s difficult enough to find a job from offshore; and it seems likely that many employers will pick up lower skilled workers, perhaps from people on working holiday visas, or other people who are already in Australia. DAMA’s may, however, lead to targeted international recruitment campaigns when there are significant skill shortages in a certain place.

The current Minister views the concept of a DAMA as being integral to meeting the need for targeted skilled migration into Australia.  Expect to see a lot more DAMA’s, and a lot more focus on the employer sponsored side of migration.

We’ll be watching with interest to see how the DAMA’s work and no doubt the Government will be keen to review outcomes as the program rolls out.

The post DAMA – Your Ticket to Australia?? appeared first on Emergico.

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Happy New Year 2019!

It’s New Years Day 2019, and – apart from Champagne and Fireworks – the best thing is that it means the “Annus Horribilus” for migration is over.      2018 was tough in so many ways for lots of people – for our clients, our staff, our stakeholders and employer.    Massive changes, skyrocketing costs, and a downright negative approach to migration from those in decision making positions, all characterised “the year that was 2018”.

Of course, nothing is ever certain, and we don’t know that 2019 will be any better – but there’s a few things that make me optimistic about the coming year.    The changes in migration provide a lot more opportunity for a good Migration Agent to carefully plan and strategise for clients, leading to less problems for them and better outcomes.

Here’s the top 7 things that I am optimistic about.

  1. The Bad News is (almost) all out.

We’ve had a government which was in chaos for much of the last year, for reasons mostly unrelated to migration.   The migration agenda was, however, played out publicly and used as a football to score points.      This year, there will be a federal election, and possibly a change of government.   Sometimes it’s “better the devil you know”, but we have a reasonable idea of the party policies of both major parties.    If Labour wins the election, expect to see Temporary work visas take another hammering, but more lenience on permanent residency pathways.   If the current government remains, we know their focus will be on regional visas and shoring up the visa platform in order to facilitate this.       History tells us there will still be changes in 2019, but I don’t expect to see anything like the chaos of 2018.

  1. Employers are getting used to higher costs to sponsor workers.

Changes made to the TSS visa have seen employer costs skyrocket, through the addition of the Skilling Australians Fund Levy.   When it was first introduced in August, we saw a dramatic drop in demand for the new TSS visa, as expected.    Four months on, and employers are back in the market.   Sure, many of the smaller employers now find it difficult or impossible to sponsor, but medium and large companies are now factoring the SAF costs into their recruitment budget and proceeding.   And this is all good news for you – the skilled applicant.    The process has become tougher and more complex, but that’s where migration agents can add the most value.   We expect to be able to help a lot more people next year with employer sponsored visas.

  1. A new Temporary Parent Visa is on the way.

The long-awaited Temporary Parent Visa came one big step closer last year, with the passing of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016.    This visa won’t suit everyone, but does provide a new pathway for parents who do not meet the Balance of Family Test.   It will give parents up to 10 years to spend with their children in Australia.    The word from the Minister is that it will be available in the first half of 2019.  We’ll be keeping our newsletter subscribers updated as information comes to hand, so subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t already.

  1. Partner Visa changes are ahead

To be honest we’re not over the moon about this one – partner sponsors will need to be approved upfront before a partner visa can be lodged.   But we might be worrying unnecessarily about it.   The character clearance process could be very quick.    On the other hand, it does give the Department an opportunity to stall on sponsor approval if there was a reason to do so, and this might affect people on short term visas, who wish to lodge while they are in Australia.   The optimist in me can see a lot more opportunity to carefully support our partner visa applicants and navigate the best outcome for them – starting with an initial assessment of their whole situation.     Strategy in migration is everything, in the current environment – and you can’t get an individual strategy from the Department’s website.

  1. Rejuvenation of Skilled Migration

We went through several months last year where there were very few skilled visa invitations.  Demand for visas exceeded supply – meaning the “price” went up – that is, points.    While 60 was the minimum, it’s now 65, and in practical terms, 70-75 are required for most invitations.    However, in the last few months we’ve seen an increase in the number of invitations, with the October round yielding 4340 invitations for 189 – almost double the previous month.    There has been high demand for state sponsorship, and many States have been able to secure additional allocations of visas.    While States are tightening their requirements, this adds to the integrity of the process, and allows people to really focus on where they want to be.   Although some of our clients have been negatively affected, others are benefiting from the greater focus and clarity.

  1. Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA’s)

A DAMA is a specific migration plan for a geographical area.  Northern Territory has had one for a few years now.   There are at least 3 more DAMA’s in the making  – Warnambool in Victoria, Far North Queensland and the Goldfields in Western Australia.    We don’t know too many details yet, but there could be some good opportunities for skilled people to be sponsored under arrangements which are concessional, and more attractive to employers.    It’s worth watching this space about the new DAMA’s, which the current Minister sees as a viable solution to Regional Australia’s workforce shortages.

  1. Working Holiday Visas are More Available.

Two critical changes will benefit lots of young people this year.  First, some countries have had their Subclass 462 quota increased considerably – including Peru, Spain and Israel.   Secondly, certain Working Holiday Visa makers will be able to qualify for a THIRD year visa, if they meet certain conditions involving regional work.    Great for visa holders; great for our farmers!

Will 2019 be your year?   Time to re-look at your visa options?      Give us a call, or email, and we’ll be happy to help you. 

The post Why 2019 Might Actually be Quite Good for Australian Migration appeared first on Emergico.

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It’s nearly Christmas!   Only five more sleeps before Santa pops over to Australia on his once-a-year flying visit.

While on the outside it seems to work very smoothly – excited kids go to bed on Christmas eve, and wake to find presents in their Christmas stocking – you’d be surprised how much planning is required to make it all happen.   We thought you’d like to know a little about Santa’s logistics, and how the Department of Home Affairs plays an important role in facilitating his visit to Australia.

Santa’s Visa

Santa is on his way!!

Firstly, Santa must get a visa.  It’s unlawful for anyone to set foot in Australia who is not an Australian permanent resident or citizen, unless they are holding a valid visa.    Because Santa is only here for a night and he does not get paid for working in Australia,  it’s appropriate for him to come in on a Business Visitor Visa.    As Santa holds a passport from Finland, he’s eligible for the Business eVisitor Visa – it’s free, and this is great because it means the money he saves can go into presents for children.

Before obtaining the Business eVisitor visa, he needs to prove that he is of good character – in Australia we don’t let anyone in on that visa if they have any sort of criminal record.  Fortunately for Santa, the only things on his international criminal record are a fine for “willful damage to property”  (that happened one unfortunate night when he cracked a chimney after putting on just a little too much weight during the year – the problem never occurred again as he vowed to start Weight Watchers after New Year); and another instance where a local council complained when his reindeer left quite a pile of glitter poo after landing on a school oval.   Not enough of a criminal record to prevent Santa from crossing our border – he’s a good man!

Could a dog replace Rudolph?

Can the Reindeer pass Customs? 

Perhaps the bigger issue for Santa is the customs clearance to get the reindeer across the border.  Australia has strict bio-security measures in place, designed to prevent the transmission of disease which could affect our agricultural industry.  Under current law, people can only bring cats, dogs and horses into Australia – so this poses something of a problem for Santa.   Reindeer is not on the list!   Well, to date Australian Customs has turned a “blind eye” to the reindeer, so as not to be completely considered “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”.  But I’m told that Santa has been tapped on the shoulder and asked to consider swapping the reindeer for Siberian Huskys or Alaskan Malamutes in future.    This of course poses all sorts of problems about capacity loading, as a dog is much smaller than a reindeer.  Engineers have raised concerns about the sheer logistics, and how many dogs would be required to pull a sleigh through the atmosphere. Not to mention the cost in reprints of millions of Christmas cards and books which feature Rudolph and his friends…

No exploitation of the Elves 

Better workplace conditions for the little guys

And while we’re on the subject of capacity, there’s a bit of an issue this year, as the Australian Government has just passed the Modern Slavery Bill.   Designed to prevent Australia from supporting exploitation and slavery, the legislation makes it mandatory for large companies to manage the risk of slavery in their supply chains.   We all know that Santa’s elves work their fingers to the bone over the busy Christmas period, making toys for all the children, and let’s face it, there’s not much down time!  Our Government is investigating whether the workplace practices at Santa’s workshop in  Lapland actually meet the requirements of the Modern Slavery legislation.  If not, in order to prevent a major international incident and Christmas meltdown by millions of kids next year, the Government might need to consider some amendments to the Act.

 Santa Cuts Through Red Tape 

Now, usually it would take quite a long time to get all of these things in line before the Trip on the 24th December.  Fortunately Santa received some awesome migration advice from Leanne at Emergico, and signed up with the Department of Home Affairs to become a Trusted Trader, meaning that he gets a “light touch” at the border.  This means that red tape is reduced, and cargo is cleared into Australia much quicker. In fact, Santa credits the Trusted Trader program with being the only thing that has allowed him to keep to his time schedule –  just imagine the holdup if all of those presents need to be x-rayed and screened by Customs!.

How You can Help Santa

Santa prefers healthy food please!

Finally, a message from Santa.   He’s looking forward to his visit to Australia, and – as much as he is grateful to everyone – he would like to request that, to avoid a repeat of the chimney incident, please don’t leave mince pies and biscuits – they only contribute to his waistline and makes weight loss more difficult in January.  A low carbohydrate protein shake, or a nice glass of mineral water would be just fine.

And to avoid bio-security hazards including glitter poo on your front lawn, best not to feed the reindeer too much.  They do appreciate a nice carrot but forget the oats with glitter.

Here at Emergico, we have loved helping all of our clients this year through their ups and downs.  We hope that everyone has a lovely, restful Christmas, wherever you are in the world, and that you take the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.  We look forward to many, many more visa grants and happy customers in 2019!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The post Explaining How Santa Makes It All Work appeared first on Emergico.

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