English language standards and testing systems: what is required?

The following table gives the various English language testing systems acceptable to DIBP and the scores that you may need to attain on any of those testing systems, in order to meet the various standards of Functional, Vocational, Competent, Proficient or Superior English. 

Alternative English language test scores benchmarked as against the IELTS band-scale

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*From 1 January 2015 and only for a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test taken on or after 1 January 2015.

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The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) – A small snapshot of aspects

Individuals who hold a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) are allowed to work in Australia for up to 4 years, for a specific employer. They can also bring family members who may work or study in Australia. This visa also allows them to travel in and out of Australia without restrictions.

Before you can apply, you will need:

  • Sponsorship by an approved business.
  • A Nomination by that approved business, for an approved occupation on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL)
  • To meet the relevant qualifications/skills for the nominated position.
  • To hold registration and license (if required in Australia).
  • To have sufficient English language ability.

In case that your sponsor is a start-up business, or has traded in Australia for less than 12 months, then the validity of the visa granted to you will only be for 18 months.

Pathway to permanency? 

As a holder of a 457 visa, once you have been working for your sponsoring employer for more than 2 years, it is possible for your employer to nominate you for permanent residency through the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

Even in circumstances where you don’t work for that sponsor for more than 2 years, it is sometimes possible to obtain permanency through the “direct entry” stream, if you have a positive skills assessment, have worked in the occupation for at least 3 years and have sufficient English language skills.

Changing your employer:

You are not necessarily required to apply for a new visa, if you choose to change employer. However, you will need to have an approved nomination from your proposed new employer prior to starting with them and of course that new sponsor will need to have been approved.

An approved new nomination does not extend the length of your existing 457 visa.

For any questions or concerns, please comment below or send your enquiries to our Contact Page.

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UN Human Development Ranking: Australia at Rank 2

The United Nations developed the Human Development Index (HDI) as a metric to assess the level of a country’s social and economic development. The HDI summarizes the measure of average achievement in the three fundamental dimensions used to examine the rank of countries:

  • Long and healthy life (life expectancy at birth)
  • Knowledge (mean years and expected years of schooling)
  • A decent standard of living (Gross National Income (GNI) per capita)

The HDI places emphasis on individuals, or more precisely on their opportunities to realize satisfying work and lives. Work is essential to human development. Sustainable work takes place in developed and developing economies, but can differ in terms of the conditions of work, links to human development, and implications of policy.

Evaluating a country’s potential for individual human development provides a supplementary metric for evaluating a country’s level of development besides considering standard economic growth statistics.

On the latest report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Australia is ranked no. 2. Australia’s HDI score is at 0.935 compared to Norway with 0.944.

Australia might have finished better than Norway if our favourable weather was part of the criteria!

Although Australia ranks at no. 2, the table below does show that Australia’s economic and social development is by far one of the World’s best. It is yet another reason why many individuals and families seek to migrate or work in Australia.

For a more detailed HDI summary, you can view it by clicking HERE.

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Are you a US Citizen and thinking about a working holiday in Australia?

If you’re a US Citizen, aged between 18 to 31 years old, you can easily apply for a “Work and Holiday Visa” to Australia. In fact, at the present moment, the Australian government is considering a potential to increase to a maximum age of 35, but this is still in the pipeline.

At present, the following must be satisfied in order for you to successfully obtain a “Work and Holiday Visa”:

  • You cannot have any dependent children with you while you are in Australia.
  • You need to prove that you have enough money to buy a return or onward travel ticket at the end of your stay.
  • You have to have enough money to support yourself on a working holiday.  This is around AUD $5000 or currently US$3775.
  • You have to meet certain educational requirements.  For US citizens this means that you must hold a secondary school/high school qualification.
  • You have to have functional English.  A US passport is sufficient to prove this.
  • You may need to meet character and health requirements.
  • You may have to prove that you’re a genuine visitor to Australia.

For US nationals the current processing time is around 6 days only and the application can be made online.

The Australian government recently made it possible to obtain a 2nd one year extension of this visa, available for the first time after 19 November 2016, providing that the visa holder meet certain criteria regarding specified work (usually agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism and hospitality) in specified areas of Australia (the Northern Territory and northern parts of Western Australia and Queensland) for at least 3 months during the first 12 months stay.

If you satisfy the above requirements, you are now ready to get your application started HERE.

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I have applied for permanent residency: when can I enrol for Medicare?

We are often asked by clients (particularly those who have applied for Partner visas), as to when they may apply to access Medicare benefits (Australia’s health care system).

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible in assessing an individual for their eligibility of Medicare benefits. Once application for enrolment begins, the DHS can access the information electronically. In some cases, the DHS may also communicate with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) if the data is not available electronically.

The following are the general eligibility criteria for Medicare enrolment:

  • An Australian citizen residing in Australia, or
  • A permanent resident of Australia, residing in Australia, or
  • A person who holds a resident return visa and who resides in Australia, or
  • Applicants for permanent residency (excluding parent applications) who reside in Australia, and has permission to work, or can prove a relationship to an Australian citizen, permanent resident or with a New Zealand citizen who resides in Australia, or
  • a resident of a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) country (Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, NZ, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK) who is visiting Australia, or
  • a person covered by a Ministerial Order.

The documents listed below should be prepared when applying for Medicare:

  • completed Medicare enrolment form
  • travel-related documents (passport or ImmiCard)
  • any information given by DIBP (for the purpose of confirming status of your visa)

The following may also help in confirming the status of your visa:

  • a letter acknowledging the lodgment of application for your permanent residency visa (must include names of all your family members)
  • a letter confirming your visa (received by post or email)
  • a print-out or email from VEVO

For assistance with obtaining a Partner visa, our expert Migration Lawyers can help you throughout all the process. Please send your enquiries now by clicking HERE.

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The advantages of lodging your visa application with the help of a Registered Migration Agent, or better still, with an expert Migration Lawyer

Applying for an Australian visa may look simple, but in reality it can be a complex process.  Access to Australian Migration is always subject to change. It is vitally important therefore to seek help from an expert in the field.

Although it is true that individuals may apply for any type of visa without help, that choice can be one which may lead to significant problems.  Clients can (and should, in our view) seek the help of an experienced migration agent. That agent will also need to be someone who is registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA).

With the help of a registered migration agent, the confusion that individuals often encounter during the completion of paperwork and multiple requirements should be eliminated. Often, if an individual lodges their application on their own, they find themselves applying for the wrong type of visa, or may not comply with the appropriate regulations at time of application, resulting in delay, loss of the Visa Application Charges paid to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, or worse, visa refusal.

As a registered migration agent and migration lawyer, Jonathan Flannery has more than 17 years of experience in Australian Migration. He is registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority with MARN 9901555. Incidentally, looking at an agent’s MARN is one way to tell just how experienced they are.  The first 2 numbers will tell you what year they first became registered.  Thus, you can see that Jonathan was first registered with MARA from 1999 onwards.

With full knowledge and understanding of the continual and dynamic changes to Australian Migration Law, Jonathan can help identify what needs to be done, what evidence need to be submitted in assessing your application, and what form that evidence should take. Jonathan will keep you informed throughout the whole process.

In Australia, it is considered illegal for an individual to give immigration advice if they are not registered agents. Since the Immigration procedure is complex and constantly changing, unregistered agents who do not have to prove up to date knowledge and competency, may not even see the potential for either problems, or indeed other opportunities.

To check if an agent is registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority, you may ask for a copy of their registration certificate, or you can view their validity as Migration Agent by clicking HERE.

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Australian Government announces a reduction to the time that a Subclass 457 visa holder may remain in Australia after ceasing work with their sponsor

The Australian Government have released an amendment to regulation regarding Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled) visa. The amendment aims to reduce the period of time that a visa holder under Subclass 457 may remain in Australia after ceasing employment with their current 457 visa sponsor.  This is to be reduced from 90 days to 60 days.

The mechanism for implementing this policy is visa condition 8107. All Subclass 457 visas granted to applicants who satisfy the primary criteria are subject to condition 8107. This condition now changes from 19 November 2016, such that a Subclass 457 holder who has ceased work with their sponsor and who has not found a new sponsor within 60 days of ceasing employment with their prior sponsor, will be in breach of visa condition 8107 and their visa may therefore be cancelled.

The Government argues that the regulation alteration promotes balance between the opportunity of Australian citizens and permanent residents to compete for positions in the Australian Labour market while allowing employers to gain access to foreign workers to fill skills gaps.

This amendment applies to Subclass 457 visas granted on or after 19 November 2016.

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Government announces significant changes to Work and Holiday visa

The Australian Government has announced an amendment on the Migration Regulations which allows visa holders of Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) to apply for a second Work and Holiday visa provided that they meet certain requirements. The amendment applies to individuals who submitted their application on or after 19 November 2016.

Applicants will be required to show that they have undertaken at least 3 month’s work of a specified kind, and in specified areas of Australia, whilst holding their first Subclass 462 Work and Holiday visa. Remuneration for the work done comply with Australian legislation and awards.

The amendment will allow individuals to apply for a second Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) where they:

  • have previously been, or are in Australia at the time of application, and hold a Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462)
  • are onshore or offshore Australia, and not in immigration clearance
  • have declared a total period of at least 3 months of work designated as ‘specified Subclass 462 work’ while holding a subclass 462 visa
  • have not previously been granted more than one Subclass 462 visa
  • if in Australia, holds a substantive visa, or has held a substantive visa at any time in the period of 28 days immediately before making the application

These amendments would allow the Minister to make a legislative instrument that determines the eligible kinds of work, as well as the location that the work may be done, and for granting a secondary Work and Holiday visa.  At the present time, the work will need to be undertaken in the industries of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism and hospitality. Specified areas shall include all of Northern Territory, and the northern parts of Western Australia and Queensland.

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Entrepreneur Visa (Subclass 188) NSW new nomination criteria

The New South Wales Government have released details which they say will make it easier for talented migrant entrepreneurs to migrate and settle in that State. NSW has aligned their nomination criteria with that of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). Their goal of course, is to attract more prospective entrepreneurs to NSW. This in return will create more jobs, promote work productivity and generate real economic activity.

The NSW nomination criteria is as follows:

Interested applicants who wish to be nominated by the NSW territory government must,

  • meet the eligibility criteria set by the DIBP
  • present a business plan for complying entrepreneurial activity, demonstrating that the proposed activity proves a commitment to maintain an ongoing relationship with NSW and will lead to the development of an enterprise or business in NSW, or the commercialisation of a product or service in NSW.
  • provide proof of sufficient funds to settle in NSW

Prospective applicants of the Entrepreneur Visa are encouraged to obtain legal, independent migration, financial and taxation advice prior to submitting their application for NSW nomination.

How to apply for nomination for the Entrepreneur Visa in NSW:

Applicants who wish to apply for NSW nomination must follow the below process.

  • submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect;
  • finish relevant an application form for NSW nomination;
  • pay the appropriate application fee;
  • submit application to the NSW Department of Industry;
  • once nominated by the NSW government, apply for Entrepreneur visa to DIBP.

 

Background information on Entrepreneur Visa (Subclass 188):

The Australian Government has launched the Entrepreneur Stream under Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa Subclass 188 on 10 September 2016. This visa is intended to prospective individuals who have secured funding of at least $200,000 from an eligible third party funding body. This governing body, will help undertake, or propose to undertake an entrepreneurial venture in Australia.

Interested applicants must seek visa nomination by a state or territory before they can lodge a valid application for an Entrepreneur visa with DIBP. An Entrepreneur visa holder may after a minimum of 2 out of the 4 years of the temporary visa, apply for permanent residency as long as they meet a number of benchmarks for success.

These may include the following:

  • annual business turnover of at least AUD300,000;
  • employment of 2 or more Australian citizens or permanent residents;
  • filing patents;
  • ability to obtain ongoing financial backing;
  • entering partnerships with a University;
  • Selling an entrepreneurial venture for at least AUD2 Million.

Please note that the entrepreneurial activities must not be in any of the following fields:

  • residential real estate;
  • labour hire;
  • the purchase of existing franchises or enterprises in Australia.

 

Feel free to comment below if you have questions/concerns.

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Current Parent Visa Processing Standards

We are asked many times to give an estimate as to the likely processing time in respect to the various Parent Visa subclasses. As a guide, we advise that at the present date, the Department is issuing information as follows:

Non-Contributory Parent Visa for Migration Program Year 2016-17

1,500 Non Contributory visa places are available for applicants applying offshore or onshore Australia.

OFFSHORE APPLICANTS (Subclass 103)

Upon lodgement to a case officer, your application may take up to 17 months for the Department to assess your eligibility. Once the necessary requirements are met, your application will be placed in a queue and will be designated a queue date to wait for a visa place.

At the present time, the Department are:

  • Assessing queue date applications lodged on 27 March 2015.
  • Assessing finalisation applications with queue date including July 2009.

ONSHORE APPLICANTS (Subclass 804)

Upon lodgement to a case officer, your application may take up to 12 months. During this period, the Department may contact you or your authorized contact (e.g. Migration Agent) and request to provide necessary documents needed which may include: police certificates, and health clearances to complete your application. Once the necessary requirements are met, your application will be placed in a queue and will be designated a queue date to wait for a visa place.

At the present time, the Department are:

  • Assessing queue date applications lodged up to 24 December 2015.
  • Assessing finalisation applications with queue date up to October 2009.

QUEUE for processing of subclass 103 and 804

If you have applied under the said subclasses, note that your application may take as much as 30 years to be processed. This is due to the restricted visa places (currently 1500 per year) set by the Department. Please note that partners, children and skilled migrants are given priority.

For more details regarding the Government’s capping and queuing process, you may visit http://www.immi.gov.au/migrants/family/capping-and-queuing.htm

 

Contributory Parent Visa for Migration Program Year 2016-17

7,175 Contributory visa places are available for applicants applying offshore or onshore Australia. The processing time for these type of visa currently exceeds 24 months due to high volume of visa application under this subclass lodged in May and June 2014.

OFFSHORE APPLICANTS (subclass 143/173)

Visa application for this subclass will be processed according to the order of date of lodgement. Applicants will be contacted upon allocation of your application to an assessing officer. The Department will then process the finalisation of your application as quickly as possible.

The Department may contact you or your authorized contact (e.g. Migration Agent) and request to provide necessary documents needed which may include the following but not limited to Assurance of Support (subclass 143 only), police certificates and health clearances to complete your application.

At the present time, the Department are:

  • Assessing applications lodged up to and including 24 June 2014.

The assessment date for offshore applicants are expected to take longer than usual due to high volume of 143 and 173 applications received in June 2014.

ONSHORE APPLICANTS (subclass 864 and 884)

Upon lodgement to a case officer, your application may take up to 12 months. During this period, the Department may contact you or your authorized contact (e.g. Migration Agent) and request to provide necessary documents needed which may include the following but not limited to Assurance of Support (subclass 864 only), police certificates, and health clearances to complete your application.

At the present time, the Department are:

  • Assessing applications lodged up to 9 December 2015.

 

TEMPORARY TO PERMANENT APPLICANTS (subclass 173 to 143 and 884 to 864)

Upon lodgement to a case officer, your application may take up to 9 months. During this period, the Department may contact you or your authorized contact (e.g. Migration Agent) and request to provide necessary documents needed which may include the following but not limited to Assurance of Support (subclass 864 only), police certificates, and health clearances to complete your application.

At the present time, the Department are:

  • Assessing applications lodged up to 4 February 2016.

You may also visit https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/143- for more information on Contributory Parent visa – a visa subclass with significantly higher application charge, but a quicker pathway to permanent residence.

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