From Australia

New Skilled Migration Stream for Western Australia
josie By Josie Marr
Wednesday, 26 September 2018
Western Australia have been vocal in expressing support for skilled migration to their state, recently introducing the new Graduate stream for the Skilled Nomination subclass 190 visa and Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 visa.

With skilled migration becoming more competitive and alternative migration options becoming limited for student graduates, this is a welcomed pathway for many to consider.

Western Australia Graduate Stream
Until recently, applicants seeking nomination from Western Australia were required to go through the General stream by first nominating an occupation on the Western Australian Skilled Migration Occupation List (WASMOL).
WASMOL is available only to certain medical professionals and resulted in a low number of migrants to the state.

Effective 25 September 2018, applicants seeking to nominate a non-medical related occupation may now have the opportunity to do this in Western Australia under the Graduate Stream.

The benefit of the Graduate stream is that it offers a longer list of occupations from within a variety of industries including Professionals, Engineers, Medicals and ICT specialists.

Requirements for the Graduate Stream

To qualify, applicants must be university graduates who studied full time for at least 2 years at a Western Australian university and who can nominate an occupation on the new Graduate Occupation List (GOL) for either the 190 or 489 visa.

Masters and PhD graduates are able to nominate any occupation on the GOL, whilst students completing a Bachelor, Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma will be able to nominate a select few from that same list.

Similarly, to the General stream, additional requirements include:

English language requirements: Applicants nominating an ANZSCO Major Occupation Group 1 and 2 must demonstrate Proficient English. All others are required to demonstrate Competent English.
Work experience: Either 12 months work experience in Australia within the last 10 years, or at least 3 years relevant work experience overseas within the last 10 years. In both cases, the experience must be in the nominated occupation or closely related to the nominated occupation (not required for Western Australian PhD or Masters Degree students using the Graduate stream)
Contract of employment: A full time job offer, for a minimum period of 12 months, is required, even for applicants under the Graduate stream.
This is great news for high achieving education graduates in Western Australia as it provides an additional pathway to skilled migration, previously reserved for certain medical-related professionals.

josie By Josie Marr
Monday, 10 September 2018
The Department of Home Affairs recently released data for the Skill Select Invitation round which took place on 11 August 2018.

This article compares these results to July and takes a look at how these changes may impact applicants.

The next invitation round is scheduled to take place tomorrow, 11 September 2018 however, we expect that information to be made available over the next few weeks.

Again, we saw the number of invitations issued to visa applicant hopefuls increase.
2490 invitations were issued to prospective 189 visa applicants, up from 1000 last month, although the data also shows that people needed to score at least 70-75 points to be in with a chance.

10 invitations were sent to prospective 489 Regional Provisional visa applicants sitting on 80 points which has been no change from previous months.

Pro-rata occupations
Longer processing times applied to most pro-rata occupations that had a drop in point score whereas most of the pro-rata occupations that remained at the same point score continued to be processed in 4 weeks:
Occupation ID Occupation groups Point score (July) Date of effect Point score (August) Date of effect
2211 Accountants 85 06/07/2018 80 15/03/2018
2212 Auditors, Company Secretaries & Corporate Treasurers 80 16/02/2018 No change 14/03/2018
2334 Electronics Engineer 75 16/06/2018 No change 19/07/2018
2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 75 19/06/2018 70 04/12/2017
2339 Other Engineering Professionals 80 27/06/2018 75 16/05/2018
2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts 80 05/07/2018 75 07/04/2018
2613 Software and Applications Programmers 75 11/04/2018 No change 20/06/2018
2631 Computer and Network Professionals 75 11/05/2018 70 27/09/2018
Pass mark increased
Prospective visa applicants are reminded that the pass mark increased from 60 to 65 on 1 July 2018.
This means that people who do not have a minimum point score of 65 points will not be considered for the 189, 190, or 489

What options do you have if you have not reached the points score required?
State and Regional Sponsorship
State sponsorship is an exciting option for many clients who have not been able to reach the point score for occupations under the 189 pathway.
More occupation choices
While applicants for the 189 must have an occupation on the MLTSSL, states and regions may be able to sponsor for MLTSSL, STSOL and ROL occupations. This means that there may be a greater opportunity for a migration pathway by seeking state or territory sponsorship.
What is the point score for State 190 and Regional 489?
The point score for most states and regions is still 65, including either:
5 points for state sponsorship
10 points for regional sponsorship
However, some states such as VIC and NSW places are competitive for some occupations and a higher point score may still be required.
Other ways to increase your points
Additional points many be awarded in a number of ways including, but not limited, to:
Increasing your level of English
Higher education in Australia or overseas
Years of work experience in Australia or overseas
Professional Year
Partner points
Whilst it is encouraging to see the points scores for invitation decrease and the number of invitations increase in some areas, legislative changes are continuing to be made to the general skilled migration program and require close attention to detail. We strongly recommend prospective applicants to seek expert advice and guidance from a reputable Registered Migration Agent or practicing solicitor that specialises in Immigration law.

josie By Josie Marr
Thursday, 16 August 2018
As the Australian Government continues its efforts to strengthen the integrity of Australian citizenship, it has indicated that the proposed changes to Australian citizenship laws are back on the agenda for September 2018.

The Government initially announced these changes on 20 April 2017 and made attempts to have them take effect on the same date. However, a Bill was required to be drafted and passed through Parliament first, which subsequently failed on 18 October 2017.

Since then, there have been ongoing discussions with a view to have the changes finally introduced into Australian law.

Proposed changes
Following previous attempts, the proposed changes will require the applicant to:
have lived in Australia as an Australian permanent resident for at least 4 years
pass an English language test. Last year, the recommended pass level for Australian citizenship was Competent English
pass a new citizenship test. This will be a `strengthened’ version of the current test and is designed to assess the applicant’s understanding of, and commitment to, Australian values
complete the citizenship test only once. This means applicants must pass the higher level test on the first attempt
prove their integration and contribution to the Australian community
Current requirements
Through the general pathway, applicants for Australian citizenship need to start by meeting the residence requirement.
Under the current legislation, applicants must have been in Australia for at least:

the last 4 years, on any temporary or permanent visa. During this time, no more than 12 months can be spent overseas, and
the last 12 months, on a permanent visa, with no more than 3 months spent overseas.
In addition to this:

applicants have no English language test they need to pass
applicants are able to complete the current citizenship test as many times as they need (generally, the test failure rate is low),
applicants need to demonstrate they are of good character. The proposed changes to meet integration requirements now appears to give Immigration more discretion to refuse an application, if applicants are found to have not sufficiently integrated into Australian society.
When will this happen?
The legislation needs to be discussed and passed by Parliament. Last year, it took 6 months for the proposal to lapse however, this agenda has been the topic of discussion now for more than 12 months so has the potential to take effect soon.
Will I be impacted?
The most commonly types of visa holders to be impacted by the residence requirement change will be:
Provisional partner holders who have had the temporary stage of their permanent partner application approved. Generally, they will have been living in Australia for at least 2 years before being assessed for the permanent stage. Provisional partner visa holders may be living in Australia for at least 6 years before meeting the proposed residence requirements
457/TSS visa holders who lived and worked in Australia for a number of years before qualifying for permanent residence. It is common for 457/TSS visa holders to transfer to another sponsoring employer, after losing their jobs and after a considerable time with the same employer. In this instance, the time required to work in the new position for the employer will start again before they qualify for employer sponsored permanent residence. They could be living in Australia for at least 7 years before meeting the proposed residence requirements for citizenship
Student visa holders who complete studies in Australia before starting the process for a permanent visa through the General Skilled Migration program. In some instances this will see students in Australia for at least 8 – 9 years before they can consider lodging a citizenship application.
What should I do?
If the citizenship changes are passed the process to acquire Australian citizenship will become difficult and take longer for applicants to achieve.
Option 1 – Apply Now

If you meet the current requirements for Australian citizenship, consider lodging your application now – understand it may take some time to be processed:

If the legislation is passed, after you lodge the application and before a decision is made, the changes may be applied retrospectively meaning your application could be refused. At this stage, you lose the application fee of $285 but, the outcome would not impact the permanent residence you hold, nor would there be adverse consequences
Most of the legislative changes taking place over the last 16 months have not been applied retrospectively. This would mean there is an advantage to lodging your citizenship application before the legislation is introduced to Parliament.
Option 2 – Wait Until the Legislative Process is Completed

This would require you to keep a close eye on the developments and progress of these citizenship changes, which, recently, has not been a large topic of public discussion.

Option 3 – Wait to Meet the Proposed Residence Requirement

This will require you to wait an additional 3 years on your permanent residence visa and spend most of your time in Australia.

Option 4 – Apply for Citizenship under the Concessions to the Residence Requirements

This might be possible if you can show significant hardship or that you have needed to travel as a result of your employment.

Since April 2017, a large number of legislative changes have been introduced with more to come.

On Friday 5 May 2017, the Australian Government announced the introduction of the new temporary sponsored parent visa for parents of Australians during the 2017–18 Migration Programme year. The new visa will allow Australians to sponsor their parents to stay in Australia for up to five years at a time.

For more information see: Introducing the temporary sponsored parent visa

You might be eligible to apply for a parent category visa if:

you have a child who is an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen
your child has been living in Australia lawfully for at least 2 years before you lodge your visa application
you have a sponsor
you meet the Balance of family test criteria
you meet health and character requirements.
For more information, please click on more…

Unlike the current Entrepreneur visa, the new visa does not require $200,000 funding arrangements and the English language requirement is 5 Band score on IELTS.

South Australia has allocated $400,000 to implement a pilot program for a new visa for startup entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in the state.

The visa was first announced in March this year, before the SA state election.

Giving an undertaking to the South Australian Liberals to pilot the visa from SA before its national rollout in 2019, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said it would foster business growth and investment in Australia.

The Government said it would increase job opportunities and boost the economy by attracting startups to establish operations in Australia.

This visa will be different from the existing entrepreneurial and Business & Innovation visas as it will not require any mandatory funding outlay and an applicant only needs to demonstrate vocational English language proficiency.

With the new visa, foreign entrepreneurs and investors with an innovative idea and a supporting business plan will be able to apply for a temporary visa to establish their venture in Australia.

The applicants’ business proposals will be examined by the State or Federal Government and those successfully establishing their business venture in Australia will become eligible to apply for permanent residence.

The South Australia pilot will run over four years and 30 places allocated in the first year with the number of visas increasing every year, StartupSmart reports.

The South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway said the new visa encourages growth in the local entrepreneurial culture.

“The new visa will drive entrepreneurialism and innovation in our state, with the future potential to employ South Australians,” Mr Ridgway said.

While it’s not yet clear whether any financial requirements apply to the applicants, they must be under the age of 45 and have vocational level English which is band 5 in each of the four components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). They are also required to meet the health, character and financial requirements set by the Federal Government.

“We are confident that this arrangement can lead to participants applying for permanent residence in South Australia as they develop their business plans into successful enterprises creating new companies and jobs in our state,” said Mr Marshall said after the Federal Government’s announcement.

“These arrangements will also encourage more investment in those sectors of our economy with the greatest capacity to grow, including advanced manufacturing and defence technology following the Federal Government’s decision to centre the naval shipbuilding program in South Australia.”

Contributory parent visa (subclass 143)
This visa lets parents of a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen live in Australia permanently.

You could apply for the Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173) before this visa. Applying for the temporary visa and then this permanent visa costs more but the costs are spread across the two visas over a longer period of time.

You could also apply for a Parent visa (subclass 103). The subclass 103 visa costs less than this visa but there can be long waiting times of up to 30 years.
More information about eligibility, length of stay, cost, applying process, please click on more…