Permanent residency visa denied after an anonymous caller tips off immigration authorities

Immigration authorities have denied an Indian citizen a permanent residency visa after receiving a tip-off that the applicant had not lived in the regional area.

Mr Singh* arrived in Australia in 2007 on a student visa and in 2012 was granted a 487 visa which provides a pathway to permanent residency after living in a Specified Regional Area in Australia for at least two years and working full time for one year.

In July 2015, Mr Singh applied for an 887 permanent residency visa but a delegate of the then-titled Minister for Immigration and Border Protection refused to grant him the visa stating they were not satisfied Mr Singh had lived at two addresses in Wodonga between February 2013 to 2015, as he had claimed.

Mr Singh had provided immigration authorities with documentary evidence which included utility bills, mobile phone bills, taxation records, employment and superannuation records, rent agreement and bank statements spanning two years across two properties he claimed to have lived at.

But an anonymous informant told the department that Mr Singh was living and working illegally in Melbourne.

The department learnt through the anonymous informant that Mr Singh was not working for the nominating employer in the regional area and had in fact paid money to the employer in exchange for not notifying the immigration officials.

The department also learnt Mr Singh had taken a lease in the regional area but was living in Melbourne and worked night shifts as a security guard for cash.

A friend of Mr Singh who claimed to have lived with him and did the same thing (ie, claimed to live in a regional area while working in Melbourne) was deported by Immigration.
The department further corroborated these claims made by the informant and found Mr Singh had been charged with traffic offences at times and places that indicated that he was not residing in Wodonga.

Mr Singh took the matter to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) of Australia which further found discrepancies in the payslips and bank records and late payment of superannuation.

The Tribunal also heard evidence of Mr Singh’s friend who was deported to India.

The Tribunal found licencing records held by Victorian police which demonstrated Mr Singh had applied to be licensed as a security guard in 2008, 2011, 2012 and again in 2015, where the registered address was a Melbourne address and the employer was an entity based in Melbourne.

The AAT upheld the department’s decision following which Mr Singh applied for a judicial review with the Federal Court of Australia.

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia accepted Mr Singh’s argument and observed the Tribunal had not arrived at its decision independently of the anonymous information.

The matter did not end here. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection appealed this decision and it was allowed on Tuesday where The Court found that the anonymous information was accurate in respects that rendered critical aspects of Mr Singh’s evidence unable to be accepted.

The Court ordered the judgement and orders of the primary judge be set aside.

https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/hindi/en/article/2019/02/06/permanent-residency-visa-denied-after-anonymous-caller-tips-immigration?fbclid=IwAR3VsuiyxnuYYtK98SUh8jXVJRLJkKwld21aNdqnVfFVETt7v_qK8OWADQk

 

 

 

Migrants face deportation if they move, under population control visas

Migrants will have their visas cancelled if they leave designated areas under one of the first stages of the government’s $19 million population package.

The policy, first flagged by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in August, will see regional councils empowered to sponsor workers.
Immigration Minister David Coleman has directed the department to send out officers to negotiate agreements with specific areas including Cairns in Queensland and Arana in western NSW.

“The visa will require people to work in that area,” he said. “You can’t just go and work somewhere else.”

He said if workers sought to move they would have to seek another visa.
“To be frank it would be unlikely they would obtain it and they would not be able to obtain permanent residency.

“It is about encouraging people to areas that have persistent problems in attracting people,” he said.

State governments are pushing back against a federal request for more information on their population growth and urban planning in a dispute over the money needed to stop congestion.

The Morrison government put the idea to state treasurers today but is struggling to get approval out of concern the changes could lead to more attempts by Canberra to tell states and territories where to house more people.

Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad blasted the federal government for setting up the meeting without a clear idea of what the future intake would be and without offering enough information about why it wanted the state data.
“There was such a lack of intellectual rigour around the discussion today, I found it not a very practical use of time,” Ms Trad said after the meeting.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said the federal government was only an “interested dilettante” on the question of how to accommodate a growing population when it did not fund enough infrastructure.

Mr Pallas said the meeting raised questions about the “carrying capacity” of each state when the answer depended in part on the Commonwealth’s ability to fund new road and rail projects to accommodate more people.

“This reinforced the fact that we can’t have a discussion about migration in isolation. The Commonwealth needs to back up its interest in the area with a commitment to help fund infrastructure in the states,” Mr Pallas said after the meeting.
trol visas
By David Crowe and Eryk Bagshaw
February 8, 2019 — 7.50pm
Migrants will have their visas cancelled if they leave designated areas under one of the first stages of the government’s $19 million population package.

The policy, first flagged by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in August, will see regional councils empowered to sponsor workers.

The Morrison government has put the idea to state treasurers but is struggling to get approval.
The Morrison government has put the idea to state treasurers but is struggling to get approval.

Photo: John Veage
Immigration Minister David Coleman has directed the department to send out officers to negotiate agreements with specific areas including Cairns in Queensland and Arana in western NSW.

“The visa will require people to work in that area,” he said. “You can’t just go and work somewhere else.”

He said if workers sought to move they would have to seek another visa.

“To be frank it would be unlikely they would obtain it and they would not be able to obtain permanent residency.

“It is about encouraging people to areas that have persistent problems in attracting people,” he said.

State governments are pushing back against a federal request for more information on their population growth and urban planning in a dispute over the money needed to stop congestion.

The Morrison government put the idea to state treasurers today but is struggling to get approval out of concern the changes could lead to more attempts by Canberra to tell states and territories where to house more people.

Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad blasted the federal government for setting up the meeting without a clear idea of what the future intake would be and without offering enough information about why it wanted the state data.

State treasurers meet with federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on population growth on Friday.
State treasurers meet with federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on population growth on Friday.

Photo: AAP
“There was such a lack of intellectual rigour around the discussion today, I found it not a very practical use of time,” Ms Trad said after the meeting.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said the federal government was only an “interested dilettante” on the question of how to accommodate a growing population when it did not fund enough infrastructure.

Mr Pallas said the meeting raised questions about the “carrying capacity” of each state when the answer depended in part on the Commonwealth’s ability to fund new road and rail projects to accommodate more people.

“This reinforced the fact that we can’t have a discussion about migration in isolation. The Commonwealth needs to back up its interest in the area with a commitment to help fund infrastructure in the states,” Mr Pallas said after the meeting.

Mr Pallas said the Victorian government was spending $13.9 billion on infrastructure across the state this year while the Commonwealth was only contributing less than $1 billion.

The meeting agreed to set up a working group on data sharing and a working group on regional migration needs, but there were conflicting views on the purpose of gathering the data.

One federal source said the data from the states would only be used to make more reliable projections on population growth and would not be gathered at the level of individual workers or taxpayers.

But Ms Trad said the states were only given a paper setting out the objectives on Wednesday night and this was not enough time for a considered discussion.

“We’ve got to make serious infrastructure investment decisions over the next two decades to support the growth in Queensland,” she said.
“All of the documents to support that are publicly available. It’s almost like the Commonwealth is blind to the work the states have done on this.”

The meeting in Canberra on Friday was another step toward deciding the federal government’s official cap on the permanent migration intake after Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared last year he wanted the cap of 190,000 places reduced to the practical level achieved last year, which was 162,000 places.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the immigration intake would continue to be strong and Cities Minister Alan Tudge said the government plans would help encourage more migrants to the regions.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said last year he saw no case to slow the migration intake but NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging a cut in the number of people coming to her state.

The reduction in the cap does not translate directly to the number of people in the country, given that overseas students and skilled foreign workers continue to arrive but are not counted in the permanent intake unless they are granted residency.
Mr Coleman said 70 per cent of migrants were skilled workers who added value to the economy.

“Migrants who are higher skilled and younger tend to be very valuable,” he said on Friday after the meeting with the states.

https://amp.smh.com.au/politics/federal/migrants-face-deportation-if-they-move-under-population-control-visas-20190208-p50wkz.html?fbclid=IwAR0XB8QfVnNrD3hiYVHPXTWNnQIjbQgTjBnElY0O8C4jqj2aaTbSdEZBtzE

Migrant visas fast-tracked for regional Australia in $19 million plan

Skilled migrants will have their visa applications accelerated if they move to regional Australia under a $19.4 million plan.

Immigration Minister David Coleman on Friday announced the initiative as state and territory treasurers met in Canberra to discuss population growth and congestion issues.
The money will be used over four years and Department of Home Affairs officials will travel to regional areas to help local businesses get more skilled workers.

Under the plan, there will be priority processing for visas sponsored by employers in regional areas, as well as agreements where local councils are able to recruit workers from overseas.
“Our officers will be on the ground to discuss regional migration opportunities with regional employers and communities, and also to hear first hand the local labour issues they face,” Mr Coleman said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously flagged migrants could be asked to spend five years in a regional area if they want permanent residency.

Mr Morrison has also flagged cuts to Australia’s annual migration intake to ease congestion in major cities.

Treasurers talk population growth
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg met with the treasurers in Canberra on Friday morning to discuss how the nation can share responsibility for population change, with a particular focus on easing congestion with infrastructure.

“Two-thirds of new immigrants are going to our capital cities, in particular Sydney, Melbourne and in southeast Queensland,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“This is creating pressures on infrastructure, not only on our roads but also on our public transport, creating pressures on health, on education and other essential services.”
“We need to send people where the jobs are and we need to cooperate across state and territories.”

Australia’s permanent migration number is capped at 190,000 people each year but has only reached about 160,000 over the past few years, Mr Frydenberg added.

But the Treasurer was coy on whether he thinks the migration cap should be lowered.

“Well let’s look year by year as to what are the needs across the community, but certainly there are population pressures that are contributing to congestion in our major cities,” he said.

Mr Frydenberg conceded Australia hasn’t planned well for the future, as the population reached 25 million people earlier than expected.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/migrant-visas-fast-tracked-for-regional-australia-in-19-million-plan?fbclid=IwAR34J41oesfR54GS50QMEcIvqMaPa7JZ5KvnZ3gcCJy2HRGZ3So5x43xZ-Q

The FOI report shows the number of TSS nominations that have been refused or withdrawn

AUSTRALIA 2070 NOMINATION FOR 482 VISA REFUSED PLUS 257 NOMINATION WITHDRAWN BETWEEN 14TH AUGUST 2018 TO 31ST DECEMBER 2018 UNDER STANDARD BUSINESS SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM BUT COLLECTED $ 7 MILLION AS LEVY FROM EMPLOYERS UNDER SKILLING AUSTRALIAN FUND WHICH IS NOT REFUNDABLE

The FOI report shows the number of TSS nominations that have been refused or withdrawn under a standard business sponsorship between 14 August 2018 and 31 December 2018, with a shocking 2324 failed applications over a 4-month period.

A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) report obtained by a colleague in NSW and shared by our peak membership association, the Migration Institute of Australia, implies a staggering $7 million dollars has potentially been taken by the Australian Government for Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) nomination applications that went nowhere.

The FOI report shows the number of TSS nominations that have been refused or withdrawn under a standard business sponsorship between 14 August 2018 and 31 December 2018, with a shocking 2324 failed applications over a 4-month period.

This money has been generated via the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy, a fee payable per applicant, per year of nomination, with an amount based on the turnover of the company (under or over $10 million per annum). Payments into the SAF are intended to be used to fund apprenticeships and traineeships in the vocational education sector in order to ‘boost the number of people who choose and succeed in this pathway and help address skills shortages across Australia’1

The SAF – payable up-front and in full at the time of lodgement – is not refunded if the TSS Nomination application is refused or withdrawn. In fact, there is no legislative ability to even apply for a refund on this basis!

Representatives of our peak membership association, the Migration Institute of Australia, have been canvassing politicians on the subject of SAF payments and refunds – even going directly to Canberra to raise the issues – but there have been no reports on what has been discussed or decided.

It is surprising that business groups do not appear to be complaining about this money-raising exercise, as many of these applications would have been lodged by businesses themselves.

The moral of the story? It is crucial to ensure that your TSS Nomination application is accurate, compliant, and complete. Not only could your business miss out on skilled workers to meet your needs, you could also incur losses of thousands of dollars that cannot be recovered.

Small (annual turnover less than $10 million) AUD1200 per year or part thereof AUD3000 one-off
Other business (annual turnover of $10 million or more) AUD1800 per year or part thereof AUD5000 one-off

Health Workforce Certificate – a new requirement for employer sponsored visas

Health Workforce Certificate – a new requirement for employer sponsored visas
Visas for General Practitioners: Health Workforce Certificate – a new requirement for employer sponsored visas commenced on 11 March 2019.

New requirements for employers sponsoring overseas doctors to work in Australia will commence on 11 March 2019. When employers lodge employer nomination applications for a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visas or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa for an overseas trained doctor (OTD) in any of the occupations listed below, they must ensure the application includes a Health Workforce Certificate issued by a Rural Workforce Agency.

Occupations nominated in visa applications:
General Practitioner (ANZSCO 253111),
Resident Medical Officer (ANZSCO 253112); and
Medical Practitioner not elsewhere classified (ANZSCO 253999) occupation.

The certificate will only be provided where the advertised position responds to genuine workforce need. Without the certificate the nomination cannot be accepted by The Department of Home Affairs and the related visa cannot be granted.

For information how to obtain a Health Workforce Certificate go to:
Fact Sheets (PDF 199 KB)

Forms – Request an application form for a Health Workforce Certificate from visasforgps@hrplustas.com.au

The Department of Home Affairs

http://www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/visas_for_GPs?fbclid=IwAR1VO_yAD_BI0s352vd-yCF3SGQ1eqyoaz9yV-larg0TvjnNNnKkOADK0DY

Changes to Skilled Occupation Lists Added to MLTSSL

Changes to Skilled Occupation Lists
Added to MLTSSL

Applicable Instruments: LIN 19/047; LIN 19/048; LIN 19/049; LIN 19/051

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
Added to STSOL

Applicable Instrument LIN 19/048

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)
Moved from STSOL to MLTSSL

Applicable Instruments – LIN 19/047; LIN 19/048; LIN 19/049; LIN 19/050

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)
Removed from STSOL

Applicable Instrument LIN 19/050

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)
Added to Regional Occupation List

Applicable Instrument LIN 19/048

deer farmer (ANZSCO code 121314)
goat farmer (ANZSCO code 121315)
Added to Regional Occupation List, removed from STSOL

Applicable Instruments: LIN 19/048;

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)
Removed from Regional Occupation List moved to MLTSSL

Applicable Instruments: LIN 19/047; LIN 19/049

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)
Occupations with added conditions

Applicable Instruments: LIN 19/047 (SC 187); LIN 19/048 (SC 482); LIN 19/049 (SC 186)

The following medical practitioner occupations now require a Health Workforce Certificate for the position and occupation to be presented with the nomination application

general practitioner (ANZSCO code 253111)
medical practitioners (nec) (ANZSCO code 253999)
resident medical officer (ANZSCO code 253112)
Applicability conditions added/changed

Condition 25

imposes a minimum salary of $120,000 pa for footballers
replaces Condition 23 for ship’s masters and gas or petroleum operators
Condition 26

replaces Conditions 23 for recruitment consultants on the STSOL and reduces the annual salary required to $80,000

Premier intervenes as international students’ English fails to make the grade

International students who speak little English are struggling to keep up with their peers at Australian universities, prompting the Victorian government to call for a review of entry requirements.

Premier Daniel Andrews has written a letter to the National Tertiary Education Union promising to take up the issue of English entry standards with the federal government.
Acting Minister for Higher Education James Merlino said the situation was unfair on international students and teachers.

“International students are a vital part of Victoria’s education system but it’s concerning that some students are enrolled in courses without adequate English language skills to complete them,” he said.

Academics, tutors and students say some international students are struggling to understand instructions in class, complete assignments and communicate with other students.
They say English standards have been set too low and can be bypassed by enrolling in bridging courses.

The National Tertiary Education Union’s Victorian president Nic Kimberley, who has tutored and lectured at many universities and works at RMIT, said many international students at Australian universities lacked the English proficiency needed to succeed.
“This is something that should concern everyone,” he said. “If they fail, they have to repeat and there is often a lot of shame. We don’t want to see international students fail.”

Mr Kimberley said he often received emails from international students begging him to increase their grade to a pass.
“It is incredibly stressful. As someone who teaches students, you do feel very guilty about it because of the high stakes.”

He said while many international students had a strong grasp of the English language, local students tried to avoid working with them for group projects.

The union is calling for a review of the English standards required for student visas and those set by universities for different courses. It’s also pushing for more English language support for international students.
Federal government rules require those wanting a student visa to achieve a score of at least 5.5 in the International English Language Testing System. This test gives students a score out of 9 for listening, reading, writing and speaking and most universities require students to receive a score of between 6 and 7.

But students can also receive a student visa with a score of 4.5 – which means they have a limited or modest grasp of English – if they enrol in a 20-week intensive English course before embarking on their university course.
While they must pass the course, they do not have to resit the international English test.

About one-quarter of all international students enter Australian universities via this pathway.

The peak body for overseas students, the Council of International Students Australia, is backing the calls for higher English entry standards.

The council’s national public relations officer, Manfred Mlestin, said while fewer international students would be accepted into courses, potentially eroding the country’s $31.9 billion a year international student industry, the quality of graduates would improve.

“If a student doesn’t understand what a teacher is saying, how can they finish their assignments?” he asks.
When John Chen* arrived in Melbourne on a student visa, he couldn’t order food in English.

“I would just use pointing, it was horrific,” he said.

The Chinese student spent 18 months at Trinity College in the hope of improving his language skills.

At university, he struggled to understand his lecturers and write essays, and barely spoke in tutorials. He switched from arts to science at the end of his first semester, hoping it would be easier.

While it wasn’t easier, he eventually improved his English by watching Youtube.
Chinese student Adam Zhao* said he failed a subject last semester because of his language difficulties.

He was working on a group assignment with three native English speakers who struggled to understand him.

While Adam has been in Australia for five years and completed two years of high school here, he still struggles with the language barrier.

His communication difficulties have affected his mental health, leaving him feeling isolated.

“I felt like I should be able to communicate, but I couldn’t,” he said.
A recent report by the Coroner considered the extreme stress experienced by some international students, highlighting the case of a 24-year-old Chinese international student who died in a fall that was later ruled to be suicide. He was believed to be suffering from depression and struggling to understand his English-language course.

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said Australian universities set English language requirements that were comparable to other world-leading education sectors.

“Many universities have standards for particular courses that go above the minimum standards set by the student visa,” she said.

She said students who passed bridging courses had the English skills required to complete a higher education qualification and succeed.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said it was the responsibility of universities to ensure that the students they enrol had the language skills to participate fully in their education.
“You can judge the quality of Australia’s sector by the number of international students that we attract,” he said.

*Names have been changed.

Student placements

Student placements
What is a vocational placement?
Further information
Contact us
Download the fact sheet:

Student placements (PDF 154.3KB)
Vocational placements provide students with the opportunity to apply the theory and skills they learned while studying in a professional workplace.

Under these arrangements students can gain the skills they need to transition successfully from study to work, while giving industry the opportunity to enrich student learning experiences and increase the number of work-ready graduates.

Vocational placements that meet the definition under the Fair Work Act 2009 (the FW Act) are lawfully unpaid. Students completing vocational placements are not considered to be employees and therefore are not entitled to the minimum wage nor other entitlements provided under the FW Act.

What is a vocational placement?
Under the FW Act, a vocational placement is lawfully unpaid if it meets all the following criteria:

There must be a placement. This can be arranged by the educational or training institution, or a student may initiate the placement with an individual business directly, in line with the requirements of their course.
There must be no entitlement to pay for the work the student undertakes. Where a student’s contract with the host business or organisation entitles them to receive money for the work they perform, the vocational placement will likely have turned into an employment relationship. Similarly, work arrangements covered by industrial awards or agreements are not vocational placements.
The placement must be done as a requirement of an education or training course. The placement must be a required component of the course as a whole, or of an individual subject or module of the course. It doesn’t matter whether that subject is compulsory or an elective chosen by the student.
The placement must be one that is approved. The institution delivering the course which provides for the placement must be authorised under an Australian, state or territory law or an administrative arrangement of the Commonwealth or a state or territory to do so. Courses offered at universities, TAFE colleges and schools (whether public or private) will all satisfy this requirement, as will bodies authorised to offer training courses under state or territory legislation.
When all of the above criteria are satisfied, hosts are not required to pay students entitlements under the FW Act. However, a host may elect to provide payment(s) at their discretion and under no obligation.

If the placement doesn’t meet all of the above criteria, it won’t be a vocational placement under the FW Act. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that the person is an employee and entitled to payment. The next step is to determine whether or not the person is in an employment relationship.

For more information on determining whether or not an employment relationship exists see our Unpaid Work Fact Sheet

Example 1
Katrina is in her 3rd year of a nursing degree. As part of her course, Katrina is required to complete a minimum of 4 weeks’ work experience with a registered hospital in her state in order to graduate. Katrina approaches her local hospital as they have a pre-existing relationship with her university and have regular student placements. The placement is authorised by her university, and Katrina understands it is a learning exercise and that she won’t be paid. As the arrangement meets the definition of a vocational placement under the FW Act, it can be unpaid.

Example 2
Jayne is in her final year of a mechanical engineering degree and has completed her formal class studies. As a requirement to graduate, Jayne has to organise professional engineering work experience at a business for 12 weeks. While Jayne has to organise the placement herself, the University has strict criteria about needing to assess an employer to ensure her vocational placement provides the relevant learning environment, and gives final sign-off on the placement. As this arrangement meets the definition of a vocational placement under the FW Act, it can be unpaid.

If the business decides to get Jayne to sign an employment contract and pay her wages for her work, it may turn the placement into an employment relationship. If an employment relationship is created, Jayne is entitled to at least the legal minimum rate of pay for the type of work she is performing.

Example 3
Mitchell is choosing his elective units for the following year’s study as part of his undergraduate degree. One of the electives is a 3 month unpaid placement organised by the university at a host business that provides a structured learning experience related to his degree. This placement counts as credit towards meeting his total course requirement. Because the elective forms part of his course, Mitchell’s placement meets the definition of a vocational placement under the FW Act. As this arrangement meets the definition of a vocational placement under the FW Act, it can be unpaid.

Important
While the FW Act does not provide entitlements to students doing vocational placements, there may still be obligations in other legislation, such as those about work health and safety or discrimination that apply to them

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/…/unpaid-work/student-placements

Designated Area Migration Agreements – The Future of Immigration?

Designated Area Migration Agreements – The Future of Immigration?

Last year no doubt has been challenging both for Migration Agents as well as businesses trying to fill in skills shortage. The introduction of subclass 482 visa has seen a decline of 28% of sponsored visas granted, leaving businesses with severe skills shortage.

The government’s response is to enter into a Designated Area Agreement (DAMA). By way of background, the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) programme has been developed to supplement the workforce strategies of states, territories and regions, to support economic performance and help them adjust to changing economic conditions.

The DAMA is a two-tier agreement: the first tier consists of an overarching three-year deed of agreement with a designated area representative setting out occupations, ceilings and concessions; and the second tier comprising individual labour agreements with direct employers.

DAMAs establish collaborative arrangements, with shared roles and responsibilities, between the Australian Government and regional or state and territory authorities.

The overarching nature of a DAMA allows employers streamlined access to a broader range of overseas workers than available through the standard subclass 482 visa programme, without the need to individually negotiate terms and conditions. DAMAs are attractive to small businesses which may not have the resources to develop a labour agreement directly with the government.

Whilst DAMAs vary from state to state, the key elements for DAMA similar to those of a labour agreement, however specifics include:

· The utilisation of labour agreement stream of the TSS programme for businesses enter into a labour agreement with the Australian Government and workers are then granted a subclass 482 visa.

· pathways to permanent residency for DAMA visa holders (including transitional arrangements for existing visa holders)

· a broad range of occupations that reflect skilled and semi-skilled shortages, with no caveats to apply

· English language concessions for some occupations

· salary concessions that in some instances however these are generally specific from state to state, ensuring that worker terms and conditions of employment are not eroded, and state businesses and consumers are not subjected to inflationary costs

· a range of risk and integrity actions to ensure that the rights of both employees and employers are protected

As an organisation at the forefront of skilled migration, at this point in time Northern Territory has negotiated DAMA and NSW submitted a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) to the Federal Government. As the first of its kind in NSW to streamline the visa application process, the DAMA is set to make it easier for migrant employees and employers to fill vacant positions.

As mentioned earlier, DAMAs are custom-designed arrangements which support a tailored, regional response to labour needs. They are an important tool in assisting regions to manage workforce strategies that support local growth. The over-arching nature of these agreements allows employers targeted and streamlined access to a broader range of overseas workers than allowed under standard State and National skilled migration programmes. The DAMA will negotiate terms and conditions, cutting down on individual employer visa worker hiring costs.

Similar to Labour Agreements, DAMA’s are granted for five years.

Businesses can access the DAMA if they are actively operating in a particular state and:

· are viable and have been operating for at least 12 months

· have no history of not meeting its obligations to employees

· are looking to employ overseas workers to fill full-time positions with duties that align with one of the occupations on the State Specific DAMA list

· can demonstrate they cannot fill the position locally with Australian citizens or permanent residents

· can provide terms and conditions of employment to overseas workers that are in accordance with those offered to Australian workers employed in the region.

Australia’s new immigration minister reveals visa priority

Australia’s new immigration minister reveals visa priority

David Coleman said his priority is to get migrants to struggling regional communities. But, he hasn’t forgotten about controversial plans to toughen citizenship requirements.

Australia’s new Immigration Minister David Coleman has flagged a revamp of regional visas, saying some towns are begging for migrants.

“That’s something I’m looking at very closely at the moment,” Mr Coleman told on Wednesday.

“There are a number of different regional visa classes at the moment and one of the things I’m assessing is the effectiveness of each of those programs and potential ways of improving those.”

Currently, there are several visas available to migrants to fills skills shortages in rural and regional Australia.

Towns including Warrnambool in Victoria, the Goldfields region of Western Australia and the entire state of South Australia are asking for thousands of migrants, according to Mr Coleman.

“There are lots of examples at the moment of regions that are seeking additional immigration to fulfil economic needs,” he said.

“We have quite a few regional gaps in employment right now.”

According to figures compiled by the Department of Home Affairs, 10,918 places were awarded under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme in the 2016-17 financial year.

Along with the 1,670 Skilled Regional visas, they formed about 10 per cent of permanent migration visas.

The former Assistant Finance Minister holds the marginal Sydney seat of Banks and was elevated to the outer ministry after the Liberal leadership spill last month.

The 44-year-old MP served as an assistant finance minister in the Turnbull Government and was first elected to the House of Representatives for Banks, New South Wales, in 2013.

The immigration portfolio was separated from Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs ministry and given to Mr Coleman, as well as the Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs ministries.

“Immigration has been so fundamental to our success as a country,” he said.

“The history of our nation is one of immigration because, apart from Indigenous Australians, we’re all immigrants.”

Fourty-four per cent of his electorate is overseas-born, with people of Chinese ancestry being the largest migrant group.

On the issue of Australian citizenship, the minister would not go into specifics about the government reviving plans to change the requirements to become a citizen.

The controversial plans to introduce a tougher English language test, increase residency requirements and requiring applicants to sign an ‘Australian Values statement’ were quashed by the Senate late last year.

While he didn’t go into detail about English language requirements, Mr Coleman reiterated the importance of learning English.

“Having some English is obviously a good thing in Australian life,” he said.

“The more English people are able to speak, the more they can contribute in Australian life.”

Mr Coleman said the government was “in consultations” about re-introducing elements of the legislation.