Record number of international students sticking around on visas with full work rights

More international students than ever are remaining in Australia for up to four years on graduate work visas following their studies.

The explosion has prompted concern from Labor, but the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University (ANU) has argued they are not displacing other workers.

In March 50,000 international graduates were in Australia on the 485 visa — an increase of more than 16,000 in just 12 months.

Labor’s immigration spokesman, Shayne Neumann, said international students are an important contributor to the economy, but rapid growth in a visa subclass could be cause for concern.

“It’s incumbent on the Turnbull Government to ensure the integrity of Australia’s migration program,” he said.

Last year 350,000 international students were enrolled in universities — an increase of 100,000 in the preceding three years.

The lag between a student’s enrolment and graduation, and the grant of subclass 485 visas, means the number of international graduates working in Australia is set to rise even further in coming years.

International students are allowed to work for 20 hours per week during semester under their visa, but no time or occupation restrictions apply to the “post-study” graduate visa stream.

This provides a visa of two years following study — or up to four years for some higher qualifications — to those who complete degrees of at least two years.

The visa may assist some towards a pathway to permanent residency, but the majority of international students return to their home countries.

‘Very high value people’
ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt told that the visa provides “flexibility” and “financial incentives” to students.

“But it also means the graduates we have here, who are incredibly well trained, have the opportunity to contribute to the Australian economy,” he said.
A 2015 report from the Productivity Commission stated “there is little doubt that immigration has boosted the supply of youth labour” and “continued monitoring of the impact of immigration on youth and graduate labour markets is warranted”.

Since this report was released, the number of temporary graduate visa holders in Australia has more than doubled.

Tweaks to the visa in 2013 gave longer and less restrictive post-study work rights to university graduates than those in vocational training.

According to the 2016 i-graduate International Student Satisfaction Survey, the opportunity to work in Australia following study was more important to students than the opportunity for part-time work during study.

This survey, partly funded by the Department of Education and Training, found the following factors were most important to students coming to Australia:

reputation of the qualification,
reputation of the institution, and the
reputation of the education.
Teacher reputation, opportunities for further study and social life were factors ranked immediately above the opportunity to work in Australia following studies.

 

Students left in a lurch by sudden visa policy change

International students from India have been left in the lurch due to the ACT government’s sudden change in their visa policy.

Earlier this year, Kanish Chug moved to Canberra and enrolled himself in a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) course at the University of Canberra, in the hope of getting five additional points required to beat the high competition in his occupation for skilled migration to Australia.

“I have 75 points. The competition is very high. Only a fixed number of accountants are invited each year and the cut off is very high. When I heard Canberra was giving state nomination for those who lived here, I moved to Canberra hoping it will help me gain five more points,” Mr Chug told.

In July 2017, the ACT government opened up state nomination for occupations which were not on the “open” list of in-demand jobs, if they already lived in the ACT.

If a person could prove they had been living in the ACT on a student visa or graduate visa for at least 12 months and had completed a Certificate III or higher education at a local institution, they could qualify for state nomination.

This prompted many like to move to Canberra.

Anjali* moved her family from Perth to Canberra upon learning this.

“I sold off everything and moved here in September 2017. I have enrolled myself in a Professional Accounting course here, paid thousands in fees, just to become eligible for state nomination.

“And now they tell us, this policy is no longer available. I can’t tell you how depressed I am,” she said.

Anjali and Kanish told that the news has been devastating, saying it’s leaving their futures bleak.

“I paid $50,000 for my Master’s degree in Melbourne. I enrolled myself in another degree to get five extra points and have paid thousands in fees.

“It is devastating to learn that all my effort to move to Canberra, my hard earned money was for nothing,” Kanish says.

Anjali says she would have qualified in September for state nomination had they not changed this policy suddenly.

“I don’t know what to do now. I feel cheated,” she says.

Anjali and Kanish are not alone.

Hundreds have signed an online petition demanding the ACT Government honour its original promise and allow international students enrolled in an ACT institution on or before the 29 June 2018, to apply for ACT nomination under the policy in place on that day.

This petition has received over 600 signatures over two days.
“ACT government to review visa program”
The ACT Government has now said it’s looking at a ‘more flexible way’ to help people who had moved there.

“Given that demand for the program is expected to continue to increase, there will be a need to find a more flexible way to manage the program within the limitations imposed by the Department of Home Affairs,” The Canberra Times quoted a spokeswoman of Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

Pathway to claim 5 extra points towards Australia’s skilled migration

Visa applicants in skilled migration program are keen to gain extra points after the federal government announced significant changes in the point system from 1 July 2018.

Australia’s skilled migration program is a points-based system designed to attract highly qualified and experienced professionals to best meet Australia’s skills needs.

There are a number of skilled migration visas that require applicants to score a minimum number of points to qualify for permanent skilled migration.

After the government’s recent announcement of increasing points threshold from 60 to 65, many prospective applicants are looking for alternative ways to boost their chances in the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa point system.

Some of the new applicants now rely on boosting their points by clearing language test from National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

NAATI offers Credentialed Community Language (CCL) Test that gives 5 points to the prospective applicants for their point-based GSM visa.

CCL Exam determines an applicant’s ability to interpret the conversation between two speakers speaking different languages.

Harpal Singh is a NAATI accredited translator and interpreter for Punjabi-English and he also serves as a member of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) and the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI).

Mr Singh told SBS Punjabi that in the last month only there has been an increase in the number of people who wish to take NAATI’s CCL test to gain five points for skilled migration point test.

“This follows government’s recent amendment to the point test threshold, and now everyone is keen to meet the desired criteria by taking up this examination,” he said.

“There’re two options, either you score 7 each in the English proficiency test IELTS or you clear NAATI’s CCL test. Often people find the second option easier as it is conducted at a conversational level compared to the academic nature of IELTS.”

Mr Singh explained that it should be clear that an individual who passes a CCL test is not certified to work as an interpreter or translator.

“This system is designed to benefit people who have multilingual skills. It is only supposed to help them gain five bonus points for their points-based visa applications made to the Department of Home Affairs. This does not provide them with a work opportunity in this field,” he says.

“The overall pass rate of the CCL test is above 50% and that’s why we see a large number of applicants opting for this test.

“It looks quite promising compared to the pass percentage of the test conducted to get certification as an interpreter or translator, which sits well below 15%.

Mr Singh explained that an overwhelming number of candidates take the CCL test lightly and come unprepared for the exam. “Just don’t be overconfident… It is only the practise that will make you through, so put some time and sincere effort if you wish to succeed,” he suggests.

Melbourne-based migration agent told that the recent change in the point test could be attributed to the high calibre of prospective applicants who express their interest in the GSM program.

“I often deal with Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu speaking clients from Indian-subcontinent and I see a huge interest in them to take the NAATI test to gain 5 extra points,” he said.

“The test success rate seems ok but the problem lies in registering for the examination. My clients are struggling to book sessions as there’re no seats available until December.

“It seems like a poorly organised system. I went to check NAATI’s Melbourne office who suggested they don’t have enough resources or manpower to cope-up with this huge increase in the number of applicants.

“The applicants who are desperate to gain this bonus may think of taking this test in the less crowded cities rather than doing it in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. But I seriously doubt if there are any seats left in those cities.

Australian Government launches inquiry into mistreatment of international students

Fraudulent practices affecting thousands of international students in Australia will be part of the Federal Government’s inquiry starting this week. The focus of the inquiry will be migration agents and student agencies.

On Wednesday, June 27, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration will commence the first public hearing of this inquiry that looks into the efficacy of the current regulation of Australian migration agents.

The investigation includes the nature and prevalence of fraud, professional misconduct and other breaches by registered migration agents, the current review mechanisms for migration agents and the adequacy of penalties.

The inquiry committee is collecting evidence of the volumes and patterns of unregistered migration agents and education agents providing unlawful immigration services in Australia.

In the first session, the Department of Home Affairs is expected to be the only body allowed to participate as a witness.

In March, the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Alex Hawke, initiated a Parliamentary call to review the regulatory framework for international education. Mr Hawke asked the Committee to conduct an investigation into the effectiveness of the current regulation of Australian immigration agents.

Committee chair, Jason Wood, told  the investigation hopes to conclude with a series of recommendations to the government designed to combat unlicensed immigration agents.

“What we have found out there is a lot of concerns when it comes from mainly what we called unregistered immigration agents, taking advantage of Australians, and also foreigners, could be international students trying to come to the country,” Mr Wood said.

“We want to come out with a report to the government to make recommendations and hopefully change this and could be more powers, could be more regulation; that is the intention of the inquiry.”

Mr. Wood didn’t rule out an increase of resources to protect international students from scams to strengthen international education – a sector that in 2017 injected AUD $32.3 billion to the Australian economy, according to the Department of Education and Training.

“It may be a recommendation that we need to put more resources in. But at the start of the issue, it is difficult to tell what the recommendations are because we do not know what our experts are going to be asking us to do with the witnesses.”

For the last four months, the Committee has been collecting background information and receiving submissions from both public and private entities.

So far 34 organisations, including the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Education and Training Department of Australia and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), have lodged their submissions.

This Committee is also collecting relevant stakeholders’ views through two online questionnaires, targeting students, immigration agents and education agents.

Maria Vamvakinou, Labor MP and vice-president of the Federal Joint Standing Committee on Migration says they are looking to identify any deficiency that could compromise the system and they are particularly interested in the role of education agents.

“At this stage we are still receiving presentations and the Joint Standing Committee on Migration will begin its public hearings in Sydney and Melbourne in mid-July,” Ms Vamvakinou told .

“The hearings are open to the public and I would recommend any member of your community to attend, if they wish.”

The inquiry begins two weeks after the Ombudsman of International students published a report that describes the investigation of fraud of the agency ‘Tu Futuro’ which allegedly scammed hundreds of Latin American students for more than AUD 500,000. SBS Spanish and SBS Portuguese have been reporting on this story since January 2017.

The crucial role of the education agents

The market of international education in Australia has been regulated since the year 2000, when the Federal Government created specific norms and regulations to guarantee minimum standards for international students. The main actors are the education providers, the migrant agents and the education agents.

Education agents play an important role in the recruitment of international students. In 2017 education agents were responsible for 73.6% of the enrolments of the more than 624,000 foreign students who came to Australia to study.

However, they are not legally responsible under Australian regulations, as detailed by the Australian Department of Education and Training in their submission to the inquiry starting this week.

The state’s oversight responsibility over the education agents is outsourced to the Australian private schools providing the courses. According to the 2018 National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018, it is the role of the “Australian registered providers to ensure that their education agents act ethically, honestly and in the best
interest of overseas students and uphold the reputation of Australia’s international education sector.”

The 2018 National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students is one of the three regulators for educational services that are overseen by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). The other two legal frameworks that regulate the industry are the Education Services for International Students Act (ESOS 2000) and the Higher Education Standards Framework (2015).

Last month TEQSA’s executive director Anthony McClaran told “TEQSA regulates universities and schools providing higher education and it is the responsibility of the provider to ensure the agents they work with here in Australia and overseas act in an ethical and honest manner, and in the best interest of international students.”

When complaints are not collective, instead of contacting TEQSA, students can submit them to the Commonwealth Ombudsman who can help potential, current and former students of private schools and universities based in Australia. International students also have a specific Ombudsman: the Ombudsman for Overseas Students.

The Ombudsman can help, for example, in the cases of complaints about an administrative tariff or a reimbursement that was not agreed in the written contract signed by the international student or potential student.

Notwithstanding, in May the Ombudsman’s office told that they are only authorised to investigate complaints of student agents who have an agreement to act on behalf of an Australian school. “We do not have jurisdiction to investigate educational agents that do not have an agreement to represent a private educational provider.”

The issues with education agents are not new. Since commencement in 2011, the Office of the Ombudsman has seen issues arise in complaints involving education agents. Some of the reported issues are: providing false or misleading advice about a course or provider, enrolling a student with one provider while telling the student they had been enrolled with a different provider; accepting tuition fees before the student signed the written agreement; failed to pass on tuition fees to the provider and even failing to give the student a copy of the written agreement, including the refund policy.

If international students have any issues with agents that do not have a formal agreement to represent Australian educational providers, the students should contact their local authorities and present a complaint against the agent. When the student is in Australia, they should contact the Australian consumer affairs agency of the state or territory where the agent operates.

In all cases, potential students can access the list of local student (education) agents in each country here. Only Colombia has 38 local agents listed in the Australian government website.

Listing overseas education agents in the official website of the Australian government might be confusing for potential international students. It can mislead them to believe the agents listed in the official site are legally responsible under Australian regulations, while they are not.

What happened to the victims of ‘Tu Futuro’ student agency in Australia?

The student agency industry showed its dark side with the alleged fraud committed by Tu Futuro agency in December 2016.

In January 2017, SBS Spanish broke the story of hundreds of international students from Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and Spain, who were asking the Australian authorities to help them recover thousands of dollars given to the owners of ‘Tu Futuro agency’ – who operated out of Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

According to the students, they paid every expense to enrol in English courses in Australia except the cost of medical insurance and accommodation.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe released a report that summarises the investigation that he carried out in 2017, due to the significant number of complaints received against ‘Tu Futuro’.

The document, dated June 15, 2018, states that the actions of this student agency generated economic losses of half a million dollars to hundreds of international students and involved 17 schools.

However, the Ombudsman report says the actions of this one agent aren’t indicative of a system failure.

The Ombudsman also says that together with the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) they could recover almost AUD $40,000 that was returned to the affected students.

The report explains that some of those affected received financial compensation while others arrived to agreements with the schools directly.

César Merino is a Colombian student who acted as the coordinator of hundreds of victims. He says that he has already accepted that the savings that took so much effort to collect are lost in the hands of the owners of ‘Tu Futuro’ agency.

Mr Merino said he paid the agency almost AUD $13,000, including the cost of his course and that of his brother. The agency did not pay the money to the institution on the Gold Cost where he planned to study English. Neither the payment vouchers nor the electronic transfers made to ‘Tu Futuro’ were enough to support his claim.

The most affected were those who didn’t receive the certificate of enrolment from the schools.

“The majority of those affected that sent the money directly to “Tu Futuro” agency in Australia have not received any kind of solution until today,” Mr Merino said. In mid-2017 he travelled to the Gold Coast to start again from scratch after getting into debt with a bank back in Colombia.

“We hope that in one way or another, education agencies – together with the schools – start being legally responsible for the educational processes they offer,” he said.

K.A is another victim of ‘Tu Futuro’. She asked to be identified by her initials. She told that after students made complaints to the Australian authorities, by the time they finally responded to the complaints, the agency had closed the business, packed up and left Australia. Some students have told that the owners of El Futuro are now living in the region of Tucuman, Argentina.

K.A. wants to warn potential foreign students – especially those who are still in their countries trying to come to Australia using local education agents. They are the most vulnerable of becoming victims of fraud because no Australian authority directly regulates student agencies, not within Australia, let alone in other countries.

“Education is one of Australia’s biggest sources of income and it seems very easy to become a student agent as they are not regulated,” K.A. said.

“When I tried to report my case, it wasn’t anyone’s competence: not the police because it was not a crime in Australia but overseas so it was no one’s competence. There is no one to report this case to.”

K.A. arrived Australia with her family because she managed to receive the letter of enrolment from the school her husband applied to through ‘Tu Futuro’. However, she lost nearly AUD $24,000 in the process.

She says schools should be the only ones authorised to receive money from students, without intermediate agencies.

“It is very bad that the education agents are administrating the money. If it had gone directly to the school to which it had to be paid to, it would have been very different.

My money was in the agents’ hands and education agents aren’t regulated by anyone. It was as if I had given the money to a random person”, KA said .

César Piracoca, another Colombian aspiring student, is still in Bogotá waiting for a solution.

He says he received no official support during the investigation, even though he had the enrolment certificates from Riverton, the Australian Institute of Business and Technology, which he paid for through ‘Tu Futuro’. He was enrolled to attend a general English course and a Diploma in Business Administration.

Mr Piracoca asks the Australian authorities to increase the control of the education agencies. He said he contacted ‘Tu Futuro’ agency through the official website “Study in Australia”, administered by the Australian Committee of Trade and Investment (Austrade).

“They (the Australian government) should have more legislation, a way for the government to know where the money is coming from and who is making money from those resources,” he told .

“Because the truth is that one could send money through many informal ways, with people, or through electronic means, such as PayPal and electronic transfers (…) Anyone can be a student agent.”

Mr Piracoca said he still has no certainty whether he can come with his family to study in Australia. After the economic blow that lost him his savings to ‘Tu Futuro’, the latest news is that Riverton School – where he was supposed to study – closed its doors two months ago. https://www.riverton.edu.au/

The joint Committee will also hold public hearings in Sydney and Melbourne but is yet to set any dates.

Dutton slams AAT decisions after staff enjoy $600k ‘tax-funded’ trip

Peter Dutton has warned the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to urgently change its ways and focus on deporting foreign criminals, after hundreds of staff from the government body enjoyed a $600,000 conference on the Sunshine Coast.

Staff from the tribunal spent three days at the 361-room Novotel Twin Waters Resort – which Channel 9 claims was funded by taxpayers – but many of them didn’t get the warm welcome they may have expected.

A Current Affair caught footage of the family of a murdered Melbourne woman protesting outside. According to the show, she was tragically stabbed to death in 2013 by a Turkish man, who the Department of Home Affairs has twice attempted to ban from entering Australia. However, those decisions were reportedly overthrown both times by the AAT.

It’s just another in a long line of controversial U-turns by the tribunal that has sparked outrage in recent years, as decisions to deport criminals have been overturned allowing them to stay in the country.

Now, Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton has responded to the AAT’s luxury trip away, and said he hopes part of their agenda was to change their ways and focus more on protecting national security.

He said: “I hope that part of their deliberation up at the resort was to look at ways they can start to reflect community standards more regularly than what we see at the moment.

“I think people want to see community standards reflected, people want criminals kicked out of our country. We’re not going to take a backwards step on this move, we want to make sure these visa cancellations are made. It’s in the national interest that they provide for a safer society. We want that backed up by the courts and we don’t apologise for that.”

The AAT provides independent reviews on decisions made by government departments. Its panellists are not publicly named, although its most senior executives are, and most of its decisions are not made publicly available. While they have the power to overturn an initial decision by the Department of Home Affairs, Dutton’s team can then overturn that decision again in certain, more extreme, circumstances.

Dutton confirmed some of the previous members of the tribunal are no longer working there, and added: “We’re looking at ways in which we can reform the process, because at the moment we are spending millions of dollars, we’re seeing criminals who should be deported staying here and it’s undermining the work we’re doing in cancelling the visas and I’m not going to tolerate that.

“I want to make sure that we have people in our country and welcome them warmly, but if people commit crimes against Australians they need to understand that the default position is that they will go.”

The minister said it comes down to the make-up of the tribunal and who’s working there – and even said it goes further than the AAT, and some judges working in magistrate’s and criminal courts can make the wrong decisions too.

It comes after Dutton finally hit out at the AAT in a scathing attack just days ago, and took the rare opportunity to slam the tribunal as a whole – confirming he’s calling for some of its members to be replaced.

‘I want them out’: Dutton slams AAT over more shock deportation U-turns

“We have a problem with the AAT and there’s no sense pretending otherwise,” he told radio host Ray Hadley. “The AAT does not reflect, in many of these cases, the view of the Australian people. In my judgement, it’s unacceptable to be appointing people who clearly don’t have the confidence of the government, and clearly don’t have the confidence of the Australian people.”

The Herald Sun previously revealed that there were 164 cases in which criminals were saved from having their visas cancelled, or simply not granted, over the past eight years. Of those, eight were convicted murderers, 17 were rapists, 33 were drug dealers and 23 were found guilty of armed robbery.

In a statement released on April 27, the AAT noted that “recent media coverage included claims questioning the transparency and accountability of the AAT’s operations”. The tribunal noted that decisions on whether to approve or set aside decisions by one of the Department of Home Affair’s delegates made up only a small part of its workload.

 

Bridging visa surge includes 37,000 mystery holders and swamps permanent migration cuts

Massive growth in Australia’s ballooning temporary migration is dwarfing the Government’s cuts to the permanent intake.

Key points:

  • An extra 40,000 people are in Australia on bridging visas compared to a year ago
  • The Government has revealed it plans to cut the permanent intake by up to 20,000 this year
  • More than 2.2 million temporary visa holders are currently in Australia, a record high

The number of people who hold bridging visas — the same kind of visa given to the Commonwealth Games athletes who are seeking asylum — has hit a historic high.

At the end of March, 195,000 people with bridging visas were in Australia, including more than 37,000 whose nationality was not specified.

That is up more than 40,000 on a year ago, and close to 90,000 since 2014, according to official Department of Home Affairs figures.

It has pushed the number of people in Australia on temporary visas to more than 2.2 million — again, a record high.

Bridging visas are usually given to migrants whose substantive applications are currently being processed.

Jonathan Granger, director of Granger Australia and a former national president of the Migration Institute of Australia, described the migration program as “chaotic”.

“The resources available to the department are limited every year by Government, and yet Government rolls out reform agendas that are not well thought through, that require transitional arrangements and require multiple layers of processing against regulations in the same visa areas,” he said.

“The result of those things is significant delays.”

Attempt to cut migration
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the Government was planning on cutting the permanent migration intake from its traditional level of 190,000 per year, down to approximately 170,000 this year.

But that number is dwarfed by the scale of the temporary visa program.

In the past year an additional 150,000 visitors are in Australia on temporary visas, including 33,000 more foreign students.

Many of these — such as students, backpackers and many bridging visa holders — have extensive work rights.

A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said processing times were driven by a range of factors including:

  • the volume of applications received,
  • completeness of the application,
  • how promptly applicants respond to any requests from the department, and
  • the complexity of assessments in relation to health, character and national security requirements.

“The department monitors feedback, trends, and fluctuating processing times each month to identify issues in specific caseloads, opportunities for continuous business process improvement and client service efficiencies,” they told.

The mystery 37,000
The boom in bridging visas has been driven by a mysterious component of 37,000 visa holders for whom the Department of Home Affairs will not reveal their nationality.

he Department of Home Affairs declined to provide more explanation about this group.

Mr Granger said the program changes and lack of resources meant there were growing numbers of visa refusals that ended up at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

“This results in a significant rise of unwarranted refusals, and transfers time delays and costs over to the Appeals Tribunal,” he said.

“The Appeals Tribunal is wasting resources on expensive tribunal members deciding on simple visa matters.”

The average processing time at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for temporary work visas is 381 days over the past six months, up from 286 for the corresponding period a year ago.

Wayne Parcell, immigration partner at EY, said it was impossible to determine the “root cause” of the increase in bridging visas without more information.

“A surge in application rates in different visa categories, and looking at visa refusal numbers in different categories, can just as much be a reason for the increase as an increase in processing times across a range of visa categories,” he said.

Mr Parcell said many of his clients already on bridging visas were forced to request separate bridging visas if they needed to travel — for example for business or family visits — creating additional administrative load on the department.

“A reduction in the number of bridging visas is possible if a multiple entry travel facility was granted to all applicants who are legitimately awaiting a visa decision in Australia,” he said.

“This would decrease administrative effort for the Department of Home Affairs and improve the service experience for clients.”

Increase to the financial requirements for certain Student Visa applications

This article explains the changes, potential impact on visa applications and why using an expert of your choice may be beneficial.

Increase to the financial requirements for certain Student Visa applications

Sufficient funds for cost of living
In certain instances student visa applications must be submitted with evidence the applicants have sufficient funds available whilst undertaking studies in Australia.
Today, the Department of Home Affairs announced the minimum funds required will increase on 1 February 2018 – the increase will start at around 2.3% and will continue to change in line with Australia’s consumer price index (CPI).

From 1 February 2018:

Main Student or Guardian: $20,290
Partner or Spouse: $7,100
Per Child: $3,040

Conclusion
Many changes to the migration portfolio and the various types of Australian visas have come into effect over the last 6 – 8 months. Some of these changes are still in place and some have been disallowed subsequently reverting back to the original requirements.
More changes to the migration program are scheduled to take place over the coming months and are likely to create a surge in the number of visa applications being lodged before those changes take effect.

With that in mind, this is a timely reminder that the Department of Home Affairs may make decisions on visa applications based on the information submitted and in many instances are not required to ask for further supporting evidence.

In light of the above, the chances of lodging an invalid application and risking your immigration status, or having a visa application refused is a real possibility.

MY VISA ONLINE has many years of experience and is ready and able to assist you to achieve your migration goals.

If you would like to work with us, the best way to proceed is to book a consultation with our advisor. Aside from outlining your migration options in writing, you will be able to judge for yourself what it’s like to work with MY VISA ONLINE and whether we are the right experts for you.

2-Year Study Requirement- Policy Change for Graduate Diplomas

 

2-Year Study Requirement – Policy Change for Graduate Diplomas

The Australian Study Requirement (usually referred to as the 2-Year Study Requirement) is relevant for the following visas:
Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas
General Skilled Migration – awarding points for Australian study
Postgraduate Diplomas are listed in the Migration Regulations as being an eligible qualification in assessing the 2-year study requirement. Whilst they are not eligible qualifications for the 485 Post Study Work Stream, it has previously been possible to use them for the points test and applying for the 485 Graduate Work Stream.
The Department of Immigration policy document for the 2-year study requirement was recently updated, and it indicates that a Graduate Diploma would not count towards the Australian Study requirement.

If you are completing a Graduate Diploma you must be aware that your eligibility may be affected

The Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training reviews the skilled migration program’s Skilled Occupation List each year based on certain criteria e.g., demand and supply or the amount of training needed etc., and flags certain occupations for future removal. Today was the last day for submitting feedback to the Minister for Immigration for consideration in March. The final list will take affect from 1st July next year.

The current list includes 183 occupations and is used to determine the eligibility for Australia’s permanent skilled migration scheme. There is another list which is longer, called the Consolidated Skilled Occupation list, which is for temporary work visas under 457 visa scheme.

Right now, the following occupations have been shortlisted for potential removal from Skilled occupation list.

  • Production Manager (Mining)
  • Accountant (General)
  • Management Accountant
  • Taxation Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Land Economist
  • Valuer
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Ship’s Officer
  • Surveyor
  • Cartographer
  • Other Spatial Scientist
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Structural Engineer
  • Transport Engineer
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Production or Plant Engineer
  • Aeronautical Engineer
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Engineering Technologist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Naval Architect
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • Veterinarian
  • Medical Diagnostic Radiographer
  • Medical Radiation Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • General Practitioner
  • Anaesthetist
  • Cardiologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Intensive Care Specialist
  • Paediatrician
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Medical Practitioners (nec)
  • Barrister
  • Solicitor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Psychologists (nec)
  • Chef*
  • Boat Builder and Repairer
  • Shipwright

http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/punjabi/en/article/2016/11/21/52-jobs-may-get-removed-skilled-occupation-list

Call for visas to serve up chefs

 

STRICT English language requirements for foreign workers are being reviewed as the Immigration Department negotiates a new labour agreement for the hospitality industry

The department is evaluating an industry request to fast-track thousands more foreign chefs and cooks on temporary work visas.

Separately, the department is considering lowering the existing requirement for 457 visa workers to have “functional ­English’’, as part of a government-ordered inquiry into the temporary work scheme.

Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive John Hart yesterday revealed the hospitality industry wants the agreement to extend 457 visas to cover waiters and bar staff, as well as skilled chefs and managers.

The industry also wants to waive English language requirements and axe the $53,900 minimum salary.

Mr Hart said foreign workers should be paid the same award rates as Australian staff. And he said kitchen staff did not need to speak English.

“The reality is that most of the people coming into the business are cooks and chefs and many of the kitchens, especially in the ethnic cuisine, don’t use English at all,’’ he said. “The language of the kitchen is the language of the cuisine. It is not appropriate to set the bar so high where there’s no requirement for English in the workplace, particularly with cooks and chefs.’’

Mr Hart said the industry needed to recruit 3500 more chefs and cooks because of a shortage of local labour.

Restaurateur Philip Thompson, who owns the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, said he had sponsored two chefs and two managers on 457 visas, and relied heavily on backpackers and foreign students to staff his popular Circular Quay eatery.

Mr Thompson said he paid award wages, but still could not find suitable Australian workers.

Only three of his 40 staff, including the head chef, were Australian. He has hired seven Italian waiters — “they’re fantastic and really understand service’’ — but backpacker visa rules prevented him employing them for more than six months.

“It’s not seen as a profession in Australia — it tends to be a part-time job for people to put themselves through uni — but a lot of the overseas people see it as a profession,’’ Mr Thompson said.

His general manager is Indonesian Dimple Nanikram, who first came to Australia from Bali to study business management.

She said Australian jobseekers did not want to work weekends, even though they were paid time and a half on ­Saturdays and double time on Sundays.

The restaurant’s floor manager is 27-year-old Turkish woman Hasrel Talus, who worked for years in international hotels and restaurants in Istanbul before moving to Australia to study English.

“We have 200 resumes at the moment and there is not one Australian one there — they are all from overseas,’’ she said yesterday.

“I love working here; you can’t complain working every day in front of the Harbour Bridge.’’

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/call-for-visas-to-serve-up-chefs/story-fn9hm1gu-1226876191494#