Author Archives: aesadmin

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DIBP Industrial Action – Important information for travellers and clients

Department of Immigration and Border Protection employees, who are members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), will take part in protected industrial action at various work sites around Australia starting from 11 August 2016.

The CPSU has given notice of work stoppages at all Department of Immigration and Border Protection work areas, in all states, including international airports, client service centres, ports, container examination facilities and international mail facilities.

The department has contingency arrangements in place to minimise the impact of stoppages on business operations.

The health, safety and security of the public and DIBP staff continues to be our priority during protected industrial action.

While DIBP staff are working closely with stakeholders to minimise the impact on the travelling public and on cargo and mail operations, and is ensuring appropriate measures are in place for visa and citizenship services, DIBP strongly  encourage passengers booked on international flights get to the airport early.

See below for detailed information about where and when protected industrial action is planned to occur.​

11 August 2016

Western Australia

  • Perth International Airport – 9.15 pm to midnight

12 August 2016

Across Australia

  • Midnight 12 August to midnight 13 August 2016 13 August 2016


  • Brisbane International Airport – Midnight to 4.30 am
  • Cairns International Airport – Midnight to 12.30 am
  • Source: DIBP

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10-year tourist visa trial set to start soon

After over a year of considering the lengthy multiple-entry tourist visa for Chinese visitors, the Australian Prime Minister has finally announced that a trial for the 10-year visa will start soon but neither the PM, the DIBP or DFAT have provided any details except that the trial will for the first time allow for tourist visa applications to be lodged in Mandarin.


The trial is expected to boost tourist numbers particularly those of return visitors to Australia. For years now the industry has complained of the inordinate visa demands, such as bank records and other documentation, all of which they say have made travel to Australia less attractive even to those have been here and inclined to return.


The Australian trial lags well behind the US, Canada and Britain which have already moved to permanent 10-year, repeat-entry tourist visas for the Chinese.


The Australian Prime Minister is currently in China with a 1000-strong business delegation looking to strengthen economic ties with a focus on tourism and education.


“China is Australia’s most valuable tourism market. More than a million Chinese visited Australia last year (and) contributed A$8.3 billion to our economy,” Mr Turnbull said at a function in Shanghai’s sprawling Expo Centre.


To encourage further growth, Australia will not only relax its visa rules but will also embark on a major tourism campaign. Mr Turnbull said, next year has been designated the Australia-China Year of Tourism. “Both our governments are working on a program of events in China and Australia throughout 2017 to promote the tourism relationship,” Mr Turnbull said.


Government figures released in January showed a million Chinese tourists flocking to Australia over the previous 12 months, up from 100,000 just 15 years ago. Beaten in absolute numbers only by New Zealand, China is the fastest growing group with a total spending of A$7.7 billion (US$5.9 billion) last year.


Australia has launched a A$40 million global tourism campaign to help fill the economic hole left by a commodities downturn, targeting a growing group of Chinese holidaymakers who favour independent itineraries over traditional large group packages.


Tourism is among Australia’s fastest growing sectors, employing 500,000 people. Tourism Research Australia forecasts Chinese spending to double to A$13.7 billion by 2024–25.  The government forecasts the industry to rake in A$113 billion by June 2016, with foreign tourists accounting for one third.


Source: Migration Alliance

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School fee shock for SC457 Visa workers

Education Minister for South Australia Dr. Susan Close has announced that 457 visa workers earning a household income of more than $77,000 will have to start paying school fees of up to $6100 from next year, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.


Now, the children of sc457 workers do not pay public school fees. The move brings South Australia into line with WA, NSW and the ACT.


According to the newspaper, for the first year, the new charge will only apply to people who arrive in SA from January 1, 2017. From January 2018 it will apply to all 457 visa holders living in the state, regardless of when they arrived.


The report states that any family supported by a 457 visa worker, with a household income of $77,000 or more, will have to pay $5100 per year for primary school students and $6100 for secondary students.


Explaining her reasons, the Dr Close said that it was ““fair to ask 457 visa holders who make a temporary home here to make a modest contribution to the cost of providing public education…The money will help fund early childhood education, which is one of the most crucial areas of our education system.


It is estimated the new fee requirement will generate more than $11 million in extra revenue for the state over the next four years.


Source: Migration Alliance

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Important announcement

Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa – closure of ACT nomination program to overseas applicants for 2015/16


The Australian Capital Territory is pleased to announce that program targets for ACT nomination of a Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa have been met for the 2015/16 financial year.


Effective 18 March 2016 at 4:00pm AEST, applications for ACT nomination from overseas residents will not be accepted. If you are living overseas you are not able to apply for ACT nomination of a Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa until the program reopens in July 2016.


Applications for ACT nomination already submitted before 4:00pm 18 March 2016 will be processed in queue order.


Canberra Residents

This action does not affect Canberra-based applicants. If you are living in Canberra and working in a skilled occupation, the program is open. You are still able to apply for ACT nomination of the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa if you meet the current nomination criteria for Canberra residents.


Skilled – Nominated (190) visa

The Skilled – Nominated (190) visa is a points-based visa for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory.


You may apply for ACT nomination if you are: (1) living overseas; or (2) living in Canberra, subject to additional criteria as outlined below.


Canberra residents must be employed by an ACT employer in a skilled occupation and demonstrate you have lived in Canberra for three months prior to applying for ACT nomination.


International graduates from an institution located in another Australian state or territory must be employed fulltime by an ACT employer in your nominated occupation for at least six months.


You will not meet the ACT’s eligibility criteria for nomination if you are currently living in another Australian state or territory.


Please note overseas applicants who have lived or studied in another Australian state or territory within the last year may not meet the ACT’s eligibility criteria. If this situation applies you should discuss your circumstances with our team prior to lodging your application. Each application will be assessed on a case by case basis.


Please refer to the ACT nomination guidelines below for verification of limited or closed occupations.


Skilled – Nominated (provisional) (489) visa

Please note the ACT does not have access to nominate subclass 489 visas.


Source: ACT Government

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$1000 fee to fast-track visa

From today, Chinese nationals can pay an additional $1000 to have their visa applications for a Visitor visa in either the Tourist or Business Visitor stream, fast-tracked.


As part of a trial to speed-up visa-processing for those who need to travel to Australia on short-notice and can afford to pay for the priority-processing, the department of immigration has announced that it will start fast-tracking such applications but did not commit to a minimum processing timeframe.


The department of immigration says there is no regulatory requirement that the application be decided by a particular timeframe despite the promise of priority processing and accepting the payment of $1000.


“While the Department will endeavour to make a decision within a shortened timeframe, there is no guarantee of a faster outcome, as issues such as character and health matters may delay processing” noted the department’s explanatory statement for the Legislative Instrument – F2016L00295


If an application fails, the DIBP states that “No refund will be available unless the visa application charge is being refunded. Invalid requests for this priority service, for example applicants holding passports not specified under the Regulation, would receive full repayment of the AUD1,000 fee.”


The department said that processing times for Visitor visas, more generally, will not be affected by this service.


The instrument currently provides for passport holders from the People’s Republic of China who are applying for a Visitor visa in either the Tourist or Business Visitor stream. It may be extended to other countries. The Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia recommended a number of key visa initiatives including this trial of a priority service for eligible Chinese nationals seeking to visit Australia.


Source: Migration Alliance

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The Benefits of Studying in Australia


Australia is one of the most popular study destinations for students all across the world. And for good reason, too, since Australian universities rank quite high among International universities and the Australian Education system is recognized internationally.


High Quality Education

There are 43 universities in Australia, many of them being in the top 50 worldwide rankings. Australian cities are also ranked among the best cities for education which means a degree from an Australian institute is going to look really good on your educational portfolio.


Qualified and Professional Instructions

Australian Professors and teachers are highly educated and equipped with the advance knowledge and latest developments in their respective fields.


Work while you study

In Australia, International students are allowed to work while they are on student visas. This usually helps them earn enough to cover the cost of living in the country.


Advanced facilities and Equipment

Universities in Australia are equipped with the most sophisticated and advanced equipment to aid the learning of students. From classrooms to laboratories, universities in Australia utilize the latest technological tools to make learning easier for their students.


Multicultural Environment

Australia is home to students hailing from a spectrum of cultural and geographical backgrounds, and so it is likely that you will be able to settle right in once you get here. Apart from this, you will also be able to make friends form different countries and understand their culture. This will prepare you for working as part of an international workforce and help sharpen your social skills.


Learning opportunities

Living in a new country, meeting people of different nationalities, class, and culture will teach you lots of things and help you grow as an individual. When you come to study in Australia, you are definitely going to learn a lot more than the course you are enrolled in.


Study anything you like

Australia has some of the most top ranked universities in the world offering a wide range of study areas including arts and humanities, medical sciences, Life sciences, engineering and IT, business and social sciences.  So, it is almost guaranteed that you will find the course you are looking for at an Australian university.


Beautiful places and lots of fun things to do

Australia is a beautiful country with lots of places to see and many things to do for entertainment on a budget. So when you have some free time on your hands, you could go out with your friends and have fun! Whether you are living in a large city or a small one, you are definitely not going to be bored during your stay.


Gain points for General skilled migration

If you wish to stay permanently in Australia after your studies are over, the fact that you have a professional degree from an Australian university will get you extra points for immigration.


Source: Migration Alliance

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Australian Business Groups demand 457 Visa reforms

The 457 work visa is regarded as extremely useful by Australian businesses; however, there are people who do not like the scheme. Many people in Australia hold the view that the programme takes jobs away from Australians and gives them to immigrants who work for much lower salaries. Those people will not like the recent letter penned by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who wants to decrease the market testing limitations which are attached to the 457 visas.


Market Testing

The whole point of market testing is to prevent jobs from being taken away from Australians. The business groups argue that the whole reason for market testing is a lie. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) alleges that the limitations actually end up hurting the local economy. The basic idea which they dispute is that they will hire foreigners over the locals. The main reason that the ACCI is disputing the requirements of the 457 visa is that the programme is used by companies to fulfil positions for which they do not find suitable local candidates.


The market testing aspect of the visa limits employers from hiring people below the average salary rates from other countries. Basically, if the market rate of a job is 20 dollars an hour, then a company cannot sponsor someone’s immigration and have them work at 10 dollars an hour. This is a great idea in principle and it makes sense, but the problem is that the figure does not take geographical differences into account.


Different limits for different areas

One proposal by the ACCI which is very reasonable is that the salary below which people cannot be hired should be based on the locality as well. The main metropolitan cities of Australia have a much higher cost of living than some of the other cities. When companies hire employees in bigger cities, they pay more, since the market rate is high due to the cost of living. The opposite is true for other, smaller cities. Those cities are the ones which are hurt the worst by these limits, as they can often not hire foreigners without paying them a much higher salary then they would have to pay someone already in Australia.


Understanding Skilled Immigration

One aspect which is often not understood by many locals is that skilled immigration is based on the needs of Australia. In the year 2015, for example, there was no need for auditors to be hired from other countries because the demand for auditors was met with local residents. Thus, there were very few visas available for auditors. The Skilled Occupation List outlines which skills are required in Australia; the openings are usually for specific degrees and qualifications for which there is a need in this country.


Basically, the 457 scheme is already designed to fulfil the positions which local residents cannot, because there aren’t enough skilled people or because there are just too many jobs available. Thus, the jobs are not being taken away from the locals. Some people may dispute it however, as we have heard anecdotes from people about how they were fired and someone from another country was hired in this place. Have you heard of such a case? If you have then do share the information with us in the comments.


Source: Migration Alliance

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Urgent review of investment visa rules needed

The 90% plunge in significant investor visa applications has prompted calls to Trade Minister Andrew Robb to review the program or risk losing an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion investments a year.


Last year’s changes to the SIV program required investors under the SIV program to put funds into venture capital and technology. This change has led to a dramatic fall in the SIV applications from 128 a month to between just eight and 12 a month this financial year, according to a report in The Australian.


West Australian Liberal backbencher Ian Goodenough has told parliament that the decision to exclude property development and established companies from the program “has proved problematic in practice”.


“This is very serious, and as a nation we could be forgoing up to $7.2bn in investment through the business migration program each year due to the recent changes in the program,” Mr Goodenough said.


James Clarke from the Australian China Business Council of West Australia told The Australian that there were concerns that the crash in applications from Chinese investors since July 1 last year meant Australia was “forfeiting more than $5bn per year to competitor markets such as Europe and the UK”.


“With an undeniable drop in application numbers, it can be clearly seen that a serious look needs to be had at the reforms implemented in July 2015, and quick steps be taken to ensure program success,” Mr Clarke said.


Trade Minister defended the changes, but conceded there were fewer visas granted so far, and there would be a lower overall investment.


“We do expect that when the new scheme reaches steady state that the quantum is likely to be lower than under the old rules, but the investment dollars we do attract will be more dynamic investment in areas of the economy where it can make a real difference,” he told The Australian.


There was a “fatal flaw” in the previous scheme, which benefited fund managers and encouraged passive investment in residential property, he said.


Source: Migration Alliance

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Record numbers of Chinese nationals to celebrate Chinese New Year in Australia

More than 100,000 Chinese nationals have decided to celebrate Chinese New Year in Australia this year.  The Department of Immigration and Border Protection(DIBP)  has processed about 100,000 visitor visa applications from China in January 2016 alone, a record figure for a single month. This is an increase of 17 per cent over January 2015.


Chinese New Year, celebrated today, is the peak travel period in China and is well known as the largest annual human migration in the world. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said that even with these record numbers the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has maintained a fast and efficient service.


‘My Department is enabling record numbers of Chinese tourists by significantly improving the processing time of visitor visa applications from China with the majority of applications processed within five days,’ Mr Dutton said.


‘This is an excellent result for the Australian tourism industry and the many thousands of Chinese nationals who choose Australia as a holiday destination.


‘The Year of the Sheep saw more than half a million visitor visa applications from Chinese nationals and we hope this trend will continue into the Year of the Monkey.’


The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is on track to receive well over 800,000 visitor visa applications from Chinese nationals for the 2015-16 year.  The Sichuan province is one of the largest sources of tourist visa applications to Australia and the Australian Government has opened a visa application centre in Chengdu specifically to support these people to more easily gain access to Australian immigration services.


‘This Government recognises the importance of Chinese tourists to the Australian tourism industry and economy as a whole, and as well as increasing efficiency in visa processing we are also introducing a number of tailored visa initiatives throughout 2016 to further encourage and support visitors from China, ‘ Mr Dutton said.


‘These include expansion of the visitor visa online lodgement system and trials of 10- year validity visitor visas, online Mandarin language visa applications and an optional 48-hour fast-track processing service.


‘My Department is working hard to support growth in the tourism industry while maintaining the integrity of our visa programmes.’


Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection(DIBP)

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Australian birth-rates fall to lowest levels in 10-years

A lower birth rate and an ageing population means a diminishing tax base. How then is Australia going to support itself in the next few decades, if this continues?


The number of people aged between 15 and 64 for every older person has fallen from 7.3 in 1974-1975 to an estimated 4.5 this year. By 2054-55 that number is likely to be 2.7, according to Treasury statistics.


These figures presumably take into account current migration planning levels which have been set at 190,000 per year. But by the way things are going, it doesn’t look like it is enough.


Late last year, the ABS released statistics showing that the total birth-rate, or fertility rate, was 1.8 babies per woman. This rate is well below the replacement level of 2.1. Last year’s rate was lower than the 1.88 in 2013, and charts a downward trend evident for the past five years.


Altogether, 299,700 births were registered in Australia in 2014, down from 308,100 in 2013. For the first time the ABS mapped birth rates and found families in city centres have a much lower birth rates than outer suburbs, where the rate exceeds two children.


 “There was a strong pattern in our major cities where the highest birth-rates were in outer suburbs and very low rates in the inner city. These inner city areas had high proportions of younger people, but few babies,” ABS spokeswoman AJ Lanyon said.


Most babies are born to women aged between 30 and 34, although there has been a small increase in the birth-rate for 40 to 49-year-olds. Victoria has the lowest fertility rate and the Northern Territory the highest, at 2.1 births per woman.


A treasury report has noted that, “To maintain Australia’s existing age structure through immigration would require increases in immigration every year — and the increases would need to become progressively larger and larger to take account of the ageing of the migrants themselves.”


The Migration Council of Australia’s independent economic modelling last year indicated that Australia would need to raise migration levels to 250,000 per year in order to support the economy, maintain sustainable GDP levels and remain competitive internationally.


Source: Migration Alliance

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