Author Archives: aesadmin

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New one-year work visa with a lower skills and English language requirements proposed

More details have emerged about the new visa category designed to bridge the gap between the subclass 400 and 457 visas.

The department of immigration has proposed the introduction of a short term work visa that would allow companies to bring in foreign specialist’s workers to Australia for up to a year. The proposed visa is expected not to have the same language, skill and labour market testing requirements as the 457 visa and promises to reduce costs and visa processing times for employers.


The proposed “short-term mobility” subclass of visas would be available for “specialised work which may include intra-company transfers and foreign correspondents”, says a proposal paper obtained by The Australian Financial Review.


According to the AFR, the proposed visa is likely to replace the existing category 400 visa, which allows skilled or specialist entrants to work for up to six weeks. The report states that there were 4587 visas of this type granted when it was first offered in 2012-13. That jumped to 32,984 in 2013-14. Applicants are concentrated in mining, manufacturing, construction and education.


Employers have complained that the current 6-week limit on the sc 400 visa is too short for projects while the sc457 visa is riddled by red-tape, processing delays and high-costs.


Australian Mines and Metals Association director Scott Barklamb told the AFR that Australia would benefit from “mobile, highly skilled professionals who temporarily live and work where their specialised skills are most in need”. “Australians working in the resource sector often have opportunities to work and live temporarily all over the world and the Australian industry must similarly benefit from global engagement.”


According to the AFR, the short-term mobility subclass would include a visa valid for three months or a year. Candidates for the shorter visa could be bought in at the invitation of an Australian company. For the visa to be valid for up to 12 months, candidates would require a “statement of guarantee or undertaking from the Australian organisation detailing salary and any employment conditions reflective of the Australian standard for the duration of the stay must be provided”.


Source: Migration Alliance

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Applicant gets visa with fake documents

When exactly do things like Skills Assessment and English Language proficiency test documents get checked by the department of immigration? The answer apparently seems to be well and truly after the visa has been granted.                            

In a matter recently considered by the AATA, the Tribunal found that the DIBP granted the applicant a skilled visa purely based on information provided by the applicant at the time of application. There were no checks made by the DIBP with the Skills Assessment authorities or the relevant language testing centre prior to the DIBPs decision to grant the visa.

However, a year after the application and well after the grant of the visa, “CPA Australia advised the Department that in their database they had no record of the applicant’s skills assessment, that they had no record of the reference number provided by the applicant, and no record of the applicant’s name” according to the Tribunal member’s statement.

The Department, then undertook checks with the IELTS Report Form Verification Service which showed that there was no record of the applicant undertaking an IELTS English test – the Verification Service was unable to locate any record of the reference number the applicant provided and there was no record of the applicant’s name in their database.

DIBP subsequently cancelled the visa. The applicant applied for a review denying any wrong-doing and pointed to corruption within the DIBP and fraud by “a migration agent whom he paid a fee of $70,000…”.

“Fraud was perpetrated by his consultant and by the Department” noted the submission from the applicant’s representative at the Tribunal, “Our client was not complicit in any fraud perpetrated by the parties but as he has claimed he has been a victim in this matter.”

In reaching its decision, the Tribunal acknowledged that the visa cancellation is a serious outcome and would likely result in the applicant being subject to a section 48 bar preventing the grant of certain visa subclasses and an adverse migration history.

However, the Tribunal rejected the applicant’s key arguments and refused to accept that the applicant handed such a large amount of cash to a stranger on the promise of a visa. It did not comment on the claims of corruption in the DIBP nor question DIBPs audit process which effectively allowed the applicant to remain in Australia for some 20 months.

Source: Migration Alliance


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Tourism hits new records

Despite the amazing natural wonders of Western Australia, the state closest to Asia is struggling to draw visitors and as a result has seen spending by tourists drop by AU$60 million in the year to September, according to figures released by Tourism Australia yesterday.

Overall, the results from Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey show continuing growth with further record international arrivals, visitor nights and spending figures.

The report revealed that spending reached a new high of $34.8 billion, an increase of 13 per cent or $4.1 billion over the year, which is the strongest growth seen since 2001. International visitor arrivals increased 7 per cent to 6.7 million while nights were up 10 per cent, reaching 242 million during the year ending September 2015.

The Government’s efforts to boost flight capacity, visa reforms and focused international marketing are increasing Australia’s appeal in the growing global tourism market, noted Minister for Tourism and International Education, (and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment) Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck.

“We have also made tourism infrastructure one of five National Investment Priorities, backing the growth of a key industry which supports around a million jobs,” noted the minister adding, “Australia’s strong international education sector is clearly having a positive impact on our tourism industry; with every international student in Australia attracting visits from friends and family.” Minister for Tourism and International Education Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck.

The figures show that visiting Australia for the purposes of education is supporting strong growth, with visitation up 19 per cent and nights up 18 per cent. Total trip spend for education visitors increased by 27 per cent for the year to $8.2 billion, which drove 43 per cent of the overall increase.

With approximately 600,000 international students currently enrolled onshore, and growing, that adds up to a significant contribution, noted Senator Colbeck.

The figures show growth in spending spread across the following visitor categories:

  • Education visitor spending: up 27 per cent to $8.2 billion
  • Employment visitor spending: up 26 per cent to $2.8 billion
  • Visiting friends and relatives spending: up 14 per cent to $5.8 billion
  • Holiday visitor spending: up 7 per cent to $13.2 billion

China continues to lead the growth with huge increases; visitor numbers are up 22 per cent to 896,000, nights up 25 per cent to 39.3 million and spend up a huge 43 per cent to $7.7 billion.

There was record spending by visitors from 10 of Australia’s top-20 markets: New Zealand, China, the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, France and Switzerland.

Revenue from Tourism showed massive increases with Victoria leading the charge (up 28 per cent), Tasmania (up 24.4 per cent) and New South Wales (15.6 per cent). Western Australia saw a 2.6% increase. Calls are now being made for the Western Australian state government to do much more for tourism.

“The Barnett government has not matched huge increases in destination marketing by Queensland, NSW and Victoria and now those states are all achieving massive growth in international tourism while our numbers collapse,” Opposition (Labor) tourism spokesman Paul Papalia said. “Even Tasmania is embarrassing us.”

Source: Migration Alliance

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New Citizenship Law passed

In its final night for the year, Parliament passed legislation that will strip Australian citizenship from dual citizens who are involved in terrorist conduct overseas or convicted of terrorism activity.

The bill provides for dual citizens to lose their citizenship in two new ways: by engaging in conduct deemed to amount to a renunciation of citizenship, or by being convicted of a prescribed offence.

A statement from the office of the minister of immigration noted that theAustralian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 aims to ensure terrorists who are dual nationals are prevented from returning to Australia and dual nationals who engage in terrorism within Australia can be removed where possible.

“The changes to the existing legislation were necessary to reflect the current threat that Australia and the rest of the world faces” notes the statement adding that, “Australia’s current threat level is now at ‘probable’ – meaning that there is credible intelligence assessed by our security agencies that indicates individuals or groups have developed both the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia.

“Dual nationals who engage in terrorism are betraying their allegiance to this country and do not deserve to be Australian citizens. The Governments highest priority has been and will always be keeping Australians and the community safe and secure.” Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton’s statement.

Greens and independent senator Nick Xenophon said that the changes to the citizenship laws could expose Australians to more terrorism.

“Ultimately we think the safest place for Australian citizens who have been convicted of violent acts, who are indeed criminals, is in custody here in Australia, not roaming the international stage,” Greens leader Richard Di Natale said.

Senator Xenophon said the proposed changes were inconsistent with an earlier national security bill, which aimed to prevent Australians travelling overseas as foreign fighters.

“The Government said we shouldn’t let people go overseas to fight, to be involved in terrorist attacks and we should keep them here, but this bill is saying if you’re overseas, we don’t want you back in the country,” he said.

Some analysts, have indicated that the new laws are likely to face a constitutional challenge on the grounds that the minister would be “the effective decision maker” in the cancellation process, and this could be characterised as an exercise of judicial power.

Source: Migration Alliance

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Engineers Australia now accepting TOEFL Ibt

Engineers Australia have announced on their website ( that from 1 January 2016 it will be accepting the TOEFL IbT as an alternative English Language Test to address the English language competency element of the Migration Skills Assessment.

Applicants submitting their application on or after the 1 January 2016 will be able to provide either an IELTS test result form with a score of 6 or more in each of the 4 modules, or a TOEFL IbT result with the following minimum scores for each module:

  • Listening 12
  • Reading  13
  • Writing     21
  • Speaking 18

Applicants will need to upload the test results, as well as write their registration number.

TOEFL IbT results will be accepted up to 2 years after the test date.

Information about TOEFL IbT can be found on the ETS website:

Source: MIA and Engineers Australia

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Interruption to DIBP services

Some employees of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection including the Australian Border Force, who are members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), will take part in protected industrial action at various work sites over 7-9 December 2015.

The Community and Public Sector Union​ (CPSU) have given notice of 24 hour work bans over 7-9 December 2015, which will impact container/ cargo examination facilities and international mail facilities nationally.

The Department has contingency arrangements in place to protect Australia’s borders. The Department is working closely with stakeholders to minimise the impact on business the travelling public and on cargo and mail operations and is ensuring appropriate contingencies are in place for visa and citizenship services. During protected industrial action, the health, safety and security of the public and our staff continues to be our priority.

DIBP will continue to negotiate in good faith with all bargaining representatives to reach an agreement which is within our means, and meets the parameters set by the Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy.

Please refer to the following link for more details:

Source: DIBP

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Phone scam seeking money from visa applicants

DIBP’s phone numbers are being used as part of a scam to intimidate visa applicants to pay money or face deportation. Be advised that DIBP’s general enquiry telephone numbers are not used for outbound calls. Staff from DIBP offices, including the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority will never use these numbers to phone visa applicants or agents.

Scamwatch​​ provides more details on how to protect visa applicants against phone scams.

Protect your per​​sonal information

You should never provide your personal, credit card or online account details if you receive an unexpected email requesting these, that purports to be from the Department. Inste​​​ad, you should contact the Department to verify the authenticity of the email.

Information about types of scams and how you can protect your​​​self is available on the Scamwatchwebsite.​

Source: DIBP

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Don’t sell visas, not even to significant investors, warns productivity commission

Auctioning off Australian visas could boost the country’s bottom-line by $7.6 billion per year but the Productivity Commission has rejected the idea saying that it is short-sighted and would attract the wrong sort of people. The commission also suggested that even the SIV program should be abolished.

In its draft recommendations, the Productivity Commission’s report has instead called for improvements in the immigration system stating that it needs to focus on attracting skilled migrants, removing barriers to immigrants integrating into the labour market, and improving access to humanitarian migrants.

The draft recommendations have backfired on Liberal Democratic Senator, David Leyonhjelm who originally called for the investigation into the price-based visa system and suggested that charging $40,000 per permanent visa would allow for large tax cuts for Australians.

The commission said its research and analysis found that gains from auctioning off visas would be minor compared to the ongoing contributions and income tax that can be collected from younger immigrants over their lifetime. It said, skilled immigrants contribute much more in tax than they cost in services and warned that selling visas could hurt the economy in the long term.

The commission also stressed that migration levels need to be maintained for decades to increase income levels of Australians. It said that at current levels of immigration, Australia’s population will reach 40 million by 2060, and real per capita incomes will climb 50 per cent.

The commission’s report also made a call to abolish the significant and premium investor visas saying that Australia’s “open and deep capital markets are no barrier to foreign investors.” It argued that the economic benefits of such visas accrue mainly to the visa holders and fund managers selling assets to foreigners.

“The benefits to Australian businesses seeking investment and the economic benefits to the broader Australian community are likely to be very small or nonexistent,” it said. “Overall the case for retaining the Significant Investor Visa and Premium Investor Visa streams is weak.”

The commission’s final report is due to be released in May next year. Follow this link to make submissions on the Commissions draft report.

Sourced from various media reports including the ABC, The Australian Financial Review and Sydney Morning Herald.

Source: Migration Alliance

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Australian Citizenship Legislative Changes Update

These amendments and the new fees will commence on 1 January 2016

  1. Foreign currency exchange

Acceptable foreign currencies for payment of citizenship application fees will be determined by the conversion instruments Payment of Visa Application Charges and Fees in Foreign Currencies and Places and Currencies for Paying Fees which are updated in January and July each year. 

  1. Increase in citizenship application fees

Amends Schedule 3 of the Citizenship Regulations to change the fees set out in this schedule payable for certain citizenship applications. The new charges can be found below:

Changes to amounts for citizenship application fees
Provision Before Amendment From 1 Jan 2016
Citizenship by descent – person born outside Australia to an Australian parent.

Applications made at the same time under section 16 of the Citizenship Act (Application and eligibility for citizenship) by 2 or more siblings.

$120 $230
Citizenship by descent – person born outside Australia to an Australian parent.

An application under section 16 of the Citizenship Act (Application and eligibility for citizenship), other than an application mentioned in table item number 1.

$120 $230
Citizenship through adoption – person adopted in accordance with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Applications made at the same time under section 19C of the Citizenship Act (Application and eligibility for citizenship) by 2 or more siblings. $120 $230
Citizenship through adoption – person adopted in accordance with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.

An application under section 19C of the Citizenship Act (Application and eligibility for citizenship), other than an application mentioned in table item number 3

$120 $230
Citizenship by conferral – general eligibility

An application under section 21 of the Citizenship Act (Application and eligibility for citizenship), other than an application mentioned in table item numbers 5 to 14 or items 14B to 15D, if the applicant claims eligibility on the basis of the criteria in subsection 21(2) of the Citizenship Act.

$260 $285
Citizenship by conferral – other than general eligibility – citizenship test not required.

An application under section 21 of the Citizenship Act (Application and eligibility for citizenship), other than an application mentioned in table item numbers 5 to 14B or 15C and 15D.

$130 $180
Citizenship by conferral – general eligibility – applicant previously passed citizenship test in association with a previous application.

An application (the new application) under section 21 of the Citizenship Act (Application and eligibility for citizenship), other than an application mentioned in table item numbers 5, 6, 7A, 14 and 15C, if: (a) the applicant claims eligibility on the basis of the criteria in subsection 21(2) of the Citizenship Act; and (b) the applicant previously made an application (the old application) on or after 1 October 2007; and (c) under the old application, the applicant sat a test as described in paragraph 21(2A)(a) of the Citizenship

$130 $180
Resumption of Australian citizenship

An application under section 29 of the Citizenship Act (Application and eligibility for resuming citizenship), other than an application mentioned in table item number 16.

$70 $210
Renunciation of Australian citizenship

An application under section 33 of the Citizenship Act (Renunciation)

$285 $205
Notice of evidence of Australian citizenship

An application under section 37 of the Citizenship Act (Evidence of Australian citizenship), other than an application mentioned in table item numbers 19 or 19A.

$60 $190 
  1. Application and transitional provisions

Amendments made by these changes apply to applications made under a provision of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, made on or after 1 January 2016

Source: MIA

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Migration Legislative Changes Update

Effective from 21 November 2015 and apply to applications made on or after this date

  1. Student and student guardian visas

Dependent relatives of diplomatic and consular representatives will now be able to granted student or student guardian visas onshore during representatives’ posting period. The requirement for the Foreign Minister to recommend the grant of the visa has been removed.

  1. Diplomatic domestic workers employment conditions

The wages and working conditions of domestic workers of diplomatic or consular representatives must be determined in accordance with the standards under the relevant Australian legislation and awards.

  1. Visitor visa – 12 month maximum stay on combined visas

A Subclass 600 Visitor visa may only be granted, if the combined stay with one or more visitor visa, working holiday visa, work and holiday visa or bridging visa does not exceed a total of 12 months combined stay in Australia.  Exceptional circumstances must exist to be granted a period exceeding 12 months.

  1. Referred stay visas – human trafficking, slavery or slavery like practices.

Lowers the threshold and broadens the scope for allowing a person who has participated in the criminal justice process and would be in danger if they returned to their home country, to be issued an Attorney General’s certificate for a permanent Referred Stay visa

Effective from 01 December 2015 and apply to applications made on or after this date

  1. Three months employment for second Working Holiday Visa 

The three months specified work performed in order to gain a second WHV must be appropriately remunerated in accordance with relevant Australian legislation and awards.  The work will be calculated as the full time equivalent of 88 days.

Effective from 21 November 2015 and apply to applications made but not finally determined before this date or made on or after this date

  1. PIC 4020 added to six extra visa classes

The PIC 4020 has been added to Subclass (SC) 124 & 858 Distinguished Talent, SC 405 Investor Retirement, SC 410 Retirement, SC 771 Transit and SC 988 Maritime Crew visas.

Effective immediately

  1. Technical amendment

This is a technical amendment to enable an English test undertaken within three years of unfinalised pre-July 2012 applications to be accepted for those applications.

Source: MIA

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