Category Archives: AES News

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Additional English language tests – commencement dates

Two additional English language tests, the TOEFL and Pearson tests, will be accepted from the 23 November 2014 and the Department’s online lodgement systems will also be updated at that date.

The Cambridge English language test is expected to be accepted from 1 January 2015.

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Streamlined student visa processing – changes to eligible providers

Legislative Instrument – IMMI 14/075 – F2014L01511- Migration Regulations 1994 – Specification of Eligible Education Providers and Educational Business Partners.

This Instrument:

modifies the list of eligible educational education providers and their educational business partners for streamline visa processing
updates the details of some existing education providers
removes some existing providers from the list
adds 55 new education providers to the list


As the Schedule of eligible providers is extensive, members are advised to check education providers for new applications.

This Instrument revokes IMMI 14/047 and commences on 23 November 2014.

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No plans to remove accountants from the 2015 SOL

Some of our blog readers may have seen today’s Australian Financial Review, which has incorrectly reported that the department has dropped accounting from its list of skilled occupations in demand for 2015.

There are no plans to remove this occupation from the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) for the 2015 programme year. The Office of the Chief Economist in the Department of Industry conducts analysis each year on the composition of the SOL. The next advice is expected in March 2015 after the completion of extensive labour market analysis and a public consultation process.

This year, the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (whose functions have been incorporated into the Department of Industry) released a detailed analysis of accountants and concluded that they should continue to be included on the SOL.

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Temporary pause in Victorian state nomination system

The Live in Victoria website is undergoing a major technology upgrade. As a result the State visa nomination applications system will be disabled from 9am Monday 27 October 2014 and will be operating by Monday 3 November 2014.

Please note that applicants and agents will be unable to submit applications for State visa nomination during this time.

The processing of applications recently lodged and already in the system will also be temporarily paused during this time, as our representatives will be unable to access the system while the upgrade is being undertaken.

The Skilled and Business Migration Program will also be unable to answer queries about the progress of applications while the system is down.

The Significant Investor Services Directory and the Overseas Skills Registry application forms will also be unavailable.

We encourage applicants and agents to lodge submissions or make any applications enquiries before the temporary outage.

We apologise to applicants and agents for any inconvenience caused while we make these important system improvements.

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Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda

The Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda – An action plan for a stronger Australia has been released by the Federal Government.

The Agenda outlines proposals for lifting productivity, ensuring gains to economic and jobs growth, developing a better skilled labour force, lowering production costs, increased and improved infrastructure and cuts in red tape.

Proposals relevant to migration include the implementation of reforms to the 457 visa and enhancements to the investor visa programme.

Agenda Proposal 11: Streamlining the subclass 457 visa programme: recommends implementation of the following recommendations of the Independent Review into the integrity of the 457 visa system:

streamline the processing of sponsorship, nomination and visa applications around risk-factors to reward low-risk applicants and re-focus compliance and monitoring activities on high-risk applicants;
reform sponsorship requirements to reduce the time and cost to businesses; increase the sponsorship approval period from 12 to 18 months for start-up businesses, to give start-ups more time to build their businesses to ensure sustainability;
provide greater flexibility in relation to English language testing and skill requirements for 457 applicants, to ensure that the standards required are appropriate for the industries and occupations being sought; and
retain the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold at $53,900, ahead of a future review of its operation.

Agenda Proposal 12: Expanding the investment visa programme: expands the significant investor visa programme and introduces a new Premium Investor Visa

streamline and enhance visa processing, further promote the programme globally and strengthen integrity measures, to increase the attractiveness of investing and settling in Australia while ensuring Australia’s interests are protected;
align the criteria for eligible (or ‘complying’) investments with the Government’s national investment priorities. The investment eligibility criteria will be determined ​by Austrade in consultation with key economic and industry portfolios;
introduce a Premium Investor visa (PIV), offering a more expeditious, 12 month ​pathway to permanent residency than the SIV, for those meeting a $15 million ​threshold; and
task Austrade to become a nominating entity for SIV (complementing the current State and Territory governments’ role as nominators) and to be the sole nominating ​entity for PIV.

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TOEFL to be accepted by professional accounting associations

The Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Institute of Public Accountants and CPA Australia have announced
they will all accept TOEFL test scores and Pearson scores to demonstrate English language proficiency for
skills assessments and professional accreditation from 1 November 2014.

Meanwhile, The Institute of Public Accountants will also accept Cambridge English language test results in 1
January 2015.

From November 2014, the department will accept English language test scores from the Test of English as a
Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) across
the Temporary Graduate, Skilled, Former Resident and Work and Holiday visa programmes. Scores from the
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test will also be accepted from early 2015.

These tests are alternatives to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Occupational
English Test (OET), and have been accepted in the Student visa programme since 2011.

Student visa applicants can continue to provide scores from IELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic or
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE).

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Migration Regulations and Citizenship Regulations amendments

Select Legislative Instrument 2014 No 163 – F2014L01461 – Migration Legislation Amendment (2014 Measures No. 2) Regulation 2014 – the purpose of this amendment is to amend the Migration Regulations 1994 and the Australian Citizenship Regulations 2007.

The following amendments are made to the Migration Regulations:

Exempt persons who were minors at the time an application was refused on PIC 4020 grounds from being subject to the exclusion period applied due to that refusal.
Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay) – extend both the entry period and the stay from 3 months to 6 months.
Allows the Minister to authorise the disclosure of certain information, including personal identifiers, which is currently disclosed to the AFP, state and territory police, to be disclosed to the CrimTrac Agency.
Allow student visa applicants enrolled in Advanced Diploma courses with an approved education provider to access streamlined visa processing and extend this SVP the Vocational Education and Training sector.
Amend the definition of ‘financial institution’ for all student visas to clarify both, the financial institution and the prudential regime under which it operates, to meet the prudential assurance criteria.
Makes changes to the automated processing systems for persons departing Australia.

The following amendments are made to the Citizenship Regulations:

Adds a reference to a person who has been adopted in accordance with a bilateral agreement to allow those persons to be granted citizenship in accordance with the Citizenship Act.
Allow Nigerian local currency to be used to pay fees for an application made under the Citizenship Act in a foreign country.

Various commencement dates are provided for each amendment in this Instrument.

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Arrangements for Work and Holiday visa applicants from various countries

Legislative Instrument – IMMI 14/098 – F2014L01498 – Migration Regulations 1994 – Specification of Arrangements for Work and Holiday Visa Applicants from Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United States of America and Uruguay.

This Instrument specifies:

the countries with SC 462 Work and Holiday visa arrangements,
the passport the applicant must hold,
addresses and foreign countries to lodge applications,
the educational qualifications applicable to each country.

Spain and Portugal are also added to the list of countries for Work and Holiday visa arrangements.

This Instrument revokes IMMI 14/025 and commences on 23 November 2014.

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Significant Investor Update – Victoria

The Victorian Government’s October 2014 Significant Investor Update has been released

This update provides information from the Victorian Government on their activities to support and attract investor migrants to Victoria, through the Business Innovation and Investment Program’s Significant Investor Visa stream.

This edition contains the following information:

Reforms to Significant Investor and 457 visa programs
Significant Investor nomination update
Victoria’s flexible visa nomination requirements
Victoria’s new feature web page for Chinese Significant Investors
Significant Investment Managers’ seminar
Victoria’s new Commissioner in Greater China
Information resources for Significant Investors
Significant Investor Services Director

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