Did you know the department has a new website?
The new website is available at the same address at immi.gov.au and contains all the information you need for visiting, studying or migrating to Australia.
The new site includes:
- a ‘Find a Visa’ tool to search for the visa that best suits you
- webpages for each Australian visa, with lodgement options, pricing, conditions, entitlements and eligibility on a single page
Videos on how to use the online tools are also available. Here is a video for students.
There is also a video about migrating to Australia.
So you can obtain information at a time and place convenient to you, we have made the site accessible for smart phone and tablet users.
If you have links or bookmarks for the previous site, you will be redirected to the new site. These redirects are temporary and we ask that you update any links or bookmarks as soon as you can.
- a refined assessment level (AL) framework
- the extension of streamlined visa processing to certain non-university degree providers.
These changes will make Australia’s education system even more attractive.
Simplifying the AL framework will benefit students from countries such as China and India and will assist vocational education and training students.
Assessment levels will reduce from five levels to three, while financial evidence for AL3 students will reduce from 18 to 12 months—provided funds are from a close relative of the student visa applicant. Both these changes are subject to the legislative change process, so they are proposed changes until formally recognised in legislation from March 2014. If the proposed changes do go through the legislative process as intended, students from many countries will be able to apply for a student visa with up to A$40 000 less in the bank.
Visit our website for more information about the simplified assessment levels and new visa processing arrangements or, if you have a question about the changes, join us this Wednesday on Facebook where we will be hosting a live chat. Visit the event on our Facebook page to post your student visa questions.
What: international student Facebook live chat.
When: 2–3 pm, Wednesday 20 November (Australian Eastern Daylight Time).
Where: online, on the department’s Facebook event page at international student Facebook live chat.
‘Like’ the department’s Facebook page before Wednesday to follow updates about the event.
This online event is a great opportunity to have all your international student-related questions answered.
You might be interested to know our 2012–13 annual report has been published and is available online. The annual report features information about the work of the department, and includes a section on this very blog! Page 12 onwards provides a top-level summary of Australia’s major achievements relating to migration.
One achievement worth mentioning was the successful delivery of the 2012–13 migration programme, which delivered an outcome of 190 000 places—exactly on target with planning levels and illustrating effective programme management and service delivery.
Delivering a migration programme with such precision is a great accomplishment and in practical terms you may be interested in how this is achieved. A significant amount of programme planning and management is involved to ensure that resources are allocated throughout the department to deliver each component of the migration programme.
In tandem with this, departmental staff in six offices throughout Australia and in 42 offices overseas balance priorities to ensure a visa is granted for every place available in the programme. The complexities involved can’t be overstated and demonstrate the department’s strong programme management and service delivery capabilities.
Statistics released in the annual Student Visa Program Trends report show that student visa numbers have experienced a return to sustainable growth in the last two years. This is part of a broader trend during the past 10 years from 2003.
Between 2005 and 2009, overseas student numbers, particularly in the vocational education and training sector, increased at an unsustainable rate due to many people using student visas as a pathway to skilled migration. When the government decoupled the link between studying in Australia and permanent migration, international student numbers started to decrease from 2009–10.
Student visa lodgements have been growing steadily with an increase of 0.4 per cent in 2011–12 and 3.8 per cent in 2012–13. This growth was driven by applications lodged outside of Australia which increased by 11.1 per cent in the same period. As with lodgements, student visa grants have also been increasing.
In addition, data from the Student Visa Program Quarterly Report shows there were 304 251 student visa holders in Australia as at 30 June 2013. Of these visa holders, 23.4 per cent were from China, the largest cohort, followed by 10 per cent from India.
During the June 2013 quarter, 75 per cent of all student visas were processed within 30 days, while 50 per cent were processed within 14 days. About 93 per cent of applications assessed during this period were granted a visa.
We haven’t been posting on the Migration Blog due to caretaker conventions in the lead-up to and following the federal election.
We look forward to posting again shortly.
It has been a year of change for the subclass 457 visa program. In our previous blog post about the 457 program in July, Kate wrote about the changes to the subclass 457 visa and how they will affect Australian businesses. In this blog post we will review the changes from a labour agreements perspective.
While the majority of changes to the subclass 457 visa will affect sponsors under the standard business sponsorship program, there are some changes that will apply to new and existing labour agreements.
About three per cent of all subclass 457 visas are granted under labour agreements. At June 2013 there were 162 labour agreements in effect and a further 71 under negotiation.
Some of the legislative changes that affect both labour agreement sponsors and their sponsored workers include:
- Commencement of work—sponsored 457 visa holders must commence work with their sponsor within 90 days of arriving in Australia.
- Finding a new sponsor—subclass 457 visa holders who cease employment with their sponsoring employer have 90 days to find a new sponsor or depart Australia.
- English language requirement—occupational English test score of ‘B’ in each of the four test components is now accepted for 457 visa applications, bringing this element of the subclass 457 program into alignment with the Employer Nomination Scheme.
- English exemptions—-occupation based exemptions to the English language requirement have been removed, with the assessment of generalist occupations strengthened.
- Skills assessments—applicants nominated in a generalist occupation, such as program and project administrator and specialist manager not elsewhere classified, must now undertake a formal skills assessment.
More information about the 1 July subclass 457 visa reforms is available on our website.
Existing and prospective labour agreement sponsors should also note that the temporary skilled migration income threshold increased from $51 400 to $53 900 on 1 July 2013.
More information is provided in the updated information packs for standard, on-hire, and meat industry labour agreements included below. For more information about labour agreements, visit the department’s website or email the specialist team for your industry:
Resources sector employers: firstname.lastname@example.org
On-hire employers: email@example.com
Meat processing employers: firstname.lastname@example.org
All other industries and employers: email@example.com
Established in 1999 between the governments of Australia and China, the ADS scheme is a bilateral tourism arrangement which provides streamlined travel opportunities for Chinese tourists to undertake leisure travel in groups to Australia.
ADS continues to be popular for first-time Chinese travellers to Australia and record numbers are using the scheme. In 2012–13, a total of 163 894 tourists travelled to Australia under the scheme, an increase of 19 per cent from the previous program year.
China is Australia’s second largest, and fastest growing, tourism market. More than 411 000 tourist visa applications were lodged by Chinese citizens in 2012–13, a 22 per cent increase from 2011–12.
The Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa offers a great opportunity for recently graduated international students to gain valuable work experience after completing their studies. This work experience helps develop the skills graduates gained during their studies and also makes them more employable upon return to their home country.
It is important to note that applicants need to meet a number of eligibility requirements to be granted the temporary graduate visa. And if the visa is granted, temporary graduate visa holders are responsible for finding their own employment.
Applying for this visa
Many international students make a decision to apply for the temporary graduate visa upon completion of their studies. Graduates can apply for this visa up to six months after completion of their studies.
There is no guarantee that, on the basis of having previously held a student visa, the applicant will meet the requirements to be granted a temporary graduate visa.
Any decision to apply for a temporary graduate visa is an entirely separate process to a student visa application. Depending on their individual circumstances, applicants may be eligible to apply for a temporary graduate visa through either the graduate work stream or the post-study work stream.
For information on the eligibility requirements for the temporary graduate visa, check out the Who Can Apply tab on the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa webpage.
Finding a job
The temporary graduate visa allows recent graduates to spend time in Australia to gain practical work experience to accompany their Australian qualification(s). There are no restrictions on the type of employment that the temporary graduate visa holder may choose to undertake.
It is important to note that finding a job is the responsibility of the temporary graduate visa holder. The Australian government is not responsible for arranging employment—there are many organisations which offer assistance in job seeking, including through the Australian Government’s JobSearch website.
Tonight is White Ribbon Night, which is a new initiative to help stop men’s violence against women. People are encouraged to have a ‘night in’ to draw attention to the fact that not everyone feels safe in their own home. According to White Ribbon Australia, at least one woman is killed every week by a former or current partner and one in four young Australians have witnessed violence against their mothers.
Migrant women’s experience of family violence can be exacerbated by language barriers, a lack of knowledge and awareness of the law and available services, cultural and religious barriers to seeking help, and fear of police, government agencies or of being ostracised by their community. For migrants on a temporary partner visa, the threat of being forced to leave Australia if they leave their partner adds another layer of pressure.
Australians do not want anyone staying in an abusive relationship in order to stay in the country and there are family violence provisions for people on temporary partner visas to prevent this from happening. In late 2012, we took steps to streamline the evidence that people claiming family violence need to provide the department.
As part of the changes, the type of evidence able to be provided was simplified and expanded. The list of acceptable evidence now includes letters, reports, statutory declarations and statements from certain professionals that victims of family violence may already have, for example hospital or doctors’ records and police reports.
At the same time we updated our public information and made the policy guidance more flexible. The changes formed part of our response to the Australian Law Reform Commission report, Family violence and Commonwealth laws: Improving Legal Frameworks and consultation with more than 60 diverse stakeholders, including women’s refuges and migrant women’s groups.
One consistent message from our stakeholders was to provide information in community languages. As a result, we translated information on the family violence provisions into 30 languages and these are available on our website.
Reforms to the subclass 457 visa commenced on 1 July.
How will the changes affect Australian businesses?
The changes will not adversely affect the majority of employers who are using the program appropriately. The changes will, however, strengthen the government’s capacity to identify and prevent employer practices that are not in keeping with the purpose of the subclass 457 program.
If the department has any concerns that an employer is not committed to training Australians, or a nominated position may not be genuine, then they may be requested to provide additional justification before a sponsorship or nomination can be approved.
Sponsors are also required to understand their new obligations.
How will the changes affect current subclass 457 visa holders?
There will be no adverse effects on existing visa holders. However, visa holders should note the changes to the English language and skills requirements if they plan to change employment, change their occupation or seek a further subclass 457 visa.
How will the changes affect subclass 457 visa applicants?
All subclass 457 visa applications lodged before 1 July 2013 but not finalised, will be subject to the new visa requirements. Your case officer will request further information if required.
All subclass 457 visa applications that are lodged after 1 July 2013 will be subject to the new visa requirements. The majority of subclass 457 visa applicants will not be affected by the changes.
In some circumstances further evidence to demonstrate claims for a subclass 457 visa may be required. Visa applicants should note the changes to the English language and skills requirements.
Are there changes to how subclass 457 applications can be lodged?
All subclass 457 sponsorship, nomination and visa applications must now be lodged online. Paper applications are no longer accepted.
For more information on the changes please visit the department’s website.