New work and holiday arrangement for Portugal and Australia

IMG_0680Australia and Portugal signed a reciprocal Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) arrangement on 25 September 2014.

This means young adults, aged
18–30 years, from both countries will soon be able to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to work and holiday in each other’s country, lasting up to 12 months. There will be 200 places on offer for each country per programme year.

Our website has detailed information about the Work and Holiday visa and its eligibility criteria.

Once a start date has been determined we will announce it on our website and social media channels.

Australians can also find out more about other working holiday arrangements overseas on our website.

Robust New Foundations – an independent review into 457 programme integrity

You might have read in our previous post, that an Independent Review into Integrity in the Subclass 457 Programme was announced on 25 February 2014.

On 10 September 2014, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection released the independent panel’s final report of the Independent Review into Integrity in the Subclass 457 Programme, titled Robust New Foundations: A Streamlined, Transparent and Responsive System for the 457 Programme.

The panel’s report identified 22 recommendations and addresses a number of elements of the 457 programme.  The report is now available to download from the department’s website.

457 Review CoverThe review was informed by a large amount of feedback from a diverse range of stakeholders, which included comments from this blog, as well as a Facebook ‘live chat.’ In their report, the panel wrote about how social media helped them reach a wide audience as part of their consultation process –if you are interested, you can check out their summary on page 114 in the report.

On behalf of the panel, thank you to those who participated and provided feedback through the various social media channels.


Working while on your Student visa

The work conditions offered as part of a student visa provide an opportunity for international students to gain cultural experience during their stay in Australia, and can also help them improve their English language skills. However it is important to recognise that international students should not rely on work in Australia to pay for the costs of their studies and living expenses.  Most international students are restricted to a maximum of 40 hours work per fortnight while their course is in session and may only work unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks. These conditions protect students from the pressures of excessive work commitments which might mean that they are unable to finish their course successfully.Working While on Your Student Visa

The below examples illustrate how work conditions on a student visa operate:

  1. Sally arrives in Australia three weeks before her Certificate III in Hospitality starts. Within one week, she finds a job as waitress. She begins working two-weeks after her arrival. Sally is in breach of her work conditions as she is working before her course has commenced.
  2. Abu came to Australia with his wife Jane on a Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa. Jane is studying a bachelor degree at university. Abu decides to take on a full time job with a local accounting firm. He is in breach of his visa conditions. This is because Subclass 573 dependants are not allowed to work more than 40 hours a fortnight unless the student is studying a masters or doctorate degree .
  3. Fatima is studying commercial cookery in Australia on a Vocational Education and Training sector (subclass 572) visa and is offered some work experience during the holidays. She works 75 hours a fortnight. Fatima is not breaching her work conditions as she is allowed to work unlimited hours while her course is not in session.
  4. Sajeed is working while studying in Australia on a Vocational Education and Training (subclass 572) visa. His roster for the next month looks like this:
Week one Week two Week three Week four
30 hours 10 hours 35 hours 5 hours

Sajeed is in breach of his visa conditions. This is because he will work more than 40 hours in week two and week three (he will work 45 hours). Sajeed should discuss this with his employer and ask to have his roster updated. For more information on the 40 hour a fortnight work condition, please visit our website.

  1. Ellen is studying her PhD. She is also tutoring at the university for about 50 hours a fortnight. Ellen is not breaching her student visa conditions. This is because the Postgraduate Research Sector visa (subclass 574) does not have a restriction on the number of hours a student can work. Ellen will still have to be careful to ensure she is achieving satisfactory progress on her PhD.

For more information on your rights at work, please see this blog post. For more information on visa conditions please visit our website.

You’re invited to celebrate Australian Citizenship Day

Citizenship Day

Australian Citizenship Day is celebrated annually on 17 September. It is an opportunity for all of us to take pride in our citizenship and reflect on what it means to be Australian.

The Australian citizenship affirmation allows all community members to participate in a formal declaration of pride in being an Australian citizen. The affirmation is based on the pledge of commitment made by new citizens at their Australian citizenship ceremony, and it was introduced to provide Australian-born citizens with a similar opportunity.

Read more about Australian Citizenship Day and the Australian citizenship affirmation.

Two countries – one visa. Howzat!?!*?

Did you know you can visit Australia and New Zealand for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 with one visa?

From 14 February to 29 March 2015, Australia and New Zealand will co-host the ICC Cricket World Cup.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2014 Image croppedUnder a new Trans‑Tasman Visa Arrangement, eligible visitors will only need to apply for an Australian visa to travel to and between both countries for the period of 26 January to          5 April 2015.

For this 10-week window, New Zealand will grant eligible visitors with a three-month visa on arrival.  This new arrangement will change the visa process for participants and spectators of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 by only requiring them to apply for one visa in order to follow their teams to both countries. Not only will international visitors benefit from this arrangement, but people already in Australia on most permanent or temporary visa types will as well.

For more information on applying for a visa for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 or to determine your eligibility for the Trans-Tasman Visa Arrangement, international visitors should see:

Don’t be caught out with the wrong visa for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

Apply now:

Australian Citizenship Day, 17 September

Australian Citizenship Day is celebrated annually on 17 September.


Introduced in 2001, this special day celebrates the common bond of citizenship in Australia’s diverse society.

Australia’s population is made up of people from over 300 ancestries – our Australian citizenship unites us all, regardless of our background.   As one of the world’s most diverse countries, we are proud of our harmonious, egalitarian and democratic nation.

Whether you are Australian by birth or by pledge at a citizenship ceremony, Australian Citizenship Day is an opportunity for all to reflect on the meaning and value of citizenship.

This year marks a significant milestone of 65 years of Australian citizenship (1949-2014). Throughout the year, but particularly on Australian Citizenship Day, Australians celebrate and recognise the privileges and freedoms we enjoy as part of a contemporary, diverse, egalitarian and democratic nation.

What do you like most about being an Australian citizen?

You can share your family’s Australian citizenship story on social media using #AusPledge or in the comments section below.

Watch new Australian citizens share their citizenship story on the ‘The Pledge’ miniseries.

Read more about Australian Citizenship Day, and see how you can get involved by hosting an Australian Citizenship Affirmation ceremony and download promotional products.

Statement on triaging applications

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is aware that a list of migration agents was recently made available on the internet.  This was done without the department’s knowledge or authorisation.

Some registered migration agents specialise in providing advice to clients in complex situations.  The list was previously used within the temporary or provisional Partner visa caseload to help triage and streamline the allocation of applications to officers of appropriate seniority, depending on the complexity of the case.

Triaging applications based on complexity did not impact on visa decision-making.  Triaging applications to ensure an efficient management of caseloads relies on a wide range of factors.  Each application is assessed strictly on its merits, according to legislative requirements, and using the information provided in the application.

This list and any other version of the list was removed from use between August and October 2013.

No inference or interpretation should be drawn on the basis of inclusion on the list.

Information on registered migration agents can be found at the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority website at


We’re a diverse mob!

This post is part of the On the Move blog series. These posts have been prepared by our Economic Analysis Unit.

How many places of birth are represented in Australia? Which local government areas (LGAs) have a majority of their residents born overseas? What language could we all be speaking in 2021? All of these questions and more can be answered with the help of a recently released series of publications called The People of Australia (PoA).

Prepared under the auspices of the former RAC (Research Advisory Committee), the PoA series have been released every five years since 2003. They are based on data from the most recent Census and provide detailed overviews of Australia’s population at the national, state and LGA levels. Birthplace, language, religion and citizenship are all covered. With several thousand graphs, tables and maps spread across eleven volumes covering over 4000 pages in total, there is something in here for everyone!

For example, did you know there are 252 distinct places of birth represented in the Australian population? Australia takes out top spot accounting for 15 million of us, while England with 900 000 and New Zealand with 483 000 make up the top three. At the other end of the list Sao Tome and Principe (252nd on the list) has contributed 11 persons.
The PoA can also reveal where all these immigrants live. As detailed in Figure 1, although they are scattered across Australia, of the nearly 600 LGAs only six can claim to have a majority of their population born overseas (See Figure 1).

FIGURE 1 - Canberra Stones

On the issue of languages, PoA reveals that Mandarin is the most common language spoken at home (other than English or Indigenous languages) accounting for more than 1.5 per cent of the population. Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek and Vietnamese are the only other languages accounting for more than 1 per cent each. This might all change however if the growth of the Seychelles Creole language keeps up. As the PoA highlights (see Figure 2), between the 2006 and 2011 Census’ the number of speakers of this language increased nearly 3 800 per cent. Although total numbers remain small (702 in 2011 up from 18 in 2006) if this rate of growth keeps up all of us will be speaking Seychelles Creole well before the 2021 Census!

FIGURE 2 - Canberra Stones

New work and holiday arrangement for Poland and Australia

140730 - WH Poland - Blog Post Picture 127A4634 (2)Ever wished to eat lunch among the beautiful old world architecture of Warsaw?  Or, learn to surf on an Aussie beach?  With the commencement of the Polish-Australian work and holiday arrangement on 1 August 2014, you may be one step closer to doing this.

Young adults, aged 18–30 years, from Poland and Australia can travel to each other’s country using the work and holiday visa. There are 200 places on offer for each country per year.

Our website has detailed information about the work and holiday visa.

Australians can also find out more about other working holiday arrangements overseas on our website.

Did you know you need to have health insurance to study in Australia?

All students in Australia who have come from overseas must have a health insurance policy while they are here. It is very important you maintain this health insurance for the whole time you are on a student visa— not just while you are studying. Your insurance must commence from the date you arrive in Australia and remain in effect until you leave, or move to a different visa subclass.  Studying in Australia

Almost all student visa holders are required to maintain a specific type of health insurance known as Overseas Student Health Cover.  The exceptions are for students from Sweden who have insurance provided by CSN International or Kammarkkollegiet, Norwegian students who are covered by the National Insurance Scheme and Belgian students.  You can find out more about visa conditions on our website at

An Overseas Student Health Cover will cover you for some specialist services and medical emergencies.  However, you may need to pay for certain treatments. You should understand the details of what your policy covers before travelling to Australia.  If you are unsure or cannot understand your policy, you should contact your health insurance provider.

If your education provider or agent is organising Overseas Student Health Cover on your behalf, you should ask when your cover begins and when it ends.  You may be in breach of your visa conditions if you are in Australia without the appropriate cover, even if you were relying on your education provider or your agent to arrange the insurance.  This could result in your visa being cancelled. If you find that your Overseas Student Health Cover is not valid, you should organise for this to be corrected immediately.