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457 Integrity Review

By Jo on 11 Apr 2014 3:35pm, 73 comments

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator Michaelia Cash, announced a review of the integrity of the 457 programme on February 25.

The review is under way and is being conducted by four industry specialists formally appointed by the Minister, who are independent to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Panellists are:

  • John Azarias—Deloitte Partner
  • Jenny Lambert—Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Katie Malyon—Migration Lawyer, Ernst and Young
  • Professor Peter McDonald—Australian National University.

The panel is reviewing the effectiveness of the current integrity measures of the 457 programme. The department’s website has more information, including the Terms of Reference (ToR) document of the review and details about how to make a written submission to the review.

The panel has been speaking with key stakeholders of the 457 programme to hear their views and gather ideas. It would be great to hear your views on the integrity of the 457 programme, so feel free to post a comment here for the panel’s consideration.


Do you want help with your visa application?

By Jo on 26 Mar 2014 3:59pm

This guest post was written by the team at the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.

If you need help with your visa application, you can choose to use a registered migration agent.

In Australia, people who provide immigration help must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (the Authority). It is against the law for anyone who is not a registered migration agent to give immigration advice. We also encourage overseas agents to become registered. 

Watch our video about getting help to apply for an Australian visa

To find a registered migration agent in your location or check if an agent is registered, search the agents register at or call 1300 226 272.

If you are living outside Australia you can use an agent who is located in Australia and contact them by email or telephone.

  • using a registered migration agent protects you—they must:
  • have a good and up-to-date knowledge of Australia’s immigration law and procedures
  • give you accurate advice
  • have high professional and ethical standards
  • act in your interest.

For tips on choosing a registered migration agent and how to make the most of their services, read
Your rights—tips for using a registered migration agent on the Authority’s website. This document is available in 30 languages on the bottom of each page of our website.

You don’t have to use a migration agent to lodge a visa application. Information about Australian visas, including how to apply is available on the department’s website at

If you don’t feel confident, or if your case is complex, you can use a registered migration agent to:

  • find out what visa may suit you best
  • obtain advice about documents to support your application
  • help fill out visa application forms
  • prepare a case in support of your application
  • submit an application and communicate with the department on your behalf

Overseas Skills Registry—connecting overseas skilled workers with Victorian employers

By Jo on 21 Mar 2014 5:40pm

This guest post was written by the Victorian Government’s Skilled and Business Migration Program team.

The Overseas Skills Registry is a new online service making it easier for overseas skilled workers who have skills in demand to connect with Victorian employers.

The registry is designed to broaden overseas skilled workers’ local networks, and support them to access job interviews and employment.  

Using the registry, overseas skilled workers can create an online profile of their professional skills, qualifications and work experience. Victorian employers can access the registry and connect with individuals who have the skills and expertise they require.

The registry is open to Victorian nominated skilled migrants, international student graduates with previous professional work experience, and eligible overseas qualified professionals who have entered Victoria under any visa category. To be eligible to use the registry, candidates must:

Eligible individuals can register to create a profile on the Overseas Skills Registry and start connecting with Victorian employers.

Find out more at


Guardian departs Australia and leaves student minor in Australia

By Jalford on 7 Mar 2014 10:53am

Guardian departs Australia and leaves student minor in AustraliaCarousel3


  • Before departure make arrangements for the student minor.
  • Appropriately inform the school and the department of the arrangements prior to departure.

Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.



Romita came to Australia on a guardian visa to look after her son Surjit while he studied his high school qualifications.

All was going well until Romita’s husband Kirpal became ill and she needed to go home while her husband was in hospital for an operation. Romita thought she would need to be in India for six weeks while her husband recovered.

Romita did not know what to do—she did not want to take Surjit with her. He was studying in year 12 and she felt it was important for him to do well in his studies. Romita talked to Surjit’s school to ask for their advice.

Surjit’s school advised Romita she should find another welfare arrangement before she goes back to India—they could help find a homestay arrangement for Surjit. Romita said she had a daughter who was 26 working in Australia on a subclass 457 visa. The school said they would be happy with a close relative looking after Surjit as long as the department approved the arrangement before Romita left Australia.

Romita called the department to seek advice. The immigration officer handling her query pointed out it was a requirement of her visa that she does not travel without Surjit. The immigration officer advised her if she could submit evidence of the need to travel, it would be appropriate for her to arrange for her daughter, provided she was more than 21 years of age, to look after Surjit in her absence. She was also advised that form 157N must be submitted together with information for her expected date of return. She was advised that the department should be informed of any change in circumstances.

Romita submitted this information to the department and her daughter was approved as the temporary guardian of Surjit. The immigration officer advised Romita she should take the confirmation of the changed welfare arrangements with her when she travelled in and out of Australia.

Romita returned home and cared for Kirpal. Once he was able to look after himself, Romita returned to Australia and stayed until Surjit finished his schooling, which was just before his 18th birthday.

Read more about education providers approving care arrangements for students less than 18 years old. Form 157N also explains what is and who can become a guardian.



On The Move – On the Road with Mike and Mal!

By Jo on 6 Mar 2014 11:14am

We are pleased to launch our On the Move blog series, where we’ll bring you posts focussing on the intersection between migration and economics. These posts have been prepared by our Economic Analysis Unit.

Travelling from A to B is the easiest it’s ever been – this post explores how migration to Australia has evolved and expanded over time, where migrants are settling and where they’re from, and how they’re living the life in Australia.

On the Road with Mike and Mal!

Back in the seventies when international air fares were well beyond the reach of most Australians, travel shows were very different than the today’s big budget productions.

We didn’t have a Jason and Jules or a Catriona and Kelly beaming to camera, encouraging us to ‘getaway’ to exotic overseas locales. In their place we had two brothers, Mike and Mal Leyland, who ‘travelled all over the countryside’ in their trusty Landrover to tell us more about our big brown land.

This home-grown approach made good sense at the time. Average Aussies balking at the thought of spending more than a month’s salary on a return airfare to London could fill their fuel tank for less than ten bucks and follow Mike and Mal’s lead by heading off to such iconic sites as Ayer’s Rock, the Big Banana and the Big Pineapple!

A lot has changed since then. Ayer’s Rock is now Uluru and oversize fibreglass replicas lost their appeal long ago. What’s more, acronyms have taken over our travel. Roadmaps have been rendered obsolete by GPS and Landrovers have been replaced by SUVs!

So if Mal were to embark on an Australia-wide journey today he would see a very different society.

He would encounter many more migrants …

At the time of the 1976 Census there were just 2.7 million migrants living in Australia. Today that figure is just over 6 million, with more than a million of these people arriving after 2006. Approximately three-quarters of these recent migrants have settled in the eastern states of New South Wales (28 per cent), Victoria (27 per cent) and Queensland (19 per cent). Given its smaller population Western Australia has attracted a reasonable share of 15 per cent, well ahead of South Australia (7 per cent), ACT (2 per cent), Northern Territory (1 per cent), and Tasmania (1 per cent).

… Who prefer the city life

Like the rest of Australia, the vast majority of these new migrants prefer the convenience of city life. In this respect, Sydney and Melbourne are the cities of choice, each attracting about a quarter of these new arrivals. They are followed by Perth and Brisbane with a 13 per cent and 12 per cent share respectively.

He’d also come across a larger and more diverse bunch of overseas visitors …

In 2011–12, more than 3.7 million overseas visitors came to Australia – that’s not too far short of the 5.5 million we received throughout the whole of the 1970s. These recent numbers have been driven by strong growth in arrivals from China (which is now ranked number 2) and India (now ranked 8). Some things haven’t changed much in the past forty years however. New South Wales is still the premier state attracting 40 per cent of visitors, followed by Queensland (22 per cent) and Victoria (22 per cent).
… As well as many more young people studying …

Even though the Colombo Plan was in full swing there were only had a handful of international students on our campuses in the 1970s. By the end of June 2012, this handful has turned into more than 300 000, with New South Wales leading the way with 104 000 students, followed by Victoria (87 000 students) and Queensland ( 45 000 students).

And working here

Our Working Holiday Maker Program didn’t start till 1975, when the UK and Canada signed up to the scheme. Today we have 19 countries participating in the Program plus an additional nine countries taking part in the Work and Holiday Program. Most of these backpackers can be found working and holidaying in New South Wales.

Our Temporary Business Long Stay Visa (better known as the 457 visa), introduced in 1996, is another recent addition. By the middle of 2012 there were over 160 000 of these visa holders in Australia , 23 per cent up on the figure of a year earlier and equivalent to about one-sixtieth of our total workforce. Predictably New South Wales held the greatest share with 51 000 visa holders, followed by resource-rich Western Australia with 33 000 and Victoria with 32 000 visa holders.


Post 2006

Arrivals 2011–12

Stock at 30 June 2012






s/c 457s


 288 000

1 511 000

 104 000

 40 000

 51 000


 270 000

 814 000

 87 000

 23 000

 33 000


 196 000

 819 000

 45 000

 29 000

 32 000


 156 000

 426 000

 23 000

 23 000

 28 000


 66 000

 101 000

 19 000

 3 000

 5 000


 17 000

 36 000

 6 000

 1 000

 2 000


 9 000

 27 000

 3 000


 2 000


 10 000

 33 000

 1 000

 3 000

 1 000


1 012 000

3 767 000

 307 000

 137 000

 162 000

1. Includes not stated and other territories.

So what are you waiting for! Give that well-worn passport the flick, grab a copy of Migration to Australia’s states and territories and experience Aussie outdoor life firsthand. You may not get quite as far as Uluru, but thanks to the vision of Mike and Mal you may get to the Hunter Region of New South Wales and experience the next best thing.

 See: Migration to Australia’s states and territories


Personal problems affecting studies

By Jalford on 28 Feb 2014 4:25pm

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Personal problems affecting studies

  • Seek treatment from a professional.
  • If you are having difficulties in your course talk to your student advisor.

Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.

Swati successfully completed a Certificate IV in Business at the Blue Gum Institute and applied for a second visa—a subclass 573 student visa to study a Bachelor in Management at the Australia University. She hoped these skills would help her family’s business in India.

One week before Swati was due to start her management degree, she received a call from her father—her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. Swati was upset and worried about her mother and would ring India every few hours. She wanted to return home but her father insisted she continue her studies in Australia. Swati tried hard to continue with her studies but she could not concentrate because she was so upset and worried.

Swati’s course attendance started to decline, until she was too upset to attend her studies at all. Swati received a warning letter from the Australia University advising that her course progress was not adequate and she risked being reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This made Swati feel more depressed.

Swati went to see the student advisor at the Australia University for advice. The advisor suggested she go and speak to a doctor. Swati went to her local doctor who referred her to a psychologist.

The psychologist diagnosed Swati with depression. Swati wanted to feel better before continuing her studies. She took her documentation from the doctor and psychologist to the student advisor. The advisor granted Swati a deferral on the grounds of compassionate circumstances.

One week after the deferral was granted, Swati returned home to India for the period of her deferral. She took her medical and deferral documents with her as well as her new confirmation of enrolment that showed she would recommence her course in six months.

Swati felt better at home and was able to support her mother. She returned to Australia five and half months later and resumed her course two weeks after arriving in Australia.


Travel tips for working holiday makers

By Jo on 28 Feb 2014 2:27pm

If you’re coming to Australia as a working holiday maker, we’ve included new travel advice on our website for you. So what are some of the main things to keep in mind?

1.      Take out travel insurance

We strongly encourage all working holiday makers to take out travel insurance before they come to Australia. It is important that you are covered to pay for any medical treatment, loss or theft of personal belongings or other incidents that may happen to you during your stay.

2.      Know the rules about working in Australia

As a working holiday maker, you are subject to the same workplace laws as Australian workers. These laws outline the basic entitlements you have as a worker in Australia. Make sure you read the information in your visa grant letter as it provides important information and contact details for any issues you might have. Information about your visa obligations is available under the ‘visa holders’ tab on the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) page and the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) page.

3.      Ensure you have enough money

Ensure you have enough money to support yourself, especially while you look for work. It is worth checking the cost of living in Australia, and comparing it to your home country, so you have an idea of how much money you will need.

4.      Be aware of your personal safety

Although we consider Australia to be a safe country, you should be mindful of your personal security, including exercising common sense and looking out for suspicious behaviour.


Extending your visa to continue your course

By Jalford on 24 Feb 2014 9:46am

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Extending your visa to continue your course

  • You need to apply for another visa prior to the end of your current visa.

Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.


Shuxia applied for her visa to do a package course leading to a bachelor degree at Bottlebrush University. She looked forward to living away from home for the first time and studying in Australia.

The first course Shuxia had to undertake was an ELICOS language course. Unfortunately, Shuxia spent to much time enjoying her new life in Australia and did not pass the course. She had to redo the English course again until she passed before she could progress to studying her diploma.

By the time Shuxia passed the ELICOS course and began studying her advanced diploma, she started to take her study more seriously.

All was going well until Shuxia realised her student visa would cease before she would be able to finish her bachelor degree. Two months before her visa expired, Shuxia went to the immigration website to find out about making an application for another student visa.

She found a calculator which would tell her how much her visa would cost her. Shuxia then found the visa application section of the website. She completed a valid application and provided the Visa Application Charge. Shuxia was granted a bridging visa A so that if her current visa ceased before her application was finalised, she could lawfully stay in Australia until the immigration department made a decision about her visa application.

After providing documentation to show her progress at university was good, Shuxia was granted her subclass 573 student visa and was able to finish her bachelor degree.


Live the Life Australia

By Victor on 19 Feb 2014 4:10pm

Live the Life Image 

 There is more to Australia than great career opportunities. The Australian lifestyle includes enjoying the great outdoors, with its beautiful beaches, luscious green rainforests and wonderful weather.

Some of Australia’s major cities have been listed in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world, offering both great work opportunities and lifestyle.

About 2000 people each month are invited to apply for a skilled migration visa by the Australian Government. Check the Skilled Occupation Lists to see if you have the skills Australia needs.

If you would like to live the life in Australia, take the next step and submit an expression of interest for a skilled migration visa through SkillSelect by creating an account and registering your skills. You may be living the life in Australia sooner than you think!

For more information on how you can fast track your life in Australia as a skilled migrant, visit our website at


Stopping study to work for a while

By Jalford on 14 Feb 2014 4:12pm


Stopping study to work for a while400x300 5


  • You can only work 40 hours per fortnight.
  • You must continue to study.

Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.



José arrived in Australia on a Vocational Education and Training Sector (subclass 572) student visa.

He was from Peru and came to study in Australia as he had heard it was a great country to receive an education.

 José enrolled in a Diploma of Information Technology. He was not sure what career path he would eventually take and felt that information technology was a good starting place.

 He commenced his Diploma at Boomerang College and made a lot of friends in Australia while studying. One of his friends told him about casual work available at the local Greek Taverna and José started to work there on weekends. He was aware of his visas work conditions and only worked 10 hours per day on the weekends to ensure he didn’t work more than the maximum of 40 hours per fortnight allowed.

José enjoyed working at the Greek Taverna and wanted to increase his hours for a short while. He stopped attending classes and thought he would return to Boomerang College the following semester.

 As his intention was to only work full-time for one semester, José did not think there would be a problem with not attending class.

 A short while later, José received a notice from Boomerang College advising they were going to report him for unsatisfactory attendance. The notice said he could access the College’s complaints and appeals. José was surprised to receive the notice and the following day attended Boomerang College to speak with the student advisor.

 José explained he intended to work full-time this semester and return to his diploma the following semester. The student advisor told José he was breaching his visa conditions by working full-time and not attending classes. The advisor explained students are able to defer or temporarily suspend their studies; however this would only be approved on the grounds of compassionate and compelling circumstances. He was also told that suspending or cancelling his enrolment may affect his student visa.

 José did not take the advice he received from the student advisor seriously and continued to work full-time.

 Boomerang College cancelled José’s certificate of enrolment and José soon received a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation of his student visa from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. He did not respond to the notice and the department cancelled his student visa.

 As a result of the cancellation, José is barred from applying for various types of visas while in Australia and is subject to a three-year exclusion period (re-entry ban) that may affect his ability to be granted a further temporary visa. José lost his job and no longer had a visa—he had to return to his home country.

 Read more about working while studying in Australia.