Has your visa expired? You can do something about your situation

If you are in Australia and your visa has expired, you should contact our Community Status Resolution Service (CSRS) as soon as possible. CSRS_WebsiteTiles_300x300

The CSRS is a free service that works with people who have overstayed their visa to help you work through your options.

If you work with us to resolve your immigration status, you may be granted a bridging visa. This lets you stay in Australia for a short time and live in the community while you resolve your immigration status.

If you are found living in the community without a visa, there are serious consequences.

You have a choice – do something about your situation and contact our Community Status Resolution Service.

For more information, visit www.immi.gov.au/csrs or call 1300 853 773.

Have your say on the Skilled Migration and Temporary Activity review

Help guide the way the Skilled Migration and Temporary Activity Visa programmes are delivered by completing this short survey – it has been structured to enable you to quickly and easily comment on issues that matter to you that have been raised throughout the consultation process.

The survey can be completed in approximately 10 minutes.

The review aims to ensure the programmes continue to provide simple and flexible models to meet evolving labour market demands and minimise red tape for business. The survey will complement the consultation and discussion paper processes already completed. If you are interested in finding out more about the review, or want to read the discussion or proposal papers, see the Department’s website.

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Improving Your Online Experience

The Department is changing the way it interacts with our clients by investing in technology that provides access to online self-service options at any time, anywhere.

What can you do online?ImmiAccount

ImmiAccount turned one in December 2014, with more than 1.5 million users signing up in its first year. ImmiAccount helps reduce the need for you to attend an office or ring our general enquiries number to access the majority of our services, saving you time and allowing you to interact with the Department at your convenience.

To complement the ImmiAccount service, our website also hosts a range of useful forms and general information on our visa products.  These online services take away the need for you to wait in a long line at an office or in a queue on the phone.

Our user friendly online facilities allow us to deliver you better and more efficient services including:

Why is online better for you?

ImmiAccount allows for your applications to be submitted instantly.  Attachments can be loaded at any time, meaning there is a reduced processing time for some visas.

For an increasing number of visa subclasses, ImmiAccount can provide you with a complete online processing experience, from beginning to end.

Our online environment has been designed to be convenient for you and we are working hard to make sure you have reliable support available.

Delivering services online allows our interactions with you to be personal and local, tailored to you and your circumstances. We have focussed on understanding your journey to effectively accommodate and enhance your immigration experience.

Government acting on recommendations of the 457 Integrity Review

Since our last post, on 18 March 2015  the Australian Government announced its response to the Independent Review, ‘Robust New Foundations: A Streamlined, Transparent and Responsive System for the 457 Programme’.

You can read the Government Response to the recommendations and how it will be strengthening the programme’s integrity, giving consideration to greater flexibility for certain visa requirements and protecting Australian workers in the 457 visa programme.

Some of the measures to strengthen integrity in the 457 programme include:

  • the introduction of a new penalty making it unlawful for sponsors to be paid for a migration outcome
  • more information for 457 holders and sponsors about their rights and obligations
  • greater transparency around the Department’s  sanction actions
  • increased information sharing among key government agencies.

For visa applicants, one of the recommendations was to  add flexibility around English language requirements while ensuring integrity is maintained in the 457 visa programme.  Although the Government did not support expanding the list of nationalities that are exempt from the English language requirement (sub-recommendation 7.4), applicants will be able to provide an overall score with minimum scores for each test components and access alternative English language test providers.

Australian workers and businesses will also benefit through other recommendations including improved training opportunities for Australians, streamlining and simplifying the sponsorship process and increasing sponsorship approval periods.

A number of these recommendations will be implemented in the coming months while  complex recommendations will be progressed before the end of 2015-16.  You may have also noticed Recommendation 2 about abolishing the labour market testing requirement was noted by the Government. This recommendation will not be implemented at this time.  More information on the recommendations is available here.

If you are a current 457 visa holder or sponsor, there are no changes to your existing visa grant arrangements and conditions, sponsorship conditions and/or obligations.  If there are any changes to current processing arrangements, updates will be made available on our website.

Find out more about the  457 visa programme  on our website and from the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa (649KB PDF) booklet.

Calling all statisticians – looking for Departmental data?

Did you know the statistics area of the Department receives over 200 enquiries a year requesting migration data?

The Department’s website has a number of pages dedicated to statistics if you’re looking for data on migration.  A range of information is available to the public, and reports are updated and published regularly.  While you’re visiting the page, you can also download Microsoft Excel pivot tables which allow you to customise and refine information to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Whether you’re interested in finding out more about historical migration statistics, citizenship or migration agent activity – the Department’s statistics page may have what you’re looking for.

There is only one place to be in 2015 – the ICC Cricket World Cup.

The ICC Cricket World Cup starts in 64 days. Don’t forget to secure your visa to watch the world’s best cricket teams battle it out for cricket’s biggest international prize.

It is now even easier to be a part of the ICC Cricket World Cup and follow your team as you only need an Australian visa to travel between Australia and New Zealand.

The arrangement is valid for travel between 26 January and 5 April 2015 for eligible visitors thanks to the new Trans-Tasman Visa Arrangement. New Zealand will grant eligible visitors with a three-month visa on arrival during this period.

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

For more information on applying or to determine if you are eligible for the Trans-Tasman Visa arrangement, visit www.immi.gov.au/cwc

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What you need to know before coming to Australia.

Thinking of coming to Australia for a holiday, work, business or to study? Before you do, there are a number of important things you should know before applying for, or being granted, an Australian visa.

Check out our Coming to Australia video  for helpful information about applying for the right type of visa, application requirements and the importance of complying with visa conditions.

You can create an ImmiAccount and save time by applying for your visa application online. If you’re not sure which visa to apply for, the Find a Visa tool on our website can help.

You can check your visa details at any time online using a free service known as VEVO or Visa Entitlement Verification Online: www.immi.gov.au/vevo

You need to know your visa expiry date and follow the conditions of your visa.

If something happens which affects your immigration status while you are in Australia, you need to speak with an immigration officer as soon as you can. This might be if you need to stay longer than your visa allows you or you want to apply for a different visa.

If you realise your visa has expired you need to contact the Department immediately.

Enjoy your time in Australia.

ImmiAccount’s first Birthday

ImmiAccountOn 7 December 2014, ImmiAccount celebrated its first birthday.

Since its launch in 2013, more than 1.5 million accounts have been created, more than two million applications have been submitted, and attachments in excess of 21 million have been uploaded (almost 10 per application).

Of these 1.5 million accounts, more than 41,000 are organisation accounts, reflecting the strong take-up of ImmiAccount by agents and sponsoring companies.

In 2014, ImmiAccount won the Australian ICT Excellence in Service Delivery Award and continues to provide clients and agents with a world-class visa and citizenship application tool, where they can select, complete, lodge, track and pay for an increasing range of applications.

Further developments and enhancements to ImmiAccount are scheduled for 2015, so watch this space.

How the department engages with your registered migration agent

When you appoint a registered migration agent to act on your behalf, they will normally be our first point of contact for your visa application.

This means that if we want to discuss your visa application, we will generally contact your registered migration agent first rather than you.

Depending on your contract of services with your registered migration agent, a visa processing officer may engage with your agent by:

• discussing your visa application
• sending written communication about your application to your agent (if your agent is also your authorised recipient) and
• seeking information relevant to your application.

Our communication to your registered migration agent may include the following:

• an acknowledgement of receipt of your application
• a formal request for more information in support of your application
• a request for an interview
• information about any associated bridging visas and work rights while you wait for a decision on your application
• a notice of a decision to either grant, refuse or cancel your visa application.

Depending on your contract, your registered migration agent could prepare documents for your visa application such as your visa application form, and other departmental forms and evidence collected from you to support your application. Any document they submit to us is regarded as having been sent on your behalf. Registered migration agents must not make statements in support of an application or encourage the making of statements, which they know or believe to be misleading or inaccurate.

If you have appointed your registered migration agent as your authorised recipient, all written communications in relation to your matter, for example visa application or cancellation of a visa, will be sent to them. Most of the time, you will not receive a separate copy of the documents. You are taken to have received any documents sent to your authorised recipient as if they had been sent to you. However, you can request us to provide you with copies.

Once you receive an outcome for your visa application, communication between us and your registered migration agent comes to an end. This means that if you want to apply for review of a visa decision or apply for another visa, you will need to re-appoint a registered migration agent by filling out Form 956 Advice by migration agent/exempt person of providing immigration assistance to send to us. You do not need to do this for any associated bridging visa applications.