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IMMagine Australia Blog

Migrating is more than just filling in forms and submitting paperwork, its a complex process that will test even the most resilient of people. 

Understanding Australia is paramount to your immigration survival and to give you a realistic view of the country, its people and how we see the world, read our regular blogs. Often humorous, sometimes challenging, but always food for thought.

The Joys of Driving in Australia

Posted by Kane on April 22, 2014, 3:56 p.m. in Lifestyle

I find one of the great joys in life is to own and drive a car, particularly in Australia. In fact it is part of the Great Australian Dream in owing a house and car, (some would include a boat in that dream). Whilst one can certainly get around easily in the major cities with public transport, having a car in Australia gives one a sense of freedom, particular given the size of the country.

To get from one side of the country to the other, one should budget for at least a week if you are in a hurry. If you were to drive non-stop (traveling at the speed limit), it would take about two days. Most people in Australia do drive at the speed limit!

Cars are used in everyday life in Australia, mainly to get to and from the workplace. However we also love to go on driving holidays. It may be for the purposes of a short one hour drive to the next town, visiting a winery, having lunch to longer trips to large cities, camping spots, holidays on a river or in the outback, or even going ‘road tripping’ for a few weeks. As Australia is a single sovereign nation it means that you can drive anywhere in Australia without having to go through border checks and the only tough questions you will face will be from the kids asking ‘are we there yet?’

Driving in Australia is also very safe. Whilst we do have deaths on our roads, most of those are caused by speeding, drink driving or careless and culpable driving. I am glad to say that if you are a victim on the road, you will be very unlucky. Police take driving offences very seriously where 5 km/h over the speed limited is punished with a fine and a loss of demerit points. 

The road toll in Australia for the year 2013 was 1193. Comparing this to another country where driving is popular, South Africa, who had 1184 in month of December 2013 alone. The South African 2012 figure was 12,200 deaths on the road. I am surprised that many South Africans make it to our seminar!

Outside of the major cities, Australia has some fascinating places and landscapes that are not seen anywhere else in the world. Tourists travel every year to see these sights and I must say that I feel privileged to be able to enjoy this whenever I want and can travel to these places by car. 

It was only last year I travelled with my wife from Broome to Perth along the coast. It took 10 days (which was nowhere near long enough), but we saw and stayed at some beautiful places. This included swimming with the Dolphins at Monkey Mia, swimming in the waters of Turquoise Bay, riding Camels on Cable Beach and camping out in some of the many national parks along the way. Yes, sleeping with the local wildlife was a part of it. 

These sorts of trips are a common part of Australian lifestyle and are enjoyed immensely by those who live here.

Owning a car is very affordable in Australia, so much so that it is almost acquired shortly after one obtains a driver’s licence (and in some cases before). Most people will buy a second hand car initially which ranges anywhere from $1000 to $20000. There is no age limit on the cars and can be used as long as they are roadworthy. 

This reminds me of when I purchased my first car. It was a 20 year old Toyota Corolla that was in good condition, had a few modifications (bigger rear wheels and racing gears), and only cost $750. It lasted about 3 years before it had blown a gasket from an overheated engine. Resigned to the fact that no-one was likely to buy it in its present condition, I managed to negotiate with a wrecker who said they would take it for $50. Only I had to drive to the car yard. I managed to get to the end of the street before the engine seized and refused to restart. In the end I paid $25 for someone to pick it up. 

New cars are a bit more expensive. Small cars are around $20000, a medium sedan about $30000 and a SUV from around $40000. And to own a car in Australia, you don’t need permission from the government or pay hefty sums before buying the car.

I compare motor vehicle ownership with a country that I travel to often, Singapore. What I can say about car ownership in Australia is almost the complete opposite in Singapore. 

To drive around Singapore, depending on traffic, you could go from one side of the country to the other in about 1 hour. With the number of cars on the road, it would be difficult to really open up the throttle and get the full performance from the car. To do this, you are likely to have to be part of the Formula One team and drive around Marina Bay Sands in the 5 hours they let you do it. Imagine how quickly you could get around Singapore if there was no traffic or speed limits. Multiple laps in a few hours spring to mind.

This is if you can actually afford to buy a car in Singapore. There is always talk about the fast growing population in Singapore and questions on whether this growth is sustainable. One of the by-products of the large population is the desire on the part of government officials to restrict the number of cars on the road. 

Since the government doesn’t want to discriminate on who can have a car (although I am sure they have considered it), they have instead imposed a hefty cost disguised as a Certificate of Entitlement before one can even buy a car. Last time I heard, it was around the S$80,000 mark!!

When you add the cost of the car on top of this, you are looking at anywhere between $110K - $150K for a car. Whistle, whistle, and whistle.

And I might like to add that if you spent $150K on a car in Australia, you are likely to have the latest BMW model, Mercedes, European sports car or something very flash. 

In Singapore parents who buy their kids their first car would be taking out a second mortgage to afford it. And given the restrictions on old cars, and the inexperience of the driver, there will never be a return on the high risk investment. Think burnouts, drag races and doughnuts. 

Some might say that to migrate to Australia is expensive. But if you own a car, or are looking to buy a car, you will save a fortune by actually making the move to Australia, even after the visa costs. 

Singaporeans who are looking for a weekend escape sadly don’t have the option of getting out to the countryside on a road trip. To do this, one needs to travel to Malaysia, go through customs before travelling to their favourite spot in another country. Whilst it does sound exotic to go on a day trip to another country, it does take some planning to ensure a smooth process. 

Of course one could go camping in Singapore, but I am not aware of too many places to pitch a tent outside the living room. 

I think most people in the world would love to own a car which gives them the freedom to travel vast distances at anytime. Car ownership is certainly easier in some countries but I think the overall enjoyment of having your own car in Australia is just one of the great joys of living in a big country. Particularly when you are looking for a quick and cheap escape from the pressures of city life. 

 

Upcoming Seminars

Immagine Australia will be presenting a series of seminars in the locations below. To book, go to our website www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars/

 

South Africa

 

Cape Town – 15 May

Seminar being held at the Commodore Hotel on Thursday 15 May at 7pm

Consultations being held at the Commodore Hotel on 16 and 17 May

 

Durban – 19 May

Seminar being held at the Riverside Hotel on Monday 19 May at 7pm

Consultations being held at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel on 20 and 21 May

 

Johannesburg – 22 May

Seminar being held at the Michelangelo Hotel on Thursday 22 May at 7pm

Consultations being held in Auckland Park (address to be advised) on 23, 24, 25 and 26 May and 1 and 2 June.

 

Botswana - Gaborone -  26 May

Seminar being held at Phakalane Golf Estate on 26 May at 7pm

Consultations being held at the Phakalane Golf Estate on 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 May.

 

Hong Kong - 31 May

Seminar being held at Kowloon at The Royal Pacific Hotel and Towers on Saturday 31 May at 11am

Consultations being held at the The Royal Pacific Hotel and Towers from 1 June to 6 June

 

Singapore - 7 June

Seminar being held at the Grand Pacific Hotel on Saturday 7 June at 11am

Consultations being held at the Shangri La Hotel on 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 June


Good news for engineers!

Posted by Anka on March 26, 2014, 4:59 p.m. in Migration Quota

Some of you, particularly those who are following the news section of our website closely (http://immagine-immigration.com/news/), may already be aware of a very important announcement made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in February.

The announcement confirmed that the following changes would be in place with regard to General Skilled Migration (GSM) and the selection of EOI’s from the pool from 1 March 2014 which makes it easier for Engineers to obtain permanent residence in Australia:

  • State and territory nominated visas would no longer be subject to occupational ceiling limitations; and
  •  The minimum ceiling for each occupational group would be 1000 invitations.

The purpose of this blog article is to explain why the second point in particular is very good news for Engineers and the practical implications of the change which has already been implemented.

Firstly, the increase in the minimum ceiling for each occupational group to 1000 means that certain groups which were previously limited to only 300 invitations for the whole of the migration year now suddenly have a quota more than 3 times what they had before. Most significantly, this includes the following occupations for which high numbers of EOI’s had been received and invitations were being therefore issued on a pro-rata basis in each invitation round. They were also subject to a higher cut-off for points and earlier dates of effect with regard to EOI selections compared to other occupations. 

-          Chemical Engineers

-          Materials Engineers

-          Electronics Engineers

-          Telecommunications Engineer

-          Telecommunications Network Engineer

-          Aeronautical Engineer

-          Environmental Engineer

-          Biomedical Engineer

-          Agricultural Engineer

-          Naval Architect

-          Engineering Technologist

-          Acoustic Engineer

 

-          Mechatronics Engineer


-          Product Design Engineer

 

The 4 occupational groups containing the above occupations have all been increased from 300 places to 1000 places. The cut-off points and visa dates of effect for these occupations have already improved from the selection of 24 February to the selection of 10 March. We expect them to continue improving as the additional quota eases the pressure on selection points and the backlog of applications that had formed in these occupations. Let me illustrate this further:

In the selection of 24 February, the relevant selection points and cut-off dates for the 4 occupational groups in question were as follows:

- Chemical and Materials Engineers, 75 points, all applications lodged on or before 22/02/2014 5.24 pm

  - Electronics Engineers, 65 points, all application lodged on or before 14/01/2014 at 1.25 pm

  - Other Engineering Professionals, 75 points, all applications lodged on or before 03/02/2014 11.31 pm

  - Telecommunication Engineering Professionals, 70 points, all applications lodged on or before 14/02/2014 at 7.26 pm

 Now let’s look at the same points and dates for the selection made on 10 March:

  -  Chemical and Materials Engineers, 65 points, all applications lodged on or before 05/12/2013 at 4.45 pm

  - Electronics Engineers, 65 points, all applications lodged on or before 06/02/2014 at 5.49 pm

  - Other Engineering Professionals, 70 points, all applications lodged on or before 16/12/2013 at 6.29 pm

  - Telecommunications Engineering Professionals, 65 points, all applications lodged on or before 23/01/2014 at 4.33 pm

You can see that the first and third groups have improved in terms of selection points and all 4 groups have improved in terms of cut-off dates. In the case of Chemical and Materials Engineers, the improvement has been particularly significant. Not only has the selection point dropped by 10 to 65, but the cut-off date has improved by three months. This is extremely good news for Chemical and Materials Engineers who have lodged on 65 points as they can expect to be selected between now and July.

I believe that the increased quotas will absorb much of the backlog for all 4 occupational groups and the selection points over time may even drop down to 60 as with all other occupations.

For further updates in relation to selection points and cut-off dates, please continue to follow the news section of our website.

If you are interested in migrating to Australia and want to know more about the process, why don’t you attend one of our seminars? It’s a great way to start. Alternatively, you can send us an e-mail at info@immagine-immigration.com to organise a consultation.

Our upcoming seminars are as follows:

 

Singapore - 29 March

Seminar being held at the Holiday Inn, Orchard City Centre on Saturday 29 March at 2pm

Consultations being held at the Holiday Inn from 30 March to 4 April

 

Kuala Lumpur - 5 April

Seminar being held at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday 5 April at 11am

Consultations being held at the Hilton Hotel on 6 and 7 April

 

South Africa

Johannesburg – 29 April

Seminar being held at the Michelangelo Hotel on Tuesday 29 April at 7pm

Consultations being held in Auckland Park (address to be advised) on 30 April, 1, 2, 3 and 4 May.

 

Durban – 5 May

Seminar being held at the Riverside Hotel on Monday 5 May at 7pm

Consultations being held at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel on 6 and 7 May

 

Cape Town – 8 May

Seminar being held at the Commodore Hotel on Thursday 8 May at 7pm

Consultations being held at the Commodore Hotel on 9 and 10 May

 

Botswana

Gaborone - TBA May

Seminar and consultations planned for May. Dates to be announced on our website next week. Please check http://immagine-immigration.com/seminars/botswana/.

 

To book, go to our website www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars/


Major state sponsorship update

Posted by Anka on March 19, 2014, 5:12 p.m. in Migration Quota

There have been several changes recently to state sponsorship lists. This article seeks to update you as to these changes and explain how the cyclical changes to state sponsorship lists impact upon the timing of the immigration process. Notwithstanding the fact that many occupations appear as “closed” on state sponsorship lists at present (because we are reaching the end of the immigration year) now is the best possible time to commence the preparatory work in the immigration process to take advantage of the new lists which commence appearing at the commencement of the immigration year i.e. 1 July.

In Australia, the migration year runs from July to June mirroring the fiscal year. This means that the third quarter of this migration year is just about to finish and we will be into the final quarter from April onwards. Every year, once we are past the halfway mark, states start filling up their quotas for certain occupations and, as a result, we see a series of updates to their occupational lists. 

Each state and territory has a list of occupations for which they are prepared to provide either permanent (Subclass 190) or provisional (Subclass 489) sponsorship. This allows applicants to claim 5 or 10 points respectively for such sponsorship and is indeed a requirement for a large number of applicants whose occupations are on the so-called Schedule 2 of the Skilled Occupations List (SOL). 

Schedule 2 is a much larger list compared to Schedule 1 (651 occupations as opposed to 188) and allows applicants to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program if they have a state or territory providing them with sponsorship. Most occupations on Schedule 2 are offered sponsorship by several states although some may have only one or two states sponsoring at any one time and some none at all. It is important to remember, however, that state lists are ‘live’ documents which means that they continually change and are amended/updated based on the requirements of the labour market in that state and the level of interest from applicants resulting in approved nominations.

There have been a number of substantial developments in relation to the sponsorship requirements and processes of 4 states and territories since the beginning of 2014. 

 

1) Permanent sponsorships for New South Wales closed  

At the end of December 2013, the Government of New South Wales (NSW) announced that they have met their program targets for the Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190) for the 2013/14 financial year and that they would not be accepting any further applications for permanent sponsorship until the new financial/migration year which starts in July 2014. 

To give you some background on this, until a few years ago, NSW only used to provide permanent sponsorship to a very small number of occupations. It also had additional English language, specialisation or work experience requirements that applied to each occupation. This made obtaining sponsorship from NSW difficult and their quota never filled up due to the requirements being particularly stringent. The state expanded its occupations list significantly from 2011 onwards and the additional requirements relating to specialisations, English language and work experience were dropped leading to a considerable increase in the number of applications for sponsorship. Sydney being popular with intending migrants, it is no surprise that NSW’s quota now tends to fill earlier in the migration year.

In the meantime, NSW continues to accept applications for provisional sponsorship from those applicants who are prepared to live in a regional part of the state (outside Sydney, Gosford, Newcastle and Wollongong). 

NSW will reopen for Subclass 190 visa nominations in July 2014. We expect information regarding the occupations that will be eligible and the criteria for 2014/15 to be posted on their website in July 2014.  

 

2) Substantial review of the ACT Occupation List 

In February 2014, the amended occupations list of the ACT took effect. The list categorises occupations in three groups: Open meaning that there are nomination places, Limited meaning that places are limited and occupations must be ‘verified’ and Closed meaning that only applicants currently working in Canberra are eligible. 

We do a lot of applications for occupations that are ‘limited’ and need to be ‘verified’ and we have always been successful. The verification process requires the applicant to demonstrate that they have done research into life and employment opportunities in the ACT and are able to present evidence of openings being available in their nomination occupation or another closely related one.

Many of our clients follow developments relating to the ACT list very closely. This is because the ACT together with South Australia are the two jurisdictions that between them offer sponsorship to the largest variety of occupations on the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL). For this reason, both South Australia and the ACT are popular destinations for migrants and they appear to have skills shortages in a wide range of areas making job seeking and settlement somewhat easier.

The changes made to the list are too extensive to enumerate one by one. Some occupations have gone from being Open to being Limited or Closed and others have moved in the opposite direction. As noted above, it’s both an indication of places in the ACT quota filling up and also of the labour market needs in the territory. I have included here a selection of the changes to some of the more popular occupations that we also deal with:

From Limited to Open

Early Childhood Teacher, Occupational Health and Safety Adviser, Physiotherapist, Electrical Engineer, Metal Fabricator, Welder (First Class), Panel Beater, Baker, Pastry Cook, Hairdresser, Cabinetmaker

From Closed to Limited

Advertising Specialist, Market Research Analyst, Agricultural Engineer, Engineering Technologist, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic, Disabilities Services Officer, Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Representative 

From Closed to Open

Surveyor, Optometrist, Registered Nurse, Psychologist, Carpenter, Joiner, Plumber (General), Gasfitter, Electronic Instrument Trades Worker, Community Worker, Residential Care Officer,

From Open to Limited

Sales and Marketing Manager, Construction Project Manager, Accountant (General), Management Accountant, Architectural Draftsperson, Building Associate, Fitter (General)

From Limited to Closed

Customer Service Manager, Conference and Event Organiser, Financial Institution Branch Manager, Finance Broker, Insurance Broker, Management Consultant, Organisation and Methods Analyst, Interior Designer, Analyst Programmer, Developer Programmer, Software Engineer, Systems Administrator, Database Administrator

From Open to Closed

Financial Investment Adviser, Human Resource Adviser, Training and Development Professional, Sales Representative, Safety Inspector, Insurance Agent

 

3) Change in status of occupations on the South Australia list 

South Australia is another state which is very popular with our clients due to the attractiveness of Adelaide and its Mediterranean climate as well as the large number of occupations sponsored by this state.

South Australia’s list is a ‘live’ document prepared based on the planning levels set for each occupation by the State Government. When an occupation’s planning level is reached, it is no longer available for nomination although special conditions apply to former or current South Australian graduates.

The four principal headings in the list are as follows:

High Availability – High number of places available based on South Australia’s planning levels

Medium Availability – Reasonable number of places available based on planning levels

Low Availability – Limited places available as planning levels are close to being reached

Special Conditions Apply – Planning level reached and only South Australian graduates can apply

As the list is a ‘live’ document, occupations move from High Availability downwards as the migration year progresses. Some occupations on the list have already met their yearly targets but these constitute a minority and South Australia remains very much open to business. Some occupations with medium or low availability at this point are:

Sales and Marketing Manager, Production Manager (Manufacturing), ICT Managers (nec), Accountant (General), Urban and Regional Planner, Quantity Surveyor, Structural Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Industrial Engineer, Environmental Research Scientist, Occupational Health and Safety Adviser, ICT Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, Web Developer, Network Administrator, Telecommunications Network Engineer, Mechanical Engineering Draftsperson, Motor Mechanic (General),  Building Associate, Bricklayer, Electrician (General), Electronic Instrument Trades Worker (General) and Interior Decorator.

Any applicants in these occupations would really need to get their applications in very soon if they are looking to secure sponsorship from South Australia as places may fill up.

 

4) New sponsorship criteria for Western Australia

The Government of Western Australia announced new sponsorship criteria which have taken effect as of 1 March 2014. The new criteria mainly relate to the number of years of work experience and the level of English required from applicants. 

All applicants are now required to demonstrate at least 1 year of work experience in their nominated occupation in Australia or 3 years overseas. 

Additionally, managers and professionals applying for sponsorship will need to demonstrate an IELTS test result of at least 7.0 in each of the 4 components of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

Otherwise, the Western Australia list remains the same and, like South Australia, it is also a ‘live’ document which is updated as the year goes on. 

The three principal categories in the list are as follows:

Available – Occupation is available for nomination by Western Australia

Restricted – Occupation is under review and invitation will not be issued pending the outcome of the review

Closed – Occupation is closed for invitations

Occupations move gradually from Available to Closed as the migration year progresses.

Western Australia has a fairly large list and most occupations are still marked ‘Available’. However, the following occupations are now either restricted or closed:

Ship’s Master, Electrical Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Civil Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Production or Plant Engineer, Agricultural Engineer, Chemist, Computer Network and Systems Engineer and Translator

If an occupation is classified as Restricted or Closed, no further nominations will be given to applicants in these occupations by Western Australia. Those who have already received an Invitation to Apply from the Department of Immigration and Border Control (DIBP) will not be affected.

Western Australia also offers ‘off-list’ sponsorship to a large number of occupations that it classifies as being of secondary importance to the state. Applicants nominating these occupations are required to have an offer of employment or ongoing employment in the stage.

 

Conclusion

In my recent trip to Singapore, I discussed state sponsorship lists and the requirements in detail with the potential applicants that I met. 

One of the messages that I had for them was that it’s a really good time to be starting the process now as those who do would be able to have their skills assessment and English test results in place by the time the new migration year starts in July. Most skills assessment applications take about 3 months and you also need to factor in the time it would take for you to put together the documentation required. This can be anywhere from 1 month to 3 months. 

Being polite as they are, I don’t know how many of the Singaporeans I met thought that my contention of this being the best time to apply was a ‘sales pitch’. To their credit, if they did think so, they never showed it. 

However, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will repeat it. The best time to be applying for state sponsorship is between July and October/November which is when we start getting the first signs of certain occupations filling up. In order to be in a position to apply for state sponsorship around that time, one would have to start the process in February to April to have a realistic chance of getting their skills assessment by that stage. I hope this makes sense from a timing point of view.

Whether you want to apply for state sponsorship before the migration year ends or in the new one, we would be able to assist you if you have a skilled occupation in which you can get a positive skills assessment. We will give you our honest opinion of your prospects if you contact us or sit down with us for a meeting. Why don’t you contact us for more information: info@immagine-immigration.com. 

Our upcoming seminars are as below:

 

South Africa and Botswana

Cape Town –  This Thursday - 20 March 

Seminar being held at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel on Thursday 20 March at 7 pm

Consultations being held at the Commodore Hotel on 21 and 22 March

 

Johannesburg – 29 April

Seminar being held at the Michelangelo Hotel on Tuesday 29 April at 7 pm

Consultations being held in Auckland Park (address to be advised) on 30 April, 1, 2, 3 and 4 May.

 

Durban – 5 May

Seminar being held at the Riverside Hotel on Monday 5 May at 7 pm

Consultations being held at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel on 6 and 7 May

 

Cape Town – 8 May

Seminar being held at the Commodore Hotel on Thursday 8 May at 7 pm

Consultations being held at the Commodore Hotel on 9 and 10 May

 

Gaborone, Botswana – 24 March

Seminar being held at the Phakalane Golf Resort Hotel on Monday 24 March at 7 pm

Consultations being held at the Phakalane Golf Resort Hotel from 25 to 28  March

 

Singapore and Malaysia

Singapore – 29 March

Seminar being held at the Holiday Inn, Orchard City Centre on Saturday 29 March at 2 pm

Consultations being held at the Holiday Inn from 30 March to 4 April

 

Kuala Lumpur – 5 April 

Seminar being held at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday 5 April at 11am

Consultations being held at the Hilton Hotel on 6 and 7 April

 

To book go to our website at: http://www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars/.

Seminars are free to attend.  Should you wish to book a consultation, there is a charge – to book consultations, please contact Ruth on ruth@immagine-immigration.com.


Living in a multicultural country

Posted by Anka on Jan. 24, 2014, 4:10 p.m. in Lifestyle

You must have heard the term ‘multicultural’ used to define Australian society and Australia as a country. It’s interesting to note that this is a term that has meant various different things over the years both in Australia and in the world at large.

As you may already be aware, the origins of migration into Australia were anything but multicultural. Up until the 1970’s, migration was strictly controlled by the government and there was no objective criteria for settlement in Australia. The goal was to admit as many people as possible from a European origin and basically restrict entry for everyone else.

This started changing from the 1970’s onwards and a system of selecting skilled migrants based on objective criteria as we understand it today was introduced in the 1980’s. 

Today, when we talk about multiculturalism in Australia, we mean a society where more than 25% of the population was born overseas, where close to 200,000 new settlers arrive in the country under various different migration programs every year and hundreds of languages are spoken on a daily basis in addition to English. Indeed, more than 15% of the population speaks a language other than English at home. The Australian government allocates a budget to providing certain essential services in community languages. In our larger settlements, Diwali, Chinese New Year and Ramadan are publicly celebrated and taxpayer-funded libraries have substantial collections of foreign language books, CD’s and DVD’s depending on which particular community groups are prevalent in their local area.

It’s a society where participation is possible at all levels. You may want to partake as little or as much of the cultural, linguistic and religious activities available. 

Our new Race Discrimination Commissioner (itself an institution that only a ‘multicultural’ society would have) Tim Soutphommasane published an important book in 2012 called “Don’t Go Back to Where You Come From”. The title is a reference to the hugely popular but also controversial reality TV series broadcast for two seasons exploring the plight of asylum seekers in Australia by taking a number of Australians back to the places most of our asylum seekers come from. In his book, Dr. Soutphommasane declares the overwhelming success of multiculturalism in Australia at a time when similar policies are criticised in Europe for not having worked. He sees multiculturalism in the greater scheme of citizenship and nation-building and rejects its narrow interpretation or understanding as mere tolerance or the omnipresence of Chinese, Indian, Thai etc. eateries on our streets. 

One of the interesting things about multiculturalism in Australia is its widespread acceptance as the way to do things by a substantive portion of the population. We take it for granted that Centrelink, our social security institution, provides a free interpreting service in a multitude of languages to its ‘customers’. It’s perfectly commonplace for our local library to do a launch of new books, CD’s, DVD’s in Singhalese for the local Sri Lankan population. Most of us would find it strange if there wasn’t a celebration of some type somewhere in our major centres for Chinese New Year. All of these are examples of to what extent a multicultural way of life has come to be seen as the norm here in Australia. You might say that there are many countries particularly in Europe that offer similar services to their populations. However, I think the point of difference is how commonly accepted these services are and the extent to which they have become a part of our day-to-day life in Australia. 

Some of you may also be aware that next Monday is Australia Day, the official national day of Australia celebrated on 26 January of each year. It started being celebrated as a national holiday in the mid-1990’s and was chosen as it’s the anniversary of the arrival in 1788 of the first fleet of ships at Sydney Cove, New South Wales to establish a penal colony. 

There is some controversy regarding the choice of date and, for indigenous Australians, 26 January has become a symbol for the adverse effects of British settlement on Australia’s indigenous population with some referring to it as “invasion day” or “survival day”.

Because of the controversy regarding the date, there have been suggestions to celebrate the national day of Australia on another day not perceived as being intrinsically connected to the country's convict past and one that will encompass all Australians, including members of the indigenous community who perceive it as commemorating a date whereby their land was invaded.

There have been suggested alternative dates such as Anzac Day, the opening of the first federal parliament on 9 May and the Federation of Australia Day (1 January).

Despite the controversy that surrounds it, most Australians welcome an additional day off on 26 January and use it as an opportunity to relax, spend time with family and friends, soak up the sunshine, down a couple of cold ones and reflect on the privilege of living in this wonderful country and enjoying all the opportunities afforded to all of us. Family barbecues, community festivals, outdoor concerts, sports competitions and firework displays are all common activities.

For new immigrants, Australia Day often takes on an added significance as citizenship ceremonies are held throughout Australia on this day welcoming thousands of new citizens into our civic community. On Australia Day 2013, more than 17,000 people from 145 different countries became Australian citizens and a similar number are expected to follow suit this year.

 

Forthcoming seminars:  Botswana, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey and Greece   

If you are interested in finding out more about Australia, the lifestyle and how you will qualify, we will be presenting seminars in South Africa, Botswana, Singapore, Turkey and Greece in February. Our seminars are presented by members of our team of registered migration agents who have many years of industry experience. Please visit www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars to book your place.

 

Botswana

Gaborone:

Seminar will be held on Tuesday, 6 February at 7 pm at Phalakane Golf Estate.

Consultations will be held on 7, 8, 9 and 10 February at Phalakane Golf Estate.

 

South Africa

Johannesburg:

Seminar will be held on Tuesday, 11 February at 7 pm at the Michelangelo Hotel.

Consultations will be held on 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 27 February at the Michelangelo Hotel.

 

Durban:

Seminar will be held on Monday, 17 February at 7 pm at Riverside Hotel & Spa.

Consultations will be held on 18 and 19 February at Riverside Hotel & Spa.

 

Cape Town:

Seminar will be held on Thursday, 20 February at 7 pm at Commodore Hotel.

Consultations will be held on 21 and 22 February at Commodore Hotel.

 

Myer Lipschitz will be presenting the Botswana and South African seminars.

 

Singapore:

Seminar will be held on Saturday, 8 February at 11 am at Grand Pacific Hotel.

Consultations will be held from 8 to 13 February and on 27 February at Grand Pacific Hotel.

 

Turkey

Istanbul:

Seminar will be held on Saturday, 15 February at 11 am at Golden Park Hotel.

Consultations will be held from 15 to 18 February at Golden Park Hotel 

 

Greece

Athens:

Seminar will be held on Saturday, 22 February at 11 am at Novus Hotel.

Consultations will be held from 22 to 25 February at Novus Hotel 

 

Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur:

Seminar will be held on Saturday, 5 April at 11 am at Hilton Hotel.

Consultations will be held from 5 to 8 April at Hilton Hotel. 

 

Anka Sahin will be presenting the Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey and Greece seminars.

 

Seminars are free to attend.  Should you wish to book a consultation, there is a charge – to book consultations, please contact Ruth on ruth@immagine-immigration.com. 


Another year in paradise?

Posted by Anka on Jan. 15, 2014, 5:27 p.m. in Lifestyle

Can you believe it? It’s 2014 already! Another world cup year and the last one in 2010 feels like yesterday.

It was great to have time off during holidays and now that we are back, I should immediately point out that 2014 promises to be a very exciting year for us here at Immagine. This year, we will be presenting seminars in Turkey, Greece and Italy for the first time. We are also going back to Botswana following a gap of some years. We are looking forward to meeting potential migrants in these countries and helping them make their dream of living in Australia (you can read this as “everywhere but….” and fill in the blanks with the relevant country of origin!) as we have done for thousands of others in our ‘traditional’ markets of South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia and beyond. We will of course be presenting in these countries several times this year. Our seminar calendar is updated as the year goes on and the dates for each of the countries are firmed up. You may wish to keep up to date with where we will be at any given time throughout the year by checking the seminars page on our website regularly at http://www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars/.

Our sister company in NZ will also be presenting in new markets in 2014 year including Indonesia and Hong Kong. Until very recently, Indonesia was also on our radar as we know that Australia is a popular destination for intending migrants from there. However, the recent spy row between Australia and Indonesia and its rather inept handing by Australian politicians has put a damper on this plan for the time being. We watched with concern as protesters burned the Australian flag and hurled eggs at the Australian embassy in Jakarta in November last year. We have the current Australian government with their lack of diplomatic skill to thank for this, while acknowledging the hypocrisy of the previous government for spying on our Indonesian friends. 

Talking about government, I read an article in The Age yesterday about allegations regarding a former member of parliament employing his wife and paying her substantial sums for doing ‘research work’. The interesting part was that the MP’s wife received a payrise after he had retired from parliament and was no longer working on any committees. This is despite not going to work or being seen to have done any work in the past year. The allegations are now being investigated by the Australian Federal Police. New rules introduced by the current government prevent family members from being employed in these sorts of roles going forward. One would have thought that this would be obvious but not to some it seems. You can read more about it here:

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/allegations-mps-wife-drew-taxpayerfunded-salary-despite-doing-no-work-20140113-30qwu.html.

Oh, I can see the disappointment on some of your faces. Did you think that Australia is corruption free or do you still think that corruption is something that plagues only developing countries? I’m sorry to break the news to you but corruption exists everywhere. The difference between countries where it’s endemic to the point of having infused into all facets of life and others where it’s seen as a shameful aberration also has much to do with its social acceptability. You generally find that in countries where being rich is celebrated regardless of how it’s achieved, people who have ‘made it’ (often politicians and corrupt businesspeople) are rarely questioned as to or shunned due to the dubious origins of their wealth. 

Let me also say this. There is no such thing as paradise on earth. If there is, then it’s not Australia. Having said this though, I would also propose that what we have here is better than what you have over there. If you don’t agree, then maybe you are reading the wrong blog.

From an immigration perspective, the New Year started with two relatively disappointing news. One was the announcement from the New South Wales government that they would not be accepting any more state nomination applications until the end of the migration year (i.e. June 2014) as their quota for this year is already full. Last year, their quota did not fill up until around May. One reason why it filled up more quickly this time around is because NSW was sponsoring a lot more occupations this year compared to previous years. Their list will open again in July 2014. On the bright side, all other states are still open for business as far as nominations are concerned.

The second piece of disappointing news was that the Department would no longer be running the decision-ready scheme for permanent employer sponsored visas. The scheme allowed migration agents to ‘certify’ application as being ‘decision-ready’ which meant that they had all the relevant documents and the application was ready to be processed and finalised by a case officer. Applications submitted in this way were prioritised above others and finalised within a few months as opposed to 7-9 months. In practice, the processing times for 'Decision Ready' applications had been suffering for some time and were not entirely different from non-Decision Ready cases. Nevertheless, the loss of this facility was not welcomed by the agent community at large and we are also not happy with its discontinuation.

While these day-to-day affairs keep us busy, the debate on a bigger Australia continues. Most recently, the Australian Industry Group, a peak industry association in Australia representing the interests of more than 60,000 businesses, called for the migrant intake to be raised to 220,000 a year from 190,000 a year due to continuing skills shortages around Australia. They highlighted skill shortages in science, technology and engineering among others and said that the quota particularly for skilled migrants needs to be raised in order to prevent a shortage of about 2.8 million skilled workers within a decade. We will see how the government responds to this when the quotas for the next migration year are announced later this year. 

2014 promises to be an interesting year, for our clients, our business and for the immigration industry in Australia. It seems as if the old adage proves true once again namely that the only constant in the immigration industry is change.

We hope that 2014 is a good year for you but if not and you feel that it’s time for a change, you know who to contact.

 

Forthcoming seminars:  Botswana, South Africa, Singapore, Turkey and Greece  

If you are interested in finding out more about Australia, the lifestyle and how you will qualify, we will be presenting seminars in South Africa, Botswana, Singapore, Turkey and Greece in February. Our seminars are presented by members of our team of registered migration agents who have many years of industry experience. Please visit www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars to book your place. 

 

Botswana

Gaborone:

Seminar will be held on Tuesday, 6 February at 7 pm at Phalakane Golf Estate.

Consultations will be held on 7, 8, 9 and 10 February at Phalakane Golf Estate.

 

South Africa

Johannesburg:

Seminar will be held on Tuesday, 11 February at 7 pm at the Michelangelo Hotel.

Consultations will be held on 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 27 February in Auckland Park.

 

Durban:

Seminar will be held on Monday, 17 February at 7 pm at Riverside Hotel & Spa.

Consultations will be held on 18 and 19 February at Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel.

 

Cape Town:

Seminar will be held on Thursday, 20 February at 7 pm at Commodore Hotel.

Consultations will be held on 21 and 22 February at Commodore Hotel.

 

Myer Lipschitz will be presenting the Botswana and South African seminars.

 

Singapore:

Seminar will be held on Saturday, 8 February at 11 am at Grand Pacific Hotel.

Consultations will be held from 8 to 13 February and on 27 February at Grand Pacific Hotel.

 

Turkey

Istanbul:

Seminar will be held on Saturday, 15 February at 11 am at Golden Park Hotel.

Consultations will be held from 15 to 18 February at Golden Park Hotel 

 

Greece

Athens:

Seminar will be held on Saturday, 22 February at 11 am at Novus Hotel.

Consultations will be held from 22 to 25 February at Novus Hotel 

 

Anka Sahin will be presenting the Singapore, Turkey and Greece seminars.

 

Seminars are free to attend.  Should you wish to book a consultation, there is a charge – to book consultations, please contact Ruth on ruth@immagine-immigration.com.


No qualifications? No worries!

Posted by Anka on Nov. 20, 2013, 10:40 a.m. in Immigration

Can people with no qualifications apply for an Australian visa as skilled migrants? This is a question that we come across reasonably often. Most prospective applicants would assume that the answer is ‘No’. In reality, the answer is a qualified ‘Yes’.

We can distinguish two different pathways for a person with no formal qualifications to enter Australia as a skilled migrant. These pathways relate to certain visas under the General Skilled Migration (Subclasses 189, 190 and 489) and Employer Sponsored Migration (Subclass 457) programs.

The difference between the two pathways is that general skilled migration visas do not rely upon applicants holding an offer of employment in order to be eligible for these visas whereas the employer sponsored migration (as the name would suggest) requires applicants to hold an offer of skilled employment.

1) General Skilled Migration (GSM)

For the purposes of a General Skilled Migration application (i.e. points-tested visas) to Australia, there are broadly three groups of occupations for which it is possible to obtain a positive skills assessment even with no formal qualifications. These are senior managers, IT professionals and certain trades occupations.

The first group is assessed by the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) and it is possible to obtain a positive outcome by demonstrating a consistent work history and career progression to senior manager level. Professionals at this level must be delegating to 3 or more managers across a range of functional areas who themselves delegate to their own subordinates. Relevant qualifications are considered by the AIM but they are not essential.

IT professionals need to go through the Australian Computer Society (ACS) for their skills assessment. Applicants with no qualifications or non-IT related qualifications are required to undergo a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and may need to demonstrate up to 8 years of highly relevant work experience in their specialised field in order to get a positive result. The catch is that the work experience put forward to meet the ACS requirements does not count for points in the GSM points test. This puts IT professionals with no qualifications in a difficult position as they are unable to claim any work experience in the points test and therefore need to rely on other factors such as age, English, sponsorship and perhaps partner skills to reach the selection threshold.

Finally, applicants from certain countries nominating certain trade occupations are able to apply for an assessment of their skills with no formal qualifications. Such applicants are recommended to have at least 5 years of work experience in their trade to have a realistic chance of being successful in the assessment but this is not a hard and fast rule. The assessment of these applicants in designated occupations from designated countries involves a paper application plus a technical interview or a practical assessment. If the paper application is not successful, it is not possible to attend the technical interview or undergo the practical assessment.  A further advantage of these applicants from designated countries is that they are awarded an Australian trade qualification upon a successful assessment if they are not nominating a trade which is subject to licensing in Australia. This in turn allows them to claim qualification points in their visa application which strengthens their position further. 

2) Employer Sponsored Migration

A more relaxed qualifications regime governs the 457 visa program. This program is for employers wanting to fill skill shortages in their businesses with overseas applicants. For the purposes of a 457 application, all of the occupations in the above three groups plus many others for which the entry-level requirements can be met through work experience are able to be nominated even when the applicant has no formal qualifications. As an example, the occupation of Marketing Specialist normally requires a degree. However, for a 457 application, five years of work experience can be put forward instead of a degree. This is also the case for many other managerial or professional occupations. 

It must be noted, however, that there are certain occupations for which no amount of work experience can substitute for formal qualifications. As a rule of thumb, any occupation that requires registration in Australia will require formal qualifications. This includes all healthcare occupations, teachers, architects, legal professionals and electrical trades to name some obvious examples. There are also several other occupations in the fields of Accounting, Engineering and Science for which formal qualifications are essential. 

The 457 visa offers a path to permanent residence in that holders who have completed two years of work experience for their employer on this visa can be nominated for a permanent visa. For these so-called transitional applicants, no skills assessment is required at the permanent visa stage which effectively means a pathway all the way to permanent residence for certain applicants with no formal qualifications.

If you have substantial work experience in one of the above fields and wish to find out if you could qualify for migration to Australia, please contact us on: info@immagine-immigration.com.

 

Forthcoming seminars:  South Africa and Singapore  

If you are interested in finding out more about Australia, the lifestyle and how you will qualify, we will be presenting seminars in South Africa and Singapore this coming November and December. Please visit www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars to book your place. 

 

South Africa

Johannesburg:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 21 November at 7 pm at the Michelangelo Hotel

Consultations will be held on 22, 23, 24 November, 2, 3 and 4 December at the Michelangelo Hotel.

 

Durban:

Seminar will be held on Monday 25 November at 7 pm at the Riverside Hotel

Consultations will be held on 26 and 27 November at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel.

 

Cape Town:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 28 November at 7 pm at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel 

Consultations will be held on 29 and 30 November at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel

 

Kane Downs to present the South African seminars.

 

Singapore:

Seminar will be held on Saturday 7 December at 2 pm at the Orchard Hotel

Consultations will be held from 8 to 13 December at the Grand Pacific Hotel 

 

Myer Lipschitz to present the Singapore seminar.

 

Seminars are free to attend.  Should you wish to book a consultation, there is a charge – to book consultations, please contact Ruth on ruth@immagine-immigration.com.


So what does dual citizenship mean in practice?

Posted by Anka on Nov. 13, 2013, 2:50 p.m. in Immigration

Dual or multiple citizenship is a concept that is often talked about but rarely understood in full. It refers to holding simultaneously two or more citizenships from different countries. 

Citizenship can be acquired in many different ways depending on the laws of the country in question: by birth, by descent, by registration, by naturalisation, by marriage, by grant, by application etc.

As citizenship requirements vary from one country to the other so do the rules around whether citizens are allowed to hold dual or multiple citizenship.

Broadly speaking, there are three main approaches to dual or multiple citizenship. Some countries allow dual or multiple citizenship without any restrictions although it may be necessary to obtain permission from the home country first. These include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa. 

Others simply don’t recognise or allow dual citizenship at all. Amongst these countries are Denmark, Estonia, China, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates.

A third group of countries fall somewhere in between. They either don’t officially encourage dual or multiple citizenship or only allow it under certain circumstances. This group of countries includes the USA, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Thailand. 

Australia has allowed dual or multiple citizenship since 4 April 2002. Before this date, Australians who voluntarily acquired citizenship of another country automatically lost their Australian citizenship. Interestingly, this rule did not work the other way around as non-citizens who became Australians could keep their original citizenship.

Today, the Australian government actively encourages permanent residents to take up Australian citizenship as a way of making an ongoing commitment to the country and becoming formal members of the Australian community. Perhaps this is why citizenship application fees are lower than the fees payable to obtain a Resident Return Visa (i.e. to renew one’s permanent residence)!

In Australia, only citizens are able to vote, stand for office and work for the federal government and the defence force. However, those who also have citizenship of another country are prevented from becoming members of either house of the federal parliament.

In addition, an Australian permanent resident may lose their residency rights if they are away from Australia for an extended period of time. By contrast, a citizen is free to return to Australia at any time even if they have been away for many years. The fact that Australian permanent residence may be lost is another reason why some individuals choose to become citizens. 

Quite apart from all of the above, how does it work in real life if a person has two citizenships and consequently two passports? Let’s take the example of a person who holds an Australian passport as well as a South African passport.

Well, firstly Australia expects its citizens to enter and exit the country using their Australian passport. This means that when you are at passport control and customs, you would present your Australian passport. South Africa has the same rule. In fact, it’s against the law for a South African over the age of 18 to enter the country using a foreign passport.

In cases where a person is not in possession of their Australian passport and had to travel to Australia urgently, they can be issued with what’s called an Australian Declaratory Visa (ADV). An ADV is actually not a visa. It is an administrative document that is issued to Australian citizens who hold a foreign passport if they have an emergency or compelling reasons for having to travel to and enter Australia on their foreign passport.

This sounds all very straightforward but it could very quickly get tricky. If you were an Australian and South African dual citizen and you were travelling from Australia to South Africa, you would present your South African passport to the airline for check-in as you would be looking to enter South Africa on this passport. However, when you go to customs and passport control, you would present your Australian passport as you are an Australian citizen exiting the country. The opposite would be the case in South Africa as the airline checking you in would need to see your Australian passport to know that you are able to enter Australia freely. Confused yet? 

In one of our blog posts some weeks ago, I wrote about the Henley Visa Restrictions Index and how some passports allow holders to access a greater of number countries on a visa-free or visa on arrival basis. 

Looking strictly at numbers, one could easily see that the Australian passport allows holders visa-free or visa on arrival access to more countries that the South African one. This, however, can be deceptive as requirements vary from country to country and it is up to the holder to verify which of their two passports will afford them better entry conditions to a particular country.

For instance, if an Australian and South African dual citizen wanted to visit Turkey, they would be better off using their South African passport as they would be able to enter Turkey visa-free while an Australian would need to obtain and pay for an eVisa before travelling.

Finally, it is also worth being aware of what is called the Master Nationality Rule. This says that countries cannot provide diplomatic assistance to their citizens if they are in a country of which they are also a citizen. Going back to our example, when a dual Australian and South African citizen is in South Africa, Australia has no right to claim that person as its national or intervene with the South African government on that person’s behalf.

It is therefore very important for dual or multiple citizens to educate themselves on their rights and obligations in each of their countries of citizenship. This may include military service, tax, having to hold an exit permit to depart, inheritance, voting and other civic obligations, property rights to name a few.

In today’s interconnected world where significant numbers of individuals leave their countries of birth to settle in another country, we are likely to see more and more people holding dual or multiple citizenship. In some countries like Singapore and Indonesia, there is currently a debate on whether this should be allowed and we can expect the conversation to spread to other countries whose citizens are not allowed to hold another citizenship. 

If you want to become an Australian one day, you will need to start off by becoming a permanent resident first. Why don’t you contact us for an assessment of your eligibility or better yet come and see us in one of our seminars this November and December?

 

Forthcoming seminars:  South Africa and Singapore  

If you are interested in finding out more about Australia, the lifestyle and how you will qualify, we will be presenting seminars in South Africa and Singapore this coming November and December. Please visit www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars to book your place. 

 

South Africa

Johannesburg:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 21 November at 7 pm at the Michelangelo Hotel

Consultations will be held on 22, 23, 24 November, 2, 3 and 4 December at the Michelangelo Hotel.

 

Durban:

Seminar will be held on Monday 25 November at 7 pm at the Riverside Hotel

Consultations will be held on 26 and 27 November at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel.

 

Cape Town:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 28 November at 7 pm at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel 

Consultations will be held on 29 and 30 November at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel

 

Kane Downs to present the South African seminars.

 

Singapore:

Seminar will be held on Saturday 7 December at 2 pm at the Orchard Hotel

Consultations will be held from 8 to 13 December at the Grand Pacific Hotel 

 

Myer Lipschitz to present the Singapore seminar.

 

Seminars are free to attend.  Should you wish to book a consultation, there is a charge – to book consultations, please contact Ruth on ruth@immagine-immigration.com.


Queensland and Western Australia welcome applications

Posted by Anka on Nov. 6, 2013, 12:09 p.m. in Immigration

Queensland and Western Australia have recently released their new lists of occupations eligible for state sponsorship.

A large number of occupations have been added to both lists and Queensland in particular has only taken off a very small number of occupations.

The Queensland Government maintains two separate lists for the purposes of state sponsorship. One is for the permanent Subclass 190 visa and the other for the provisional Subclass 489 visa which is aimed at promoting the settlement of new migrants in regional areas of Australia. Sponsorship under Subclass 190 is worth 5 points while support from a state towards a Subclass 489 visa adds 10 points to an Expression of Interest (EOI). All parts of Queensland with the exception of the greater Brisbane area and the Gold Coast are eligible for settlement under the 489 visa. Holders of Subclass 489 visas are able to transition to permanent residence once they have lived in a regional part of Australia for two years and worked full-time (or equivalent) for 12 months.  

The following is a selection of some of the occupations added to the new Queensland lists:

 

Supply and Distribution Manager (Logistics only)

External Auditor

Child Care Centre Manager (489 only)

Early Childhood Teacher (489 only)

Health Information Manager

Construction Project Manager (489 only)

Engineering Manager

Chemical Engineer (489 only)

Electrical Engineering Draftsperson (489 only)

Electrical Engineering Technician (489 only)

Electronic Engineering Draftsperson

Mechanical Engineering Draftsperson

Enrolled Nurse (489 only)

Telecommunications Engineer (489 only)

Telecommunications Network Engineer (489 only)

Chef (489 only)

Automotive Electrician (489 only)

Motor Mechanic (General) (489 only)

Fitter (General)

Fitter-Welder

Metal Machinist (First Class) (489 only)

Panelbeater (489 only)

Electronic Equipment Trades Worker (489 only)

Hairdresser (489 only)

 

Queensland has also standardised and reduced the amount of work experience that applicants need to demonstrate. Two years of post-qualification work experience is now required from all applicants while previously this ranged from 2 to 7 years depending on the occupation. For sponsorship under Subclass 489, exemptions from the work experience requirement are available to those with an offer of employment in Queensland or a Ph.D. in their field. 

There are a total of 86 occupations available for sponsorship under Subclass 190 while 151 occupations (some in common) can be sponsored under Subclass 489.

The complete lists can be found at:

http://migration.qld.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/pdf/occupation-list-190-visa.pdf and

http://migration.qld.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/pdf/occupation-list-489-visa.pdf

 

Western Australia has also made quite a few additions to its list while taking off a number of occupations. The list can be used by applicants for Subclass 190 as well as 489 visas. All of Western Australia, with the exception of Perth and the surrounding areas, is eligible for settlement under the 489 visa.

Some of the occupations now eligible to be sponsored by Western Australia are:

 

Urban and Regional Planner

Structural Engineer

Master Fisher

Agricultural Consultant

Agricultural Scientist

Medical Radiation Therapist

Dentist

Computer Network and Systems Engineer

Psychologists (nec)

Translator

Automotive Electrician

Diesel Motor Mechanic

Sheetmetal Trades Worker

Pressure Welder

Electrician (Special Class)

Electrical Linesworker

Baker

Pastry Cook

Veterinary Nurse

 

By contrast, a number of occupations including the following have been taken off the list for Western Australia:

 

Café or Restaurant Manager

Hotel or Motel Manager

Accountant (General)

Training and Development Professional

Electronics Engineer

Environmental Research Scientist

Vocational Education Teacher

Architectural Draftsperson

Building Associate

Electronic Engineering Draftsperson

Electronic Engineering Technician

Motor Mechanic (General)

Metal Fabricator

Toolmaker

Bricklayer

Floor Finisher

Telecommunications Technician

Cook

Hairdresser

Cabinetmaker

Boat Builder and Repairer

Community Worker

Program or Project Administrator

Real Estate Representative

 

It’s also worth noting that Western Australia offers sponsorship to certain occupations which are on a secondary list of eligible occupations. To qualify, applicants require an offer of employment in Western Australia in one of the eligible occupations. These include Production Managers, Childcare Centre Managers, Facilities Managers, Environmental Engineers, Food Technologists, Secondary School Teachers, ICT Security Specialists, Network Administrators, Network Analysts, Rehabilitation Counsellors, Vehicle Body Builders, Electronic Instrument Trades Workers and Gardeners.

Western Australia has a large and varied list with a total of 126 occupations eligible for permanent or provisional sponsorship. A further 61 occupations can be nominated, as noted above, with an offer of employment in the state.

Applicants seeking sponsorship from Western Australia do not need to meet any work experience requirements. This means that Western Australia is a very attractive option for new or recent graduates with solid qualifications and good English language skills who may not necessarily require points for work experience to reach the pass mark.

A complete list for Western Australia can be found at:

http://www.migration.wa.gov.au/skilledmigration/Pages/Occupationsindemand.aspx

In summary, state sponsorship lists are very dynamic and their composition regularly changes throughout the year. As we are still only within the second quarter of the migration year (running from July to June), there are a large number of places available and it is a great time to apply.

If you believe you meet the requirements for an occupation on one of the lists or simply want to find out if you qualify for migration to Australia, please contact us on info@immagine-immigration.com.

 

Forthcoming seminars: South Africa and Singapore  

If you are interested in finding out more about Australia, the lifestyle and how you will qualify, we will be presenting seminars in South Africa and Singapore this coming November and December. Our seminars are presented by members of our team of registered migration agents who have many years of industry experience. Please visit www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars to book your place. 

 

South Africa

Johannesburg:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 21 November at 7 pm at the Michelangelo Hotel

Consultations will be held on 22, 23, 24 November, 2, 3 and 4 December at the Michelangelo Hotel.

 

Durban:

Seminar will be held on Monday 25 November at 7 pm at the Riverside Hotel

Consultations will be held on 26 and 27 November at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel.

 

Cape Town:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 28 November at 7 pm at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel 

Consultations will be held on 29 and 30 November at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel

 

Kane Downs to present the South African seminars.

 

Singapore:

Seminar will be held on Saturday 7 December at 2 pm at the Orchard Hotel

Consultations will be held from 8 to 13 December at the Grand Pacific Hotel 

 

Myer Lipschitz to present the Singapore seminar.

 

Seminars are free to attend.  Should you wish to book a consultation, there is a charge – to book consultations, please contact Ruth on ruth@immagine-immigration.com.


The new Immigration Minister speaks

Posted by Anka on Oct. 29, 2013, 11:59 a.m. in Immigration

The new Minister of Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison delivered a keynote speech at last week’s Migration Institute of Australia conference in Canberra.

This was one of Mr. Morrison’s first substantial speeches since taking up his new role and provides a number of indications as to the new government’s approach to migration issues.

At the start of his speech, the Minister asserted there is no doubt that immigration has shaped the Australia we know today. He said, "It has made us a stronger Australia and it will make us a stronger Australia in the future" and expressed his optimism in the future of Australia as an immigration nation. 

Mr. Morrison pointed out that one in four Australians were born overseas and one in five have at least one parent born overseas. Australia is clearly one of the most multi-ethnic societies in the world.

He emphasised that a commitment by policymakers to the economic participation of migrants at all levels has been the basis of Australia's experience and indeed success as an immigration nation over time. He reiterated the present government’s commitment to valuing the involvement of migrants in the Australian economy.

In relation to skilled migration, the Minister had the following to say:

"We want to bring people to Australia who add value – who have a real go and make a contribution to our society. It's very much the principle of a fair go for those who have a go. A key reason for our success which continues to set us apart from other countries is that we receive migrants principally and strongly in our skilled migration programme. This programme will continue to be the key driver of our immigration future."

He recalled that the permanent skilled entry to Australia is made up of the points-tested general skilled migration visas (applicants for these visas do not require an offer of employment in order to be eligible) and the demand-driven employer sponsored visas (which as the name suggests requires applicants to have offers of employment in Australia). More than two-thirds of permanent migrants to Australia are admitted under one of these two groups of visas. He stated that the Coalition government is committed to maintaining this proportion of skilled migrants.

The Minister explained that general skilled migration ensures the broader availability of a pool of skilled workers to fill shortages in the economy where they develop and cannot be filled from within the Australian workforce.

Mr. Morrison also talked at length about the 457 visa program, which is designed for employers to be able to sponsor overseas workers on temporary work visas. The 457 program has received a lot of criticism recently in the media and pressure from unions led the previous government to introduce a number of restrictive changes on 1 July 2013.

He noted that the 457 visa has been a mainstay of Australia's skilled migration programme since its inception in 1996. It is a flexible programme which responds to the economic cycle in line with employer demand. 

In relation to the issues that have been raised in relation to the 457 programme, Mr. Morrison said:

“There is an existing temporary labour market within Australia and the role of the government is to ensure we have the appropriate controls and processes around those programmes to prevent against abuse, to ensure the ongoing integrity of that programme and also to ensure that those who are migrants in that situation are not vulnerable themselves.  The answer to that is not more regulation to tie business or practitioners up in more union red tape but to have more effective enforcement methodologies and practises and resources.”

Finally, the Minister touched upon the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) which was announced in May 2012, launched in July 2012 but has yet to deliver the outcomes expected from it with regard to attracting high-value investors to the country. He pointed out that this has not been due to lack of interest as there have been more than 400 expression of interests lodged for this visa with 279 people being invited and 171 applications being lodged as a result.

However, processing of the SIV has been painfully slow and in its first nine months, only one visa was granted. The new government is planning a relaunch of the SIV and is promising quicker and more efficient processing to ensure that high-value investors interested in migrating to Australia do not get cold feet due to processing delays.

At this point in time, the new government has not introduced any changes to the migration regulations. However, it has reiterated its commitment to the success of Australia’s immigration program and an expectation has been created in relation to the streamlining of 457 and SIV processing. 

An imminent issue that the government will need to address very soon is Labour Market Testing for nominations made for a 457 visa which will come into effect automatically in November following the changes introduced by the previous government in July. The list of occupations that will be subject to this requirement is yet to be released and the government has even intimated that it might scrap the requirement altogether. How the government chooses to handle this first test will very much serve as one of the early indicators of their approach to visa-related issues.

 

Forthcoming seminars:  South Africa and Singapore  

If you are interested in finding out more about Australia, the lifestyle and how you will qualify, we will be presenting seminars in South Africa and Singapore this coming November and December. Please visit www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars to book your place. 

 

South Africa

Johannesburg:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 21 November at 7 pm at the Michelangelo Hotel

Consultations will be held on 22, 23, 24 November, 2, 3 and 4 December at the Michelangelo Hotel.

 

Durban:

Seminar will be held on Monday 25 November at 7 pm at the Riverside Hotel

Consultations will be held on 26 and 27 November at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel.

 

Cape Town:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 28 November at 7 pm at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel 

Consultations will be held on 29 and 30 November at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel

 

Kane Downs to present the South African seminars.

 

Singapore:

Seminar will be held on Saturday 7 December at 2 pm at the Orchard Hotel

Consultations will be held from 8 to 13 December at the Grand Pacific Hotel 

 

Myer Lipschitz to present the Singapore seminar.

 

Seminars are free to attend.  Should you wish to book a consultation, there is a charge – to book consultations, please contact Ruth on ruth@immagine-immigration.com.


Marriage equality on the horizon?

Posted by IMMagine-Team on Oct. 25, 2013, 1:07 p.m. in Lifestyle

There is no doubt that marriage equality is a contentious issue in Australia. In September 2012, a bill legalising same-sex marriage failed to pass in the Federal Parliament. The vote was 42 for and 98 against. The Labor Party (then in government) allowed its members a conscience vote on the issue but Coalition MP’s (then in opposition but now in government) were instructed to vote against the bill even though some of them are publicly supportive of marriage equality. At the time, the leaders of both main parties were openly opposed to the bill.

In August 2012, the lower house of the Tasmanian parliament passed a similar bill but it was subsequently defeated at the upper house level.

A year down the track, the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory passed its Marriage Equality Same-Sex Bill becoming the first of the Australian states and territories to legislate for marriage equality. Under the law, same-sex couples from across Australia will be able to marry in the ACT after giving four weeks’ notice.

It isn’t all good news for supporters of the change though as the Federal Government has announced that it will challenge the act at the High Court of Australia.  In Australia, marriage is regulated at the federal level. However, there is nothing to stop states and territories from passing a same-sex marriage law.

The Federal Government will therefore be claiming that the ACT law is invalid as it is not consistent with Federal Law. In response to this, the ACT government is likely to point out that their enactment is solely relevant to same-sex marriages and should therefore not be seen as being in contravention of the federal provisions.

The interesting thing in all of this is that the hard-line stance of the current federal government on marriage equality does not reflect the views of the majority of Australians. There have been a multitude of polls conducted on the issue in recent years which appear to indicate that nearly two-thirds of the Australian public believes same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

From an immigration perspective, it has been possible for Australian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex de facto partners since 1991 when the so-called ‘Interdependency’ visa was created. The visa was meant for individuals living together with an Australian partner in an ‘interdependent’ relationship (not necessarily a romantic or same-sex relationship) but was largely utilised by same-sex couples. 

However, discrimination against same-sex couples continued as far as other visas were concerned. Non-citizens applying for visas could not include same-sex partners in their applications until July 2006 when changes made to the legislation allowed applicants for a Subclass 457 visa to include a same-sex partner in their application. This was gradually rolled out to other visa types including to skilled migrants from 1 September 2007 onwards and finally, from 1 July 2009, same-sex partners were defined in the legislation as de facto partners and could be included in visa applications lodged under all subclasses.

Same-sex marriage is legally recognized nationwide in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay. Furthermore, in the United States and Mexico, same-sex marriages are recognized on the federal level, although same-sex couples can only marry in certain jurisdictions. 

As commonly known, New Zealand become the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to legalise same-sex marriage in April this year. The legislators singing “Pokarekare ana”, a popular NZ love song, following the announcement of the outcome of the vote, made headlines around the world and will probably be remembered forever as a seminal moment in the continuing worldwide struggle for civil and human rights. 

In the field of civil, political and human rights, Australia has usually been several steps and, on many occasions, several decades behind its nearest neighbour. However, if recent developments bear fruit, supporters of marriage equality in Australia may not have to wait for decades or even years for change to come to our shores. As some people have remarked, marriage equality will be the norm within our lifetime and, by that stage, no one will remember what the big fuss was about to begin with.

At this point, however, the debate is far from over, particularly as far as Australia is concerned. Following the vote in the ACT Legislative Assembly, there have been signs that the Tasmanian parliament may put marriage equality to the vote once more in the near future. 

Regardless of whether the Federal Government wins or loses the High Court challenge in this particular instance, the fact remains that the unstoppable march of history will continue and those who insist on opposing progress in the field of civil and human rights will be left behind and find themselves pushed aside much like the supporters of segregation in the USA or apartheid in South Africa. 

 

Forthcoming seminars: South Africa and Singapore  

If you are interested in finding out more about Australia, the lifestyle and how you will qualify, we will be presenting seminars in South Africa and Singapore this coming November and December. Please visit www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars to book your place. 

 

South Africa

Johannesburg:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 21 November at 7 pm at the Michelangelo Hotel

Consultations will be held on 22, 23, 24 November, 2, 3 and 4 December at the Michelangelo Hotel.

 

Durban:

Seminar will be held on Monday 25 November at 7 pm at the Riverside Hotel

Consultations will be held on 26 and 27 November at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel.

 

Cape Town:

Seminar will be held on Thursday 28 November at 7 pm at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel 

Consultations will be held on 29 and 30 November at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel

 

Kane Downs to present the South African seminars.

 

Singapore:

Seminar will be held on Saturday 7 December at 2 pm at the Orchard Hotel

Consultations will be held from 8 to 13 December at the Orchard Hotel 

 

Myer Lipschitz to present the Singapore seminar.

 

Seminars are free to attend.  Should you wish to book a consultation, there is a charge – to book consultations, please contact Ruth on ruth@immagine-immigration.com.