Priority Processing Changes for GSM, Employer Sponsored and Business Skills (Provisional) visa applications – from 23 Sept 2009
On 20 August 2009, the Department of Immigration announced the strengthening of checks on student visa application to prevent fraud and ensure student have the financial capacity to live and stay in Australia.
As one of the measures to strengthen integrity, the department will be strengthening checks around parts of the student visa case load in India, Mauritius, Nepal, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
The measures implemented with immediate effect include:
- upgrading the interview program to confirm the genuineness of the applicant and to check financial capacity
- removing or restricting eVisa access for some agents where there is evidence of fraud or inactivity
- restricting access to eVisa for some segments of the case load if analysis demonstrates restricted access would allow for better control.
The purpose of undertaking these measures is to ensure genuine students receive high quality education and enjoy their experience in Australia. These measure build on work already conducted across the Student visa program to combat fraud.
This approach is consistent with other countries that receive large numbers of student visa applications.
All Student visa applicants are subject to standard immigration checks which include health, character and security checks. In addition, all applicants for a Student visa must show that they have a genuine intention to enter Australia for the purpose of study. The evidence required to meet this requirement varies according to the level of immigration risk of the visa applicant, which is determined based on objective data. All Student visa applicants must meet certain financial, English language proficiency and other requirements (including educational attainment).
The department routinely seeks further information to verify the evidence provided with visa applications. The precise checks to be undertaken will be determined on a case by case basis. This will include face to face, or phone interviews for some applicants.
Prospective students are encouraged to apply well before their intended course commences in Australia and to ensure their application is complete. Incomplete applications without all relevant documents can cause delays in processing an application. For students applying through eVisa from outside Australia, they can lodge their application up to three months before their course commences. For students lodging paper visa applications, they can lodge up to four months before their course commences.
The General Skilled Migration section of Immigration SA has advised of the following changes.
Immigration SA has amended the List of Occupations for Provisional Sponsorships. Planning levels have been attached to all occupations on both Lists. Once the planning levels have been reached they are removed from the respective list/s.
However, Immigration SA has decided not to remove the following occupations even though they have reached their planning levels in order to continue to provide the opportunity to nominate under these occupations until the new lists are finalised. However, in order that the labour market is not saturated with potential applicants seeking employment in these areas, Immigration SA has imposed a job offer criteria to the occupations:
- Intelligence Officer
- Office manager
- Recreation officer
Immigration SA will assure that any sponsorship application submitted up to Thursday 17 September under these occupations will be honoured provided that all the supporting documents are received before the 60 day period.
The 2009/2010 Permanent and Provisional Lists are being revised.
In a unanimous decision of the Full Federal Court of Australia, dated 21 August 2009, the Court concluded the only limitation on when an IELTS test can be taken is that it must be taken no earlier than two years before the date of the application. That is, the provisions of "taken less than 2 years before the date of application" do not prevent a visa applicant from relying on the results of an IELTS test taken after the date of the visa application.
The Full Court's decision concerned the English language proficiency requirement, applicable to certain Student visa applications. At issue was the period in which Student visa applicants must sit a successful IELTS test.
Since 1 January 2009, there were some changes to the Skilled Migration program; both employer sponsored visa applicants and General Skilled Migration applicants. However, there are many people stilling confuse about these changes, therefore, I put this up on the blog for everyone to read... :)
Employer-sponsored permanent migration
Employer-sponsored permanent migration applications will be fast-tracked. In his press release, the Minister said that "this could see employer sponsored visas occupying an increasing share of the skilled program, with 36,000 visas likely in the current year"
General Skilled Migration
For General Skilled Migration applications (both onshore and offshore), priority processing will be given to those who:
•1. have State or Territory sponsorship; or
•2. have a nominated occupation in the new "Critical Skills List (CSL)".
This list focuses on medical and key IT professionals, engineers and construction trades.
In a document entitled "2008-09 Migration Program Changes Frequently asked questions" it states in Question 8 that "Occupations that are not included in the CSL will not be given priority processing unless the applicants have a job offer or are sponsored or nominated by a state or territory government." It is not clear if this mention of a job offer is only for employer nominated applications or also for General Skilled Migration applications.
Prospective applicants for State or Territory sponsorship should contact States or Territories to enquire about sponsorship for people who have a nominated occupation on their state skills shortage list. Please note that DIAC is allowing States and Territories to sponsor up to 500 people a year who do not have occupations on their state list. Check with states and territories about this.
Accountants are on the Critical Skills List, but the list specifies that (for the purposes of the CSL) the applicant must have achieved a score of at least 7 in each band of the IELTS test and/or has completed the Professional Year in accounting who nominate "Accountant"
These changes will not affect the eligibility of applicants who are currently eligible to apply for General Skilled Migration now to be eligible after 1 January 2009. However they will not be given processing priority. There are no changes to the points awarded for MODL.
John @ J The Migration Team
Minster Evans has announced the market salary rates requirements for temporary skilled overseas workers which will come into effect from 14 September 2009. These are a result of the Migration Legislation Amendment (Worker Protection) Act 2008 and associated regulations.
These market rates will apply to all new subclass 457 visa holders from 14 September 2009, except where annual earnings of $180,000 or more are proposed.
For current subclass 457 visa holders, transitional arrangements will allow employers currently paying less than market salary rates to have until 1 January 2010 to commence paying market rates.
- $81,040 for Subclass 457 visa holders who benefit from the English language exemption
- $55,725 for Subclass 457 visa holders working in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) occupations who were granted their visa under certified regional employment arrangements
- $61,920 for all other Subclass 457 visa holders working in ICT occupations
- $40,705 for all other Subclass 457 visa holders who were granted visas under certified regional employment arrangements
- $45,220 for all other Subclass 457 visa holders.
a) if there is an equivalent Australian worker in the workplace:- the market rate will be determined by the industrial arrangements that apply to this worker – for example, a collective agreement, award, award conditions with above award salary rates or a common law contract [This may be referred to as the ‘site’ or ‘enterprise’ rate].
b) if there is no equivalent worker onsite:- the employer may reference collective agreements or awards for that position to substantiate the market rate. If there is no applicable agreement or award, other evidence such as remuneration surveys or earnings data must be provided.
In this case it is the sponsor’s responsibility to identify market terms and conditions of employment supported by a range of evidence.
Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) commences on 14 September 2009 and is currently $45,220 per annum.
A nomination under the Subclass 457 visa program will be refused in most cases if the market salary rate for the nominated position is below this level of income.
The TSMIT has no bearing on what the Subclass 457 visa holder should be paid in the workplace.
Example given by DIAC
If the market salary rate for an occupation is $39,500 – that is, the market salary rate amount that is paid to equivalent Australian in the employer's workplace – then the nomination would normally be refused, as the salary is below TSMIT. Even if the sponsor decided to offer the nominee a salary of $45,220, then the nomination could still be refused, as it is the market salary rate that the department compares to TSMIT, not the actual salary proposed.
Current nomination applications will be assessed against the new nomination criterion, and DIAC will contact sponsors to seek further information.
Current nomination approvals where the 457 applicant is specified will be processed under the new legislation.
From 14 September 2009, current nomination approvals where the 457 applicant is not specified will not be valid. The sponsor may seek a refund of the nomination fee for these nominations by submitting their request in writing to the department within the validity period of the nomination.
There will be specially trained officers with investigative powers to monitor workplaces and conduct site visits to determine whether employers are complying with the redefined sponsorship obligations.
Breach of sponsorship obligations could result in fines up to $33,000, the cancellation of an employer's approval as a sponsor or barring them from making further applications for overseas workers.
DIAC can also obtain information from the Commissioner of Taxation to ensure correct salary levels are being paid to visa holders.
All your migration needs, all types of visas:
- Student visa
- Permanent resident (PR)
- Graduate Skilled Migration Visa
- Working visa
- Spouse Visa; marriage & de facto
- Skill Assessment
- Both onshore & offshore
- …. and much more…
0412-470969, by appointment only
J Migration Team @Wollongong