visa application fee increase from 1 Jan 2013

Changes to visa pricing announced in October take effect from 1 January 2013. They include:
  • Partner visas allowing for people already in Australia to enter or remain on the basis of their married or de facto relationship, to increase from $3060 to $3975
  • Partner visas for people outside Australia who want to join their partner in Australia will increase $2060 to $2680
  • Skilled Graduate visas to increase from $315 to $1250 for the highly-valued post-study work rights for people in Australia on a student visa
  • The 457 temporary skilled worker visas to increase from $350 to $455
  • Working Holiday maker visas will increase from $280 to $365.

Longer Tourist Visas for Parents of Australian Citizens & Permanent Residents

The proposed Longer Tourist visas for parents of Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents which was announced by the Minister on 4 September 2012 will probably be one of the changes to commence on 24 November 2012.

Towards the end of 2012, parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to apply for Tourist visas to visit Australia for longer.

Under this arrangement recently announced by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, the department will consider granting on a case-by-case basis:

  • Tourist visas of up to five years' validity which provide a stay of up to 12 months on each entry to those parents who are outside Australia and are in the Parent (subclass 103) visa queue
  • Tourist visas of up to three years' validity with 12 months' stay on each entry will be considered for parents who are outside Australia and are not in the Parent visa queue.

These changes will allow parents who meet the criteria for a Tourist visa to have regular extended visits with their family in Australia without needing to apply for a new visa on each visit.

Under these more flexible arrangements, in addition to meeting all other Tourist visa requirements, parents will be expected to hold health insurance to cover any healthcare costs during their stay and will have a visa condition limiting applications for further visas while they are in Australia.
Like all tourists, parents granted Tourist visas are expected to maintain extended periods of absence between visits to Australia.

The department is making changes to implement these arrangements by the end of 2012.

Work and Holiday visa for Eastern Europe and Israel

Minister Bowen has announced on 13 Nov 2012, talks with several governments to establish Work and Holiday visa arrangements, namely: the Czech Republic; Hungary; Israel; Latvia; Poland; and the Slovak Republic.
No agreements are expected soon, but once established, nationals of each of the above countries between 18 and 30 years of age will be able to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months, and reciprocal arrangements will allow Australian travellers similar access.
Currently, reciprocal Work and Holiday visa arrangements have been reached with Argentina; Bangladesh; Chile; Indonesia; Malaysia; Papua New Guinea; Thailand; Turkey; and the United States.

Onshore partner visa waiting period is now getting longer

The onshore partner visa program is experiencing strong demand, and as a result, the current average processing time for subclass 820 applications (spouse or partner visa) is around 13 months from lodgement. This is an average processing time and the actual processing time for each application may vary significantly.

To ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible the Department of Immigration and Citizenship request that applications are only lodged when they are complete, including health and character checks.  

Generally, applications are considered in date order but some applications will take longer to finalise than others. Applications which will be prioritised include those which have been remitted following successful review or Ministerial Intervention, and applications which have special circumstances of a compelling and compassionate nature.

Applications which may be decided more quickly include those involving family violence, and those which are "assessment ready" at lodgement.

Following a successful campaign to encourage "assessment ready" cases, the Department now have a considerable number on hand and can no longer guarantee that all "assessment ready" applications will be processed more quickly.  

visa condition

As Australian government is moving toward a label-free visa system. It is important for Australian visa holders to understand their visa conditions. Particularly 8503 condition, no further stay.

Many people come to Australia on Tourist Visa and have this 8503 condition attach to it. It means you cannot renew your visa onshore (inside the Australia). Another word, you cannot extend your stay. If you need to apply for another visa, you need to travel out of the country and apply from outside (offshore).

Many people came here on Tourist Visa, meet their partner and want to extend their stay here. Sadly, that cannot be done if the visa have 8503 condition. Therefore, it is important if you check and understand your visa condition. So that you can get your expectation right.

Changes around SkillSelect

Apart from EOI that I wrote a while ago. There are some other changes around SkillSelect that people might  want to take note of that, particularly in GSM (General Skilled Migrant) area.

- in order for you to submit your EOI, you must have done your English test and have done your skill assessment.
- the new passing point is now 60, instead of 65
- your IELTS is now valid for 3 years, instead of 2 years
- the new age limit is now 50, instead of 45

As you can see here, changes sometime can be quite good as well.
I am sure, there will be lots of paperwork to get done, before you actually lodge your EOI. But this is for the good cause and make the whole workflow smoother.

I personally love this changes....  :)

Not much changes for Temporary Business visa

Since there are lots of changes in Skilled Migration scheme, I have lots of inquires in regarding to Temporary Business Visa (Long Stay) subclass 457. Although SkillSelect does play some roles in the Skilled Migrant program. It is not so much for subclass 457. Most of the requirement are about the same.

However, there is now "Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List" instead of separate SOL lists like last time. The process of transition from Business Visa (457) to PR is now change. I shall put this in separate post later.

Anyway.... long story short... anything you need to know, please consult your lawyer or registered migration agent.

SkillSelect from 1 July 2012

The new change is here.
Change is always part of the migration law, that is one thing that I love about. It needs to keep up the current situation around the world.

As mentioned in my earlier blog that from 1 July 2012 (yesterday), there are a few Skilled Migrant subclasses to be abolished. Here is our new baby; "SkillSelect".

SkillSelect allowed the applicants to put in their profile online (Expression Of Interest; EOI), then the department will check if the skills and qualification match the needs for Australia. If the department find that the applicants have skills, work experience or qualification that will benefit to Australia, only then the department to make an offer "an invitation to apply". Only after the applicant have received an "invitation to apply", then the applicants can lodge their visa application; Skilled Migrant.

EOI is FREE at the moment.

The department will keep the SkillSelect profile of the applicants for 2 years.
During these 2 years, the applicants can update their profile at anytime. That is to boost the chances of getting an "invitation to apply" from the department.

Interesting new change indeed... :)

Skilled Migration from 1 July 2012

The following visas are closed to all new applications from 1 July 2012:

  • Skilled – Independent (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 175)
  • Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 176)
  • Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 475)
The following visas will be closed to all new applications from 1 January 2013:

  • Skilled – Sponsored (Residence) Visa (Subclass 886)
  • Skilled – Independent (Residence) Visa (Subclass 885)
  • Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 487)
Skilled visa options are available in SkillSelect (more information about SkillSelect coming your way)

Source: DIAC

Student Visa Living Costs and Evidence of Funds from 1 July 2012

From 1 July 2012 there will be new financial requirements for International students to demonstrate and/or declare that they have genuine access to sufficient funds to be granted a Student visa.

Student Expenses
- Applicant: Return airfare to Australia
- Family Members: One return air fare to Australia per person
- Applicant: Course fees
- School-age children aged 5-18 (per person): AUD8000 per year
- Applicant: AUD18 610 per year
- Partner: AUD6515 per year
- First Child: AUD3720 per year
- Each other child: AUD2790 per year
Student Guardians
- Applicant: Return air fare to Australia
- Children aged under 6 years of age: One return air fare to Australia per person
- Applicant: AUD18 610 per year
- First child aged under 6: AUD3720 per year
- Each other child aged under 6: AUD2790 per year

More information can be found at:

Source: MIA

Did you hold student visa on 8 Feb 2010?

While many international students make the decision to apply for permanent residence at the end of their studies, there are no guarantee that, on the basis of having held a Student visa, they will meet the requirements to be granted permanent residence.

On 8 Feb 2010, the Australian government announced a number of changes to its skilled migration program. These changes included the withdrawal of the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) and the introduction of the new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) from 1 July 2010.

Transitional arrangements are in place for people who held an eligible Student visa (subclass 572, 573 or 574) when the reforms were announced on 8 Feb 2010. If you held an eligible Student visa on this date, you can apply for a Temporary Skilled Graduate visa (subclass 485) until 31 Dec 2012 using the Skilled Occupation List in effect on 8 Feb 2012.

Source: DIAC

New GSM Skilled Occupation List

DIAC has announced an updated General Skilled Migration (GSM) Skilled Occupation List (SOL) to take effect from 1 July 2012 (Note: this is not the proposed Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL) for employer sponsored visas, which has yet to be announced.)

The new GSM SOL adds four occupations:

  • ANZSCO 133513   Production Manager (Mining)
  • ANZSCO 234912   Metallurgist
  • ANZSCO 251411   Optometrist
  • ANZSCO 263111   Computer Network and Systems Engineer
The new GSM SOL removes four occupations:
  • ANZSCO 234211   Chemist
  • ANZSCO 252711   Audiologist
  • ANZSCO 331111   Bricklayer
  • ANZSCO 333411   Wall and Floor Tiler

The updated SOL will apply to all new Independent (unsponsored) and Family sponsored skilled migration applications lodged on or after 1 July, unless they are from applicants eligible for transitional arrangements.

DIAC advises that applications lodged before 1 July with a nominated occupation that is no longer on the SOL in effect from 1 July will continue to be processed. Priority processing arrangements may, however, change for certain applicants, according to the Ministerial Direction on priority processing.

Source: MIA

Lots of changes coming your way

1 July 2012, there will be lots of legislation changes coming your way. The whole new shift with skill migrant will be taking place. Immigration law is evolving all the time. I am yet to find out, lots of law seminar will be ran by the Department of Immigration and I shall share and update whatever new and changes in our currently migration law.

Changes are good. I love the changes of the law. Although it is hard for everyone to keep up, it will benefit the country in the long run. The situation of our country is keep changing, the migration law as well needs to change, to keep up with the current situation of our keep up with the rest of the world

Stay tune.

Doing many Partner Visa cases...amazing stories

Recently I have been doing a few cases for Partner Visa. For some reasons, I had a few cases for the past 2-3 months. Most of the times are the Thai girls who marriage to the Australian men.

I usually would sit down and interview them, how was their first met, how their relationship begin...etc...etc... The best part of this visa category is that I will have to read their personal statement, about their relationship. Trust me guys, that was the most wonderful moment of my job. The couples had allowed me into their life. To help them with the case. To know their love story...which usually very personal and intimate. I felt honored and privilege.

One of the amazing part is the translation part. I will usually let's my Thai clients write their personal statement in Thai. I then translate for them. It was such a wonderful moment to know someone life in a deeper level. I felt very humble by this.

Thank you guys for letting me in into your life.

Working Visa; long business stay

Recently I have been doing a lots of work for working visa (long business stay); subclass 457. I found that the Department of Immigration (DIAC) work extremely fast on this visa subclass compare to other type of visas. That is because the government now concentrate more on skill migrant who has the employer ready to sponsor. That is to ease some of skill shortage in some industry. Most of all, the visa applicants already have the job offered. Soon after the employees are working for 2 years, then they could apply for their permanent residency (PR) which most of the people are aiming for.

Having a job offered is more or less a guarantee that that employee will not be liable on our social benefit; CenterLink and so fourth. I am strongly think that the government has made the right move on these issues. I really wish to see more people on this visa category. Another words, yes...we do need more skilled migrants in our country. Good for economy, good for the country as people who are in the workforce are paying TAX!!!