Apply for a Partner Visa and don't want to continue study on a student visa

Many students who come here to study and end up falling in love. Eventually they decide to apply for a Partner Visa, be it same sex or different sex relationship. It doesn't matter if the relationship is a marriage or de facto one. It makes no difference really.

Lots of students have a long term student visa and some wish not to continue their study after they have lodged their Partner Visa. That is because the tuition fees for overseas students can be expensive for some.

Many people plan to pause or postpone their study while they wait for their Partner Visa to be granted, but don't know how that will affect their Partner Visa application or their legal status in Australia. They can still continue their study, but it will be cheaper once they have become an Australian permanent resident or Australian citizen. Australian citizens can access study assistance, called HECS (Australian government keep changing its name). HECS allows you to study now and pay later.

By right, students still need to continue their study until either their student visa expires or the result of their Partner Visa comes out. Whichever happens first. Well....what happens when they've decided not to continue their study as I mentioned above?

  • The education institute will inform the Department of Immigration.
  • The Department of Immigration will then cancel your student visa. It will also cancel your Bridging Visa A as well (I will write about Bridging Visa in a separate post).
  • Then you will become an unlawful non-citizen. Just a fancy word for illegal overstay.
Fear not, once you have become an unlawful non-citizen, then you can lodge your application for Bridging Visa E, to legalize your visa status. It is FREE.

This Bridging Visa E will allow you to stay and wait for your result from your Partner Visa. There are pros and cons for this Bridging Visa E.

  • You no longer have to study and pay expensive tuition fees.
  • Although Bridging Visa E does not allow you to work. You can lodge in an application together with a nice and simple letter asking for permission to work, given that you have reason for financial hardship. It can be done quite easily at no cost.
  • You are not allowed to travel out. You cannot apply for Bridging Visa B to travel, unlike Bridging Visa A. If you can bear living in the country for at least 12 months and wait for result of your Partner Visa, I personally think that it is worth the wait.
That is a bit of information about student visas and Partner Visas. I hope that you find this post informative.

Whatever path you choose to follow. Please think about its pros and cons carefully. Each path you choose will have its own consequences.

Student visas can't be renewed forever

The education industry is one of the most profitable for the Australian government. Therefore, the Australian government makes it quite attractive for overseas students to study in Australia. This has become one of the avenues for some of us to emigrate to Australia.

Studying in Australia is a pathway for many visa categories. There are many paths that you can take to gain an Australian permanent residency or PR status. At the same time there are also groups of people that use student visas as a way to work in Australia as a student visa allows you to work 40 hours fortnightly. That is one of the legal conditions that student visa holders need to follow. Yet, there are huge number of students breaching that legal condition and risking their visa to be cancelled.

Many students enroll in some of the cheap private colleges in the big cities around Australia. Some of the private colleges require students to study only 1-2 days per week. The rest of the week, they just work and receive cash-in-hand payment. 

However, these students need to know that student visas are not something that you can continuously renew. You can't possibly keep renewing your student visa forever. In order for student visas to be granted, there needs to be some "genuineness" surrounding it to study. That can be hard for some, if that person keeps changing his/her course or have been enrolled in a private college and yet have never finished their study or have never received any significant qualifications.

In order for student visas to be granted, you need to at least gain some qualifications from your previous or existing student visa. That is the purpose of a student visa, for you to study. There also needs to be some progress forward from your study. The course that you choose to study should be something that is a higher qualification from your current or previous qualifications. You can still choose some qualifications that are slightly lower than whatever qualification you may have, as long as the new qualification or course of study is in a different field.

Overall, I do think that "common sense" does make sense. Just bear in mind that student visas can't be used as an avenue for you to work forever. Eventually, the renewal of your student visa can be put to paused.

It is important for those people who have had student visas for a few years and have not gained any significant qualifications so far. It might be a good idea to look into other avenues as well.

Training benchmark is to train your employees, not employer

Training benchmark as many people probably already know, is necessary to have if your business wants to sponsor someone for visa subclass 457 or ENS; Employer Nomination Scheme. However, it is important to note that the expenses can be counted towards the training benchmark if the expenses are to train the local employees who have either a permanent residency visa (PR) or are a citizen. I have mentioned this in my previous blog post.

Of course, you can still train your non-local employees, if that will help boost your productivity. However, you can claim only 50% of those expenses for the training benchmark, for immigration purposes. Usually for visa subclass 457 and ENS.

I didn't suggest that you don't have to train your non-local staff or employees. Training staff and employees is always good for your workforce. This is to boost your productivity and improve the workflow in the organization. However, you need to know what you can claim towards your training benchmark, so that you won't make a mistake when submitting your paperwork to the Department of Immigration. This is to speed the process time of your application as well.

Set up a business and sponsor yourself

Last few blog posts, I have mentioned about visa subclass 457 and use your business to sponsor yourself for the visa. No need to worry about getting a job from any employers. Today, I will expand that a little bit more on how you and a group of friends and set up a business and then use that business to sponsor yourself and a group of friends, for get visa subclass 457 and eventually proceed to Australian permanent residence visa; PR.

Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, subclass 457 is one of the visa subclass that many people use as their pathway to permanent residency visa; PR. This can be done with some steps below.

There are ways that you and your friends can pool the money together as a partner and then set up a business. Then you and your friends can use that business to sponsor yourself and your friends. This sponsorship can be sponsored the whole family, not just yourself or your friends.

Here is just 1 scenario:

  • 4 families pool their money together and open a restaurant, be it, Indian restaurant, Chinese restaurant, Thai restaurant, Italian restaurant or all sorts of restaurants.
  • You need to set up the business as a company, not a sole trader or partnership.
  • Presumably that you study commercial cookery or business management (or related fields). Then you can use your own business to sponsor yourself and your friends.
  • 1 normal size restaurant; 40-100 seats should be able to sponsor 2 chefs and 2 restaurant managers under visa subclass 457. That is 1 chef at lunch and 1 at dinner. Same thing, 1 restaurant manager at lunch and 1 at dinner.
  • You can have your partner or kids (if any) as secondary applicant(s).
  • Your friends can have their partners or kids (if any) as their secondary applicant(s) as well.
It will be become a happy ending for at least 4 families.

Use your own business to sponsor yourself

As the Australian government is now focused more on skilled migrants who are more employable and will boost the Australian economy, visa subclass 457 (Temporary Work; Skilled ) is now at its peak. The number of visa approvals has skyrocketed.

Visa subclass is more for businesses or employers to sponsor their employees, to work in occupation that has skill shortage issues. Here is the list of occupations that can be sponsored under visa subclass 457.

While having businesses or employers sponsor you for visa subclass 457 it is a good and ideal situation. What if you yourself wants to set up your own business and then use that business to sponsor yourself. Yes, it can be done.

In order for you to set up your own business and then use that business to sponsor yourself, there are steps and things you need to follow:

  • Register your business as a company, not a sole trader or partnership. I personally strongly suggest to leave this to the experts, either get your solicitor or your accountant to do this for you. You will be one of the companies directors.
  • Then go through the normal standard business sponsorship as per normal. Visa subclass 457 has 3 stages that needs to be achieved:
    • Standard Business Sponsorship
    • Nomination
    • Visa application

Buying or setting up a business in Australia

Last blog I was writing about how any visa holder can own a business. I will now follow that up with this post, about buying or setting up a business in Australia. 

Buying or setting up a business in Australia is quite straightforward. It doesn't have anything to do much with Australian migration law. It will be more on commercial law and you need to engage a solicitor or lawyer to act on your behalf.

Buying or setting up a business in Australia doesn't require many documentation from your end. The thing that you really need is "your signature" as majority of the paperwork will be done by the solicitor and accountant.

Setting up your business name registration with ASIC can be done either by yourself, your account or your solicitor. If you set this up either as a "sole trader" or "partnership", personally I would just do that by myself. It probably takes you less than 15 minutes to organize that on the ASIC website. Yeap, the Australian government wants to make things easier for people to set up a business here and create job & boost the economy.

However, if  this is set up as a company or trust, the best way to do it is to leave it to the experts, either your solicitor or your accountant. As the company structure or trust structure can be quite confusing for some (for me as well).

Lots of people wonder what type of documentation they need? Not much really. Just your passport & IDs.

Any visa holder can own a business in Australia

Many people want to know what type of visa they need to have to own a business in Australia. To be frank, most visas don't prevent people from owning a business. However, working in a business is different.

For example, student visas allow visa holders to work for up to 40 hours fortnightly. That doesn't stop students from owning a business. Students can own a shop, and work in their business 40 hours fortnightly and the rest of the time, students can employ someone to run business on their behalf. They can be shop manager or whatever. 

All visa holders need to be careful that, they do not work over the work-right limitation that comes with their visa. It is important that every visa holder checks their visa conditions and strictly follows it.

They also need to take into account what will happen to the business when their visa is expired. They need to think about the "exit strategy" as well. Those temporary visa holders, be it; student or visitor visa, they cannot assume that they will keep on renewing their visa forever. Unless they have a plan for a longer term or permanent basis they will eventually apply for a permanent residence visa.

Things you need to know about the Australian Tourist Visa

The Australian Tourist Visa is quite self explanatory, the purpose of this visa is for people to come and visit Australia. The Australian government loves to have more tourists as that leads to economic growth in the tourism and hospitality industry. Tourism and hospitality is one of the main export industries that brings more cash to the country.

However, in order for people to get tourist visa, they need to illustrate that they are in fact genuine tourist, as there are way too many unlawful non-citizens here in Australia. The Australian government also needs to ensure that those who come here under a tourist visa will not overstay their visa.

Here is some basic information that you can illustrate to the case officer that you are indeed a genuine tourist. You will not overstay your visa. You will definitely go back to your home country before the visa expires.

  • your job back home is stable and you will definitely go back to your work
  • you are a full-time student and will definitely go back to school to continue your study back home
  • you own a business and will need to go back to continue running your business back home
  • you have family members back home that you will definitely go back to
That is just a rough guide, hope that you get the idea. There are many ways that you can illustrate that you are indeed a genuine tourist depending on your circumstances.

Apart from that, money is important for tourist visas....

Tourists come to Australia either for visiting friends, family members or sightseeing. Tourist visa applicants need to illustrate that they have enough funds to cover all their expenses while they are staying in Australia. That will include food and accommodation.

Those who stay with friends and family need to inform the case officer that the accommodation has been sorted.

The fund and financial support can be provided by your family members. However, if the fund will be provided by friends or persons that are not blood related to you, it needs to accompany with some explanation.

So far, that is only a rough guideline for tourist visas. Every case is different, the merit of visa application is based on a case-by-case basis.

Hope that you have some basic idea on how the tourist visa works.

Fraudulent document

I can't stress enough to let people know that using any fraudulent document to apply for the Australia visa is illegal. Yet still got people thinking that they can get away with that. That's a bad move!

The application fee that you have paid, that is for the case officers to do their work, to work on your case and YES, they check on the authenticity of your document as well.

I understand that many people may have friends in whatever organization that can issue a fraudulent certificate. It is not worth doing it as the case officer or staff from the embassy or the department will call and check. You "never" know who will answer the phone at the other end!!!

Be true to yourself, if you don't have whatever document that the department needs. Perhaps, that particular visa category is not suitable for you. It might be better to explore other types of visas. Always consult the one in the know...

Once the department finds out that you are using the fraudulent document:

  1. your visa won't be granted
  2. you will have a bad record. 
It may jeopardize the chance of getting a visa next time you apply.

Genuineness of position

Since the last blog was about "Training Benchmark" for visa subclass 457 and ENS (Employer Nomination Scheme), it is logical to touch base on "Genuine of Position" for this post.

In order for the employer to sponsor or employ someone under visa subclass 457 or ENS, the employer needs to show the genuineness of the position. 

The position needs to match the business profile. There needs to be a real need for the employer to employ that particular visa candidate.

There are many ways to show the genuineness of the position. It really depends on the nature and scale of the business.

  • Employer might indicate that the business is expanding and needs more workforce in that particular field.
  • The skill-set of the potential visa candidate is needed in order for the business to flourish and grow.
  • The potential visa candidate is the current employee (under whatever visa that allows him/her to work) and she/he has tremendously contributed to the growth of the business and the employer wants to employ the visa candidate in a longer full-time basis.
That is just a few examples that the genuineness of the position can be met. The employer needs to be a bit creative and sometimes think outside the box to illustrate that.

Whatever the employer does, do not just simply nominate the position to be approved on the basis that "I need staff". That is not good enough for the position to be approved for nomination.