Friday, 4th of July 2014 Issue #1 July
No Borders Newsletter

TOP STORY

update on visas

Issues of this month

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Updates on Subclass 457 and Subclass 186 visas

Subclass 457 Temporary Work Skilled Visa ('Subclass 457 visa')

  • For the first time in several years, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection ('DIBP') has introduced very minimal changes to the Subclass 457 visa on 1 July 2014.
  • Importantly, the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold ('TSMIT') has remained at $53,900. Traditionally, the TSMIT has increased every 1 July with this year being the first not to implement a further increase today. Sponsors must continue to show that the position to be filled by the sponsored employee commands a base salary of at least $53,900. Very minor exceptions apply to this requirement.
  • Also on a positive note, the skilled occupations of Hydrogeologist (ANZSCO 234413) and Exercise Physiologist (ANZSCO 234915) have been included on the list of occupations deemed eligible for the Subclass 457 and Subclass 186 visas.

Changes to the Subclass 186 Employer Nominiation Scheme

Skill Assessments
  • The Migration Regulations have been amended as of 1 July to provide that Skill Assessments will be valid for three years, unless a shorter period of validity is provided by the relevant assessing authority.
  • Applicants for the Subclass 186 visa are required to evidence a positive Skill Assessment in instances where they have not worked for their employer on a Subclass 457 visa for two years and where their annual earnings are not equivalent to the current top individual income tax rate.
Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS)
  • An employee can apply for permanent residence through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream if they have been working for their sponsoring employer in Australia on a Subclass 457 visa for at least two years.
  • As of 1 July, changes have come into effect to allow employees to apply for the TRTS even if they have had more than one standard business sponsor during their two year period of employment. This is permitted if the DIBP considers the standard business sponsors to be, in effect, the 'same employer'.
  • If the working conditions of the employee are largely unaffected by the takeover and the sponsoring entities have been trading with the same business name, it is likely that the current and previous standard business sponsors will be considered to be the same employer for the purposes of the TRTS.

Application Fees

  • Application fees have not increased on 1 July. We note, however, that in the past 12 months there have been substantial increases in application fees which could not possibly warrant a further increase at this point in time.

On the Horizon - Subclass 457 Programme Integrity Review

  • The DIBP is currently undertaking an impact survey with business sponsors regarding the changes that occurred on 1 July 2013. This is an additional measure to the submissions requested from stakeholders to allow the panel to report on the Subclass 457 visa and how it can be improved.
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New report reveals the migration status of Australia

Migration Status of Australia

A new report compiling data from the 2011 Census provides a key statistical picture of our population and the make-up of our migrant communities, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said on June 26.

The People of Australia report, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data collated by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, is a snapshot of a modern nation attracting people from around the world including increased migration from Asia.

Comparing 2006 and 2011 census data, the report provides profiles of our existing migrant pool.

'We are a wonderfully successful and cohesive modern immigrant nation that has welcomed those from across the world to become part of the Australian story,' Minister Morrison said.

Statistics include the education, employment and income of migrants by birthplace, religion and language.

Key statistics of The People of Australia report reveal:

  • 252 overseas places of birth represented in the current Australian population, with England in top spot with more than 900 000 people and New Zealand second with 483 000
  • The growing importance of Asian migration to Australia - in 2011, there were 148 000 more people born in India, 112 000 more Chinese and 51 000 more people born in the Philippines compared with 2006
  • The main non-English languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Italian, Cantonese, Greek and Vietnamese which are all spoken at home by at least 1 per cent of the population.

'The report will assist governments and other agencies to respond to the challenges of providing services in a diverse cultural environment, including identification of sectors most in need of English language services,' Minister Morrison said.

'It should be a source of great pride to all Australians that we have been able to unite from all parts of the world in a modern, cohesive and successful nation.

'This snapshot shows how far we have come and to shape the way that we manage our challenges now and into the near future,' Minister Morrison said.

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Skills shortage agency in Australia to be abolished

The agency in Australia that identifies skill shortages which need to be filled by overseas workers is being abolished.

The Australian government has confirmed that the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency will become part of the Department of Industry. The transfer will take place next month.

The agency has played a key role in the Skilled Occupation List which all would-be overseas workers consult because if they get a job on the list, they have the right to apply for permanent residency in Australia.

Officials said that the transfer is in line with the government's plan to streamline its advisory processes. 'We respect and accept that the Government has the right to establish these new arrangements and as such we will work to ensure a smooth transition,' said Philip Bullock, chairman of the AWPA.

'The team has worked hard to build a solid body of work over the last six years. Our national strategies, sectoral reports, economic modelling, as well as our policy and research documents, have been used by industry and governments at all levels to inform their policies and practices,' he added.

Other major contributions of the AWPA include its progress on a series of comprehensive national workforce development strategies, its initiation of key sectoral skills reports which uncover the needs of industries including retail, engineering and manufacturing, and its role in directing attention towards better use of skills in the workplace.

skills shortage agency
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Australia sees number of visitor visas rise

Visitor Visa rise

Australia continues to be popular with visitors from all over the world with the latest figures showing that more than 3.1 million visitor visas were granted in the 12 months leading up to the end of March.

The number of visitor visas granted to tourists and business people was up almost 6% compared to the previous year with interest from Asia being particularly strong.

Indeed, the number of tourist visa applications from China was up 22% to more than 380,000 applications, while applications from Malaysia were up nearly 26% to more than 187,000 and those from India up 19% to more than 102,000.

There was a 7.9% increase in tourism visitor visa applications in 2013/2014 to 2.8 million compared with the same period in 2012/2013 when they were 2.6 million.

The United Kingdom remained the largest country for visitor visa applications to Australia with 464,369 visa application lodgements, up 3.9% from the previous financial year when there were 446,978.

Some 132,813 tourist visas were granted under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme in 2013/2014, which was stable compared with same quarter in 2013. 232,599 non-ADS tourist visas were granted, a 37.9% increase on the same quarter in 2013.

On 31 March 2014, there were 233,494 visitor visa holders in Australia, a 5.6% decrease compared with the same period in 2013. The report also outlines some key initiatives of the visitor visa programme including the introduction of a three year validity, multiple entry visa for Chinese business visitors to enable them to engage in important bilateral trade and investment activities, along with the opening of new Australian Visa Application Centres (AVAC) in additional countries, including India, in June 2014.

The overall increase may be due to changes made to the visitor visa programme from last year, aimed at making it easier to apply. Additionally, the expansion of online visitor visa applications in May 2014 means it is now possible for visitors from an additional 51 countries and regions to apply for their visitor visa online.

We hope that you have found the information in this issue of our newsletter to be enriching and useful. Stay tuned for our next publication and if you would like to talk to us directly, please do not hesitate to email service@noborders-group.com. In addition, if you would like your contact details updated or removed from this distribution list or you know someone who would like to be added, please email us on the same address.


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