Friday, 15th of August 2014 Issue #2 August
No Borders Newsletter



Issues of this month

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Surrogate baby story highlights visa ‘discrimination’ on health grounds

The story about an Australian couple not bringing their son with Down Syndrome, born via surrogate in Thailand, home to Australia has revealed that people with the condition may not be granted a visa.

Under the Immigration Act, anyone who is likely to cost Australia’s health service more than $40,000 over their lifetime is unlikely to be granted a visa to live in the country, a situation that many people are unaware of.

According to Down Syndrome Australia chief executive Catherine McAlpine, the rules in the Act can exclude people with Down Syndrome from being able to immigrate to Australia, even if they meet all other requirements.

‘They say you’ll be a burden on the tax payer if you’ll cost more than $40,000 in health care over your life and reject those people. They make a judgement based on, I don’t know what, to say that a person with Down Syndrome would cost more than that,’ she explained.

One of the issues is that some people with Down Syndrome can require a lot of care and suffer major health problems while others do not, so assessing how much their health care might cost is difficult. Some people with Down Syndrome may need heart surgery or treatment for a bowel condition during their lifetime, which can be expensive.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), said there was no reason why someone with Down Syndrome should automatically be denied a visa.

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Australia takes global lead with e-visa technology


Australia is taking a world lead in e-visa technology with officials announcing that an extra 66 countries and territories will have access to online visitor visa applications.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, said the addition of these countries, including New Zealand, the Philippines, Kenya, South Africa, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be part of a phased global rollout.

“I am delighted to announce that I have expanded the list of countries and territories that are eligible for electronic lodgement of subclass 600 (Visitor) visa applications. This is part of a significant advancement for both Australia and its visitors, because it means that we’re even more competitive and can boast more efficient and streamlined visa processing,” she explained.

The expansion means that around 190 countries and territories will now have the ability to apply online for an Australian visitor visa.

Applicants seeking to visit Australia as a visitor for business visitor activities or to visit friends or family can get access to the subclass 600 visitor visa and lodge visa applications online, from their office or home, making it much easier and more convenient to travel to Australia.

Cash said there are strong checks in place to ensure the integrity of the programme. “Visa integrity is of paramount importance to the Australian government, which is why we are expanding online lodgement incrementally to ensure we get the settings right. It’s about allowing streamlined access while maintaining all the necessary safeguards and checks,” she pointed out.

Also, young people from Australia and Poland will have the opportunity to experience a slice of each other’s culture, with a reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangement between the two countries.

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Chinese homebuyers seek wealth protection,migration options

chinese seek wealth protection

WEALTHY Chinese investors spiriting money out of their home country to plunge into Australian property are motivated by the chance to secure future migration options and to put assets beyond reach of Chinese authorities, a report says.

Broker CLSA says Australia ranks second only to Canada as the preferred place for wealthy Chinese wanting to migrate.

Predicting a continuing flood of money from China, the report extrapolates emigration survey findings to suggest that as many as 10 million of the 70 million Chinese in the top income bracket would be willing to migrate to Australia if allowed.

“A key reason (for buying here) is increasing emigration options, by having property in the preferred destination country,’’ says The Magic Dragon: Chinese Investment and Oz Housing report.

CLSA’s Andrew Johnston said many professionals, business owners and senior government officials were looking to migrate and buy property in Australia and that trend would continue.

Chinese investors typically wanted to buy property in suburbs close to existing Chinese communities and prestige schools and universities, the report said. These included Hurstville and Rhodes in Sydney, Box Hill and Clayton in Melbourne, Sunny­bank and McGregor in Brisbane, Ashford and the CBD in Adelaide, and Crawley and Wilson in Perth.

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Australia closer to removing disadvantages for New Zealand residents

Immigration rules in Australia that specifically affect residents from New Zealand and lead to disadvantages, especially for children, may be in line for change.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has held talks with Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey over the issues, which include the fact that New Zealanders living in Australia pay taxes but are not able to access benefits such as welfare, disability care and social housing.

It is estimated that around 300,000 New Zealanders are living in Australia on special category visas and are affected by the rules.

Key said that he came away from the meetings with the impression that some changes are under consideration, particularly for disabled children. He added that Hockey sounded surprised to discover that they are currently not getting the support they deserve.

“If you’re a child that’s badly disabled, born to New Zealand parents in Australia, then you are not eligible for State support till the age of 10 under the current rules, because you’re not a citizen and not a resident. But you would be, even though you’re neither of those things, when the child turns 10,” explained Key.

“That’s both very unfair on the child and on the parents and also doesn’t make sense because long-term the State would be paying anyway and actually, it would make sense for the child to get as much support as he or she needs on compassionate grounds,” he added.

After the meeting, Hockey said there were welfare issues that Key had put a pretty convincing case for changing. He pledged to study the cost of possible changes.

New Zealanders are in a unique position in that they get an automatic right to residency and rights to work in Australia, a right given to no other nationality. This means if you arrive in Australia on a New Zealand passport, you will generally be issued a Special Category Visa (SCV).

As a result, New Zealanders qualify for certain tax benefits such as child care, health care, family tax and the baby bonus, but they do not qualify for disability allowances, social housing and other welfare benefits.

For other allowances such as sickness and youth payments, the visa holder has to have been living continuously in Australia for at least 10 years. However, time spent in Australia prior to 27 February 2001 cannot count towards these 10 years.

australia new zealand

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