Friday, 19th of June 2015


Issue #2 June



rogur sponsor must pay 457 visa holders


Australian court rules rogue sponsor must pay restitution to visa holders


More international students attracted to study in Australia


Australian government seeks views on citizenship


Slovenia latest country to join Australian working holiday visa program


New flights from Australia to China and US announced


Australian court rules rogue sponsor must pay restitution to visa holders

Foreign workers in Australia on 457 visas will have wages, entitlements and fees repaid after their visa sponsor breached its obligations, a court has ruled.

It is good news for foreign workers on the popular short term work visa whose treatment is currently under the spotlight due to revelations of bad practice.

In this case, the Federal Court has ruled that a Darwin-based 457 visa sponsor will have to pay over $152,000 in restitution to the visa holders, the first civil penalty order undertaken on behalf of the Immigration Minister in the courts. It is also the first time the Minister has obtained an order for restitution for exploited visa holders.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, pointed out that the judgment shows significant financial penalties await those who flout the law. 'This is a fantastic result, which reinforces the hard work and dedication of all officers involved,' she said.

'The Government has no sympathy for those who abuse our migration programme and blatantly disregard laws that are in place to protect workers and legitimate business owners,' Cash added.

Cash said visa holders who suspect they are being exploited by their sponsor should contact the Department to discuss their situation and said that from July last year to the end of March this year the department has sanctioned over 200 sponsors.

She warned that his is only the beginning and with Taskforce Cadena now in place, the Department’s ability to identify and bring to justice unscrupulous individuals, abusing not only the 457 programme but the entire temporary visa system, has been enhanced.

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More international students attracted to study in Australia


Over 200,000 people moved to Australia to live permanently in the 2013/2014 financial year, with a big increase in the number of international students.

Official figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) show that 207,900 migrants settled permanently in 2013/2014, with India the main source of new arrivals with 40,000 arriving.

The Migration Trends 2013/2014 report also shows that some 290,000 student visas were issued in the past year, the highest number since the global economic downturn.

In the same year, almost 30,000 people born in India chose to become Australian citizens. The data also shows that tourist numbers from China increased by almost a quarter, reflecting its large and growing middle class.

The data from the report also shows that the Permanent Migration Programme delivered almost 128,600 places under the Skill stream and just over 61,000 places via the Family stream.

According to Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the report contains a wealth of information about current trends in migration. 'The report provides a rich and valuable source of information on how immigration is shaping our nation,' he said.

He also welcomed the rise in student numbers from overseas. 'This is proof Australia's Student Visa Programme continues to remain strong and appealing to the overseas market and keeps its place as one of Australia's major export earners,' he commented.

'Permanent migration remains a pillar of Australia's migration programmes providing social and economic benefits through its skilled worker and family reunion programmes,' Dutton added.

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Australian government seeks views on citizenship


The Australian Government is holding a consultation on how people can appreciate Australian citizenship more and to raise awareness of its privileges and obligations.

In what is being described as 'a national conversation', people are being encouraged to email their views or submit them online by the end of June as part of a programme that officials say will help to create a strong, safe and cohesive future for Australian society.

The consultation paper says that citizenship is a cornerstone of Australia’s inclusive and pluralist democracy. 'Together we have built a modern nation on the idea that people can get ahead if they are prepared to have a go. Still, in a world in which terrorists are reaching out to our community, we cannot be complacent about our future as a strong, safe and cohesive society. It is time for a national conversation about the role of citizenship in shaping our future,' it explained.

'Regardless of how we gain it, Australian citizenship is an extraordinary privilege requiring a continuing commitment to this country. Australian citizens enjoy privileges, rights and fundamental responsibilities. We need to ask ourselves whether the responsibilities of Australian citizenship are well enough known and understood,' it points out.

'As a nation, we have found unity in our diversity and respect in our differences. We should continue to welcome people to make this country their home. That is non-negotiable. But our welcome cannot be a one-way street. All Australians should respect the values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and mutual respect. Regardless of our heritage, as citizens, our first duty is to Australia,' it adds.

There have been a number of changes to Australian citizenship over the years. In 1993 changes to the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 were made to recognise Australian citizenship as a common bond uniting all Australians and involving reciprocal rights and obligations.

The same year there was the introduction of the Pledge of Commitment to ensure new citizens commit to the Australian nation and people and in 2001 Australian Citizenship Day was launched. It is now celebrated on 17 September each year, to increase community awareness of Australian citizenship.

In 2002 changes were made to allow Australian citizens to acquire citizenship of another country without losing their Australian citizenship, what is known as dual citizenship. In 2007 a new Australian Citizenship Act was written in plain English and a citizenship test to ensure prospective citizens appreciate Australia's laws and values was introduced.

The most recent change was in 2009 with the Agreement to Civics and Citizenship under the Australian Curriculum to reinforce understanding of what it means to be an Australian citizen. The broader Australian Curriculum includes skills development in areas including personal and social capability, which complement the Civics and Citizenship learning area.


Slovenia latest country to join Australian working holiday visa program

Australian working holiday visa for Slovenia

Slovenia is the latest country to sign a reciprocal agreement with Australia allowing young people to work and holiday in each other's countries.

The arrangement will allow people aged 18 to 30 years to travel to each other's country for one year and undertake short term work and study under the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, said this is a great development as it will encourage young people to add Australia or Slovenia as another destination option when going abroad to travel, work and study for short term.

"Australia's working holiday maker programme is built on the principle that global experiences build global citizens, the chance to experience life overseas is an important opportunity to build new skills and develop an appreciation of another culture," she explained.

"We will be working closely with our Slovenian counterparts to establish a mutually agreed start date for this arrangement as soon as possible. Once the arrangement has commenced, eligible young people from Slovenia and Australia will be able to apply for this visa programme," she pointed out, adding that the commencement date will be announced on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

This visa allows holders to stay in Australia for up to 12 months, to work in Australia for up to six months with each employer, to study for up to four months and to leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid. Applicants must be outside Australia when they apply for this visa.

There is an annual limit to the number of Work and Holiday visas issued to each country. No applications will be approved once this limit is reached. For Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey, the immigration office outside Australia that processes applications from nationals of those countries can confirm how many visas are available.

Applicants from Argentina, Chile, Portugal and Uruguay need to contact the Americas Service Centre and those in Poland and Spain need to contact the Europe Service Centre.

Applicants need a valid passport issued by an eligible country for this visa and it is linked to the passport number used in the application. The fee for the visa is $420 and applicants could have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments and police certificates, or any other certificates or tests.

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New flights from Australia to China and US announced

Flights to Chins And US from Australia

Getting to and from Australia is set to get even easier this year with major airline deals offering more flights to and from the United States and China.

Qantas and American Airlines have announced an expansion to their relationship which will see the US carrier fly from Los Angeles to Sydney for the first time and Qantas return to San Francisco later this year.

Meanwhile Australia’s Gold Coast is set to get new direct flights from China when a new service starts in September from Wuhan with seats for up to 35,000 additional travellers a year.

American Airlines will begin daily direct flights between Los Angeles and Sydney from 17 December this year and at the same time Qantas will restart direct Sydney to San Francisco flights six days a week.

Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan welcomed the capacity increases and the decision by American Airlines to add Australia to its international network. 'The United States is one of our largest volume and highest spending markets, with more than half a million American visitors pumping more than $2.6 billion tourism dollars into our economy each year,' he said.


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