Friday, 5th of February 2016

 

Issue #1 February

 

TOP STORY

Budget 2015-2016 migrants need to pay more
 

ISSUES OF THIS MONTH

Budget 2015-2016: Migrants to Pay More

 

Leaked Government document outlines tougher migration program, increased monitoring of refugees

 

Lunar New Year

 

Immigration Rules Relaxed to Promote Innovation

 

High Court Overturns Cancellation Of Student Visa

 

Budget 2015-2016: Migrants to Pay More

The one thing clear about the 2015-2016 annual budget is that it will require migrants to pay more as the government has increased the application fees for almost all visa types. Here are the most significant changes to immigrant visa applications as a result of the budget.

1. Most Visa Application types to be increased by 5%

The following visa types are to increase by 5%:

  • Working Holiday and Work and Holiday Visas
  • Resident Return Visas
  • Contributory Parent Visas
  • Temporary Work Visas like the subclass 401,402,403 and 420 visas

2. Increase to Offshore Application Fees for Family Migration

The greatest increase in fees is going to be for offshore visa applicants applying for family visas. Before the budget, it was less expensive to lodge an offshore stream visa compared to lodging from within Australia.

Immigration has harmonized the application fees for family stream visas from 1st July and as a result, offshore applicants will have to pay the same application fee as onshore applicants. This change affects partner visas and prospective spouse (fiancé) visas as their fee has increased by more than $2000.

Other visa application categories like Non-Contributory Parent, Other Family and Special Migrant category were not “harmonized” like those above, but they are subjected to an increase of around 10% in application fees. For example, the application fees for an onshore parent visa are increasing by $1500.

There are certain types of visas for which the application fees were both harmonized and increased by 10%:

  • Aged Dependent Relative: $3870
  • Remaining Relative: $3870
  • Distinguished Talent: $3,5655
  • Former resident: $3,520

For future applicants of family visas, the good news is that the immigration department currently shows no signs of attempting to abolish other family visas once again and so these visa categories will remain open for now.

3. Significant Investor Visas increased by 50%

The significant investor stream of the Business innovation and investment subclass 188 is going to increase by 50%

4. CPI increased for Skilled Stream Visas

The remaining visa streams, including the skilled stream visas will be priced as follows:

  • General Skilled Migration: $3600 – these are the current prices please fact check and let me know
  • ENS/RSMS: $3600
  • 485 Graduate Temporary: $1470
  • 475 Temporary Work (skilled): $1060

It is to be noted that the increase in the visa application fees for skilled workers is a lot lesser than the hefty increase to family migration streams. This clearly shows the government’s focus on getting skilled migrants over family migration.

Working Holiday Makers to pay more tax

Previously in Australia, individual tax payers were generally subjected to a $20,000 tax free threshold, which means that they were exempted from paying tax on the first $20,000 of their income. This facility was only for Australian residents.

After the implementation of 2015-2016 budget, word working holiday makers will no longer be considered tax residents for tax purposes, thereby losing their tax free threshold and having to pay around $3800 tax per annum.

 
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Leaked Government documents outline tougher migration program and increased monitoring for refugees

Increased monitoring of refugees

Sweeping changes to Australia’s migration program are being considered according to government documents leaked to the ABC.

The leaked documents outline plans to remove direct access to permanent residence; overhaul the citizenship test and citizenship pledge and; increase monitoring of migrants, even after they're granted citizenship, according to the ABC.

Fearing that terrorist cells may be lurking particularly in the humanitarian intake of refugees from Syria, the reports suggest that access to permanent residency may be denied to this group.

According to the ABC the proposed changes include:

  • An enforceable integration framework to assess aspiring migrants' suitability for life in Australia
  • A revamped citizenship test and citizenship pledge
  • Enhanced access, use and protection of sensitive information to strengthen intelligence-led, risk-based decision making, from pre-visa stage through to post-citizenship conferral

The leaked document says Mr Dutton will bring forward the proposals in the first half of 2016 "to reform the visa framework and remove direct access to permanent residence to better align visa and citizenship decision-making with national security and community protection outcomes".

Refugees, particularly the 12,000 from Syria who are currently being processed for settlement, will face ‘additional screening’ and ongoing monitoring. This will slowdown the rate of the intake. Since September, the expected surge of migrants from Syria has been a trickle of just over 20 people, according to the ABC.

Mr Dutton told ABC’s Lateline program that the Government had strict measures in place to assess those wanting to come to Australia.

"We look through each of those cases to make sure that the bona fides check this isn’t a typo are established and as I say, very importantly, we conduct biometric tests and conduct those tests in a very rigorous way and we work with our US, UK and Canadian partners to make sure that we can mitigate any threat that might come from people that would pose themselves as refugees but aren't true refugees," he said.

 

Lunar New Year

Happy Lunar New Year

Millions of people across China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other countries around the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year and welcoming the Year of the Monkey on the eve of this Sunday 7th of February as part of an ancient custom that dates back at least 3,400 years.

The date of Lunar New Year, which is also called Spring Festival or Tet (Vietnamese) changes every year as it is based on the lunar calendar. While the western Gregorian calendar is based on the earth’s orbit around the sun, China and most Asian countries use the lunar calendar that is based on the moon’s orbit around the earth. Lunar New Year always falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice.

While both Buddhism and Daoism have unique customs during the New Year, Lunar New Year is far older than both religions. Like many agrarian societies, Lunar New Year is rooted in the celebration of Spring. The New Year was likely the start of preparations for a new growing season. The whole purpose, in history, of creating a calendar or keeping track of time was to facilitate agriculture. It was important to know when to till the soil and sow the seeds.

On this special day, all family gets together to prepare food for the festive season to offer to ancestors, to family members, to friends and also to work colleagues. For those who live far away from home just like some of us at No Borders, our sweetest dream is to bring our parents, our siblings our loved ones here so we can be there for each other to share both happiness and sorrows

The Australian family visa streams allow us to make this dream come true. As long the will is strong enough it’s just a matter of time until the goal is achieved.

No Borders Group

Monkey year 2016

 

Immigration Rules Relaxed to Promote Innovation

New Australian Entrepreneur Visa

The Australian Prime Minister has made two major initiatives in Australia’s immigration policy. Now students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) have a way to apply for permanent residence in Australia. There is also a new Entrepreneur Visa introduced that will be implemented from December 2016.

How the change in Immigration Rules can make Immigration to Australia Easier for Students

The initiative for STEM students is for those who are doing their masters and PhD from research institutes in Australia. The fields of ICT and STEM are quite broad and hence, a lot of student migration is expected for those completing their qualifications in Australia, as it gives them extra points in the skilled migration points test.

Since this change in the points system will be implemented at the end of the year, it cannot be said for sure how many extra points STEM and ICT students will receive to migrate to Australia. However, studying in Australia is definitely going to make their immigration process easier.

This change in rules is also going to encourage brilliant students from all over the world to come and study in Australia. This is a win-win situation as it will increase the cultural diversity in the country and these students will get the advantage of studying in the world class education system of Australia.

A glance at the fine print

Although the change in rules of immigration to the country is a good thing, it won’t have too much of an effect until the other parts in the migration process like the skilled migration list, the skills assessment requirements, and the occupational ceilings are changed as well to accommodate the new changes.

  • People who want to immigrate to Australia need to get a skills assessment for one of the professions on the skilled occupation list. While the list contains many professions related to STEM and ICT, there are several that it does not have and this may cause problems for students studying in those fields.
  • Occupational ceilings are quotas assigned to each occupation each year. IT and engineering quotas are generally filled every year hence restricting the flow of skilled migrants.
  • The skills assessment requirements of the current immigration policy in Australia require that the skilled professionals have paid work experience in their fields, and this can be difficult for people who are still involved in research and studies.

Until the things mentioned above are revised, the change in immigration rules is not going to have much of a positive effect on the overall migration process.

The new Entrepreneur Visa

This visa will grant new entrepreneurs temporary residence in Australia if they come to the country with a new and innovative business idea that has lots of potential for acceptance and growth in the Australian market.

The visa requires the applicant to have strong financial backing from a third party or have a state nomination. This is a provisional visa and getting a permanent visa depends on the success of the business idea.

 
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High Court Overturns Cancellation Of Student Visa

High court overturns student visa cancellation

A recent decision from the High Court – Wei v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (2015) HCA 51 (17 December 2015) provides a reminder of the accuracy of that old saying from the early days of computers: “Garbage in – garbage out”.

Yep, it is so easy to forget that there is a human element to digital information. If data is not correctly recorded on digital platforms – for example, the electronic recordkeeping system relating to the enrolment of foreign students in Australian education courses, “PRISMS” (the “Provider Registration and International Management System”) – then it is an unreliable basis for decision-making.

That includes decision-making by the Department in relation to the cancellation of student visas!

The circumstances in the Wei case were that the student (Wei) had originally travelled to Australia on a student visa when he was 15 years old. After finishing high school, he went on to enroll in a “Foundation Program” at Macquarie University. He was granted a Higher Education student visa by the Department for his studies in this course. The course was scheduled to run during the period 24 June 2013 – 13 June 2014.

Unfortunately for Mr Wei, the university apparently failed to “upload” information concerning his confirmation of enrolment to PRISMS. The university had a statutory duty to record this information on PRISMS under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth).

Based on their review of the PRISMS database, officers of the Department concluded – incorrectly – that Mr Wei was not in fact enrolled in a registered course. The Department sent Mr Wei two letters by registered post notifying him that the Department intended to consider cancelling his student visa because, according to PRISMS, he had not been enrolled in a course since July 2013. However, both these letter were returned to the Department “unclaimed”.

The result was that Mr Wei never received actual notice from the Department that it was considering the cancellation of his student visa. He therefore did not have the opportunity to inform the Department that there had been an error by the university in failing to record on PRISMS that he was in fact enrolled in the Foundation Program.

Based on the information that was available on PRISMS, the Department then proceeded (in March 2014) to make a decision to cancel Mr Wei’s student visa. Notice of this decision was sent to Mr Wei by registered post, but like the previous correspondence to him from the Department, it was returned unclaimed.

Mr Wei did not come to learn about the cancellation of his student visa until 2 October 2014. Although he sought review of the decision before the Tribunal the very next day, the Tribunal ultimately decided that it did not have jurisdiction, because the review application was untimely.

Fortunately for Mr Wei, the High Court saw it to intervene in his case and to overturn the cancellation of his visa.

Two judges of the Court – Judges Gageler and Keane – found that the cancellation decision was infected by jurisdictional error because it had resulted from Macquarie University’s failure to comply with its statutory duty to correctly record Mr Wei’s enrolment in the Foundation Course on PRISMS.

The third judge of the High Court who heard the Wei case – Judge Nettle – concurred with Judges Gageler and Keane that the cancellation of the student visa should be overturned.

So, the moral of this story is very clear: If the Department cancels a student visa on the basis of a review of PRISMS which shows that a student is not enrolled in a course, but the course provider has failed to correctly record on PRISMS that the student is in fact enrolled, then the cancellation can be challenged (on the analysis of Judges Gageler and Keane). Likewise, if the Department cancels a student visa based on a review of PRISMS without bothering to confirm with the course provider that the information on PRISMS is in fact correct, the cancellation decision is likewise flawed and vulnerable (on the view of Judge Nettle).

Or to put it even more succinctly: just as people "cannot live on bread alone", the Department cannot rely on PRISMS alone as the sole basis to support the cancellation of a student visa!

 
 

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.

"The only limits to being the person you truly want to be are your own self-limiting beliefs and thoughts. In every moment, you have the power to choose your life"

 
 

No Borders Group

Email: service@noborders-group.com
Phone: (+61) 07 3876 4000

 
 

NO BORDERS Universal Migration
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Milton 4064
Queensland
AUSTRALIA