Visa Australia - The Immigration Experts

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IMPORTANT - July 1 Changes to Occupation Lists

As per our blog on 11 June 2014, July 1 has seen some changes to both the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL).

You’ll need to check the new SOL if you’re looking at lodging any of the following visas:

  • Independent points-based skilled migration who are not nominated by a state or territory government – subclass 189
  • Family Sponsored Points Tested visa – subclass 489
  • Temporary Graduate visa - Graduate Work stream - subclass 485

The following occupations were added as of July 1:

  • Chef (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) 351311)
  • Bricklayer (ANZSCO 331111)
  • Wall and Floor Tiler (ANZSCO 333411)

There were no occupations taken off the SOL.

The CSOL was also updated - you’ll need to check the list if you’re going to lodge an application for:

  • State or Territory Government Nomination – subclass 190/489
  • Direct entry Employer Nomination Scheme visa – subclass 186
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) visa – subclass 457
  • Training and Research Visa – subclass 402

The following occupations were added to the CSOL:

  • Hydrogeologist  (ANZSCO 234413)
  • Exercise Physiologist (ANZSCO 234915)

If you would like an assessment of your visa options for more information about the SOL or CSOL, please contact a member or our migration team.

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New Occupations - Skilled Occupation List (SOL)

If you’re applying for a subclass 485 Temporary Graduate - Graduate Work Stream visa or an Independent or Family Sponsored Points Tested visa (for example, Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) or Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa) you’ll need to have an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

On 1 July 2014, the updated SOL will be released. Among others, it is expected that the occupations of Chef, Wall and Floor Tiler and Bricklayer will be added. It has also been announced that no occupations already on the SOL will be removed.

Watch this space for an update on the SOL in early July!

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NEWS ALERT - Family Visa Subclasses

This is an update regarding a previous post about the announcement from DIBP that certain family visa subclasses are ceasing.  

Parent and Aged Parent (non contributory), Carer, Remaining Relative and Aged Relative visas cessation date 2 June 2014

Select Legislative Instrument No. 65, 2014 [F2014L00622] Migration Amendment (Repeal of Certain Visa Classes) Regulation 2014

Commences on Monday 2 June 2014 and repeals

  • the Aged Dependent Relative visa classes and subclasses
  • the Remaining Relative visa classes and subclasses
  • the Carer visa classes and subclasses
  • the Parent and Aged Parent visa classes and subclasses

Persons are no longer able to apply for these visa classes from 2 June 2014.

Any applications, posted or couriered, will need to arrive at the Perth Parent Processing Centre  (PCC) by close of business TODAY.

Please note applications cannot be delivered personally to the PPC.

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Potential Visa Law Reforms Confirm Morrison Means Business

A recent article by Jennifer Hewett in the Financial Review published on May 20, 2014 explains Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison’s reaction to opinions that business and investment visas are turning into ‘open slathers’.

Reviews are underway to expand the flexibility and responsiveness of Australian’s entire system of work and residency visa options, both temporary and permanent. Some of the reviews include:

  • Expanding the categories of potential investments under the significant investor program. This could include approving some complying funds separate from the visa application, which would speed up the processing times.
  • With regards to the 457 visa program there are speculations that the restrictions for some regional areas or some industries with larger shortages will be loosened up. If this goes through business will no longer be in breach of their conditions by bringing in more than the original number asked for in the nomination if they can demonstrate a need for workers and an inability to source them locally.
  • English requirements could also be changed to reflect the type of visa being applied for - i.e. whether it’s a visa that is intended to transition into permanent residency or whether it is strictly temporary.
  • There is also the prospect of a more standardised and mutual recognition of qualifications in the area of services.

These potential changes are all in line with the government’s plans to achieve a free—trade agreement with China by the end of the year. Under this agreement it is likely there will be more temporary provisions developed targeted at different categories of workers and managers, including working holiday visas for young Chinese.

If you would like more information about the significant investor visa please see our blog post.

If you have any further queries in relation to the subclass 457 visas or significant investor visas please contact a member of the migration team at Ferguson Cannon Lawyers

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Resident Return Visas - Here Is What You Need To Know

Only Australian citizens have an automatic right of entry to Australia. This means all non-citizens require a visa to gain lawful entry and status. The Resident Return (subclass 155 and 157) visa is a permanent visa for current or former Australian permanent residents. This visa will allow you to maintain or regain your status as an Australian permanent resident on your return to Australia. If the travel period of your permanent visa has expired or is about to expire, this visa might be an option for you.

What would this visa let me do?

On this visa you will be able to stay in Australia indefinitely as an Australian permanent resident. It is a permanent visa with a travel facility that lets you travel to and from Australia for up to five years from the date it is granted. Once the travel facility expires, if you want to continue travelling to and from Australia as a permanent resident you will need to obtain another Resident Return visa.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be granted a visa for five years, you must have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least two of the last five years.

Alternatively, if you do not meet this residence requirement but you can demonstrate substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties which are of benefit to Australia, you may be eligible to be granted the visa for one year.

If you do not meet the requirements of the subclass 155 visa you will be assessed for the subclass 157 visa which can be granted for three months. To be eligible for the subclass 157 you must:

  • have spent at least one day in the last five years lawfully in Australia
  • have spent less than two years in the last five years in Australia
  • have been a permanent resident or an Australian citizen for the entire period spent in Australia
  • provide evidence that there is a compelling and compassionate reason for your departure.

If you have been outside Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before making the application, you must also show that there is a compelling and compassionate reason for the absence.

What if I am a New Zealand citizen who arrived before 1 September 1994?

Before this date, if you arrived in Australia you were automatically granted permanent residency rights. After this date however all New Zealand citizens now enter Australia on a temporary subclass 444 special category visa.

The Department’s policy position is that a former Australian permanent resident can include any person who was considered a permanent resident under migration arrangements in place at that time. This means that people who entered Australia as New Zealand citizens before 1 September 1994 may be considered a former permanent resident.

If you think you might need a Resident Return visa and need help understanding your options and/or making your application, please contact our migration team

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Urgent News For Some Family Visa Subclasses

Following the release of the 2014 Budget, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced applications for the following visas will be ceasing in the very near future:

  1. Parent (subclass 103)
  2. Aged Parent (subclass 804)
  3. Aged Dependent Relative (114)
  4. Remaining Relative (115)
  5. Carer (116)
  6. Remaining Relative (835)
  7. Carer (836)
  8. Aged Dependent Relative (838).

You can still lodge a valid application – the Department has advised all valid applications they receive will remain in the pipeline and be processed in due course. The ending of new applications under the Other Family and Non-Contributory Parent visas will take place prior to the start of the 2014-15 program year.

No specific date has been released as yet, however, if you are preparing to lodge one of these applications it is vital that you do so immediately.

If you would like more information about family visas or assistance lodging an application, please contact a member of our migration team

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Partner Visas for Kiwi’s Living in Australia - Here’s What You Need To Know


The New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) visa (subclass 461) is specifically designed for family members and partners of New Zealand citizens who are residents in, or are about to become residents in Australia. This visa category may be used by New Zealand citizens who are not eligible to sponsor their foreign fiancée, partner or spouse for permanent residency in Australia.

New Zealand citizens are automatically granted a special category temporary visa (subclass 444) when they enter Australia which allows them to live and work in here. As your foreign partner would not have this automatic right, the subclass 461 is the equivalent. Unlike the 444 visa, the subclass 461 visa is not granted automatically – you must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to gain temporary resident status in Australia.

This visa will allow you to sponsor a partner or family member to live in Australia if you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen, or
  • either
    - hold a Special Category visa (subclass 444) and are living in Australia, or
    - are eligible to hold a Special Category visa (subclass 444) and is accompanying you to Australia.

The applicants must be related to the New Zealand citizen as either:

  • your partner
  • your (or their partner’s) dependent child
  • the dependent child of your (or your partner’s) dependent child
  • your (or your partner’s) relative who:
    - does not have a partner
    - usually lives in you.

How long does this visa last?

If you receive a positive decision on your visa application, your partner will be able to work, study, and live in Australia for 5 years from the date the visa is granted.

Can I sponsor more than one person in the same application?

Yes. You can use the one application to sponsor your partner as well as other eligible family members.

Do I need to be inside or outside Australia when applying?

If the application is made offshore, the visa can only be issued if the applicant will be accompanied to Australia by you, as the sponsoring New Zealand citizen, unless they are already in Australia on the subclass 444 visa. By the same token, if the application is submitted in Australia, the family unit must be in the country when the decision is made.

Do I still need to provide evidence of our relationship?

Yes. Just like the other partner visa subclasses in Australia, you will need to provide evidence of your genuine and continuing relationship to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Do character and health requirements apply to this visa?

Yes. Your partner and/or eligible family members will need to meet the same health and character requirements as any other Australian partner visa application.

If you would like more information about the subclass 461 visa or an assessment on your eligibility, please contact a member of our migration team

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Partner Visa Applications - Not As Simple As You Might Think!


While partner visas may seem like relatively straightforward applications, here at Ferguson Cannon Lawyers we regularly receive phone calls and emails from applicants who have had issues getting approval. These refusals often don’t have anything to do with the legitimacy of the relationship but rather are often caused by simple misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the policies surrounding partner visas.

Migration can be a very confusing area of law and often refusals arise in avoidable circumstances. Getting professional advice and assistance from the beginning means your application will be well evidenced, accurate and have stronger prospects of success. This could save you unnecessary stress, money and time later down the track when a case officer is making their decision.

If you do receive a refusal and would like to lodge an application to the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT), seeking professional advice would definitely be beneficial to your case! Often these decisions are made in grey areas of the law and, with the right professional assistance, can be successfully argued and over-turned.

According to the performance report in the 2012-2013 MRT Annual Report, the MRT decided 1,426 partner refusal cases in 2012-13; 53% were decided in favour of the applicant.

Our migration team at Ferguson Cannon Lawyers has extensive experience with partner visa applications and can help you get it right the first time. If you would like to use our services to lodge an application or to apply to the Migration Review Tribunal, please contact us.

For more reasons why you should consider using a migration agent to prepare and lodge your application, see our blog.

For more information about partner visa migration options, click here.

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Push for Significant Investor Visa (sc 188) Expansion

An article published in the InvestorDaily on April 15, states the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCAL) is lobbying for an increase in the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program. The program is expected to contribute to economic growth in Australia and boost venture capital funding for businesses.

According to AVCAL chief executive Yasser El-Ansary, the SIV plan will be a large part of Australia’s line of attack when competing for global capital from offshore investors. One of the major shortcomings of the program identified by AVCAL is the narrow band of eligible asset classes under the visa regime.

“There is an intense global race for capital from investors who are looking for markets that offer sustainable growth potential into the future, and that’s where Australia has an opportunity to seek out new investment into venture capital and private equity, which will be critical to Australia’s future economic prosperity,” Mr El-Ansary said.

If you would like more information about the Significant Investor Visa, see our blog post here

For more information about the significant investor visa and your eligibility, please contact a member of our migration team

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Are you applying for a Business Innovation and Investment Visa (sc 188)? Read This!

If you are thinking about applying for a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188), or if you are a temporary resident in Australia, you need to be aware of Australia’s foreign investment policy when it comes to buying residential real-estate.

What is this policy?

All temporary residents are required to notify Foreign Investment Review Board (‘FIRB’) of any proposed acquisition of residential real estate in Australia. Under this policy, if you are a temporary resident you can only purchase one established dwelling to live in. You may, however, be able to buy new dwellings or purchase vacant land to build a new dwelling, as these will increase available housing stock in Australia.

What is the difference between an established dwelling, a new dwelling and vacant land?

  1. An established, or second hand dwelling, must be used as your residential home in Australia (you cannot purchase this as an investment property). You will need to apply to the FIRB but these applications are generally approved without foreign investment objections. Please be aware however that you might be subject to some conditions on approval, such as, a condition to sell your house when it is no longer your residence.
  2. A new dwelling includes purchasing a house from a developer that has not been occupied for over 12 months in total. An application will need to be submitted to the FIRB but unlike an established dwelling, it is generally granted without conditions
  3. If you wish to purchase vacant land to build a dwelling you will also need to apply to the FIRB and approval will normally be subject to some conditions. A condition might include that construction work must begin within 24 months.

To review this policy on the FIRB website, click here

What are the subclass 188 criteria?

To view a detailed explanation of this visa please see our blog article.  

For more information about significant investor visas, click here

If you would like further clarification on this policy or would like an assessment on your subclass 188 visa eligibility, please contact a member of our migration team.

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