Visa Australia - The Immigration Experts

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Attention Investors - New Premium Investor Visa Announced

On 14 October 2014, the Australian Government released the findings of a review into the Business Innovation and Investment Programme, which covers the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188).

Already containing three streams (Business Innovation, Investor, and Significant Investor), the subclass 188 visa is designed to cater for those people looking to either manage or purchase an existing Australian business, to create their own, or to invest in an Australian state or territory.

Changes to the Significant Investor stream

The Department of Immigration have announced there will be changes to the Significant Investor stream as a result of the review. Some of the changes include:

  • Allowance of ‘role swapping’ between primary and secondary applicants during the provisional visa stage in order to meet residency requirements;
  • Residence requirement of 180 days per year for secondary applicants; and
  • Austrade being introduced as a nominator, in addition to the Australian states and territories.

There will also be more streamlined processing for the visas.

New Premium Investment stream

In addition to the above changes, there will soon be a fourth stream - the Premium Investment stream (PIV). The PIV will require an investment of $15 million into approved investments and will involve nomination by Austrade. The PIV will have no residency requirements, with successful applicants being eligible for permanent residency after maintaining their investment for 12 months.

When will these changes be in place?

Some of these changes are being implemented throughout the rest of 2014 and in 2015, however some changes will require legislative amendments. Those changes requiring legislative amendment are likely to be effective after 1 July 2015.

If you would like further information on the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa, or for an assessment for your visa options, please contact our migration team.

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Are you a New Zealand citizen interested in Australian citizenship?

If you are a New Zealand citizen in Australia on a Special Category Visa (Subclass 444), you may be able to apply for citizenship.

Have you been in Australia since before 26 February 2001?

If you entered Australia before the 26th February 2001 on a 444 visa and you have lived in Australia since, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship. You may also be eligible if you weren’t in Australia on the 26th February 2001, if you had lived in Australia for at least 12 months in the two year period before this date. You will still need to make sure you meet all other relevant citizenship criteria.

What if I moved to Australia after the 26th February 2001?

If you only moved to Australia after February 2001, you are unlikely to be eligible for citizenship straight away as the 444 visa is only a temporary visa. To be eligible for citizenship, you must live in Australia for four years, with at least one year as a permanent resident. As such, to move forward to citizenship you will first need to become a permanent resident.

If you visited Australia before 01 September 1994, you may be eligible to apply for a Resident Return Visa. You will have to show good evidence for any gaps in living in Australia for more than 5 years. For more information – see our previous blog article here.

If you did not visit prior to September 1994, you will need to apply for a permanent residency visa based on your circumstances. For example, if you are in a relationship with an Australian citizen or settled permanent resident, you may look at a partner visa. If you have an employer willing to sponsor you, you may be eligible for employment visas such as the Employer Nomination Scheme or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visas.

If you’d like to discuss your situation and options, or would like help with your application, please contact our migration team.

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Calling All Chefs

In our recent post, it was noted that the position of Chef has been added to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) as of 1 July 2014.

Are you a chef and are looking to work in Australia, or even migrate here permanently?

Do you have relevant qualifications, years of experience in this industry, and/or an employer who may be willing to sponsor your visa application?

If so, speak to our Migration Team today!

You may be eligible to apply for an Australian visa under a number of categories:

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
    • This is a permanent visa based on your skills. If you meet the points-test and have competent English, you may be eligible for this visa.
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
    • This is a permanent visa based on your skills and a nomination from an Australian state or territory.
    • If you meet the points-test, have competent English and are nominated by a state or territory government – you may be eligible.
    • Each state/territory has their own skilled list and requirements for sponsorship, so you will need to check these before preparing your application.
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)
    • If you are skilled worker, have an approved sponsor and meet other criteria including English and skills, you may be eligible.
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)
    • This is a permanent visa and requires you to have a permanent employment opportunity.
    • This is for you if you are skilled worker, have an approved sponsor, are eligible in one of three streams: (i) the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (Subclass 457); or (ii) the Direct Entry Stream; or (iii) the Agreement Stream and meet other criteria.
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187)
    • This is a permanent visa based on employment in a regional area. You will need to commit at least 2 years to your nominating employer.
    • This is for you if you are skilled worker, have an approved sponsor in a regional area of Australia, and are eligible in one of three streams: (i) the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (Subclass 457); or (ii) the Direct Entry Stream; or (iii) the Agreement Stream and meet other criteria


You may be required to undertake a Skills Assessment from the relevant Skills Assessment Authority depending on the nominated occupations and the nominated countries.

Do not delay. Let us help you start off your Australian journey now!

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Are You Engaged to Your Australian Partner? Read This!

If you are engaged to marry your Australian partner you might be eligible for a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300). This visa is aimed at couples who intend to marry in Australia within 9 months of the visa bring granted. It is often a better option for engaged couples as opposed to partner visas (subclasses 820, 309) because there is less documentary evidence required in the application process.

Basic Requirements:

  • You will need to be offshore when the application is lodged and also when a decision is ready to be made;
  • You must have met your partner in person;
  • You must be in a genuine and continuing relationship; and
  • The wedding will need to take place within the 9 month validly of the visa.

What Happens Next?

After you have married in Australia, you may be eligible to apply for a partner visa. It is generally a quicker and easier process to apply for a temporary partner visa after having held a prospective marriage visa. If you are granted the temporary partner visa, you will then have the option of transitioning into permanent residency after two years.

Prospective marriage and partner visa applications can be deceptively simple so you might want to consider speaking to a migration agent when preparing your application. For more information about partner visas, see our blog.

If you are a New Zealand citizen living in Australia and would like to sponsor your partner, you may find some helpful hints here.

For more information about prospective marriage or partner visas please contact our migration team.

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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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