Increase to Partner Application Fees


Partner visa application fees will be increased for applications lodge on or after 1 January 2015. The application fee for an onshore partner visa is currently $4,575 and this will increase to $6,865.   For offshore partner visas and prospective spouse (fiance) visas, the fees will increase from $3,085 to $4,630.   These represent a 50% increase in lodgement fees. It appears that the increase is not related to the actual cost of processing partner applications, but instead a measure to "fund whole-of-government policy priorities". More »

New English Language Tests


The Department of Immigration has announced that as of today, the TOEFL and Pearson tests of English language ability are accepted for immigration purposes  as per below scoring system :   Vocational English IELTS – 5 in each of the four sections OET – B in each of the four sections TOEFL iBT – Speaking 14, Reading 4, Writing 14, Listening 4 Pearson (PTE Academic) – 36 for the four components OR a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland, to a citizen of that country   Competent English IELTS – 6 in each of the four sections OET – B for each of the four components TOEFL iBT – Speaking 18, Reading 13, Writing 21, Listening 12 Pearson (PTE Academic) – at least 50 for the four   More »

Accountants NOT Yet Removed from Skilled Occupations List


An article in the Australian Financial Review has suggested that accountants will be dropped from the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) from 2015.   Today, Accounting Peak Bodies have confirmed that a decision has not yet been made to remove accountants from the SOL.   However, a recent article in the Australian Financial Review suggests that the job market for international accounting graduates is not strong, and this may result in accountants being removed from the Skilled Occupations List in the future.   The Skilled Occupations List is reviewed every year and changed from the 1st of July.   If accountants were to be removed from the SOL, this would affect eligibility for the following types of visa:   ·         Skilled Independent Subclass   More »

Non-Contributory Parent and Carer Visas Reinstated by Australian Government


On Thursday 25 September 2014, the Australian Senate voted to overturn attempts of the governments to repeal a range of essential, affordable family and carer visas.   The result of the vote means that from now on Australian permanent residents or citizens can sponsor their parents and dependent relatives to come to Australia or sponsor a relative to care for them if they have a long-term medical condition via five types of 'non-contributory' visas including Aged Dependent Relative Visa, Remaining Relative Visa, Carer Visa, Parent Visa and the Aged Parent Visa.   However, these visas will only be available again for a very limited time (potentially up to 6 months from now), so if you are considering making an application it is highly recommended that it is lodged as soon as possible. Moreover, only new applications   More »

Melbourne ranked world's most liveable city - again


Melbourne has been named the world's most liveable city for the fourth year in a row, by the Economist Intelligence Unit's liveability survey of 140 cities. The survey rated cities out of 100 in the areas of healthcare, education, stability, culture and environment and infrastructure. Melbourne received an overall score of 97.5 out of 100, scoring a perfect rating for healthcare, education and infrastructure.   Adelaide, Sydney and Perth also made it to the top 10 of the list, with ratings of 96.6, 96.1 and 95.9 respectively. The award comes after Melbourne was ranked by Conde Nast Traveller magazine as the world's friendliest city.     TOP 10 1. Melbourne, Australia 2. Vienna, Austria   3. Vancouver, Canada 4. Toronto, Canada 5. Calgary, Canada 6. Adelaide, Australia 7. Sydney, Australia 8.   More »

Australia Releases Validity Period for Skills Assessments


Following the immigration changes announced by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), a three year validity period will be applied for skills assessments issued by assessing authorities for the purpose of visa applications from July 1, 2014. Most skills assessment did not have validity periods in the past. The DIBP officer expressed the default three year validity period is to match with the existing three year validity period for English Language tests. Accordingly, a skills assessment planning to apply for an Australian Visa must be valid at the time of visa lodgement from the 1st of July for the following visas:   ·          Direct Entry stream of the Employer Nominated Scheme (subclass 186)   More »

Non-Contributory Parent and Other Family visas have closed to new applications


From 2 June, Department of immigration has permanently closed the following visa subclasses in the Family Stream of the Migration Programme to new applications: Parent visa (subclass 103) Aged Parent visa (subclass 804) Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclasses 114 and 838) Remaining Relative visa (subclasses 115 and 835)   Carer visa (subclasses 116 and 836).   The visas will be closed to new applications before the start of the 2014-15 Migration Programme year.   More »

TOEFL and Pearson to be Accepted for English Testing from November 2014


The Department of Immigration has announced that the TOEFL and Pearson tests of English language ability will be accepted for immigration purposes from November 2014.   Currently, only the International English Language Testing System IELTS and Occupational English Test (OET) are accepted for the purposes of applying for General Skilled Migration and Permanent Employer Sponsored ENS/RSMS visas.   From November 2014, the following tests will also be accepted:   -          Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) -           Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)   TOEFL iBT The TOEFL iBT is taken via the internet. There are more than 50 test dates each year, and there is a wide   More »

Outlook bright for strong Queensland economy


Another independent report has confirmed Queensland is set to be the fastest growing state economy in 2014-15, Treasurer Tim Nicholls said today.    Mr Nicholls said the Deloitte Access Economics Business Outlook: December 2013 estimated Queensland’s economy will grow at 3.6 per cent this financial year and next.  “That puts Queensland well ahead of the national economy which Deloitte estimates will grow at around 2.5 per cent,” he said.  “The report paints an optimistic picture for some of our key business sectors.  “The report forecasts Queensland will have the fastest growing retail turnover of all Australian states both this financial year and in 2014-15.  “It’s also painting a bright future for the construction industry with strong   More »

Accountants May Be Removed from Skilled Occupations List


The Australian Government is considering removing Accounting occupations from the Skilled Occupations List.   If the Government decides to remove accountants from the SOL, this will have a significant effect on many applicants for skilled independent and graduate temporary subclass 485 visas. Many of these prospective applicants are international students.   The decision has not yet been finalised, but discussions are underway with the accounting professional bodies and other interest groups to justify accountants continuing to be included on the Skilled Occupations List.   The change would come into effect from 1 July 2014.   Effect of Removal of Accountants from Skilled Occupations List   If the accounting occupations are removed from the Skilled Occupations List, this will have a significant effect   More »

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