Visa application charge increases 1 July 2015


Following the release of the Federal Budget for 2015-16, the increases in visa application charges (VAC) have been announced today by the Department. While relatively minor changes have been made to many VACs in line with inflation or where sustained volume is expected, significant increases have been made for the Significant Investor Visa subclasses and also for offshore Partner visas. VAC increases include: 2.3% for GSM, Skilled Graduate, 457, Visitor and Student streams 5% for Temporary Short Term Business, Entertainment, Working Holiday, RRV, Retirement and Contributory Parent streams 10% for Remaining Relative, Carer and Aged Dependent Relative and non contributory Parent visas 50% for Significant Investor visas and Offshore Partner visas.    The full list of fee increases from 1 July 2015 for each visa subclass/class is available here More »

Average Band Scores Accepted for 485 and 457 Visa English Tests


Changes to the English language requirements for Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas and Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visas came into effect from 18 April 2015. For the first time, an average band score will be accepted for these visas. For example, an average band score of 6 in IELTS will now be accepted for 485 visas - previously, a minimum of 6 in each band was required. The requirement to provide a minimum score in each band in a single sitting of an English test was a source of enormous frustration to applicants seeking to apply for these visas. Many applicants sat for English tests repeatedly trying for the required minimum score in each band - the ability to provide tests meeting an average band score will be a great relief to many. Specific details of the new English requirements are below: Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 Visas The new English requirements for both the Post Study Work Stream and Graduate Work Stream are as follows: Hold a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand; or IELTS(Academic or General Training): overall average of 6 and at least 5 in each band; or Occupational English Test(OET): B Pass in each band; or Pearson(PTE Academic): overall average of 50 with at least 36 in each band; or TOEFL iBT(Internet Based Test): total score of 64, with at least 4 in Listening and Reading, and at least 14 in Writing and Speaking; or Cambridge (CAE): 169 overall average with at least 154 in   More »

Nurses expected to top demand for specialist jobs in Australia in 2015


There are likely to be more jobs for nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and dieticians in Australia in 2015, according to health service recruiters. Recruitment firms forecast steady employment growth across the health sector next year as new hospitals in several states open their doors, while community aged care is expected to expand nationally due to investment in consumer directed care. Nurses with specialist skills in theatre, mental health and palliative care are in demand, while employment opportunities for allied health and nursing graduates are also predicted to rise, especially in regional and remote locations. Skilled and experienced nurses, midwives and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, podiatrists, occupational therapists and dieticians are all expected to be in demand. "We continue to see an increased level of demand for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals within the growing aged care sector, which is putting additional strain on other health sectors and remote locations," said Mark de Vink, Hays Healthcare regional director. He pointed out that an example of this is in the Northern Territory where the firm has seen a spike in demand for midwives. He also pointed out that recruiters and employers continue to face difficulties attracting nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to regional and remote areas, where there’s a real demand for their skills. More »

NSW Announces Skilled Occupations List


The NSW Government has released its lists for state nomination for the Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 and the Skilled Regional Sponsored Subclass 489 visa. The lists will most likely apply between February 2015 and June 2015. Occupations Added A number of occupations have been added to the list for subclass 190 nomination including: Accountants:Accountant (General), Management Accountant and Taxation Accountant. Accountants have been suspended since the first invitation round in July 2014. IT Professionals:including ICT Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, Analyst Programmer, Developer Programmer, Software Engineer, Computer Network & Systems Engineer, Telecommunications Engineer and Telecommunications Network Engineer. Most of these have been suspended since the first 190 invitation round in July 2014. Enrolled Nurses:not previously on the NSW occupations list Many occupations have also been added to the 489 list. The 489 visa is a 4-year temporary visa, which requires holders to live and work in a regional area to qualify for permanent residence. Occupations Removed The following occupations have been removed from the 190 list: Chief Information Officer Systems Administrator Insurance Broker Financial Investment Adviser University Lecturer Chemist Geologist Architect Orthoptist Audiologist Toolmaker Vehicle Painter More »

Victoria Reopens State Nomination for IT Professionals


Victoria has reopened state nomination for IT professionals from 5 January 2015. IT professionals have been suspended from the Victorian State Migration Program since October 2014, so this is a great opportunity for experienced IT professionals, particularly those living in Victoria already. Applicants can be nominated by Victoria for either of the following visas: Skilled Nominated Subclass 190- a permanent state sponsored visa Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489- a 4-year temporary visa leading to permanent residence after 2 years Applicants must generally have work experience in their occupation and a relatively high level of English - below is a summary of the main criteria for nomination by Victoria for IT professionals: English Requirement IT professionals are generally required to have Proficient English (minimum 7 in each band of IELTS) for nomination by Victoria. Exemptions to the English language requirement are available in the following circumstances: Applicants who have completed a PhD within the past five years. People who have worked in their occupation in Victoria for 6 months. Work Experience Requirement The work experience requirement for Victoria nomination depends on the occupation. For IT professionals, the usual requirement is 3 years of work experience in the nominated occupation, but for some occupations, a minimum of 5 years is required. Recent PhD graduates are exempt from the work experience   More »

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 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   Proficient English IELTS – 7 in each of the four sections OET – B for each of the four components TOEFL iBT – Speaking 23, Reading 24, Writing 27, Listening 24 Pearson (PTE Academic) – at least 65 for the four components   Superior English IELTS – 8 in each of the four sections OET – A for each of the four components TOEFL iBT – Speaking 26, Reading 29, Writing 30, Listening 28 Pearson (PTE Academic) – at least 79   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 189 ·         Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 - Graduate Work Stream Only   It would still be possible to apply for state nominated and employer sponsored skilled visas. 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 will be accepted for these visa subclasses, which means any application lodged after 2 June 2014 and before 25 September 2014 is still invalid and need to be re-lodged. 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. Helsinki, Finland 9. Perth, Australia    10. Auckland, New Zealand More »

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