Engineers Australia - New English Language Test


From the 1st January 2016, Engineers Australia will be accepting the TOEFL IbT as an alternative English Language Test to address the English language competency element of the Migration Skills Assessment.   Applicants submitting their application on or after the 1st January 2016 will be able to provide either an IELTS test result form with a score of 6 or more in each of the 4 modules, or a TOEFL IbT result with the following minimal scores for each module:   Minimal Score TOEFL IbT Listening 12 Reading 13 Writing 21 Speaking 18   Applicants will need to upload the test results, as well as write their registration number.   TOEFL IbT results will be accepted up to 2 years after the test date. More »

SkillSelect Update October 2015


The reports on the 9 & 23 October SkillSelect Invitation Round has been released. The reports suggests that it is getting more difficult to obtain an invitation for Skilled Independent and Skilled Regional Family Sponsored visas. Below is our analysis of the required points score and waiting times for EOI invitations. Skilled Independent Subclass 189 In October a smaller number of invitations was issued compared to previous months. 2000 invitations were issued for 189 visas, whereas in the July, August and September there were 2300 invitations issued each month. The majority of applicants invited had a score of 60 or 65. The minimum point score for a 189 invitation was 60 points and approximately 425 applicants received invitations with this score. Based on the October rounds it would take about just over two months to receive an invitation if you have 60 points. If you have 65 points you should receive an invitation next round. Specific information on invitations for Pro Rata occupations for 189 visas is below: Accountants Only 50 accountants were invited in the October invitation rounds. The minimum point score was 70 for an invitation and approximate waiting time with this score was 8 weeks. ICT Business and System Analysts The minimum points to receive an invitation was 65 and the waiting time was approximately 11 weeks. Software and Applications Programmers The minimum points to receive an invitation was 65 also, if you have 65 points you ... More »

Old System Skilled Visas to be Capped


People who have applied for 175, 176 and 475 visas will have their applications "capped and ceased" effective today. These applicants will receive a refund of their application fees, but their applications will be taken to have never been made. A refund is poor consolation to many applicants who have waited patiently for 5 years or more for their applications to be processed. Many of these applicants were eligible for the visa they applied for but are no longer eligible under the new General Skilled Migration program. Note that applicants who are in Australia will continue to be processed, as will applicants for onshore 885, 886 and 487 visas. Most 175 Skilled Independent applications have already been allocated and granted, and the most significant effect will be on those applicants sponsored by family members. This underscores the current government's policy to limit the number of family sponsored migrants. More »

Cessation of Australian visa labels


Australian visa labels will no longer be issued in the majority of cases from 1 September 2015. Holders of the Document to Travel to Australia (DFFTA) which include Refugee and Special Humanitarian visa holders and those who cannot obtain passports, will be issued visa labels until the roll out of the new Australian Migration Status (AMS) ImmiCard is completed.  Australian passports and the ImmiCard are electronically linked to the holder's visa records in a central database and are used to check travellers details.  Changes to passport details must be notified to prevent delays in travel. More »

2015-16 Occupational Ceilings for Skilled Migration Released


The Department of Immigration has released the occupational ceilings for the 2015-16 financial year. The occupational ceilings apply to Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Family Sponsored Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489 visas. Accountants and Auditors The biggest change is the reduction of the occupational ceiling for accountants and auditors by some 50%: This could have one of two possible effects: Places filling quickly - in this case, accountants should ensure they apply early in the program year; or A higher effective pass mark - Immigration may decide to limit the number of invitations issued to accountants each month. As a result, only the applicants with the highest points score will be invited Nursing The occupation ceiling for Registered Nurses was reduced by 8%. However, nursing still has the largest occupation ceiling of any occupational group, and as the ceiling was nowhere near being filled in 2015, this change should have negligible effect. IT Professionals Whilst the occupational ceiling for ICT Business and Systems Analysts has been reduced slightly, the ceiling for Software and Applications Programmers and Computer Network Professionals has been increased, with the result that overall slightly more places are available to IT professionals. In 2015, some IT occupations were filled and others close to being filled, so this is a potentially significant change: Engineers Overall, engineers have had a slight ... More »

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 »

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