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Increase to Partner Application Fees

16Dec
2014

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

22Nov
2014

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

11Nov
2014

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

25Sep
2014

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

27Aug
2014

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 »

Australia Releases Validity Period for Skills Assessments

30Jun
2014

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) visa; ·           Direct Entry stream of the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa; and ·           Graduate Work stream of the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa.   In addition, a skills assessment must be valid at the time of invitation to apply through Skill Select for the following visas:   ·         Skilled-Independent (subclass 189) visa; ·         Skilled-Nominated (subclass 190) visa; ... More »

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

01Jun
2014

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

21May
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 range of test locations throughout the world.   The test takes approximately 4.5 hours to complete has the following structure:   -          Reading: 60-80 Minutes -          Listening: 120-180 Minutes -          Speaking: 20 Minutes -          Writing: 50 Minutes   TOEFL scores are available approximately 10 days after the test date. They can be viewed online, and a hard copy is sent approximately 13 days after the test date. You can specify ... More »

Outlook bright for strong Queensland economy

20Mar
2014

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 growth predicted over the next four years.”  Mr Nicholls said the Deloitte report came hard on the heels of other reports and economic data showing Queensland’s economy was surging ahead under the Newman Government.  “Last week’s CommSec State of the States report also put Queensland at the top of the economic growth ladder,” he said.  “It also found the state is leading the way in business investment, with spending in the September quarter almost 27 per cent above decade-average levels.  “We’ve seen ABS data showing that three-quarters of all the jobs created ... More »

Accountants May Be Removed from Skilled Occupations List

03Feb
2014

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 on people seeking to apply for skilled migration and Graduate Temporary subclass 485 visas. In particular, accountants will no longer be able to apply for the following types of visas as they require an occupation on the SOL: Skilled Independent Subclass 189: accountants will no longer be eligible for this subclass Graduate Temporary Subclass 485: applicants who are applying through the Graduate Work stream will no longer be eligible if they nominate the occupation of accountant. People applying in the Post Study Work Stream would not be affected.   There are many international students completing studies in Accounting in Australia - ... More »

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