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) 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


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 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


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


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 »

Australia to Fast Track Visa Processing for Migrants Moving to regional Queensland


Immigrants and refugees who agree to settle in regional Queensland could have their visa application fast-tracked, according to a proposal by the Queensland government's premier Campbell Newman. The premier has discussed with the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison about a plan with several strategies to fast-track Australian visa applications in return for driving growth outside Queensland's booming south east to alleviate pressure. The proposal is part of Mr. Newman's plan and was first raised in last year's Queensland Plan summits. About 100,000 overseas migrants come to live in Queensland each year. Currently about 65 percent of the state's population live in the southeast, taking in Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine coasts. By introducing the proposal, the Newman government is aiming to have half the state's population living outside the southeast by 2043. The population of Queensland is expected to double up to about eight million in the next 30 years. According to the premier, it is a no brainer to look to the regions to accommodate that growth. The governments would work with councils to influence where immigrants and refugees go. The proposal is expected to increase Queensland's migration intake. Mr. Newman has also promised to focus on infrastructure projects in the regions to help support his growth plans.   If you are interested Australian visas contact 2Oceania team for information   More »

Australian industry lobbies for increase in immigration


The Australian Industry Group, (Ai Group) a pressure group that lobbies on behalf of Australian industry, has called on the country's Coalition government to raise the number of immigrants admitted each year from 190,000 annually to 220,000 with immediate effect. The Chief Executive of Ai Group, Innes Willox, has written to the Australian immigration minister Scott Morrison urging the government to increase skilled immigration in particular.   In his letter, dated 19th December 2013, Mr Willox says that immigration is necessary 'to support positive growth in our population and especially in our adult workforce, due to relatively low rates of natural population growth'.     Deepening impacts:   He says that Australia is facing 'deepening impacts' from the fact that the native work force is ageing. 9% of Australian employees are over 60 and 17% are aged 55 or more. There are also skills shortages in 'key growth industries' such as 'mining services, engineering, infrastructure and health services'.   Mr Willox also predicts an upturn in the Australian housing construction sector as the global economy continues to recover in 2014 and 2015 which will lead to further skills shortages. There will also be severe skills shortages in the mining sector which is expected to grow strongly, he says.     Skills shortages increasing   Mr Willox writes that Ai Group surveys of industrial employers   More »

Lowest Processing Priority for Family Stream Visa Applicants Sponsored by Illegal Maritime Arrivals


The Australian government now sets the lowest processing priority for visa applications under family stream sponsored by permanent visa holders who arrived in Australia as illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs), Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) announced.   According to new processing priorities within the Family stream of the migration programme issued by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection on 19 December 2013, the lowest processing priority will now be given to family stream visa applications sponsored by permanent visa holders who arrived in Australia as an IMA.   This means these applications will only be processed after all other visa applications under Family Stream have been processed, which may take up to several years of waiting time.   According to the announcement, applicants who are sponsored by Australian citizens will not be affected by the change to family stream visa processing priority. These applicants will have their applications processed as normal. DIBP also noted that there is no exception for affected family members facing compelling or compassionate circumstances.   Applicants under Family Stream sponsored by an IMA who holds a permanent visa are advised to carefully consider whether they want to continue with their application, because the application will not be processed for several years due to the lowest processing priority. Their visa application charge will not be refunded if they   More »

Australian immigration to fast track 'special investor' visas


The new Australian immigration minister Scott Morrison has said that he wants to fast-track 400 wealthy visa applicants for permanent residence. The 400 have applied for subclass 888 Significant investor visas and Mr Morrison believes that, between them, they have about AUS$2bn to invest in the Australian economy. He also says that he wants to 'reboot' the Significant Investor Visa so that it creates more Australian jobs.   The Significant Investor Visa was established in November 2012 by the previous Australian Labor government to try to attract international investment into Australia. So far, 28 Significant Investor visas have been granted. To qualify, applicants must have at least AUS$5m to invest in Australia. The investments must be made in investments approved by the Australian government.   There are another 400 people who have applied but have not yet had their applications approved. There is currently a nine-month waiting period before an applicant can receive an 888 visa but Mr Morrison says that he wants to cut this for fear that wealthy poeple will take their money elsewhere. More »

Melbourne Remains the Most Liveable City in the World


Melbourne has made it three straight years to be named the most liveable city in the world as revealed by the 2013 Global Liveability Survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).   Melbourne has beaten 139 other cities around the world covered in the Global Liveability Survey to rank the first position for the third time since 2011 with a score of 97.5, closely followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna. Vancouver, which dominated the index for almost a decade until 2011, holds the third position.   Australian cities have secured four of the top ten rankings for the world's most liveable cities, with Adelaide, Sydney and Perth ranking fifth, seventh and ninth respectively, highlighting some of the best cities to live in Australia. Three Canadian cities including Vancouver (3rd), Toronto (4th) and Calgary (5th) have also been ranked in the top ten.   The annual EIU survey takes many aspects of living into account to assess the city's liveability. It scores cities on political and social stability, crime rates and access to quality health care, as well as the diversity and standard of cultural events, the natural environment, education, and the standard of infrastructure, including public transport.   According to the 2013 EIU's report, Melbourne was given perfect scores for health care, education and infrastructure. The top places are said to be "mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population   More »

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