Lodge a complete General Skilled Migration application for a quicker result

Have you been invited to apply for a General Skilled Migration visa through SkillSelect?

Did you know most complete applications are finalised within three months of lodgement?

Your application is considered complete if you upload all required documentation listed on the document checklist, plus form 80 and form 1221, to ImmiAccount. You must also undertake health examinations before we assess your application.

Incomplete applications will take longer to process, but are usually finalised within six months if you provide requested documents quickly via ImmiAccount.

Please note that this is a guide only. As individual circumstances vary, some applications can take longer to finalise.

For further information, view the SkillSelect information on our website.

Supporting Innovation through Visas

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The Australian Government announced the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) on 7 December 2015. NISA includes a range of initiatives to drive prosperity in Australia through innovation and science.

As part of NISA, we are establishing a new Entrepreneur visa for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and financial backing from a third party. The new Entrepreneur visa will be introduced in November 2016 as part of our Business Innovation and Investment Programme.

We are seeking your feedback on our proposed policy for the new Entrepreneur visa. To have your say, read our discussion paper.

Learn more about our existing Business Innovation and Investment Programme.

Continuing your studies in Australia

If you are looking to continue studying in Australia, compile all the necessary documents and lodge your application early. This means we can process your application faster, however, each application presents with unique circumstances and some applications will take longer than average to finalise.

Some of the documents you may need are evidence of Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC), your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE or eCoE) from your Australian educational institution, evidence of your financial capacity and English language proficiency. For information on what documents you are required to provide, check out our document checklist to be sure you have everything ready for your application before lodging it.

You may not need to provide all of these documents depending on your nationality and intended course of study. However, it is still a good idea to have these documents prepared as they may be requested by your education provider.

If we do ask for further information or documents from you, provide these quickly, and provide them online through your ImmiAccount rather than by email.

Studying in Australia

If you are in Australia, make sure you apply for your further student visa before your current visa ends, and before you start studying.

We expect to receive a large number of applications from prospective students looking to start studying in 2016, so lodge your application early as it can take some time for your application to be decided.

Information on our service standards for visa processing can be found on the department’s website.

 

 

Tips on lodging Partner visa applications

Applications for Partner (Temporary) visas (subclass 820) and Partner (Provisional) visas (subclass 309) are currently taking between 12 and 15 months to process, due to high demand. If you are planning to apply for a Partner category visa, either in Australia or overseas, here are a few helpful tips:

  1. Use a document checklist to help prepare your application.
  2. Lodge your application with all required documentation using ImmiAccount.
  3. If you need help, consider using a registered migration agent.

1.     Use a document checklist

There are checklists on our website to assist you in preparing your application.

Stage 1 – Temporary Partner or Prospective Marriage visa (300,309,820)

Stage 2 – Permanent Partner (100, 801)

For applicants outside Australia:

For applicants in Australia:

Note: If you hold a Stage 1-Partner (subclass 309 or subclass 820) visa, you can check your eligibility for the Stage 2 Permanent visa using the Partner (Permanent) Calculator.

2.     Lodge your complete application using ImmiAccount

Lodging your application online is a quicker and easier method, and will get you faster results than lodging by paper. First, you will need to create or login to your ImmiAccount. Once logged in, you can submit your application and attach any relevant documentation. You can login to your ImmiAccount at any time to prepare, track or manage your application.

All documents must be scanned and uploaded to your ImmiAccount. Do not send them by email or by post as it will delay your assessment.

Complete applications that contain comprehensive documents in support of a genuine relationship will get priority and are quicker to process.

Information on creating an ImmiAccount and lodging on line can be found here: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Immi

Information on attaching documents to an online application can be found here: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Atta

See Partner Category Visa Options for detailed information about what to lodge with your Partner application.

For information about supporting evidence such as statutory declarations, and certifying and translating documents, see information to help prepare your application.

3.    Consider using a registered migration agent

Registered migration agents can assist you to prepare your application for a fee. To practise in Australia and act on behalf of visa applicants, agents must be registered with the Office of Registered Migration Agents of Australia (OMARA). For more information about using a registered migration agent, see http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Usin. To search for a registered migration agent, visit the OMARA website.

 

ImmiAccount – used by more than three million people

Our ImmiAccount online tool recently reached a significant milestone when the total number of ImmiAccounts passed three million.

In 2014, ImmiAccount won the Australian ICT Excellence in Service Delivery Award and continues to provide clients and agents with a world-class visa and citizenship application tool, where they can select, complete, lodge, track and pay for an increasing range of applications.

A number of improvements are in the pipeline to further enhance ImmiAccount. Work is under way to introduce more visa subclasses and forms and provide better support for travellers. In addition, ImmiAccount will be further optimised for mobile devices. So watch this space.

Introduction of payment for visa legislation

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On 14 December 2015 new legislation was introduced addressing payment for visas activity through criminal, civil and administrative sanctions, and visa cancellation powers. Asking for, receiving, offering or providing a benefit in return for visa sponsorship or related employment is now illegal.

The payment for visas legislation applies to a range of temporary sponsored and permanent skilled employer nominated visas. It is unacceptable for sponsors, nominators, employers or third parties to make a personal gain through a payment for visa arrangement.

New criminal penalties of up to two years imprisonment and/or penalties of up to $324,000 for each instance apply to people requesting or receiving a benefit in return for a sponsorship event. Civil penalties of up to $216,000 may apply for people found to have offered or provided a benefit in return for a sponsorship event occurring. In addition to these penalties, if the people involved in this conduct hold a visa, either temporary or permanent, this may also be subject to cancellation. If visa applicants are involved, their applications can be refused.

Payment for visas undermines the integrity of skilled work programmes, which address genuine skill shortages in the Australia labour market by making employees available from overseas.

For more information about what constitutes payment for visas behaviour including the list of temporary sponsored and permanent skilled employer nominated visas affected, go to: www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work-1.

If you have been a victim of, or are aware of payment for visas conduct, please report it to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection: http://www.border.gov.au/about/contact/report-suspicious-activities-behaviour.

 

Working while studying in Australia

If you are an international student working in Australia, it is important you know your rights, entitlements and protections in the workplace.

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Did you know:

  • it is illegal for an employer to treat you any differently to other workers based on your gender, religion, culture or nationality?
  • you may be entitled to higher pay for working at night, on the weekend or during a public holiday?
  • your employer cannot dismiss you if you are away from work temporarily due to illness?
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman provides a free service to all people working in Australia. They have a range of information available on their website to help you understand your rights at work.

The Working Holiday Maker visa programme

Australia’s Working Holiday Maker visa programme is a great way for young people aged 18-30 to have an extended holiday in Australia and earn money through short-term employment. There are two types of Working Holiday Maker visas: Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462). The visa you should apply for depends on your country of citizenship. These types of visas allow you to stay and work in Australia for up to 12 months.

Generally, you can only ever get a Working Holiday Maker visa once – it’s a once in a lifetime experience! The second Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visa initiative is the exception – if you do 88 days specified work in regional Australia, you are eligible to apply for a second visa. You can read all the details about what ‘regional Australia’ is and what ‘specified work’ is on the visa applicants tab of the Working Holiday visa page.

The second Working Holiday visa initiative helps encourage Working Holiday visa holders to get out of the big cities and spend some time working in other parts of Australia.  It also helps businesses that are making an important contribution to the Australian economy to have the workers they need to run their business, particularly in seasonal peaks.

So what’s changing?

The second Working Holiday visa initiative has proven popular with businesses and visa holders over the years, but unfortunately some people haven’t been doing the right thing.  Some visa holders are claiming for work that was never done, and some employers aren’t paying their employees a lawful wage for their work.

That’s why if you’re doing specified work after 31 August, you’ll need to make sure you have pay slips that cover each day of work when you submit your application for a second Working Holiday visa.  Electronic copies of applicants pay slips can be uploaded as attachments to your online second Working Holiday visa application, or hardcopies can be provided with a paper application.

What if I’m not given pay slips from my employer?

Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for pay slips – it’s your legal right, and they have to contain certain information. For more information about pay slips, go to: http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/pay-slips-and-record-keeping/pay-slips

How do I know if I’ve been paid the right amount?

In some cases, your pay rate will be set by the national minimum wage, which is currently $17.29 per hour (before tax).  You may be entitled to a higher rate if you are covered by an award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement. For more information about pay, and to use the ‘Pay Calculator’, go to: http://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/findyouraward

What about volunteer work?

We know that some groups, like Willing Workers on Organic Farms, promote themselves to Working Holiday visa holders.

If you’d like to volunteer some of your time to help out doing activities that count as specified work, you can, but you won’t be able to count it towards your 88 days specified work if you start the volunteer work after 31 August 2015.

If you started the volunteer work before 31 August, you will be able to count all days worked on the placement, even if you finish up after 31 August.

If you finished volunteer work before 31 August that counts as specified work, you can include these days towards your 88 days specified work if you apply for a second Working Holiday visa.

Information on the change is available here.

Changes to the Minister of Religion application process for employer sponsored visas

Changes have been made to the application process for nominating a Minister of Religion for an employer sponsored visa.

Religious organisations who wish to bring Ministers of Religion to Australia on a temporary or permanent basis for employment must now do so via the available Ministers of Religion Industry Labour Agreement.

From 1 July 2015, the occupation of Minister of Religion (ANZSCO 272211) will be not be eligible for the Direct Entry Stream or Temporary Residence Transition stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, or the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa.

Rather, religious organisations must sign up to the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement before lodging a nomination for the Agreements Stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme, or to become a sponsor for the Subclass 457 visa.

These changes will uphold the integrity of our employer sponsored visa programmes and continue supporting religious organisations to meet the spiritual needs of Australia’s multicultural society.

Exemptions

Under the changes that came into effect on 1 July 2015, Ministers of Religion will no longer be exempt from the age, skill and English language requirements that were available under the Direct Entry and Temporary Residence Transition streams.

All visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2015 must meet the standard age, skill and English language requirements or meet one of the other exemption criteria. If an applicant is nominated for the Agreement stream, they must meet the requirements as outlined in the Minister of Religion Labour Agreement in order to be granted a visa.

Applications lodged before 1 July 2015

Employer nominations and visa applications lodged before 1 July 2015 will not be affected by these changes. These nominations and visa applications will be processed under the previous arrangements.

If an employer nomination for a Minister of Religion is lodged before 1 July 2015 and is then approved, the corresponding visa application can be lodged for the relevant stream for the Employer Nomination Scheme or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

However, visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2015 must meet the standard age, skill and English requirements for the relevant stream. No exemptions to age, skill and English will be available to applications lodged on or after 1 July 2015.

Nominations for the Temporary Residence Transition stream from 1 July 2015 for existing subclass 457 visa holders

Employer nominations for the Temporary Residence Transition stream for a Minister of Religion are possible if the visa applicant was granted their most recent Subclass 457 visa to work as a Minister of Religion for a standard business sponsor prior to 1 July 2015. This is also the case where an application was lodged before 1 July 2015 and the Subclass 457 visa granted after this date.

More information and assistance

To find out more about the labour agreement process, see the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website here.

Interested employers or prospective visa applications may wish to engage a registered migration agent for assistance. More information about using a migration agent is available here.

Are you a skilled worker interested in migrating to Australia? – visit SkillSelect today

Are you a skilled worker interested in migrating to Australia? SkillSelect is an online system that allows you to quickly and easily enter your details to be considered for an invitation to apply for a skilled visa.

SkillSelect identifies overseas workers with the skills that are most in need in Australia. To find out if you have a skill that Australia needs, have a look at the Skilled Occupation lists on our website. State or territory governments will use SkillSelect to identify and select skilled workers that they wish to nominate for a skilled visa.  If you are nominated by a state or territory government, this will increase your opportunity to receive an invitation.

Over 39,000 invitations for skilled visas were issued in the 2014-15 programme year. 

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So if you have a skill that Australia needs and you meet the visa requirements, log into SkillSelect today and tell us about yourself and what you can bring to Australia’s workplace. You may be invited to lodge a skilled visa application sooner than you expect.

If you’d like to find out more about SkillSelect you can read previous blog posts or visit the SkillSelect website.