Second Work and Holiday visa for backpackers in northern Australia

Northern AustraliaWe made changes to Work and Holiday visas on 19 November 2016 as part of the Government’s commitment in the 2015 White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.

If you’re a Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa holder, you now have the opportunity to get a second 12-month visa. This applies if you work for three months in the tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries in northern Australia while on your first visa. This new opportunity encourages Work and Holiday visa holders to spend time living and working in Australia’s north.

The change will only apply to specified work undertaken from 19 November 2016 in northern Australia, which broadly includes all of the Northern Territory and those parts of Western Australia and Queensland above the Tropic of Capricorn. All specified work has to be paid work in accordance with Australia’s workplace laws. If you’re considering applying, you’ll need to provide evidence of this payment.

There are 16 countries that have active Work and Holiday visa arrangements with Australia, including the United States, Chile, Indonesia and China. The Work and Holiday visa programme continues to grow, and the Government continues to negotiate additional Work and Holiday visa arrangements with new partner countries.

Visit our website to learn more.

Sponsors of Partner and Prospective Marriage visas lodged on or after 18 November 2016 to provide police checks

The Australian government is committed to reducing violence in the Australian community, including family and sexual violence. As part of this commitment, we will ask sponsors of Partner/Prospective Marriage visa applications lodged on or after 18 November 2016 to provide Australian and/or foreign police checks and to give us permission to disclose convictions for certain offences to the visa applicant(s). See our website for information about the changes, including offences we can disclose.

The changes only apply to cases where the visa application is made on or after 18 November 2016. If your partner lodged his/her application before 18 November 2016, the new requirements will not apply to you, even if you submit your sponsorship form after 18 November 2016.

Applicants who already hold a subclass 309 or 820 visa and are waiting for a decision on the subclass 100 or 801 visa are not affected. This is because they lodged the visa application before 18 November 2016.

Tips to prepare your student visa application

Students

From 1 July 2016, all student visa applications must be made online. Here’s some information to assist with preparing your application.

  • Use the Document Checklist Tool on our website to see what types of documents you will need to provide with your application.
  • We encourage you to complete your health examinations before lodging your visa application using My Health Declarations. You will need a current passport and must know which visa subclass you are applying for (Student 500 or Student Guardian 590). If you complete your health examinations after you have lodged your application, you could delay the processing of your application.
  • Once you have started your application you can save it at any time. You don’t have to complete your application in one sitting.
  • Evidence of enrolment:
    • If you are outside Australia, you must include your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) number in your visa application (unless you are a secondary exchange student or a foreign affairs or defence sponsored student).
    • If you are applying in Australia you can include details of a CoE or attach a letter of offer. If you provide details of a CoE in your application, you must not attach or provide details of a Letter of Offer for the same course. Note: Only select ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Other evidence of intended study’ if you do not have a CoE.
  • Make sure you know the details of your health insurance before you start your application – even if your provider has arranged this for you. You will need to enter the start and end date of your policy. Your policy must have started by the time you intend to arrive in Australia, generally at least a week before your course commencement date. If your policy starts on the same day as your course commences, we will ask you to obtain extra cover that starts when you intend to arrive in Australia. If you enter Australia without Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), you will be in breach of your visa conditions. Your OSHC should finish when you want to leave Australia. A visa won’t be granted for longer than your OSHC.
  • Prepare a statement about why you want to study in Australia, in English, at Genuine Temporary Entrant. There is a maximum limit of 2000 words but the statement does not need to be this long.
    You might consider telling us about:

    • why you have chosen your course and provider
    • if the qualification you gain will help you find employment or improve your salary outside of Australia
    • your incentives to return home, including ties to your home country
    • any gaps in study or work history.
    You can also attach evidence to support your statement with your application, including evidence of employment or qualifications.
  • Before lodging your application, make sure all questions are complete and any relevant documents that are included in the checklist are attached. Incomplete applications may result in delays or visa refusal. If you need to provide additional documents after lodging your application, do this through ImmiAccount. Do not email or courier documents to the Department as this may delay processing of your application.

Tips to avoid common mistakes in the application form

  • Read the help text in the visa application form.
  • Only select ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Is the applicant applying for this visa due to the closure of their education provider?’ if your education provider in Australia has closed or is in default due to a sanction imposed on them. You will have been notified if your provider is in default.
  • Only select ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Is the applicant receiving partial or full funding under a training scheme approved by the Commonwealth Government of Australia’ if you have been advised by your provider that you are sponsored by the Commonwealth.
  • Answer the questions about your citizenship and passport carefully to make sure correct information has been provided, otherwise your application could be delayed.

Remember to lodge your application as soon as you can. Complete applications are more likely to be processed quicker. While we aim to process most applications within one month, some applications will take longer. If you have to contact the Department about your application please use our student visa enquiry form.

How to apply for an Entrepreneur visa

This blog post is part of a series of three on our role in supporting the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Australia’s new Entrepreneur visa was launched on 10 September 2016 as a new stream of the Business Innovation and Investment visa.

Portrait of smiling young Vietnamese software engineer

Here’s how to apply:

Submitting an EOI

The first step towards applying for an Entrepreneur visa is lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect.

To lodge an EOI, you will need to have a funding agreement in place or in negotiation with an approved funding body to develop an innovative venture in Australia. The agreement must be for a minimum of $200,000. You will also need to have a business plan that explains how you will develop your innovative venture in Australia.

If you demonstrate a record of successful entrepreneurial activities while holding a provisional Entrepreneur visa, after four years you may be eligible for a Subclass 888 Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa in the Entrepreneur stream. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the criteria for success for the permanent Entrepreneur visa.

Nomination from a state or territory government

Once you submit an EOI, you can be nominated by a state or territory government to be invited to apply for an Entrepreneur visa. Each state and territory has different nomination criteria.

Lodging an application

If you are nominated by a state or territory government, you will receive an invitation from us to apply for a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (Subclass 188).

You will need to provide documents about your identity, relationships, children, health, character and English language ability as part of your application. You will also need to provide evidence of your funding agreement and the business plan for your entrepreneurial venture in Australia.

You only have 60 days to lodge your application after receiving an invitation to apply, so it’s a good idea to get your documents ready in advance.

See our Document Checklist for more details.

New Entrepreneur visa and changes to the points test

This blog post is part of a series of three on our role in supporting the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Entrepreneur Visa

On 10 September 2016, we made changes to the visa system as part of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

A new Entrepreneur visa is now available for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and $200,000 in funding from a specified third party who want to develop and commercialise their innovative ideas in Australia. Visit SkillSelect on our website to express your interest.

We have also made changes to the points test for skilled migration. Five additional points are now available to graduates from Australian institutions with doctorate-level and masters by research qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and information and communication technology fields.

Visit our website to learn more.

 

Visa changes for innovation

This blog post is part of a series of three on our role in supporting the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.Innovative ideas

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

As part of the NISA, we are making changes to the visa system to help Australia attract the best and brightest entrepreneurial talent and the skilled, talented people we need to drive innovative ideas.

New Entrepreneur visa

From 10 September 2016, a new Entrepreneur visa will be available as a new part of our Business Innovation and Investment Programme. The Entrepreneur visa will allow entrepreneurs with $200,000 in funding from a specified third party to develop and commercialise their innovative ideas in Australia. It also provides a pathway to permanent residency.

To be eligible for the Entrepreneur visa, you must:

  • be under 55-years-old
  • have a competent level of English
  • have an agreement in place for at least $200,000 to grow your entrepreneurial venture in Australia
  • hold at least 30 per cent interest in that entrepreneurial venture
  • be nominated by a state or territory government.

Your $200,000 in funding can come from Commonwealth agencies, state and territory governments, publicly funded research organisations, investors registered as Venture Capital Limited Partnerships or Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships, or any combination of these.

If you are a co-founder of an entrepreneurial venture, you and your other co-founders can apply for an Entrepreneur visa for the same venture, as long as you each have a 30 per cent share when you enter into your funding agreement.

Expressions of Interest for the Entrepreneur visa will open in SkillSelect from 10 September 2016.

Points tested programme changes

We are also making changes to the points test for the skilled migration programme. From 10 September 2016, five additional points will be available for students from Australian institutions with doctorate-level and masters by research qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and information and communication technology fields.

Visit our website to learn more.

Visa innovation: supporting international education and enhancing integrity

Today the Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced a simplified student visa framework (SSVF).

SSVF

The main changes under the SSVF include:

  • a single student visa (subclass 500) for all students, regardless of their course of study
  • the global roll out of online visa lodgement to all international students
  • a new targeted approach to managing immigration integrity.

The existing eight Student visa subclasses are being reduced to two—the Student visa (Subclass 500) and the Student Guardian visa (Subclass 590). Online visa lodgement will also make the application process simpler for students and education agents, while creating efficiencies in processing.

Importantly, the SSVF will also enhance integrity by delivering a more targeted approach to risk management. All students are subject to the same core visa requirements such as being a Genuine Temporary Entrant and meeting health and character criteria. Under the SSVF, a combined country and education provider risk framework guides a student’s evidentiary requirements.

‘The Department needs to be satisfied that students are genuine and they and their accompanying family members can support their study and living expenses while in Australia,’ said David Wilden, First Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Citizenship Policy Division.

Students can use the online tool to determine evidentiary requirements
Students can use the online tool to determine evidentiary requirements

Students can enter where they’re from and where they’re intending to study using an online tool on the Department’s website. Results will be used to help a student determine their likely financial or English language evidentiary requirements and guide them through the online application process,’ Mr Wilden said.

The move to more digital services will not only benefit students, but combined with other changes in the programme will result in expected red tape savings of $24.1m per year and reduce student visa regulations from 145 pages to eight.

No more forms! Students can now lodge visa applications online
No more forms! Students can now lodge visa applications online

The SSVF will support the sustainable growth of Australia’s international education sector by making the process of applying for a Student visa simpler to navigate for genuine students, reducing red tape for business and delivering a more targeted approach to immigration integrity.

More information on the simplified student visa framework

 

New Skilled Occupation List from 1 July 2016

On 1 July 2016, a new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) will commence with a small number of changes to the occupations compared to the previous list. The SOL identifies occupations that would benefit from skilled migration in order to meet the medium to long-term skill needs of the Australian economy.

The SOL review

The SOL is reviewed annually to ensure it remains responsive to the needs of the Australian labour market. This year the Department of Education and Training was responsible for the review, considering Australia’s current, emerging and future workforce skills and development needs. For more information see Review of the Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

Flagged occupations

As part of the annual SOL review, there are a number of occupations which are ‘flagged’ for possible removal in the future. Generally, occupations are flagged when there is emerging evidence of excess supply in the labour market. For the 2016–17 SOL, 51 occupations have been flagged. For more information see Flagged Occupations on the SOL for 2016–17.

If your occupation has been removed from the 2016–17 SOL

Requirements for permanent skilled migration will change from time to time and there is no particular course of study that will guarantee a permanent visa. If you are a student in Australia, you are encouraged not to make educational choices solely on the basis of hoping to achieve a particular migration outcome because the skilled migration programme will continue to change and adapt to Australia’s economic needs.

Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL)

The review of the SOL has not impacted the composition of the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL). Occupations currently listed on the CSOL will continue to be listed from 1 July 2016. For more information see Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL).

Interested in applying for a visa?

If you are interested in applying for an Independent Skilled visa (subclass 189), a Family Sponsored Points Tested visa (subclass 489) or a Temporary Graduate (Graduate Work stream) visa (subclass 485) on or after 1 July, then you need to make sure your occupation is listed on the new SOL. For more information on the occupations being added or removed for 2016–17, see SOL.

There may also be other visa options available to you. You can find more information on visa options by visiting Visa Finder .

Refugee Week 2016

RW MIGRATION BLOG2

From long-standing conflicts to enduring success: the contributions of former refugees to Australia’s economy and community.

Australia has a proud history of helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people through our Refugee and Humanitarian Programme. By the end of June 2016, Australia will have resettled more than 840,000 refugees and people in humanitarian need since the end of World War II.

People who have come to Australia through the Humanitarian Programme enrich Australia’s diversity with their cultures, skills and experiences. Many humanitarian entrants display drive, resilience, and courage as they strive to participate fully in Australian society.

We will celebrate Refugee Week 2016 from 19 to 25 June, encompassing World Refugee Day on 20 June. This year we are recognising the achievements of people who have resettled in Australia through the Humanitarian Programme who have driven innovation, created successful businesses, or achieved academic success.

Read more: www.border.gov.au/refugeeweek

Student Guardian visa holders wanting to leave Australia temporarily

IMG_4616If you have a Guardian visa (subclass 580), you have certain conditions attached to your visa to ensure your nominated student(s) has appropriate welfare arrangements in place at all times as they are under the age of 18.

You can enter and leave Australia during the term of the visa, but you cannot leave Australia without the nominating student(s) unless you make alternative welfare arrangements.

If you need to leave Australia without the nominating student(s), you must provide us with evidence on 157N Nomination of a student guardian that:

  • there are compassionate or compelling reasons for doing so
  • you have made suitable alternative arrangements for the accommodation, general welfare and support of the student(s) until your return.

All alternative welfare arrangements must be approved by us and the student’s education provider. You should discuss your circumstances with the education provider as soon as you become aware you may need to travel.

There are two ways you can make alternative welfare arrangements:

  1. You can nominate an alternative student guardian who must be, except in limited circumstances, a parent or relative aged 21 years or over. Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian will outline what documentation you need to provide when nominating a student guardian. Send this form, the education provider’s approval (in a letter or email) and the required documentation to us before you leave Australia.
  2. The student’s education provider can take responsibility for their welfare by issuing a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter which will state the start and end dates for approval of welfare arrangements.

We will advise you if the alternative welfare arrangements have been approved. If welfare arrangements are not considered suitable by us, you cannot leave Australia without your nominating student(s).

If you don’t abide by the conditions of your Guardian visa (subclass 580), your visa may be cancelled and we may also cancel the nominating student’s visa.

For more information about the Guardian visa (subclass 580), go to: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/580-