Share your thoughts

We’d like your feedback on the points test for the Business Innovation and Investment Programme.

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme (BIIP) was created in 2012 to attract high quality investors and entrepreneurs to Australia. It includes the Investor visa, the Business Innovation visa, and the Significant Investor visa, and the newly introduced Premium Investor visa (PIV).

The Department previously announced that the pass mark for the points test for the Business Innovation and Investment streams within the BIIP would be reduced from 65 points to 50 from 1 July 2015. This change has now been postponed pending further consultation.

The Federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Migration recently completed an Inquiry into the BIIP. In its report, it recommended that the Department undertake further examination of the points test. In light of this recommendation, the Department is undertaking further analysis and consideration of the appropriateness of the current points test threshold.

The Department will also examine the effect of other changes to the application rate for the BIIP, including reforms to the Significant Investor stream, and the reinstatement of role swapping for the Investor and Business Innovation streams, which came into effect on 1 July 2015.

Updated information on the BIIP, including the new PIV, is available on the Department’s new website. If you have feedback in relation to the points test component or other elements of the programme, we would welcome your feedback in the comments below.

From today, we’ve changed web and email address

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Today marks the official integration of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, as well as the establishment of the Australian Border Force.

To support this integration, our new website was launched at www.border.gov.au, meaning the Migration Blog’s address has also changed to migrationblog.border.gov.au. While internet search engines for immi.gov.au and customs.gov.au will redirect to our new web address, please ensure you update your browser’s bookmarks.

Our Department’s email domain has also changed to firstname.lastname@border.gov.au. While information sent to former @immi.gov.au and @customs.gov.au email addresses will be delivered to the intended recipients at border.gov.au, please update your contact details.

Applications that are accessed using the former immi.gov.au or customs.gov.au websites, such as ImmiAccount, VEVO, ICS or the Customs Connect Facility, will not be affected by this change and will continue to function as normal on our new website.

Investing in Australia’s future – Changes to business and investment migration

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme (BIIP) was created to attract high quality investors and entrepreneurs to Australia. It currently includes the Investor visa, the Business Innovation visa, and the Significant Investor visa (SIV). From 1 July 2015 it will also include the Premium Investor visa (PIV).

On 15 May 2015, the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash announced the new complying investment framework for the SIV and PIV. In order to be granted a SIV or a PIV, an applicant will need to make an investment that complies with the complying investment framework.

The framework is designed to encourage investment in innovative Australian ideas and emerging companies. You can view the media release here and details on the new framework here.

Along with the new complying investment framework, the government intends to make a number of changes to the BIIP from 1 July 2015.

New flexible residency arrangements will be introduced for the SIV. From 1 July 2015, eligibility for the permanent SIV will require either the primary applicant to reside in Australia for 40 days per year OR the secondary applicant (spouse or de facto partner) to reside in Australia for 180 days per year. This residency requirement will be per year and will be calculated cumulatively over the period of the provisional visa. For example, 160 days over four years for a primary applicant or 720 days over four years for the secondary applicant (spouse or de facto partner).

Also from 1 July 2015, Austrade will become an eligible nominator for the SIV, in addition to State and Territory governments. Austrade will also be the sole nominator for the PIV.

Aside from changes to the SIV and the PIV, there is a change that applies only to the Investor and Business Innovation streams, which is the reintroduction of role swapping. This  will allow a secondary applicant to apply to fulfil the primary criteria for the permanent visa on behalf of the primary applicant.

If you have any questions, check out our website.

 

Refugee Week 2015: Celebrating a global milestone in the resettlement of refugees from Bhutan

This year marks an important global achievement as the 100,000th refugee from Bhutan is expected to depart refugee camps in Nepal for resettlement.

Since 2005, Australia has played a key role in the international resettlement of refugees from Bhutan. Australia has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other major resettlement countries to help achieve a resolution for one of the most protracted refugee situations in Asia.

Australia has welcomed close to 5500 refugees from Bhutan, who have settled in both regional and metropolitan areas around Australia and  arecontributing to Australian society and their local communities.

Refugee Week acknowledges the experiences of refugees and their contribution to Australia.

Has your visa expired? You can do something about your situation

If you are in Australia and your visa has expired, you should contact our Community Status Resolution Service (CSRS) as soon as possible. CSRS_WebsiteTiles_300x300

The CSRS is a free service that works with people who have overstayed their visa to help you work through your options.

If you work with us to resolve your immigration status, you may be granted a bridging visa. This lets you stay in Australia for a short time and live in the community while you resolve your immigration status.

If you are found living in the community without a visa, there are serious consequences.

You have a choice – do something about your situation and contact our Community Status Resolution Service.

For more information, visit www.border.gov.au/csrs or call 1300 853 773.

Have your say on the Skilled Migration and Temporary Activity review

Help guide the way the Skilled Migration and Temporary Activity Visa programmes are delivered by completing this short survey – it has been structured to enable you to quickly and easily comment on issues that matter to you that have been raised throughout the consultation process.

The survey can be completed in approximately 10 minutes.

The review aims to ensure the programmes continue to provide simple and flexible models to meet evolving labour market demands and minimise red tape for business. The survey will complement the consultation and discussion paper processes already completed. If you are interested in finding out more about the review, or want to read the discussion or proposal papers, see the Department’s website.

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Improving Your Online Experience

The Department is changing the way it interacts with our clients by investing in technology that provides access to online self-service options at any time, anywhere.

What can you do online?ImmiAccount

ImmiAccount turned one in December 2014, with more than 1.5 million users signing up in its first year. ImmiAccount helps reduce the need for you to attend an office or ring our general enquiries number to access the majority of our services, saving you time and allowing you to interact with the Department at your convenience.

To complement the ImmiAccount service, our website also hosts a range of useful forms and general information on our visa products.  These online services take away the need for you to wait in a long line at an office or in a queue on the phone.

Our user friendly online facilities allow us to deliver you better and more efficient services including:

Why is online better for you?

ImmiAccount allows for your applications to be submitted instantly.  Attachments can be loaded at any time, meaning there is a reduced processing time for some visas.

For an increasing number of visa subclasses, ImmiAccount can provide you with a complete online processing experience, from beginning to end.

Our online environment has been designed to be convenient for you and we are working hard to make sure you have reliable support available.

Delivering services online allows our interactions with you to be personal and local, tailored to you and your circumstances. We have focussed on understanding your journey to effectively accommodate and enhance your immigration experience.

Government acting on recommendations of the 457 Integrity Review

Since our last post, on 18 March 2015  the Australian Government announced its response to the Independent Review, ‘Robust New Foundations: A Streamlined, Transparent and Responsive System for the 457 Programme’.

You can read the Government Response to the recommendations and how it will be strengthening the programme’s integrity, giving consideration to greater flexibility for certain visa requirements and protecting Australian workers in the 457 visa programme.

Some of the measures to strengthen integrity in the 457 programme include:

  • the introduction of a new penalty making it unlawful for sponsors to be paid for a migration outcome
  • more information for 457 holders and sponsors about their rights and obligations
  • greater transparency around the Department’s  sanction actions
  • increased information sharing among key government agencies.

For visa applicants, one of the recommendations was to  add flexibility around English language requirements while ensuring integrity is maintained in the 457 visa programme.  Although the Government did not support expanding the list of nationalities that are exempt from the English language requirement (sub-recommendation 7.4), applicants will be able to provide an overall score with minimum scores for each test components and access alternative English language test providers.

Australian workers and businesses will also benefit through other recommendations including improved training opportunities for Australians, streamlining and simplifying the sponsorship process and increasing sponsorship approval periods.

A number of these recommendations will be implemented in the coming months while  complex recommendations will be progressed before the end of 2015-16.  You may have also noticed Recommendation 2 about abolishing the labour market testing requirement was noted by the Government. This recommendation will not be implemented at this time.  More information on the recommendations is available here.

If you are a current 457 visa holder or sponsor, there are no changes to your existing visa grant arrangements and conditions, sponsorship conditions and/or obligations.  If there are any changes to current processing arrangements, updates will be made available on our website.

Find out more about the  457 visa programme  on our website and from the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa (649KB PDF) booklet.

Calling all statisticians – looking for Departmental data?

Did you know the statistics area of the Department receives over 200 enquiries a year requesting migration data?

The Department’s website has a number of pages dedicated to statistics if you’re looking for data on migration.  A range of information is available to the public, and reports are updated and published regularly.  While you’re visiting the page, you can also download Microsoft Excel pivot tables which allow you to customise and refine information to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Whether you’re interested in finding out more about historical migration statistics, citizenship or migration agent activity – the Department’s statistics page may have what you’re looking for.

There is only one place to be in 2015 – the ICC Cricket World Cup.

The ICC Cricket World Cup starts in 64 days. Don’t forget to secure your visa to watch the world’s best cricket teams battle it out for cricket’s biggest international prize.

It is now even easier to be a part of the ICC Cricket World Cup and follow your team as you only need an Australian visa to travel between Australia and New Zealand.

The arrangement is valid for travel between 26 January and 5 April 2015 for eligible visitors thanks to the new Trans-Tasman Visa Arrangement. New Zealand will grant eligible visitors with a three-month visa on arrival during this period.

So don’t be caught out with the wrong visa for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

For more information on applying or to determine if you are eligible for the Trans-Tasman Visa arrangement, visit www.immi.gov.au/cwc

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