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-

Making it easier to find citizenship information

It is now easier to find out how to apply for citizenship, thanks to your feedback and research conducted by us. We’ve made some changes to the citizenship pages on our website.

We’ve improved the navigation to make it easier to find what you’re looking for, and we’ve simplified the information so it’s easier to read and understand.

We’ve made it easier to find out what you need to do to apply if you:

  • are a migrant with permanent residence
  • are the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen
  • were born overseas to a former Australian citizen
  • arrived under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme
  • lost Australian citizenship and want to resume citizenship
  • are a New Zealand citizen
  • are Australian and adopted a child overseas
  • are Australian and your child was born overseas
  • are a Refugee and Humanitarian entrant
  • are Australian and need evidence of your citizenship.

If you have applied for citizenship online, or are in the process of applying, your application will not be affected and you will still be able to access your application through your ImmiAccount.

For more information, visit our new citizenship pages today.

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.

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

Payment for visas pic

 

 

 

 

 

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.