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.

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.

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

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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.