Monthly Archives: April 2019

Common Reasons for Refusal of an Australian Citizenship Application

So you’ve been an Australian permanent resident for a while now and you’re thinking of making the next big leap… citizenship. It’s a big decision, but you’ll have to consider more than just whether you can stand to live in Australia’s perfect climate forever.  A total of 4,151 applications for citizenship by conferral were refused…
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Increasing number of migration agents facing disciplinary actions in Australia

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) has sanctioned 12 migration agents in the last 6 months for violating their Code of Conduct. Of these, 4 registrations were cancelled, 5 were suspended and 3 were barred. What is the role of OMARA? OMARA registers and regulates migration agents, and provides practice guides to…
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IT System outage at Australian Airports

SmartGate passport control machines, which work with e-passports and use facial recognition technology to check travellers' identities, have malfunctioned, requiring passports to be checked manually. The Australian Border Force (ABF) said it was working with the Department of Home Affairs to resolve the outage, which is affecting the processing of inbound and outbound passengers. "A…
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April 2019 Skillselect

The April 2019 SkillSelect invitation round information has been released by the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs). Invitation quotas have dropped significantly in a lead up to the May 2019 Federal Election and the end of the financial year. The figures provided by Home Affairs indicate that since the last round information: The number…
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Training Benchmarks Are Still Valid

Training Benchmarks were abolished from 12 August 2018 with the introduction of the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) levy. However, sponsoring employers may still need to meet Training Benchmark obligations. This means that: Please note that Training Benchmarks still apply to all sc457 Sponsors who have or had sc457 visa holders working for them. The Skilling…
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Update to the Queensland Business and Skilled Migration Program

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland has received additional quota for the skilled program and is re-opening the ‘Working in Queensland, ‘Masters’ and ‘PhD’ Queensland Skilled Occupation Lists (the Lists) from 18 April 2019. Once this quota has been filled the program will close again until July 2019.

The Lists have recently been amended with occupations added and removed so will need to reviewed by the applicant before lodgment of an EOI. The Lists are available at:

Only EOI’s submitted from 18 April 2019 will be picked up via Skill Select. This means that if an applicant has lodged an EOI prior to this date and not received an invitation a new EOI will need to be submitted.

Applicants must be onshore only and meet the onshore criteria for working in Queensland, including being employed for 6 months in the nominated occupation before submitting an EOI and have an ongoing job offer for at least a year.

Queensland Masters graduates must be currently working in the nominated occupation and have continual ongoing employment for at least 12 months.

PhD graduates are not required to have a job, however there is an exception for the occupation of University Lecturer. PhD applicants applying under the occupation of University Lecturer (ANZSCO code 242111), must meet working in Queensland criteria including having been employed for six months in their nominated occupation and have continual ongoing employment for at least 12 months.

Invitations to suitable candidates will commence from 24 April 2019.

Australian Working Holiday Maker International Promotion

The Federal Government is launching a new tourism campaign aimed at backpackers from the United Kingdom, France and Germany to lure more working holiday makers and boost the Australian economy.

The number of backpackers arriving in the country has stagnated. A campaign video launched on 20 April 2019 will run in the United Kingdom, France and Germany and will re-engage young foreigners on the benefits of working while holidaying in Australia.

Quarterly figures from the Department of Home Affairs shows there were 145,479 working holiday makers as at December 2018, compared to 146,431 in the same period last year, December 2017.

However, the numbers dropped substantially between March 2017 and September 2017 when it went from 150,059 to 136,925, during which the backpacker tax came into effect.

This is one of a range of measures introduced to promote the working holiday visas.

The Government last year also announced it would ease time limit restrictions on working holiday makers allowing them to spend more time in Australia.

The changes allow backpackers to stay with one employer for up to a year, rather than six months as well as being allowed to renew their visas for a second year, and sometimes a third.

Subclass 417 (Working Holiday) visa

Please note changes to electronic application form introduced on 17th April 2019. You may need to start a new application for an incomplete application.

  • A new electronic application form was introduced for the Working Holiday visa on 17 April 2019.
  • Any partially completed, ‘saved’ or, ‘in progress’ Working Holiday visa application forms that were not submitted by 16 April 2019 will be set to a status of ‘discontinued’ within ImmiAccount.
  • Applicants will need to start a new Working Holiday visa application form to continue the visa application process.

Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) and Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored visas

The Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) and Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored visas will be introduced from 16 November 2019. These are points tested skilled assessment migration visa which requires either employer or state government nomination, or sponsorship by an eligible family member who is settled in a designated regional area.

  • The validity period for either visa is five years.
  • Holders of either visa will be work in a nominated position within any designated regional area.
  • Condition 8579 will be imposed on both visas to enforce the government’s intention that that visa holders live, work and study only in regional areas and, if employer sponsored, only in the nominated position.
  • A new permanent visa, the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa will be introduced in November 2022. To meet the requirements of the permanent visa, applicants must have held a subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years, have complied with the conditions on that visa and have met minimum taxable income requirements.
  • The Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) Visa and the Subclass 489 (Skilled Regional (Provisional)) Visa (subclass 489) will close to new applicants from 16 November 2019. Transitional arrangements will be put in place for applications which have been lodged and are undecided at that time.
  • New points test thresholds for both the subclass 489 and 491 visas are:
    • 15 points for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia;
    • 10 points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner;
    • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics qualifications;
    • 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’; and
    • 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner.

What is the deal with training benchmarks?

With the introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy in August 2018, you may be a little confused about your business’s continuing obligations regarding training benchmarks. We don’t blame you. Read on to see our breakdown of whether you’ll still have to adhere to training benchmark requirements, and in what situations. For more advice…
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