Category Archives: Blogs

What are the new regional visas (491, 494 & 191)?

With the unveiling of the Budget this year came the announcement of two new regional provisional visas, and one new regional permanent residency visa to come into effect in November 2019. Skilled provisional visa subclasses 491 and 494 will supersede respectively the current 489 and 187 subclasses, while the 191 will function similarly to the…
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Understanding the Bridging Visa Regime

What is a bridging visa? Bridging Visas are simply transitory visas which permit the applicant to remain in Australia for a certain period of time and follow the expiration of the applicant’s current substantive visa while waiting for an application for another substantive visa to be processed. How are they granted? The applicant is onshore…
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Section 48 Bar

What is a Section 48 Bar? Section 48 of the Migration Act 1958 imposes limitations if the applicant’s substantive visa has been refused or cancelled while in Australia or the applicant does not currently hold a substantive visa. This provision (the s48 bar) prevents them from applying for most other Australian visas while in Australia…
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What is Public Interest Criterion 4020?

Public interest criterion 4020 (“PIC 4020”) is particularly important for migration agents to understand.  This visa criterion aims to prevent applicants providing false, misleading or fraudulent information in the process of applying for a visa. This does not necessarily have to be intentional; you could violate this criterion without meaning to. PIC 4020 can also…
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Occupations in-demand that may assist with permanent residency in Australia

Many dream of migrating to another country to fulfil their dreams for better careers, for a different lifestyle for their family, or just for a new adventure. According to Culture Trip, Australia is a particularly popular destination to move abroad, because of its reputation for an excellent quality of life. Australia has one of the…
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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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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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New Government sending migrants to regional areas

Guest Blog

The Government’s 'new' migration strategy is to send migrants to live and work in regional areas in Australia because cities such as Sydney and Melbourne are overcrowded.

The minister for population explains how the issue of overpopulated cities is not so much 'historically high immigration levels', but rather a backlog in major infrastructure.

He further says that the biggest challenge with bringing more migrants to regional areas will be finding the right incentives and conditions for migrants to move to regional areas and smaller cities.

“People are finding the trains are full and the roads are congested and people are blaming it purely on the growth rate when there is actually a number of issues at play,’’ Mr Tudge said.

While many quickly tend to blame migrants for congested roads and population growth, he also says the issue is “the lack of infrastructure keeping up with that growth”.

Tudge also mentioned introducing a “designated area migration scheme” (see current designated areas of Australia) which would mean that new migrants arriving in Australia would have to spend a certain period of time in a regional area or smaller city.

How will it work exactly?

regional area australia

There is criticisim as to how exactly the idea of moving jobs from Sydney or Melbourne to a small town in the regional area should take place. After all, migrants are migrating to the major cities because that’s where their skills are in demand. That’s where they have been sponsored to work or that’s where there are likely to find a job and contribute to the Australian economy.

One should also not forget that the Government has already introduced certain visas to attract migrants to the regional areas, such as subclass 489 or subclass 187. There are even Government sponsored regional visas in additional to state sponsored ones (see Occupation Lists for all states and regions).

While those incentives exist already, the question remains whether migrants will remain there long-term as hope for by the Government. One should also never forget that migrants often have some family members here living in the bigger cities, another reason for them to move closer to their family and friends. People after all have the right to freedom of movement and will be interesting to follow if and how the Australian government will try to settle migrants permanently in regional Australia.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that the majority of migrants are temporary visa holders and international students make up the largest cohort of those migrants. Often they live in major cities out of pure necessity seeing how the majority of training institutions and universities are also located in the major cities.


australia visa koalaWhile there is no deny in Melbourne and Sydney dealing with congested roads and full trains, simply channelling all new migrants to regional areas won’t be as simple a solution. Infrastructure, planning and job creation will have to be in place first. Let us know what you think with a comment below!



training benchmark vs SAF   The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017 and the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Changes Bill were passed this year by the Australian Senate. The Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy impacts employers sponsoring overseas workers on both temporary and permanent visas. The Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Act 2018 (the SAF Charges Act) is related to the ‘nomination training contribution charge’ payable by persons who are responsible to pay the charge under the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations 1994. The charge is levied on employers who nominate workers for temporary or permanent skilled work visas including: · Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) visa · Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) visa · Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187) visa Five states have signed the Agreement: New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. These states will have the opportunity to develop projects for consideration by the Australian Government The SAF Charges Act commences on 12 August 2018. Section 7 of the SAF Charges Act enforces the charge payable under section 140ZM of the Migration Act. Section 140ZM is introduced by the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Act 2018, which also commences on 12 August 2018. The amount of the charge applicable to nominations made from 12 August 2018 have been recommended by the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Regulations 2018 as follows:
  • Nominations that relate to temporary visas incur a charge of AUD 1200 per year of the proposed visa period. For businesses with an annual turnover of at least AUD 10 million, a charge of AUD 1,800 per year of the proposed visa period. This charge is applicable to nominations for the new Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa, (Subclass 482) which commenced on 18 March 2018, and nominations of holders of the Subclass 457 {Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (Subclass 457)}, which was repealed on 18 March 2018
  • Nominations that relate to permanent visas incur a once only charge of AUD 3,000. For businesses with an annual turnover of at least AUD 10 million, a once only charge of AUD 5,000 is implied. This charge applies to nominations for the Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme) visa (Subclass 186) and the Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa (Subclass 187); and
  • An exception to both categories would be that the charge would be nil if: 1. the nomination relates to a Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme)visa in the Labour Agreement stream; and 2. the application for approval of the nomination identifies the occupation of minister of religion or religious assistant
  • The charge replaces requirements in the Migration Regulations requiring sponsors under the temporary sponsored work visa program, or employers nominating a worker for the Direct Entry stream of the Subclass 186 visa, to have recently spent:
  1. the equivalent of at least two per cent of their business’ payroll in contributions to an industry training fund (training benchmark A); or
  2. the equivalent of at least one per cent of their business’ payroll on the training of Australians (training benchmark B).