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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).

Dutton won’t Surrender “Australian Sovereignty” By Signing UN Migration Deal

Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton has confirmed that the country will not be signing the United Nations global compact on migrants and refugees. Even though Australia played a key role in the drafting of the negotiation agreement, Dutton has refused to sign it in its “current form” because it compromises nation’s sovereignty.

“We’re not going to sign a deal that sacrifices anything in terms of our border protection policies. We’ve fought hard for them,” said Dutton.

Refugees who arrive by boat to the continent are detained in offshore processing centres on Nauru in the Pacific and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, as stated by Australia’s current law and policies on border protection.

“Our government has detained 120 children in an island prison for five years. Twelve people have died. Children as young as 10 are trying to kill themselves,” said an extremely disappointed Daniel Webb, the Director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre.

According to Amnesty International’s Head of Refugee and Migrant Rights, Charmain Mohamed, the global compact on migration and refugees reflects the great effort to create an extensive transformation in the way refugees are being treated by various governments.

Human Rights Advocates from all over the world fear that Australia will be the third UN member to reject the global impact, following United States that rejected it last year and Hungary that withdrew from the deal last week.

The final draft of the compact states that, “Countries need to review and revise relevant legislation, policies and practices related to immigration detention to ensure that migrants are not detained arbitrarily, that decisions to detain are based on law, are proportionate, have a legitimate purpose, and are taken on an individual basis, in full compliance with due process and procedural safeguards.”

Government Set To Test Applicants on “Aussie Values” Before Granting PR

As if the pathway to Permanent Residency in Australia wasn’t already an uphill road, the Australian government is considering adding a “values test” for those considering permanent residency in order to protect its “extraordinarily successful” multicultural society as stated by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The idea of a values test was first floated by the citizenship and multicultural minister Alan Tudge at the Australia/UK Leadership Forum where he suggested the idea of the test to discourage “segregation”.

According to Alan Tudge “our ship is slightly veering towards a European separatist multicultural model and we want to pull it back to be firmly on the Australian integrated path”.

“Some of the challenges to social cohesion that we are facing today are similar to ones that the UK is facing – such as ethnic segregation and liberal values being challenged.”

Agreeing with Alan Tudge, Malcolm Turnbull said, “That is certainly one of the issues that we are considering but I have to say to you that we are the most successful multicultural society in the world.”

“One of the reasons we are is because we put an enormous amount of effort, in Australia, into integration, into ensuring that our form of multiculturalism is one where we can all benefit from the diversity of cultural and religious and ethnic backgrounds that Australians have.

“This is a country where 28% of Australians were born outside of Australia, over half have a parent born outside of Australia – but isn’t it remarkable that we live together in so much harmony because of the values we share and those Australian values, of democracy, freedom, the rule of law, respect for women, equality between men and women.

“All of these values are vitally important, and we must never, ever take them for granted and we should always ensure that we maintain them because that is what creates this extraordinary successful multicultural society that we have.”

The ironical thing though is that when it comes to an “Australian values test”, even Australians don’t know what the government is talking about. What exactly are Australian “values”? Is it sipping beer and watching footy or wanting to spend Sunday afternoons having a barbecue with the family? Is it always sitting on the front seat of a taxi, a common hatred for Americanism or the love for weird abbreviations (Macca's anyone?)

Also, how would a person be tested on said “values”. Would they have an MCQ test or a speaking test or would they have to write an essay just to prove how Australian they really are, despite having shows records of a good character, tax payments, secure employment, English proficiency, financial proof, they still fall behind and should definitely be tested on weather Woolworths is called Woolies or Wools and how amazing is a Sausage sizzle, else we are all doomed.

Or as Alan Tudge says “If we want Australia to continue its multicultural success, we must take active steps now to ensure that social cohesion remains strong.”

The government has already proposed an English-language skills test, for potential permanent migrants, which last month Turnbull said would aid with integration.

The government’s attempts last year to make achieving citizenship harder, including requiring all applicants to have lived in Australia for four years on permanent residency visas, as well as an advanced English-language test, were rejected by the Senate.

UN Slams Australia Over Deportation

The United Nations has slammed Australia’s decision to "actively and indefinitely separate" the family of a recognised refugee in the country by deporting her husband to Sri Lanka.

According to the United Nations refugee agency "the deportation overnight of the father leaves his Sri Lankan partner, who is a recognised refugee, alone with their 11-month-old daughter."

UNHRC warned in a statement that this move by Australia "contravenes the basic right of family unity, as well as the fundamental principle of the best interests of the child."

According to the organisation it had appealed to the Australian government to permit the man to remain with his family in the country, but the government didn’t budge.

Australia has been long criticised by the UNHCR for its policy of "offshore processing and deterrence", which has seen asylum seekers who reached Australia shipped off to remote camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea since 2013

"The government of Australia has refused to allow them to be reunited in Australia, despite the fact that neither Nauru nor Papua New Guinea are considered suitable places of settlement for the vast majority of refugees," it said.

It also informed that it knew about families being separated when a parent of a partner was transferred from Nauru to Australia for medical reasons, including to give birth.

UNHCR has warned Australia that with the latest deportation it has gone "beyond a refusal to reunite families to instead actively and indefinitely separate them."

The organisation has also pointed out that Australian legislature prevents the mother in the case from ever sponsoring her spouse to join her and their child in Australia as the law prevents her husband ever being granted even a short-term visa to visit his family.


Turnbull Government Issues “Boutique” Visas In Areas With Skills Shortage

The Australian government is offering “boutique” visa deals in regions with niche skills shortages as revealed by an SBS report.

The areas of Northern Queensland and Goldfields in Western Australia’s southeast are two regions that will benefit the most in the upcoming months.

According to the report there have already been 322 special labour agreements in place with certain businesses and industries across the country, but the Minister for Citizenship Alan Tudge wants to go further and do arrangements on the basis of geographical locations.

“In the Goldfields, they've got a shortage of drillers. They've got a shortage of people who can work on some of the nearby farms and we want to be able to ensure that those skills gaps can be met so that those businesses can continue to grow."

“In North Queensland, they've got a thriving tourism industry and they've got requirements for things like Chinese-speaking scuba diving instructors," Mr Tudge told SBS News.

What exactly is a boutique visa?

Boutique visas are arrangements that are granted at the government’s discretion when there are vacancies for certain positions that cannot be filled locally or by Australian citizens and the job isn’t within the Skills Shortage List of more than 600 occupations eligible for skilled visa categories.

It is necessary for companies to demonstrate that they are unable to acquire local workers for the positions by publicizing nationally first.

In the majority of the cases, visa holders are given a pathway to permanent residency.

“The good thing about the arrangements of the boutique visas is that it allows to have a personalised arrangement with each company but helps keep the structure same as we are prioritising Australians first as the company needs to show that there is no Australian available to fill the position and it still needs to satisfy the criteria set out in the agreement,” said Mr Tudge.

The visa deals are expected to be in place by the end of this year.

One of the centres out of the dozen that have been granted visas, is the Melbourne aged care centre Fronditha Care to boost staff numbers.

22 Greek aged care workers have been employed by the centre so far and the centre has also been granted an extra 60 visas known as the TSS (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa - to hire more bilingual staff.

According to the centre’s CEO George Lekakis, “They're able to relate to our residents. They also help with the transfer of information to other colleagues who don't speak Greek.”

According to Mr Tudge there is going to be a significant demand for Greek-speaking personal carers because there are about 27,000 people in Australia of Greek heritage who do not speak English and they are typically all above the age of 60.

Dozens of elderly Greek migrants call Fronditha care centre their home. These residents have reverted to their first language as they have aged and so having staff that speaks the language helps in the communication.

“The Greek language builds trust with the residents.”

“If someone is irritated, agitated or in extreme cases, aggressive, the language can calm them down,” Greek care worker Dimitra Xexaki said.



The Global Talent Scheme


High skilled workers from across the globe will have a new pathway to enter the Australian market through the new Global Talent Scheme pilot program that has started July 1, 2018 for a one-year trial period.

It is a visa that is designed to help businesses in sponsoring highly skilled professionals and workers to help grow their businesses and help create more jobs where there are no suitable Australians available to fill the vacancies.

“We want to ensure that Australian businesses can access the best talent in the world, because this will underpin business growth, skills transfer and job creation.”

“At all stages, Australians are prioritised for the jobs, but where the skills and experience are not available here, we want to be able to attract talent from overseas,” said Alan Tudge, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs

The scheme which was announced in March, came as a response to the concerns being raised after the changes and tightening of requirements in regarding the
457 visa for skilled workers, which reduced the number of eligible occupations for visas and introduced stricter English language tests.


The visa scheme commenced on 1st July 2018. The scheme was originally announced in March 2018. Refining of initial settings and consultation with industry and other stakeholders took place in the period from April-June 2018. The trial will last for 12 months until June 2019.


The Global Talent Scheme will consist of two streams:
1. Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million for each of the past two years

The requirements of the applicant include:
a) Meeting health, character and security requirements

b) Should have no familial relationship with directors/ shareholders

c) Qualifications must be commensurate with highly skilled role (minimum annual earnings of $180,000).

d) Minimum 3 years prior work experience relevant to the position

2. Start-up stream
The requirements for a company include operation in a STEM related field (digital, biomedical, agtech) including but not limited to agricultural tech, medical tech etc.

The requirements of the applicant include:
a) Meeting health, character and security requirements

b) Should have no familial relationship with directors/ shareholders

c) Qualifications must be commensurate with highly skilled role

d) Minimum 3 years prior work experience relevant to the position

e) Minimum annual earning of the nominated position can’t be less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold which currently stands at $53,900. This can include equity (which is a common offering in start-up payment package) but it has to incorporate cash components as well.

According to the Fact Sheet all successful applicants will have access to a 4-years stream (midterm) Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visas and age gap concessions. There is also the chance of a gateway to permanent residency after 3 years which makes this scheme even more exciting and useful.

Both streams require the sponsoring businesses to conduct Labour Market Testing on available positions.


The Global Talent Scheme will be an attractive scheme for both individuals and businesses in need of middle to high level positions (possibly C-level execs) related to the tech industry.

It will also be relevant to people whose job titles didn’t exist 5-10 years ago.
According to co-initiator, Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash, “Those individuals–skilled and experienced as they are–are likely to become job multipliers, who, by transferring their skills, knowledge, and expertise, will benefit Australians in the long run.”

For more information head to:


New Zealand Lashes Out At Australia for Keeping Minor Under Detention

New Zealand’s acting prime minister has spoken out against their closest neighbour Australia by asking the government to release a teenager under immigration detention from New Zealand.

Winston Peters who is acting Prime Minister while prime minister Jacinda Ardern is on maternity said that Australia wasn’t living up to its obligation as a signatory to the UN Convention by detaining a 17-year-old boy from New Zealand. He has been in detention since March and since then the Australian Border Force hasn’t indicated the reason behind his detention of when he would be freed.

Source: Getty Images

“This person is regarded as a child or a minor, and I’m just reminding the Australians – you’re a signatory, live up to it,” Peters said

“They are clearly in breach of it. There’s no complication. They know that, we know that.”

The number of deportation of foreign nationals on the grounds of character have has soared since the huge changes in Australia’s Migration Act in 2014, and New Zealand citizens make a huge proportion of them.

Peter’s words come as a strong response condemning Australia for having deported more than 1000 Kiwis forcibly in the last two years.

Some of those who have been issued with deportation orders have nowhere to go with no family connections or friends in that country.

Winston Peters has said that his government will continue to pursue the issue through diplomatic channels.

Greg Barns is representing the detained minor and has called the Australian government “pathetic” and accused Peter Dutton, Australia’s home affairs minister a liar for saying the boy posed a threat to Australia.
He also praised the consular staff in New Zealand for their impressive demonstration of humanity for their efforts to help the boy.

The boy is scheduled to appear in court in mid-July to appeal for his deportation. If unsuccessful he may appeal to the high court but the entire process could take months or even years to be resolved, and he shall be in detention the entire time.

According to Peter Dutton the increased deportations were necessary to protect Australia, and “the sooner we can deport this individual the better for us”.

“If this person wants to return to New Zealand, I’ll facilitate his return on a plane out of our country back to New Zealand today.”


“High” On Exploitation; Vietnamese Syndicates Cannabis Grow Houses in Australia

According to an investigation by the ABC it has been found that houses in Australia have been home to cannabis by acting as grow houses. The reports suggest that Vietnamese crime syndicates are at the centre of the multi-billion-dollar enterprise. They act as a three-tier model with the head at the top, then the facilitator and finally the crop sitters.

According to suspicion hundreds of Vietnamese men and women have been travelling to Australia on student and tourist visas over the past decade. When caught they insist on having been forced or lured into the job after arriving in Australia when the truth is most of them come to Australia with the sole purpose of crop sitting.

The issue lies with the fact that the Australian government relies on international students which cashes into a revenue of about $2 billion annually just from visa application fees which leaves little room for change.

This allows room for fraudulent brokers in Vietnam to produce fraudulent applications and even identities to secure visas.

According to the Department of Home Affairs there are approximately 2,340 Vietnamese unlawful non-citizens — the term given to those who have overstayed visas — currently in Australia.


Dreams Turned to Ashes – Changes in ACT Visa Regulations

The Australian Capital Territory had a provision for residents that stated th;at they could apply their nominated occupation even if it was listed as ‘closed’ on the current ACT Occupation list.

Though the provision is no longer available.

Priyank Bindra first landed in Australia to study at a university in Sydney but he soon packed his bags and moved all the way to Canberra in hopes of getting his PR faster as he knew he
could apply for permanent residency in the ACT even if the occupation was closed.

“I was studying in Melbourne and moved to Canberra as this program was started there last year. I came all the way just to increase my chances of getting permanent residency,” he told Mckkr’s.

“Before I knew it though, the program got suspended on June 29 without any notice.”

This provision is no longer available. The notice displayed on the ACT web portal as published by SBS states:


Canberra residents:

  • You are eligible to apply for ACT 190 nomination if your nominated occupation is listed as ‘open’ on the current ACT Occupation List.
  • You are not eligible to apply for ACT 190 nomination if your nominated occupation is listed as ‘closed' on the current ACT Occupation List.

Overseas residents:

  • The ACT 190 nomination program remains closed for overseas applicants without close ties to Canberra and is now closed to overseas applicants with close ties to Canberra.According to registered Migration consultant Abhinav Goyal many people’s hopes have got shattered and plans have come to a still, with most of them feeling extremely panicked."As we know, Canberra was offering 190 nominations to applicants for closed occupations on their skill list if they met the Canberra residence requirements," he said.

"This has been in place since January 2018 and because of this a lot of people moved across the country to come all the way to Canberra and started looking for jobs in their occupations or got enrolled in different courses.”

The list of occupations on Canberra’s list that have been closed include occupations like café and restaurant managers, accountants and ICT business analysts.

The new rule has also affected overseas applicants who were hoping to apply for ACT nomination as the program has been closed for overseas applicants too.

This has cost students like Priyank a lot of time and money and left them wondering about what their limited options are.

“I had paid a huge amount of money for my course over here and now I will have to find another way or move to another state, which will cost me a lot more money. This is extremely frustrating.”