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VETASSESS clarifies process changes for professionals emigrating to Australia

by Lauren 29/10/2009 14:15:00

Further clarification has been given on the
updates coming to the VETASSESS
assessment process in 2010.

Following on from yesterday's blog, we received further news today on the VETASSESS changes set to come into action from January 1, 2010. If you are a professional looking to emigrate to Australia, it's vital that you keep aware of this information.

See below for some of the key points we've received in direct correspondence from VETASSESS, as well as our comments.

"EXPIRY DATE FOR SKILLS ASSESSMENT

All Skills Assessments issued under the new arrangements will have a validity period of two years.  The expiry date will be twenty four months from the date of issue of the original Skills Assessment."

What this means is that, as hinted at in the initial announcement, skills assessments will now have an expiry date. They will no longer be accepted as sufficient evidence of an Australia visa applicant's skills once 24 months have passed since the positive assessment's date of issue.

"TRANSITION ARRANGEMENTS

All new applications received from January 2010 will be assessed under the new process.  VETASSESS recommends that applicants who apply in 2009 should submit all relevant documents and payment by 18 December 2009 to ensure that their application is assessed under the current system.  Otherwise, the new criteria may apply.  For applications received by VETASSESS in 2009, DIAC has allowed a three-month grace period from January to March 2010 for VETASSESS to finalise its pipeline cases for the general occupations.  However, no applications under the old process will be accepted in 2010.

 DIAC has advised assessing authorities that they will introduce ANZSCO to the skilled migration program later in 2010.  ETASSESS will consult with DIAC about the transition arrangements from ASCO to ANZSCO."

By 'pipeline cases', VETASSESS means all cases which have been lodged but not resolved by January 1, 2010. These cases will be given until March to be finalised, so should VETASSESS request additional information, applicants emigrating to Australia will still have a window in which to submit this.

The second piece of information relates to the MODL review which is yet to be fully revealed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), part of which is the switch from the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

Few timeframe details have been released regarding when this switch will happen, but it is interesting that VETASSESS state that this will happen 'later in 2010'; it remains to be seen whether by this they mean 'in the latter half of 2010' or simply 'after 1 January'.

"OCCUPATIONAL PROFILES

VETASSESS has developed lists of relevant fields of study and relevant tasks for its general occupations. It is in the process of contacting relevant industry and professional bodies for feedback on those occupational profiles.

A range of resources were used to develop these occupational profiles including the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Australian Skills Recognition Information (ASRI) website; the Australian Bureau of Statistics websites for ASCO and ASCED (the Australian Standard Classification of Education); the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website for Job Guide; the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) website sponsored by the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration; and education provider websites."

What this means is that VETASSESS has consulted a number of different official sources to qualify what will and won't be defined as 'relevant' (i.e. what is a 'highly relevant field of study' or 'relevant employment' to a specific nominated occupation).  Unfortunately, we still don't know whether or not they will be transparent in this process and make it clear to applicants emigrating to Australia what is and isn't relevant.

"TECHNICAL INTERVIEWS

Under the new arrangements, as part of the assessment process, VETASSESS will telephone some applicants to clarify information in the application, and to discuss the applicant’s occupational skills. No additional charge will apply for a technical interview."

While VETASSESS have not given any further details on this, the indication seems to be that applicants emigrating to Australia should be prepared to complete a telephone interview as part of the new assessment process.

"FEES AND APPLICATION FORMS

New fees will apply to applications for a skills assessment under the new process. The new fee schedule will be available on our website from 11 November 2009.  The new application forms will be on our website in December."

I think this is self-explanatory, as it indicates that necessary updates will be made to the application forms and fees. Unfortunately, no further details have been given regarding what the new fees will be.

I'll keep reporting on this issue as we get more updates in, but the message remains the same; stay calm but if you are able to, lodge your assessment with VETASSESS ASAP.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Up sticks Down Under: A guide to choosing the right mover to Australia

by Stephanie 29/10/2009 09:42:00

Choosing a mover can be a complicated
decision, but follow a few simple rules
to select the best.

Moving all your possessions across to the other side of the world can be a daunting prospect. But take heart with  professional advice from Hayden Hills of the international moving company Anglo Pacific.

Life presents us with choices every day of our lives, and many of us have a problem deciding which options to take. One of the first decisions we have to make each day is which shirt or top to put on that morning. There are factors which help us make up our mind, like what we are doing that particular day, be it work or leisure related, the weather and what we like the look of and feel comfortable wearing.

If only choosing a mover were that easy. You will be presented with a lot of choice, and unless you have moved internationally before you’ll probably be moving with a company you have never used before. This is sure to make some people wary and apprehensive that their final decision is going to be the right one. After all, you will only really know if your decision was the right one after several weeks, when your worldly possessions are delivered to your new home many thousands of miles away.

Hopefully, this article will help you and your final decision that much easier to make. As long as you follow a few simple rules you can select a company that is experienced and knows what is required to get your home moved safely.

"Start by deciding how many quotes you want to get."

Three to four is really all you need to be able to find the right company for you, and a little research before you contact the movers can save you wasting your time. There are literally thousands of companies offering shipping services, but in reality there are not that many who specialise in overseas moving.

If you check out the websites of any companies you are considering, you should be able to determine where their speciality lies. Most domestic movers and some office movers will say they can move you internationally, but can they? Do they have the specialist packing skills, and will they know how to tackle all the government requirements of exporting from the UK and importing into a foreign country? Maybe they will, but by deciding on a specialist you have a better chance of a successful move.   

The British Association of Removers has an overseas group, and you would be wise ensuring that your chosen moving company is a member of this group. It operates the Advance Payment Guarantee Scheme, which protects your payment if a company in its membership ceases trading. The peace of mind that this gives comes at no cost to you, and there are enough companies offering it that you really don’t need to take any chances by going elsewhere, as there will be a BAR Overseas Bonded company which suits you.

FIDI is an association of international movers, which has about 600 members worldwide. Every FIDI member is an accredited international mover, having had its finances and operational expertise vetted by independent auditors before it is given its FAIM (FIDI Accredited International Mover) kite-mark. You’d be smart looking for a FIDI/FAIM mover, safe in the knowledge that they have a degree of experience some others will not have.         

Before you call potential moving companies, think carefully of some questions to ask them over the phone. Normally, the representative of a company visiting you will be well versed in selling you a service. That person is not usually the person who will actually manage your move, so by asking questions on the phone you will get a good feel for their knowledge and skill and how well the company will look after you.    

"Lastly, be careful not to fall in to the trap of looking for a cheap bargain."

You don’t get "something for nothing", and the best companies will expect to be able to charge you for the level of professional service and expertise they offer. When you are choosing your mover aim to get value for money. The main priority you should have is the safe shipment of your belongings, in a timely manner.

If you would like to find out further information about your household move or like to request for a free no obligation home survey then please visit Anglo Pacific online or call Hayden Hills on 020 8838 8493.

 - Anglo Pacific is a partner of Australian Visa Bureau, an independent company specialising in helping applicants emigrate to Australia.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

VETASSESS changes see new requirements for certain Australian skilled visa applicants in 2010

by Lauren 28/10/2009 17:01:00

Changes to the VETASSESS skills
assessment requirements are set to
come into action in 2010.

VETASSESS have just announced they are to implement a new policy for assessing all people applying to emigrate to Australia on 1 January, 2010.

I'd like to take the time to answer a few immediate questions you might have, should you be applying for an Australian skilled visa on the basis of having a positive assessment from VETASSESS .

Some of the occupations VETASSESS are responsible for assessing include:

Please note: These changes only apply to general professional occupations assessed by VETASSESS, NOT trades occupations

What changes are going to be made by VETASSESS?

Currently, VETASSES only demand that an applicant have a qualification 'comparable to the Australian standard' in order to receive a positive assessment, with no criteria set regarding the qualification content or work experience.

However, in order to receive a positive skills assessment through VETASSESS from 1 January 2010, applicants will now need to have:

  • A qualification that is in a 'highly relevant field of study' to your nominated occupation; AND
  • Between 1 year and 3 years (depending on occupation) of 'relevant employment' to your nominated occupation.

This clearly sets the bar higher for VETASSESS applicants, demanding that they present far more evidence demonstrating their experience and study as it directly correlates to their nominated occupation. Unfortunately, with the key term 'relevant' still remaining undefined, it's hard to provide more information on exactly how the new requirements will work.

Who will the changes affect?

The changes have the potential to affect anyone in a general professional occupation who is looking to be assessed under VETASSESS, but especially those who lack the necessary qualification or work experience to be positively assessed in their nominated occupation under the new rulings. 

It's also worth noting the following quote included in the announcement from VETASSESS:

"DIAC will continue to accept all VETASSESS Skill Assessments from both the old and new system provided that your nominated occupation remains on the Skilled Occupation List and VETASSESS is the designated assessing authority for that occupation.  However, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship may ask you to have a current VETASSESS assessment if there is a significant gap between the date of assessment and the date of applying for your visa."

Based on this quote, we can take it that anyone with a successful VETASSESS assessment but is currently holding off on lodging their visa application should look into proceeding ASAP, especially if they have any fears that they will not qualify under the new requirements.

What should I do at this time?

A number of migration pathways have been tightened or closed off due to restrictions implemented by both the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and the various Australian states and territories. As a result, some migrants could find that without the ability to receive a positive skills assessment from VETASSESS in a specific nominated occupation, they will lack any route to Australia.

Therefore, I strongly recommend that anyone who has had a request to apply for assessment from VETASSESS to apply ASAP, making sure to send as complete and 'decision-ready' application as possible.

VETASSESS are stating that if you lodge a complete application before 31 December, you will be assessed under the current rules (with the further recommendation that applicants ensure to send their applications no later than 18 December, in order for VETASSESS to receive the application in time).

However, if anything is missing from your application, then it is likely you will be assessed under the new criteria.

Even if you feel confident that you will qualify under the new criteria, it would still be preferable to be assessed under the current familiar criteria and be in the best position possible to avoid any potential hurdles to your migration.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

New Australian partner visa legislation sees step towards equality for same-sex couples

by Lauren 27/10/2009 17:38:00

Legislation updates are set to make the
Australian partner visa application process
faster for onshore same-sex couples.

From the 9th of November 2009, a new piece of legislation will be introduced to help expedite the onshore Australian partner visa application visa process for couples in de facto / same-sex relationships.

Current migration legislation allows married couples to be granted a temporary Australian partner visa without having to provide evidence of cohabitation, while those in de facto / same-sex relationships must still demonstrate evidence of cohabitation for the previous 12 months in order to be granted the visa. 

However, from the 9th of November, these same de facto / same sex couples can forego this evidentiary requirement when applying for a temporary partner visa, with the only obligation being that they register their relationship under one of the following prescribed Australian states or territories:

  • Victoria

    For more information on the process of registering your de facto / same-sex relationship with the Victorian state government and to see the official application form, click here.
  • Tasmania

    For more information on the process of registering your de facto / same-sex relationship with the Tasmanian state government and to see the official application form, click here.
  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    For more information on the process of registering your de facto / same-sex with the Australian Capital Territory government and to download the official application form, click here.

Australia has typically been one of the world's more progressive countries when it comes to recognising and acknowledging same sex relationships, and by introducing this new piece of legislation, the Australian government takes another step towards equality for couples from all backgrounds.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau 

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australia visa application form updates coming in November

by Lauren 26/10/2009 11:03:00

A full list of the Australian visa
application form updates is available
on DIAC's website.

More changes to a number of Australia visa application forms are set to be made by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), with the 9th of November given as the date that the new forms will be introduced.

There will be both essential and non-essential changes made to dozens of forms, with a PDF summarising all the forms that will be changed available from the DIAC website.  However, see below for some of the most commonly used forms that are going to have essential changed made to them:

  • Form 40 - sponsorship for a parent to migrate (used when lodging an Australian contributory parent visa application)
  • Form 47PA - application for a parent to migrate (also used for the Australian contributory parent visa)
  • Form 80 - character assessment ( used for the Australian spouse visa, but DIAC have also be known to request that this form be submitted for Australian skilled visa applications) 
  • Form 1276 - application for skilled migration (used for paper-based Australian skilled visa applications)

The medical forms 26 and 160 will also be updated, but these changes are non-essential so applicants may still use the ‘old’ versions for the time being (although we would advise very strongly that applicants use the most current Australian visa application form whenever possible). Look for the new versions of the forms to appear on DIAC's website on the 9th of November.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.