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Australian Computer Society (ACS) comment on ANZSCO skills assessments

by Lauren 5/24/2010 11:26:00 AM

ACS is responsible for assessing the skills
of migrating computing professionals.

The announcement made last week that Australian immigration will be switching to the ANZSCO skills classification on 1 July, 2010 is an issue set to have a huge impact on the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, as it essentially redefines the occupations and skills that are in demand by Australia.

We've been investigating the impact of the changes through speaking to the skills assessing bodies who will also be affected by this change. The latest comments we've seen have come from the Australian Computer Society (ACS), who provided the following information:

"Applicants who hold, or are about to hold, an assessment outcome letter with an ASCO code issued by the ACS prior to 1 July 2010, are advised to apply for a review of assessment outcome and follow application for review process that will be publicised on the ACS website once the framework, in which new SOL would be applied, is introduced by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

  • Up to and including 30 June 2010, assessment outcome letters will be issued in ASCO codes only.
  • From and including 1 July 2010, assessment outcome letters will be issued in ANZSCO codes only."

In many ways, ACS is the assessing body that we most wanted to hear comment on the changes as many of the ASCO computing professional occupations they currently assess do not have a direct match on ANZSCO.

As a result, if an applicant has previously completed an assessment with ACS but was unable to lodge their Australian visa application before the GSM program was temporarily suspended, it will be advisable for these applicants to apply for a "review of assessment outcome and follow application for review process".

Further details aren't yet available as to how this review process will work or how long it will take, but more information is expected to be made available on the ACS website soon.

- 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.

Q&A with ANMC regarding the skilled Australian visa program's switch to ANZSCO

by Lauren 5/20/2010 11:09:00 AM

ANMC is responsible for assessing 
the skills of migrating nurses

With the skilled Australian visa program switching to using the ANZSCO occupation classification on 1 July, 2010, responses from Australian skills assessing bodies are still coming in.

A representative for the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) was kind enough to answer a few of our questions over email.  See their responses to our Q&A below:

Q&A with ANMC on the switch to ANZSCO

  • Q: Should applicants be applying under the ANZSCO occupation now, or should applicants still be nominating an ASCO?

    ANMC RESPONSE: The ANMC will continue assessments under the current ASCO Codes. If/when this changes to ANZSCO codes, our online application system will be updated to include the new ANZSCO Codes and information will be made available on our website.
  • Q: Has any information been given in regards to transitional provisions that may be put in place for applicants that have obtained a skills assessment already under an ASCO code, and whether this will enable them to lodge to DIAC, or if they will require a reissue of skills assessment as an ANZSCO occupation?

    ANMC RESPONSE: This will need to be followed up with DIAC as we have not received any information from them ourselves.
  • Q: Additionally, for the occupations where there is only a partial match between the ASCO and ANSZCO, what is your policy? Will a partial match between occupations be sufficient, so as to allow a reissue in an ANZSCO occupation?

    ANMC RESPONSE: Unable to comment on this at the moment.
  • Q: Also, can we expect any changes to your forms or assessing policies based on the changes?

    ANMC RESPONSE: Yes, online forms will be updated. Assessment process will not change.

- 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.

More news on the ASCO-ANZSCO mapping table from VETASSESS Trades

by Lauren 5/19/2010 1:30:00 PM

VETASSESS Trades is responsible
for assessing the skills of
migrating tradespeople

With Australian immigration scheduled to switch to using the ANZSCO occupation classification upon the implementation of the new Skilled Occupation List on 1 July, 2010, we've been speaking to a number of the key Australian assessing bodies to get an idea of what their approach will be going forward.

After receiving comments from Engineers Australia and VETASSESS yesterday, we've now received a statement from the branch of VETASSESS that assesses the skills of tradespeople, which is informally known as VETASSESS Trades:

VETASSESS Trades comment on the ASCO-ANZSCO switch

"Please be advised that VETASSESS can offer you the following information at this stage:

VETASSESS will not be issuing Skills Assessments in ANZSCO until the 1st of July, 2010.  The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have advised that they will be publishing an ASCO-ANZSCO mapping table which will detail the conversion of occupations from ASCO to ANZSCO.  Generally speaking, if an occupation has a direct match from ASCO to ANZSCO and VETASSESS are still the assessing authority for that occupation, applicants will not require a reassessment under the ANZSCO code. 

Please see the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website at www.immi.gov.au for future publication of the ASCO-ANZSCO mapping table and the latest SOL list."

While this statement doesn't provide much new information, it is reassuring to see VETASSESS reiterate that they will accept positive ASCO skills assessments, provided the occupation has a direct match on ANZSCO.

Additionally, the reference to the ASCO-ANZSCO mapping table is interesting, with the current assumption being that the mapping table will provide a fairly comprehensive method of matching occupations from ASCO to ANZSCO.

While I still anticipate that not every occupation will be accounted for, it seems that efforts will be made to make allowances where possible and reduce the need for applicants to undergo reassessment. It may be that DIAC will simply follow the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) method of mapping ASCO occupations to ANZSCO occupations (which you can see by clicking here), but until further details are released, it's impossible to know how the new mapping table will work.

- 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.

Assessing bodies respond to the Australian skilled migration switch to ANZSCO

by Lauren 5/18/2010 12:34:00 PM

VETASSESS and Engineers Australia
commented on the shift to ANZSCO
 

Yesterday, we saw the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) release the new Australian Skilled Occupation List (SOL), with a key part of the announcement being their decision to switch to using the ANZSCO occupation classification upon the new SOL's introduction on 1 July, 2010.

The switch to ANZSCO raised a few questions which we're still waiting for DIAC to provide definitive answers to. However, we have seen two of Australia's prominent skills assessing bodies provide comment: 

VETASSESS comment on the ASCO-ANZSCO switch

"Thank you for your enquiry to VETASSESS.  VETASSESS will not be issuing Skills Assessments in ANZSCO until the 1st of July, 2010.  Assessments issued before this date under ASCO will be accepted by DIAC as long as the occupation has a direct match on the ASCO-ANZSCO mapping table to be published by DIAC, and VETASSESS are still the assessing authority for that occupation."

Engineers Australia (EA) comment on the ASCO-ANZSCO switch

"DIAC have advised us that they will honour the ASCO code assessment for a period of 12 months after the introduction of the new SOL, or the expiry date of their 12-month validity of the assessment outcome letter, whichever is the sooner."

What new information can be drawn from these comments?

From these comments, we can assume that it will be standard policy for the assessing bodies to continue issuing skills assessments according to the ASCO code assessment until 1 July, 2010, and that these positive skills assessments will be accepted by DIAC for up to 12 months after the new SOL is introduced (or until the assessment outcome letter expires). However, as this deadline hasn't been officially confirmed by DIAC yet, it should be taken with a grain of salt for the timebeing.

Additionally, while it's useful to have some further clarification, there are still a number of points we remain uncertain about. For example, even though an ASCO-ANZSCO mapping table is forthcoming, we don't yet know what will happen should any ASCO occupations not have a direct ANZSCO match, or how an assessing body will be assigned to such occupations.

However, it's still very early days and I do anticipate further information regarding the ASCO-ANZSCO switch to be forthcoming.

- 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 Skilled Occupation List for Australian skilled migration finally released

by Lauren 5/17/2010 1:19:00 PM

The new Skilled Occupation List
was announced on 17 May, 2010
 

Today, the new SOL (Skilled Occupation List) for the Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) program was finally announced, with the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) releasing the following statement:

"The new list (based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, or ANZSCO) identifies occupations that reflect the high value, nation building skills Australia needs – skills that take time and diligence to acquire, that are put to the use intended, and where the cost to the economy and local communities of the skill being in short supply is great."

The new list of targeted occupations was determined by the independent body, 'Skills Australia' and will be instrumental in determining who is eligible to apply for an Australian skilled visa upon its implementation on 1 July, 2010. This is also the date when State Migration Plans will be announced and introduced, as well as when the offshore skilled GSM program will be restarted, which was temporarily suspended on 7 May, 2010.

Please note that, as expected, all occupations on the new SOL are from the ANZSCO (Australia and New Zealand Skilled Classification of Occupations) as opposed to the previously used ASCO (Australian Skilled Classification of Occupations).

See below for the new Skilled Occupation List: 

133111 - Construction project manager
133112 - Project builder
133211 - Engineering manager
134111 - Child Care centre manager
134211 - Medical administrator
134212 - Nursing clinical director
134213 - Primary health organisation manager
134214 - Welfare centre manager
221111 - Accountant (general)
221112 - Management accountant
221113 - Taxation accountant
221213 - External auditor
221214 - Internal auditor
224111 - Actuary
224511 - Land economist
224512 - Valuer
231212 - Ship's engineer
231213 - Ship's master
231214 - Ship's officer
232111 - Architect
232112 - Landscape architect
232211 - Cartographer
232212 - Surveyor
232611 - Urban and regional planner
233111 - Chemical engineer
233112 - Materials engineer
233211 - Civil engineer
233212 - Geotechnical engineer
233213 - Quantity surveyor
233214 - Structural engineer
233215 - Transport engineer
233311 - Electrical engineer
233411 - Electronics engineer
233511 - Industrial engineer
233512 - Mechanical engineer
233513 - Production or plant engineer
233611 - Mining engineer (excluding petroleum)
233612 - Petroleum engineer
233911 - Aeronautical engineer
233912 - Agricultural engineer
233913 - Biomedical engineer
233914 - Engineering technologist
233915 - Environmental engineer
233916 - Naval architect
234111 - Agricultural consultant
234112 - Agricultural scientist
234113 - Forester
234211 - Chemist
234611 - Medical laboratory scientist
234711 - Veterinarian
241111 - Early childhood (pre-primary school) teacher
241411 - Secondary school teacher
241511 - Special needs teacher
241512 - Teacher of the hearing impaired
241513 - Teacher of the sight impaired
241599 - Special education teachers nec
251211 - Medical diagnostic radiographer
251212 - Medical radiation therapist
251213 - Nuclear medicine technologist
251214 - Sonographer
251411 - Optometrist
251412 - Orthoptist
252111 - Chiropractor
252112 - Osteopath
252311 - Dental specialist
252312 - Dentist
252411 - Occupational therapist
252511 - Physiotherapist
252611 - Podiatrist
252711 - Audiologist
252712 - Speech pathologist
253111 - General medical practitioner
253211 - Anaesthetist
253311 - Specialist physician
253312 - Cardiologist
253313 - Clinical haematologist
253314 - Clinical oncologist
253315 - Endocrinologist
253316 - Gastroenterologist
253317 - Intensive care specialist
253318 - Neurologist
253321 - Paediatrician
253322 - Renal medicine specialist
253323 - Rheumatologist
253324 - Thoracic medicine specialist
253399 - Internal medicine specialist nec
253411 - Psychiatrist
253511 - Surgeon (general)
253512 - Cardiothoracic surgeon
253513 - Neurosurgeon
253514 - Orthopaedic surgeon

253515 - Otorhinolaryngologist
253516 - Paediatric surgeon
253517 - Plastic and reconstructive surgeon
253518 - Urologist
253521 - Vascular surgeon
253911 - Dermatologist
253912 - Emergency medicine specialist
253913 - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
253914 - Ophthalmologist
253915 - Pathologist
253916 - Radiologist
253999 - Medical practitioners nec
254111 - Midwife
254411 - Nurse Practitioner
254412 - Registered nurse (aged care)
254413 - Registered nurse (Child and Family Health)
254414 - Registered nurse (community health)
254415 - Registered nurse (critical care and emergency)
254416 - Registered nurse (development disability)
254417 - Registered nurse (disability and rehabilitation)
254418 - Registered nurse (medical)
254421 - Registered nurse (medical practice)
254422 - Registered nurse (mental health)
254423 - Registered nurse (perioperative)
254424 - Registered nurse (surgical)
254499 - Registered nurse
261111 - ICT business analyst
261112 - Systems analyst
261311 - Analyst programmer
261312 - Developer programmer
261313 - Software engineer
263311 - Telecommunications engineer
263312 - Telecommunications network engineer
272311 - Clinical psychologist
272312 - Educational psychologist
272313 - Organisational psychologist
272314 - Psychotherapist
272399 - Psychologists nec
272511 - Social worker
312211 - Civil engineer draftsperson
312212 - Civil engineer technician
312311 - Electrical engineer draftperson
312312 - Electrical engineer technician
313211 - Radiocommunications technician
313212 - Telecommunications field engineer
313213 - Telecommunications network planner
313214 - Telecommunications technical officer or technologist
321111 - Automotive electrician
321211 - Motor mechanic (general)
321212 - Diesel motor mechanic
321213 - Motorcycle mechanic
321214 - Small engine mechanic
322211 - Sheetmetal trades worker
322311 - Metal Fabricator
322312 - Pressure Welder
322313 - Welder (first class)
323111 - Aircraft maintenance engineer (avionics)
323112 - Aircraft maintenance engineer (mechanical)
323113 - Aircraft maintenance engineer (structures)
323313 - Locksmith
324111 - Panelbeater
324311 - Vehicle painter
331111 - Bricklayer
331112 - Stonemason
331211 - Carpenter and Joiner
331212 - Carpenter
331213 - Joiner
332211 - Painting trades workers
333111 - Glazier
333211 - Fibrous plasterer
333212 - Solid plasterer
333411 - Wall and floor tiler
334111 - Plumber (general)
334112 - Airconditioning and mechanical services plumber
334113 - Drainer
334114 - Gasfitter
334115 - Roof plumber
341111 - Electrician (general)
341112 - Electrician (special class)
341113 - Lift mechanic
342111 - Airconditioning and refrigeration mechanic
342211 - Electrical linesworker
342212 - Technical cable jointer
342313 - Electronic equipment trades worker
342314 - Electronic instrument trades worker (general)
342315 - Electronic instrument trades worker (special class)
411211 - Dental Hygienist
411212 - Dental Prosthetist
411213 - Dental technician
411214 - Dental therapist


What do we still need to know?

While it's a relief that the new Australian SOL has been announced, there still remain a few unanswered questions, many of which stem from the fact that the new list of occupations is drawn from the ANZSCO as opposed to the ASCO.

For example, while the ANZSCO is very similar to the ASCO in some respects, it still doesn't match up exactly in terms of the names and classifications of the occupations. Therefore, even though we can make a fairly informed prediction for most of the occupations on the new SOL, it's still unknown as to how many points will be allocated to each occupation. Additionally, while we can make assumptions, we still don't know exactly which Australian body will be responsible for assessing which ANZSCO occupations.

It's also currently unknown what will happen to applicants who have already obtained a positive skills assessment. Potential solutions are that that the assessing bodies will simply transfer an applicant's positive assessment in the ASCO occupation to the corresponding ANZSCO occupation (if possible) or that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will accept old skills assessments for a time. However, it's also possible that these applicants will need to obtain a new skills assessment, particularly if their previous ASCO occupation only has a partial ANZSCO match on the new SOL.

Another factor that makes the transition confusing is that the skill level requirements (i.e. the level of degree, trade certificate or years experience required) for the ANZSCO is different than the ASCO in some instances. Therefore, even though an applicant might have a valid skills assessment and perform the ANZSCO-listed associated tasks for that occupation, they will still need to meet the skill criteria for DIAC.

As a result, further clarification will be needed from DIAC before we can be sure how to proceed in advising our clients going forward. However, it's still useful to finally have the new Skills Occupation List and have some idea of what Australian skilled migration will look like going forward, even though many questions remain unanswered.

On 1 July, 2010, I hope to be able to provide a more definitive statement on the full range of migration pathways available to skilled visa applicants, as this is the date when the State Migration Plans will be introduced and hopefully further clarification regarding the points test review will have been received by then. In the meantime though, I will continue monitoring the situation and provide updates as and when I receive them. 

- 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.

Australian States and Territories react to DIAC suspending General Skilled Migration

by Matt 5/10/2010 1:34:00 PM

After last week's announcement from DIAC that they would be suspending the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, we knew that the changes would impact every level of the Australian immigration process; the only question was how quickly other immigration stakeholders would react and whether they'd follow DIAC's lead in suspending their activities for the timebeing.

We began by looking at the immediate reactions of the Australian States and Territories, who play such an instrumental role in the Australian sponsored visa application process.

See below for how each Australian State and Territory has reacted to DIAC's suspension of the GSM program:

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australia hasn't made any official statement regarding the suspension of the GSM program, but they appear to have blocked all online applications through the display of the following message on their website:

"Online visa applications are suspended until further notice."


VICTORIA

13 MAY UPDATE: Victoria have responded to DIAC's announcement by suspending their own offshore application process until 1 July.

"If your sponsorship application is in process, and you have not lodged a visa application, the application will remain in process however a decision will not be made at this time. You will be advised of any change to this situation and it is requested that you do not  enquire on the progress of your application. 

If you lodged your visa application with DIAC prior to 8 May 2010, however did not include this information in your sponsorship application, you should advise the Skilled and Business Migration Program by 21 May 2010. No further information will be accepted after this date."

The Victoria state government have also made clear that they will be unable to answer any queries concerning visa suspensions, and that applicants with any concerns should direct their concerns to DIAC directly.


SOUTH AUSTRALIA

While South Australia first announced that they would only suspend the processing of sponsorship applications received after 14 May, this appears to have been superseded by the following announcement:

"Applicants under the General Skilled Migration Program should be aware that DIAC has made an announcement today suspending all Offshore GSM application. Please direct any enquiries on this matter to DIAC via your nearest Australian High Commission and not to Immigration SA.
 
As a result, Immigration SA will also be suspending processing all Offshore Sponsorship applications, until further notice. However, Onshore sponsorship applications will proceed at this stage."


QUEENSLAND

Queensland have updated their website with the following statement, although it still remains unclear as to what they're going to do:

"On Monday 8 February 2010, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced changes to the Australian Government Migration Program. Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) eligibility is a condition of Queensland nomination to a Skilled Sponsored or Skilled Regional Sponsored visa and other sponsored visas. Please check the DIAC website to see if these changes apply to you."

One interpretation is that once the new Australian Skilled Occupation List (SOL) comes out, they will deny sponsorship to anyone not on it, even if they have lodged with DIAC beforehand.

12 MAY UPDATE: I recently heard from a representative of Queensland that they have ceased processing 176 and 475 nomination applications unless applicants can demonstrate that they had lodged a 175 or a 176 visa application lodged with DIAC on or before 7 May 2010.

They also say they are in the process of sending an email to all nomination applicants they have on hand that have not been finalised.


NEW SOUTH WALES

New South Wales has updated their website with the following statement, announcing that they will be immediately suspending applications for sponsorship for the duration of the GSM program being suspended:

"On 7 May 2010, the Australian Government announced that it would temporarily suspend the acceptance of applications in some offshore visa classes until 30 June 2010. These visa classes include:

  • Skilled Sponsored 176 visa
  • Skilled Regional Sponsored 475 visa

As a result of this decision, Industry & Investment NSW will not accept applications for NSW sponsorship in these visa classes until after 1 July 2010."


NORTHERN TERRITORY

There has been no response to the suspension of the GSM program from the Northern Territory as of today, 10 May, 2010.

However, any announcement made will most likely be made available on the Northern Territory skilled migration website here.


TASMANIA

Tasmania have made the following announcement that they will be suspending all sponsorship applications from today, 10 May, 2010 to 3 July, 2010.

"The Tasmanian Government will be suspending the assessment of applications for offshore Skilled Sponsored (SS) subclass 176 visas and Skilled Regional Sponsored (SRS) subclass 475 visas between Monday 10 May 2010 and Friday 3 July 2010.  The suspension will take place whilst the Tasmanian Government reviews current sponsorship policies.  During this period the assessment of all other sponsorship applications will remain unchanged."


AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT)

Everything on the ACT skilled migration website appears normal, and the online form was accessible. 

When can further information be expected?

Assuming that the news of the GSM program's suspension was as much of a surprise to the States and Territories as it was to us, then it's unsurprising that many of them have yet to provide any official statement on how they will respond. However, judging by the reactions we have seen, it seems that most of them will suspend the processing of sponsorship applications ASAP.

It will also be interesting to see if this affects the formation and introduction of the State Migration Plans. For now, we will keep monitoring the situation and provide more information as and when it becomes available.

- Matt Parker is a Caseworker 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.

Australian General Skilled Migration program suspended: Our reaction

by Lauren 5/7/2010 11:19:00 AM

The offshore Australian GSM program has
been suspended until at least 1 July, 2010.

The Australian Government has today announced that they will not accept applications for offshore general skilled visas, with this unprecedented measure taking effect from midnight 7 May, 2010. The temporary suspension will then remain in place until the end of the current program year on 30 June, 2010.

You can read the announcement here, where the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) state the following:

"The Australian Government has decided to temporarily suspend the acceptance of new applications for certain General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas. The number of pending GSM applications continues to grow as the demand for GSM places exceeds the available supply. The temporary suspension is being implemented to ensure that the occupational profile of applicants for GSM clearly reflects the needs of the Australian labour market.

The temporary suspension will also facilitate the transition from the current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) to the new SOL. It is anticipated that the Government will announce proposed changes to the SOL in May 2010.

The temporary suspension will apply from 8 May 2010. It is expected that it will cease at the end of the 2009-10 program year, that is at the end of 30 June 2010, subject to the approval of the Governor-General in Council of proposed amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 which will enable the implementation of the new SOL.

Temporary suspension means that people will not be able to lodge a valid application for an affected GSM visa for the duration of the suspension. The temporary suspension applies to all primary (main) applicants for the following GSM visas:

  • Subclass 175 – Skilled Independent
  • Subclass 176 – Skilled Sponsored and
  • Subclass 475 – Skilled Regional Sponsored.

Applications for affected visa subclasses submitted on or after 8 May 2010 will be considered invalid and the application will be returned to the client together with the Visa Application Charge (VAC). However, associated fees such as those incurred for medical examinations, English language tests and skills assessments cannot be refunded as these payments were not made to the Government.

Applications for visa subclasses affected by the temporary suspension will be able to be made once the suspension has been lifted."

What does this mean for the future of the Australian Skilled Visa Program?

We had hoped that the time of knee-jerk Australian immigration decisions had come to an end. With the announcement of the new visa changes made on 8 February, 2010, it appeared that DIAC and the Australian government were taking a more transparent approach to the implementation of new legislation, with changes announced in advance of their introduction to seemingly allow visa applicants at least some time to finalise and lodge their application.

With this announcement though, any fleeting confidence we had in the Australian government's willingness to 'play fair' has been completely undermined. By abandoning their stated plans and making such a shocking announcement, they have completely undermined the efforts of all Australian skilled visa applicants, with this latest move essentially damning the hopes of many potential migrants.

I expect that this announcement also took the Australian States and Territories by surprise, and it will be interesting to see how they react to it given that they are in the midst of preparing the new State Migration Plans. Unfortunately, regardless of how much time, money and effort is spent by visa applicants or any other immigration stakeholders, the message being sent here is that it simply doesn't matter to the Australian government.

Additionally, when you take into account DIAC's failure to meet the 30 April deadline they set for the introduction of the new Australian SOL, it makes it almost impossible to put any faith in the timelines that they set. While they might indicate now that the GSM program will be opened again on 1 July, 2010, there still isn't any solid commitment to this deadline, making it very difficult for visa applicants and migration agents to prepare for the future. 

- 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.

The Immigrant Investor Program: A guide to Canadian investor migration

by Tom 5/5/2010 12:51:00 PM

Download our PDF brochure for
more information on the Canadian
Immigrant Investor Program

We recently launched a specialist service for applicants interested in the Immigrant Investor Program, a Canada Business Immigration Program pathway that enables business owners and qualified managers to immigrate to Canada with their families.

More information on the Canadian Immigrant Investor Program is available in our PDF brochure and potential applicants can receive a free assessment of their eligibility by completing our online enquiry form.

To provide a little more explanation though, qualifying for the Immigrant Investor Program is based on an assessment of two factors:

  • The applicant's net worth; AND
  • The applicant's business or management experience.

Meeting the net worth requirement

Net worth is determined by the value of an applicant's combined assets, which must exceed their combined liabilities by at least CA$800,000 (approx. £500,000). The figures used must be fair market value and evidence of this is required in the application. 

All assets must have been obtained legally and, in some instances, evidence of source of income is required.

Meeting the investor business ownership /management experience requirement

If an application relies on business ownership then the applicant will need to demonstrate that they part-owned and managed a qualifying business for at least 2 out of the past 5 years. A qualifying business is defined as one in which at least 2 of the following 4 criteria are satisfied:

  • The percentage of equity of the applicant and their spouse in the business multiplied by the number of full-time job equivalents in the business is greater than or equal to 2;
  • The percentage of equity of the applicant and their spouse in the business multiplied by the total annual sales is greater than or equal to CA$500,000;
  • The percentage of equity of the applicant and their spouse in the business multiplied by the net income in the year is greater than or equal to CA$50,000;
  • The percentage of equity of the applicant and their spouse in the business multiplied by the net assets at the end of the year is greater than or equal to CA$125,000.

Alternatively, if the application relies on business management experience as opposed to business ownership then the applicant will need to demonstrate that they managed the equivalent of at least 5 full-time employees per year in a business for at least 2 out of the past 5 years.

Making the investment and emigrating to Canada

Once an application is approved, the applicant is then required to make an investment of CA$400,000 with either the Canadian or Quebec government for a period of 5 years. In practice this investment is almost always financed, which significantly reduced the outlay and overall cost. As the Canadian Visa Bureau has banking relationships in Canada and the UK, we have access to the most competitive financing options available.

Once the applicant's Investor visa is approved they are then free to settle in Canada with their family. There are no restrictions once the applicant has settled in Canada. 

The Investor visa holder and their spouse are then free to work, set up business and purchase property. They will have access to state education, health care and other benefits enjoyed by Canadian citizens. After 3 years the Investor visa holder will be eligible for Canadian citizenship.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the Canadian 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.

Australian accountant skills assessing bodies changes: ICAA, CPA and NIA

by Lauren 5/3/2010 3:37:00 PM

Australian accountant skills
assessing bodies will be making a
number of changes on 1 July

I recently learned that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA), Certified Public Accountants (CPA) Australia and the Australian National Institute of Accountants (NIA), are all changing their assessing policies on 1 July, 2010. These are the three bodies that are responsible for assessing the skills of accountants, finance managers, corporate treasurers and external auditors applying to emigrate to Australia.

Each body is implementing an almost identical set of changes, which you can read for yourself by clicking here for the ICAA, here for the CPA or here for the NIA. Alternatively, read on for my interpretation of some of the key changes.

Changes to assessment pathways

One of the main changes is that there will no longer be two distinct pathways (i.e. either through membership of a recognised body or holding a qualifying degree). Instead, should an applicant hold membership of a recognised body, it will now need to be considered comparable to an Australian degree. That comparability is set by the Australian Education International National Office for Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR).

Having checked the Country Education Profiles on the AEI-NOOSR website, members of the ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW are all listed as comparable to an Australian degree, which is positive news for UK applicants. However, it also has the following note:

"Qualifications are assessed on a case-by-case basis if the holder earned the qualification by means other than a program of study (e.g. work experience), or was granted several subject exemptions in the program."

Therefore, on the basis of the above, it seems that people who are members of an accounting body but DO NOT have a degree and received exemptions from studying the full course to gain membership may have issues.

For example, we have seen some of our clients have gained membership with CIMA through receiving some exemption on units needed, should they have worked for many years in the industry beforehand. Under these new changes, it's possible that these same applicants may have difficulty qualifying.

Changes to units studied

Previously, applicants would need to study 9 out of the 12 units that the assessing body sets, with the applicant free to evidence which 9 of the 12 units they had studied in.

From 1 July, 2010, applicants will still need to study 9 out of the 12 units, but the assessing bodies will set 4 mandatory units, and then the applicant must choose 5 from the remaining 8 optional units. The assessing bodies break down (by occupation) which units are mandatory and which are optional in order to make the 9 out of 12 units.

Changes to IELTS requirements

It also appears that a score of at least 7.0 in all four core units of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test will be required for accountant assessing body applicants from 1 July, 2010. Currently, there is no news on whether there will be any exemptions for UK applicants.

Please understand that all these observations are made without a full, detailed explanation of all the changes being provided by the accounting assessing bodies, and also that much of my comments only relate to Australia visa applicants from the UK. Some parts of the changes still remain unclear as it appears there will be a much higher level of subjectivity applied to the accounting bodies' assessment process from 1 July, 2010.

Therefore, I do advise people to complete and lodge their skills assessments as soon as possible, in order to avoid any potential negative changes.

- 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.