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Visa Bureau Testimonial - Poetry in motion as the Parkers get set to emigrate to Adelaide!

by Tom 24/10/2011 10:40:00

We've recently heard from another happy family who we've helped with their application for an Australian visa. Cathy and Neil Parker from Swansea had their State Sponsored (subclass 176) visa granted in early June on the basis of Cathy's experience as a Registered Nurse. They're now planning on moving to Adelaide at the end of October.

They had Joe Tindle as their caseworker and passed on the following message to share what their plans are and how their Visa Bureau experience was:

"We are now all systems go and are flying out to Adelaide on the 31st of this month. Being a Registered Nurse there appears to be a lot of opportunities for work and I have started applying already.

We are going to be staying in the centre of Adelaide until we decide where we want to settle to rent. Our two little ones Izzabella (5) and Antonia (2) are not fully understanding of the situation but excited just the same. I will admit we are nervous of the upheaval but ready for the exciting rollercoaster ride.

Having never been to Australia we hope it is all we are dreaming it will be, however we do have family friends who are always encouraging with any news they have. We must say a big thank you once again to you and your colleagues for doing such a great job in helping us achieve our Skilled Sponsorship (176) visa and wish you all well.”

That wasn't it from the Parkers though - Cathy also wrote us a poem about their visa application process!

The Parker family plan on emigrating to Adelaide at
the end of September.

Where do I start? What can I say?
To tell how the Visa Bureau helped us on our way.

A wonderful welcome and informative start.
All helping together playing their part.

On-going advice and updates galore.
Helping us feel that there is always an open door.

Lucas, Joseph and Lauren all great.
Emailing and phoning to keep us up to date.

We can say only thanks and let everyone see.
That without your help, goodness knows where we would be.

Our Visas are granted congratulations you say
We are so grateful for you all helping us on our way.

We just wanted to say thanks in a different way!

If you've recently used the Australian Visa Bureau to emigrate to Australia and would like to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you!

Don't worry if you're not quite as creative as Cathy (though poems are always welcome) - just send an email directly to your caseworker or send it through to us using the contact form and we'll be in touch shortly to gather more information from you.

- Tom Blackett is Marketing 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.

Painters, teachers and construction professionals get the state sponsorship nod from NSW

by Aleksandar 12/10/2011 17:31:00

NSW has added occupations to its
Migration Plan (SMP). 

NSW is one of the most popular migration destinations in Australia and from the world class city of Sydney to the snowfields of Thredbo and Perisher to the almost 2000 kilometres coastline, it's not hard to see why.

The NSW Government has just added a number of new occupations to its State Migration Plan, which means it will sponsor workers in these fields to obtain an Australia visa and emigrate to NSW. The new occupations on the NSW SMP list are:

  • Financial investment advisor;
  • Chief information officer;
  • Systems administrator;
  • Construction project manager;
  • University lecturer in nursing;
  • Early childhood (pre-primary school) teacher; and
  • Painting trades worker

It is expected that applicants for financial investment advisor, early childhood teacher and painter sponsorships have at least three years experience in the occupation. To be eligible for any of the other new additions to the occupation list, you must have at least five years experience.

The addition of the teacher, painter and construction project manager roles are especially significant as they suggest a change in pattern of skills demand in NSW.

"In the past the NSW Government has largely focused on pharmaceutical,  finance and IT professionals with certain specialisations," said Australian Visa Bureau spokesperson Leonie Cotton.

However, it is unclear whether painters have to have an AQF certificate IV or whether an equivalent will be sufficient, in demonstrating qualification.

NSW has also announced that it will sponsor metallurgists and electricians (special class) under the Skilled Regional migration (475) program, whereby migration is conditional upon relocating to regional areas where specific skills are required. The government is currently inviting applications to settle in the state's Northern Inland, Riverina, Orana and Murray regions. Under the 475 program, you must first be sponsored by a regional certifying body before applying to the NSW Government.

Applicants for NSW state sponsorship must first meet the following criteria:

  • Under 50 years of age;
  • Competent English language skills;
  • 65 points in the Australian immigration department skills test; and
  • Have skills assessed by the relevant Australian assessment body.

What are the benefits to being sponsored under a State Migration Plan?

One of the main benefits of being sponsored under a State Migration Plan is how it will affect visa processing timeframes. Applicants whose occupations appear on this list will be assigned, or re-assigned, into Priority Group 3, according to the current processing directive. This means that these applicants should see their applications finalised in approx. 12 months after lodgement, or as soon as possible if their existing application has already be lodged longer than that.

- Aleks Vickovich is Online Editor 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.

Green card lottery opens but US immigration policy still anyone's bet

by Aleksandar 11/10/2011 17:18:00

Immigration policy is likely to be a key 
issue of contention in the upcoming
Presidential election.  

As the United States prepares for another year-long Presidential election campaign, the direction of federal and state immigration policy is becoming an increasingly contentious issue. The next President, whether it is Barack Obama or a Republican challenger, will have to find a policy platform that reconciles the wishes of industry to import skilled labour in a failing economy, with the passionate fervour and electoral appeal of the anti-immigration lobby.

Like Fort Knox itself, America has always been notoriously difficult to get into. For those that seek a life in the states beyond a 90-day tourist trip along route 66, the only real options are very limited places for family members, skilled workers and occasional lucky winners of the US visa or 'green card' lottery.

The Green Card or 'diversity visa' lottery opened last week and will give as many as 50,000 people from eligible countries a chance to live and work in the US. The number may seem generous but the odds are not good. Last year more than 14 million applications were received by the US Department of State for the 2012 intake.

Meanwhile, as lottery entrants around the world bite their nails and wait for their numbers to come up, debates about American immigration policy are raging domestically on a number of fronts.

On one hand, we have seen a growing popularity for the theory that skilled migration will benefit the struggling economy and labour market. The Council of Jobs and Competitiveness - made up of leading American businesspeople including General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, AOL co-founder Steve Case and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg - will hand a report to President Obama at a council meeting in Pittsburgh today, recommending a number of policy changes aimed at creating jobs and increasing global competitiveness.  Among the findings is a recommendation to liberalise the visa system to allow foreign graduates of US science and engineering degrees to stay and work in the country.

"When it comes to driving job creation and increasing American competitiveness, separating the highly skilled worker component is critical. We therefore call upon congress to pass reforms aimed directly at allowing the most promising foreign-born entrepreneurs to remain in or relocate to the United States," the council report states.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who is also a multi-billionaire businessman - also recently called publicly for immigration reform, describing an increased skilled migration intake as "the solution to unemployment".

So key figures in American business and economics are praising the benefits of more immigration. But somehow their calls are being stifled.

This is because on the other hand the perennially hot topic of illegal immigration has once again reared its head just in time for election season. In June, Republican Governor of Alabama Robert Bentley signed a bill that forces educational authorities to check the immigration status of students and parents regularly and to prohibit those without valid papers from attending class. The law also makes it a criminal offence to knowingly harbour illegal immigrants, and imposes large financial penalties on businesses that hire workers that are in the US illegally.

A similar tough stance on illegal immigrants was legislated in Arizona in April 2010, and many other states with large Hispanic populations are following suit. Critics have been quick to condemn the trajectory of immigration policy in the Southern states, claiming that laws like these set a precedent for racial discrimination.

"You cannot tell if a person walking on a sidewalk is undocumented or not, so this is a mandate for racial profiling," said Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The Obama Administration has also weighed in on the debate, with the Justice Department seeking to challenge the Alabama immigration law in the federal Court of Appeals, thereby opening up a whole other can of worms over state sovereignty and federal powers. The Federal Government also brought legal action against the state of Arizona.  

"To the extent we find state laws that interfere with the federal government's enforcement of immigration law, we are prepared to bring suit, as we did in Arizona," US Attorney General Eric Holder said in warning to Alabama legislators and other states considering harsh laws on illegal aliens.

This hardline approach to migrants that do not have a valid US visa is also gaining traction in the Republican presidential candidate race. One of the front-runners to challenge the incumbent Obama, Governor Rick Perry of Texas has recently dropped dramatically in the polls over comments he made on the Alabama law. Governor Perry argued that denying children an education, regardless of US visa status, will have a negative impact on the long-term economy. Perry's supporters felt this position was soft and he has since revised his stance.

Perry's poll movements over recent weeks show that immigration could well be a deciding policy issue not just in the Republican primaries, but in determining who the next President is.

The issues of monitoring illegal immigration and determining the intake of skilled foreign labour are very different and require different policy responses. However, in the frenzy and noise of an American election campaign, complex policies and ideas can be reduced to stereotypes and sound-bites.

The Obama Administration has been making positive noises on support for skilled migration. If the Democrats secure a second term, there is a chance they will heed the call of business and increase the skilled migrant intake, which could mean more opportunities to live and work in the States.

But if you find yourself working in Arizona or Alabama, just make sure you have your papers.

- Aleks Vickovich is Online Editor for the American Visa Bureau, an independent consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for an ESTA visa.


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.