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SkillSelect: Australia's new visa application site

by Dominic 31/01/2012 17:28:00

While the Australian government announced last year that changes to skilled migration programme would be made in 2012, they weren't forthcoming about too many specifics as to how the process would be affected; we wrote at the time about the changes which were proposed.

However, with so much in the news recently about Australia's immigration issues, whether it be gaps in the job market or lengthy application processes, the Australian government has responded by publishing their new site SkillSelect, intended for a 1 July, 2012 launch.  

But with so many changes promised and moving to Australia already being such a daunting process, how do you know if SkillSelect applies to you?

Here is a look at the new scheme, what it is and how to use it.  


The SkillSelect website will begin taking
applications on 1 July, 2012

What is SkillSelect?

SkillSelect is a new method for the Australian government to manage its skilled migration programme. Based solely online, SkillSelect will require everyone who is intending to migrate to Australia to submit their application through the new system.

Applications made through SkillSelect will be made available to employers looking to recruit staff, as well as local state or territory governments. Selected applicants will then be invited to apply for an Australian visa.

Why is it needed?

Australia has struggled in recent months to balance its immigration policy properly. While the Asian fuelled mining boom continues across the country, people looking to cash in on rising wages have flocked to the mines. This means that labour shortages have cropped up in a variety of industries with 35,000 vacancies in the hospitality industry alone.

The SkillSelect programme will mean that the Australian immigration authorities can specifically target which occupations they have a shortage of and manage those applicants who are capable of filling the vacancies.

Who can use it?

When SkillSelect opens for applications on 1 July, 2012, anyone wishing to move to Australia as part of any of the following visa programmes need to apply using the SkillSelect website:

How it affects you

Existing clients

The Australian government has been quick to maintain that the SkillSelect website is still subject to change while particular details are finalised with further details of the SkillSelect process expected to be announced in April 2012. Therefore, if you are an existing client at the Australian Visa Bureau and are eager to continue your application as quickly as possible, you can move forward with your application without worry; the Australian Visa Bureau has significant experience under the current system and we are confident that the majority of our clients whose applications are properly assembled will be able to lodge before the 1 July deadline.

New clients

However, if you are yet to begin the application process or you are unlikely to lodge your application before 1 July, 2012, then you may have concerns about how the new system will be handled.

The Australian immigration process has undergone significant changes with the past and the Australian Visa Bureau has always successfully adjusted to the new process. SkillSelect will bring further changes but it will also bring benefits to the applicants as well as the Australian government; once the new steamlined process has been finalised and implemented, applicants will be able to get responses to each portion of their application much quicker.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor for the UK 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.

BBC radio host offends with New Zealand comments - Visa Bureau responds

by Dominic 13/01/2012 16:41:00
Toby Foster, host of BBC Sheffield's early morning radio show has hit the headlines by not just offending every Kiwi, but getting his facts wrong in the process. 

Speaking about the recent news of tourist Erin Langworthy's dramatic tale of bungee jumping over crocodile infested waters in Zambia, only for the bungee cord to snap, Foster (currently billed as 'Radio Sheffield's resident comedian', having previously appeared in a supporting role in hit British comedy Phoenix Nights) landed himself in hot water by claiming life in New Zealand offers "sod all".

Taking the plunge

"Of course New Zealand people do a lot of bungee jumping and we're told it's because they've got such wonderful scenery and such great bungee. But it's not, what New Zealand has got is sod all. Nothing there, there's nothing there."

"And so this New Zealander, she's gone off to Africa in the hope she will be eaten by a hippo or something because there will be something happening her boring New Zealander life"

Twisting the knife

Foster didn't seem to think he had insulted New Zealand and its citizens enough when he continued that bungee jumping was so popular because every New Zealander must get to a point in their lives when they think "I might as well jump myself off a bridge".

Eager to get in on the hole-digging, his co-presenter then quipped that bungee jumping was "like trial suicide".

Foster then decided to take a swipe at New Zealanders' penchant for extreme sports: "there's a new sport and you get a nail gun and nail your hand to a tree and people will say 'did a New Zealander think of that?' and you'll say 'yeah, it's because they've got nothing else there'".

Sinking below the belt

The only positive thing Foster had to say about New Zealand was Christchurch yet it seemed his praises were insincere as he quickly managed to cut too close to the bone when he finished "And even that had an earthquake" - referring to the 6.3 magnitude earthquake which killed almost 200 people in 2011.

What Toby got wrong

Erin Langworthy is "that New Zealand girl"

Foster's entire 'jumping off' point for the tirade was completely incorrect; the tourist whom the news story refers to, Erin Langworthy is actually Australian, although that didn't stop Foster referring to her as "that New Zealand girl".

New Zealand - "sod all there" (apart from
all this).

There's nothing in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world due to its exotic location, breathtaking landscapes and, funnily enough, great extreme sports. The popularity of New Zealand's natural beauty reached new heights in the 2000s when it served as the backdrop for Peter Jackson's iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Indeed, Foster is more than likely to have alienated more than just any Kiwi listeners he may have had as New Zealand is one of Britain’s favourite holiday locations with almost a quarter of a million Britons deciding to make the trip in 2011 alone. They weren't disappointed either, with UK travellers giving their New Zealand holiday an average rating of 9.3 out of 10.

According to a study by Natwest International, New Zealand is ranked by UK expats behind only Canada in offering the best quality of life. With the UK struggling to make ends meet, more and more UK citizens are choosing to get a New Zealand visa and start a new life.

New Zealanders come up with extreme sports.

At least not disproportionately so. Bungee jumping is popular all over the world and not even a recent idea; a tribe on Pentecost Island in the South Pacific have been performing 'land dives', jumping from tall wooden platforms with their feet tied in vines for decades. The first modern bungee jump however, was opened in Bristol by the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club in 1979.

In fact, of most common modern extreme sports, New Zealand is credited with coming up with only one: zorbing, climbing in a giant inflatable ball and rolling down a hill.

"Jump myself off a bridge" is a grammatical error

Not satisfied with insulting Kiwis with simply incorrect facts, Foster also chose to do it with incorrect grammar.

What Toby got right

Despite Foster's tirade going on for quite some time, he managed to get few things right and perhaps just to make his situation even worse, the only two things he managed to get right were also said in jest.

New Zealand has great bungee jumping

New Zealand's bungee jumping is some of
the best in the world.
(CC) Will Ellis

New Zealand has bungee jumping all across New Zealand including some of the highest jumps in the world, some of the most beautiful jump locations and, with some of the most stringent safety regulations in the world, some of the safest jumps in the world.

There are hippos in Zambia

The hippopotamus, the third largest land mammal after elephants and white rhinos does indeed inhabit the country where the original bungee jump took place. In fact, with over 40,000, Zambia has the largest population in the world.

New Zealand's reaction

New Zealand is home to four million people, none of whom are likely to have taken the story particularly well. Angered Kiwis immediately took to the internet to voice their anger at Foster's outburst and twitter is still rife with tweets about the BBC Sheffield radio host.

However, despite Foster's clearly bitter rant containing more flaws than Erin Langworthy's bungee cord, several people decided to, somewhat unfairly, insult Sheffield.

As Foster has been forced by BBC bosses to "unreservedly apologise", insulting Sheffield may be not be the best idea, especially seeing as how the University of Sheffield has a long standing relationship with New Zealand.

Sheffield has welcomed plenty of Kiwis to the city for their studies, and plenty of Sheffield's youth have gone the other way on a New Zealand working holiday visa to live and work for upto a year and maybe even try their hand at bungee jumping.

The original story

On New Years Eve, 22-year-old Australian tourist Erin Langworthy plunged into the Zambezi River after her bungee cord snapped. Despite falling 110 metres into crocodile and ironically, hippopotamus infested waters and then having to swim to the edge of the river with her legs tied together, Ms Langworthy survived with only severe bruising and cuts.

Zambian Tourist Minster Given Lubinda has since offered to repeat the jump with Ms Langworthy to demonstrate the jump's safeness.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor for the New Zealand 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.

Coalition’s UK immigration promises not being met

by Dominic 04/01/2012 17:20:00
A recent study by independent think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research predicted that the net number of non-EU migrants coming to the UK in 2012 would fall by as many as 40,000 to around 180,000.

Despite the fall, the number of immigrants still far exceed the Coalition Government's original goal of reducing UK immigration to "tens of thousands"; a promise the Conservative Party pledged in their election manifesto with the author of the IPPR report, Matt Cavanagh stating "we don't think that's going to be enough for the Government to hit its target of reducing net immigration to tens of thousands by the end of the parliament".

More disharmony within the coalition

The pre-election pledge has always been a contentious subject within the Coalition Government, with the Liberal Democrats claiming that they 'did not sign up to this' and Business Secretary Vince Cable opining that the Prime Minister would have been better served had he not stated a specific number.

UK immigration statistics

Source: Institute for Public Policy Research, 2012.

Economic effects 

The IPPR goes further and claims that while the fall is still less than hoped for by the Conservatives, even this decrease could harm the UK's economic recovery. With net immigration decreased, this can result in fewer skilled workers travelling to the UK as well as the UK's larger companies struggling with inter company transfers while a decrease in the amount of overseas students could lower income.

The Government's refute - goals can still be reached

The Government argues these claims and insists its goals could still be reached within the lifetime of the current Parliament. Immigration Minister Damian Green claimed the process was akin to "turning round an oil tanker" and that even on the IPPR's own projections, who are "no friend of this Government", the Government's policy will have knocked 70,000 net migrants off "what was a rapidly rising total" over the first two years of the current Parliament.

Mr Green remained optimistic that net migration could be reduced to the tens of thousands by the end of the current Parliament when measures currently in place are combined with reforms which are shortly to be announced.

Further changes unlikely to make an effect

The reforms concern the family immigration and settlement routes, although analysts are sceptical as to whether these will affect the projected rates as they are expected to be held up by legal challenges.

The IPPR concluded that "While policy changes will start to achieve significant reductions in immigration from outside the EU, this will not be enough to put the Government on track to hit its target."

While the IPPR, dubbed "New Labour's favourite think tank" may have their doubts, vice chairman of the pressure group MigrationWatch Alp Mehmet claimed "the Government is on course but has a very long way to go".

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor for the UK 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.