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The 457 visa row and working in Australia

by Tom 7/12/2014 5:53:00 PM

457 visa

The 457 visa debate has 
escalated in recent weeks.

The Australian federal government's decision to tighten rules regarding the 457 visa program has ignited a bitter row across the country. Everyone from the prime minister down has weighed into the debate but what does this spell for anyone wanting to work in Australia?

What are the changes?

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor announced that he would be tightening the visa stream's rules late last month. Using the latest employment records, the minister said increased visa approval rates contrasted against steady employment rates as justification for the rules changes.

The minister said rates had risen by over 20% in the year to January 2012; this, combined with input from unions and even word of mouth from local voters was proof that the system is being abused by opportunistic employers to undercut local workers.

The minister said he would be increasing English language requirements for visa approvals as well as the minimum wage requirements and providing greater power to investigate spurious visa approvals.

What has been the reaction?

The minister's announcement trigger a dispute which quickly escalated to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's attention, who defended Mr O'Connor's decision and then clashed with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

Both parties have accused the other of stoking xenophobic sentiment among communities in order to win votes, sentiment which has led to at least one protest march in Melbourne - with another reportedly scheduled for today - and the reemergence of controversial politician Pauline Hanson.

Workers' unions in Australia have also had their say, defending the visa option but supporting the changes, citing reports of the undercutting of local workers as well as the abuse of foreign workers who are afraid of speaking out through fear of losing their job.

ACTU Secretary David Oliver said his union will be establishing a national campaign and phone line for foreign workers to report the abuse. Mr Oliver cited one case of a Filipino sandblaster who was forced to do extra work for his boss.

"He was made to clean out office toilets, he was made to clean the bosses house, he had to go over and mow the boss' son's lawn," said Mr Oliver, adding that the man eventually complained and was subsequently deported.

What are the realities of the program?

As Australia's economy has largely been supported in recent years - particularly through the global financial crisis - by the resources industry, much of the 457 visa debate has focused on bringing in workers for mining and construction projects.

Cameron Dart, general manager of AWX Contracting, says that while Australian workers may be available for such projects, many are reluctant to move to the projects' remote locations.

Mr Dart said hiring a foreign workers on a 457 visa is often not a cheaper option; costing up to 20% more than hiring an Australian worker.

The real concern according to Mr Dart however, is the debate's focus on these industries when in fact, the industries which rely on the 457 visa program the most are health and social care and food processing - particularly those based in regional Australia.

Citing a recent study by the National Farmers' Federation, Mr Dart said there was 2.5 jobs available for every 1 graduate studying an agricultural discipline.

Mr Dart also said that while the mining industry is in need of workers, many are siphoned off from surrounding areas, leaving further gaps in other industries which are already in need of workers.

What does this mean for foreign workers?

A tightening of the 457 visa stream is likely to leave opportunities for foreign workers on other categories of visa. Many parts of regional Australia depend on foreign workers to sustain their industries - particularly during busy periods such as harvest seasons.

Fewer 457 visa workers in regional Australia is likely to mean greater opportunity for working holiday makers to find the regional work which will qualify them for a second year visa.

Fewer 457 visa opportunities in urban areas or in skilled occupations means focus will turn to the general skilled migration program - which is a lengthier and more scrutinised process but grants greater freedoms than the 457 visa.

When do the changes take effect?

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor has several options when it comes to implementing his changes: regulatory changes, administrative changes or legislative changes.

Regulatory changes are easy to enact and reversible but administrative changes will impose little chance for enforcement. However, it is thought the minister favours enacting legislative changes.

This option means the matter will be debated in parliament, setting the stage for a fiery debate between a government facing uncertain re-election in September and an opposition with a staunch stance on immigration.

It is thought the governing Labor Party sees a parliamentary debate as an opportunity to slam an opposition who have supported the 457 visa program with changes that are popular with many voters.

However, given the debate's volatile nature and the rate at which it has already spiralled, whether the recently-appointed minister wants to take that chance remains to be seen.


- Tom Blackett is the 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.

British and Irish sports to boost Australian tourism

by Tom 6/19/2014 11:10:00 AM

 

Changes to visitor visa policy
take effect on 23 March.
 

Australian tourism operators are eagerly anticipating two of the largest sporting events in the world later this year to provide a much needed boost to the ailing industry.

The numbers of tourists visiting Australia from Britain and Ireland have fallen in recent years in the wake of the global financial crisis but tourism operators are eagerly awaiting the arrival of thousands of sports fans when the Ashes take place later this year hot on the heels of the British and Irish Lions touring Down Under.

"It's no secret that numbers from the UK to Australian have fallen these past few years," said Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia.

"The forthcoming Lions followed by the Ashes series is just the fillip we need to help reverse the trend."

The last time the British and Irish Lions visited Australia - in 2001 - approximately AU$100 million (£69 million) was injected into the Australian economy and even the most conservative estimates are predicting a 50% increase this time around.

The Lions will play a total of nine matches in Australia later this year, including three Test matches against the Australian national team - tickets to which sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Cricket Australia meanwhile is even more confident with the 2013-14 Ashes series expected to bring in AU$317 million (£217 million) after the last Australian Ashes tour - in 2010-11 - saw record hotel occupancies.

Neale Herridge, director of global sales of Accor, said his company, Australia's largest hotel group, has already seen strong booking from British cricket fans - including those of the 'Barmy Army'.

"Because there's a guarantee that grounds like those in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth will be full for at least four of the five days of the Tests, English cricket fans are already locking in their bookings," said Mr Herridge.

"For the Barmy Army and other cricket followers, the tour Down Under is not just about cricket. It is about escaping the English winter for warm sun and touring the country."


If you'd like to follow either the Lions or England to Australia, you'll need an ETA tourist visa. An ETA can be quickly and easily applied for online, with applications usually granted almost immediately.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the 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.

New Australian immigration statistics reveal latest migration trends

by Tom 3/12/2014 4:30:00 PM

New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the visitor arrivals and departures to and from Australia show immigration trends up to January, 2014.

In the year to January, 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics recorded 769,040 permanent and long-term arrivals into Australia. While this is down from the record 792,500 arrivals set in the year to January 2013, it still shows the attraction of Australia as a migration destination. On the other side of the fence, there were 385,070 permanent and long-term departures from Australia:

 

So, in terms of net long-term migration to Australia, there were 383,970 net permanent and long-term arrivals into Australia in the year to January 2014 - a 35% increase from the January 2011 low and well over double the long-run average of 152,136:

Interestingly though, while long-term arrivals remain at high levels, permanent migration has slowed somewhat in the past year - permanent arrivals fell by 3% to 150,560 in the year to January, 2013, while permanent departures rose 2% to 91,230, which is close to a record high for departures:

As a result, net permanent arrivals into Australia fell by 10% from the year to January, 2014 compared to the year to January, 2013 - it's also tracking 9% below the long-run average: 

If you're interested in emigrating to Australia, a good place to start would be taking the Australian Visa Bureau Online Skilled Assessment - it gives you an immediate understanding of whether you meet the basic requirements, and also entitles you to a free consultation with one of Visa Bureau's migration consultants.
 
- 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.

New report has Australians as the world's richest people

by Tom 2/28/2014 6:22:00 PM

The median wealth of adult Australians stands at the world's highest, according to the Credit Suisse 2013 Global Wealth Report.

The median wealth For the second year running, the latest Credit Suisse world wealth report has Australians as the richest people in the world with a median wealth of US$219,500 per adult. In second place comes Luxembourg, on $182,768, with the UK in sixth place on $111,524. You can see the full top 25 below:

 

 

Interestingly, the United States doesn't even make the top list of countries, with a median wealth of only $44,911. Speaking on Australia's status and the distribution of wealth in the country, Credit Suisse Australia’s chief investment strategist David McDonald commented: "Although we are up there at a high level of wealth per adult we've also got a better spread than a lot of the other developed countries including, obviously, the Swiss, but also places like the US."

The number of Australian millionaires increased by 38,000 to 1.123 million people. As a result, the country is likely to produce more businesses and the demand for skilled migrants will increase. If you'd like to emigrate to Australia, complete our online skilled Australian visa assessment.

- 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.

Looking at SkillSelect one year later – what have we learned?

by Lauren 9/11/2013 5:35:00 PM

As SkillSelect has been in place for a full migration year, running from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, we now have a significant amount of information on how the program has been working in practice to assist us in advising potential applicants.

KEY TERMS
  • Expression of Interest (EOI)
    An expression of interest is an applicant’s indication to DIAC that they would like to be considered for a visa application. It takes place after the skills assessment and other early stage matters have been addressed.
  • Invitation to Apply (ITA)
    An ITA is DIAC’s communication that an applicant’s EOI has been selected and they are invited to submit a visa application within 60 days.
  • Ranking
    The rankings only apply to Skilled Independent 189 and Skilled Regional Sponsored 489 applicants. Applicants who secure state nomination and wish to apply for a Skilled Nominated 190 or Skilled Regional Nominated 489 are issued an ITA immediately upon the state confirming the nomination.
  • ANZSCO
    A publication by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which classify occupations into categories, used for migration purposes. The ANZSCO for each occupation lists the key responsibilities and education required for the occupations and it is then used by case officers when assessing employment claims, as well as forming a fundamental part of the SkillSelect system when considering occupation ceilings.

What is SkillSelect?

To put it in simple terms, SkillSelect is how the Australian government ranks potential visa applicants once they’re ready to lodge their application. The basic process is as follows:

1. Completing an Expression of Interest (EOI)

Once an applicant applying for a visa under the General Skilled Migration program has met the primary criteria for the visa (i.e. their skills assessment and a sufficient IELTS test result), they will be asked by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to complete an Expression of Interest (EOI).

2. Receiving a ranking

Upon submitting an EOI, the applicant is then given a unique ranking, in accordance with the points the applicant is claiming.

3. Receiving an Invitation to Apply

Twice a month, DIAC will issue an Invitation To Apply (ITA) to a pre-determined number of applicants based on their rank.

Should there be a number of people who get the same points score, then DIAC will also take into account the date that applicants lodged their EOI and issue ITAs to those who submitted earlier (so, someone with a points score of 70 who applied in March, 2013 would receive an ITA earlier than someone with a points score of 70 who applied in May, 2013).

However, there are also occupational ceilings set by DIAC, which specify the maximum number of visas DIAC is prepared to grant to applicants in each occupation group. DIAC uses this in combination with the ranking system to control the program so that a good balance of occupations.

Applicants who lodge a Skilled Nominated 190 or a Skilled Regional Nominated 489 visa are not subject to rankings, and they will receive an ITA immediately upon the state confirming the nomination.

How do occupational ceilings work?

Occupational ceilings are set by DIAC and represent the maximum number of ITAs that they are able to issue to applicants in each occupation group. Occupational ceilings exist to ensure that the program is weighted in a way that meets Australia’s skills needs.

A number of government organisations in Australia advise DIAC as to the patterns of employment in Australia, taking into consideration the ages of people in industries to monitor retirement rates, as well as education providers to see how many people are on track to work in that industry, to determine what degree of skill gaps exist in each industry.

Occupational ceiling are then set so as to limit the ITA’s that can be issued for each occupation group so that the program is balanced.

How many places are there for each occupation?

The number of places set for each occupation varies. Additionally, when DIAC set occupational ceilings they do this at the ANZSCO Unit Group Level rather than at the ANZSCO occupation level, which means that there are often a number of occupations falling into a unit group.

For the purposes of occupational ceilings this means that often a less subscribed occupation can meet its ceiling owing to it being in a unit group with an application they receive large numbers of. The impact of that procedure will be explained later.

How do applicants know when their occupation’s ceiling is close to being reached?

As part of every round of issuing ITAs to applicants, DIAC monitors how many are issued to each occupation unit group and publish information that shows where they are tracking against the ceiling.

As a result, applicants and agents can be aware of what occupations may be at risk of meeting their occupational ceiling during the program year. This gives transparency into the system and allows applicants and agents to be aware of any occupations that may be prone to potential delays in processing times.

Have any occupations reached their occupational ceiling?

So far, very few. Last year there were a handful of occupation groups that reached their occupation ceiling, affecting chemical, electronics and telecommunication engineers as well as ICT business analysts and developer programmers, plus a few more obscure occupations.

No other occupational ceilings were met, with the vast majority of occupation groups being less than 20% filled.

For example, there were 7,140 places for carpenters and joiners, and they only received 171 applications, which is just over 2% filled.

Registered nurses had a ceiling of 13,380 and they received 1,966, which is under 15% filled.

Secondary School Teachers had total applications of 490 and a ceiling of 7,020, resulting in just under 7% filled.

How has SkillSelect performed since it was introduced?

As noted, Skillselect has now been in place for a full migration year, so we’ve had the opportunity to fully appreciate how the system is working. We’ve also been able to make some observations and answer some questions that people have had.

Is state nomination important to receiving an Invitation To Apply?

Initially, there was a strong indication that obtaining state nomination would be the only way of ensuring that an ITA would be received, and was pitched as being the only means of predicting the outcome of an application with any degree of certainty, particularly in relation to timeframes.

However, as the year progressed it became apparent that, except for in a very small handful of cases, the occupation ceilings for each occupation were not in jeopardy of being met. As a result, it seems like DIAC had perhaps received fewer applications than they had anticipated.

The net effect is that there is no significant difference in timescales at the moment between the permanent state nominated 190 subclass and the independent 189 subclass. There are fluctuations to some degree at certain periods of the program year though, depending on how DIAC is performing against yearly targets.

How familiar are Visa Bureau with SkillSelect as migration agents?

As we’ve now seen a full program year, this has given us a good deal of confidence in advising on the potential risks and issues with the SkillSelect system, as there is a large amount of data available to assist in coming to informed decisions.

This allows us to disseminate that information to applicants at the beginning of the process, and throughout their application, so that they are aware of any changes to overall timescales and can adjust their plans accordingly.


- Lauren Mennie is a Registered Migration Agent 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.

Skilled Occupation List Updated

by Dominic 6/4/2013 3:36:00 PM

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced this week that as of 1 July, 2013, the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) which prioritises Australian visa applicants with the skills in demand will be updated. We take a look at what the changes are and what this means for those that are affected.

Skilled Occupations List

The Skilled Occupations List is a core part of the Australian immigration system. An applicant applying for an Australian visa must obtain a sufficient points score on the Points System for their application to progress. If an applicant has at least 3, 5 or 8 years of overseas experience in one of the occupations on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL), they may be eligible to claim additional points to boost their total points score.

Occupations listed on the SOL are determined by those occupations and skill sets currently in demand in Australia, this could be due to shortages, economic needs or future expectations; the list is usually updated in line with the new year's migration program each July.

The Changes

The most recent update will take place at the start of next month when the following five occupations will be removed from the list:

What does this mean?

If you had the required number of points and were intending to lodge a general skilled migration application nominating one of the five occupations listed above, this could affect your visa options as you will no longer be eligible for a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) Visa.

You will be required to change the visa class which you initially applied for.

While the Skilled Independent subclass of visa is one of the most popular courses of migration to Australia, having to change to either the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) or the Skilled Nominated (subclass 489) visas is not as bad as it may sound.

An applicant for either of these classes of visas will typically be required to live and work within a specified state or territory for the first two years of their residence in Australia, and although the Skilled Nominated (subclass 489) visa is a provisional visa it does provide a pathway to permanent residency.

Both visas also offer a pathway to permanent residency.

Visa Bureau clients

Immigration legislation can be difficult to understand and even harder to predict, especially when the Department of Immigration and Citizenship introduce changes such as these. However, Visa Bureau is committed to working will all clients to find alternative routes to Australia should any change adversely affect their application.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the 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.

Resident Return Visas: What You Need to Know

by Lauren 5/16/2013 5:16:00 PM

The process of moving to Australia can be time consuming and incredibly involved, few Visa Bureau clients intend on making the move permanently as soon as their visas are granted. Many of our clients visit Australia to activate their visas or look for their new homes; others simply have a change of circumstances and wish to delay their move for a while.

If this is the case, it’s likely that you will need a Resident Return Visa to ensure your move to Australia is done on your own timetable.

What is a Resident Return Visa?

A Resident Return Visa (RRV) is a permanent Australian visa which allows the holder to leave and re-enter Australia while maintaining their residency status. It is required for all non-citizen permanent residents of Australia who wish to travel after the first five years of their visa’s validity period.

The two main types of RRV are the 155 Resident Return Visa and the 157 Resident Return Visa. Both are essentially the same in all aspects except their validity period; the 155 is valid for a period of up to five years while the 157 is valid for just three months.

I have a permanent residency visa for Australia, why would I need an RRV?

A common misconception regarding permanent residency visas for Australia is their capacity as an entry visa to Australia.

If you hold a permanent residency visa, you are permitted to live and work in Australia permanently. However, your visa is only valid as an entry visa to Australia for the first five years, after which you’ll need a Resident Return Visa to legally re-enter Australia unless you have taken Australian citizenship.

The conditions of most categories of permanent resident visas for Australia require the holder to activate their visa within 12 months of their police or medical checks (whichever is earliest). As this can feasibly be far in advance of when a visa holder plans to make the move permanently, they will need a Resident Return Visa in addition to their permanent residence visa.

I don’t plan to leave Australia again once I’ve moved, I don’t need an RRV

In order to be eligible for a five-year RRV (subclass 155), the applicant must have remained in Australia for two years within the last five – you can read about other eligibility requirements here.

While you might not intend on leaving Australia once you have made the move, unforeseen circumstances can always arise, inconveniently changing plans. Having a Resident Return Visa as a safeguard against such unforeseen events can offer great peace of mind, even if you don’t intend to use it.

Examples 

Few instances in the migration process are particularly simple and given the lengthy time frames and the myriad of circumstances involved, when a Resident Return Visa is required can be difficult to be sure.

Here are a couple of examples of people who would require an RRV and when they should get one:

Example 1

Richard and June were granted a Skilled Independent 175 visa in August, 2008, meaning it is valid until August, 2013. The couple took a trip to Australia to activate their visa in May, 2009, two months before their Intial Entry Date. After a four week holiday spent looking for new homes, the couple returned to the UK with the intention of moving to Australia shortly after.

However, when Richard was offered a new position in London, they postponed their move to Australia until May, 2013 before their visa runs out in August, 2013.

It is now May of 2013 and Richard and June have just 3 months of their 175 visa left. They are booked to go to Australia in 3 weeks. However when there they will not be able to leave the country after August (e.g. for a visit home) and then return on their 175 visa, as it will have expired.

Richard and June will need to remain in Australia until at least May, 2015, after which time they will be able to apply for a five-year Resident Return Visa which will allow them to leave and re-enter Australia freely.

Should the couple leave Australia before May, 2015, there would need to exceptional circumstances - most likely of a compassionate nature, such as the funeral of a close relative - for them to qualify for a short-term Resident Return Visa and be allowed to legally re-enter Australia.

Example 2

Steven had a Subclass 100 Partner Visa granted in June, 2006. He travelled to Australia to activate his visa in September of that year and stayed until December, 2007. He then returned to the UK to spend more time with his daughter from a previous relationship who had not migrated with him.

During his time back in the UK, Steven enrolled in a part-time university course which took him six years to complete, during which time he did not visit Australia again. Steven intended to return to Australia in April, 2013 but his 100 Visa expired in June, 2012.

In order to re-enter Australia, Steven needed to apply for a Resident Return Visa as his 100 Visa is no longer functional as an entry visa; he was required to explain to the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that his daughter and academic studies were compelling enough reasons for his absence over the last five years.

He was granted a Resident Return Visa valid for one year which allowed him to complete his move to Australia in May, 2013.

As we appreciate that the circumstances outlined above are only two individual cases, if they do not apply to you and you would to leave Australia and are unsure of how that might affect your residency status, please do not hesitate to get in touch, either on our contact us form or complete the Resident Return Visa online assessment for a free consultation.


- Lauren Mennie is a migration consultant at 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.

Migration Council recommends Australian 457 visa price increase

by Dominic 5/13/2013 5:21:00 PM

The Migration Council Australia
says the cost of a 457 visa should
be increased.

The Migration Council of Australia has published a report recommending the cost of a 457 visa - which allows holders to live and work temporarily in Australia - should be increased.

The 457 visa has dominated Australian immigration news of late, with the governing Labor Party claiming abuse of the system - known as 'rorting' - is rife and needs to be clamped down upon.

The 457 visa is intended to allow Australian employers to bring in foreign workers to fill labour gaps if a suitable Australian cannot be found. However, the government and other critics claim these checks are often overlooked or manipulated.

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor has said he will introduce legislation to make the program's guidelines tighter, prioritising language skills and ensuring local labour checks are carried out first.

However, workers' unions and opposition politicians have defended the scheme, claiming it is vital to the country's economic growth - particularly in areas such as Western Australia where industrial development rates far exceed those of population growth in the areas.

The argument has steadily grown in intensity and last week Mr O'Connor found himself being forced to retract comments he made that there were tens of thousands of cases of spurious 457 visa holders, admitting that they were not based on solid research.

While the debate looks set to continue through to the federal elections later this year, the Migration Council Australia has published its own opinion on the situation, recommending the cost of a 457 visa be increased.

The council claims the cost should be increased 'to ensure that more businesses look to hire Australian workers where available' while the program itself should be better scrutinised to limit abuse.

Lauren Mennie, migration consultant at the Australian Visa Bureau, said any cost increase of the 457 visa would bring it closer to the cost of other skilled migration visa streams, but without any of the benefits.

"The 457 visa system, for all its faults, allows skills gaps in Australia to be filled where necessary," said Ms Mennie.

"Yet the holder's options for bringing family members with them or long term planning are severely limited compared to other visa streams as the holder's immigration status is dependent on continuous employment.

"Other visas for Australia can take longer to obtain but allow holders to bring dependent family members with them and remain in Australia on a permanent basis.

"Increasing the cost of the 457 visa should encourage more people to consider other means of moving to Australia."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the 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.

Australia and New Zealand to jointly manage panel doctors

by Dominic 5/8/2013 1:06:00 PM

 

New Zealand and Australia will
jointly manage panel doctors for
visa applicants.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have agreed to jointly manage the team of overseas doctors used to assess New Zealand and Australian visa applicants' health.

As part of a visa application for both Australia and New Zealand, applicants are typically required to meet certain health criteria to ensure they do not pose a significant risk to either country's healthcare systems.

In order to meet these criteria, applicants are required to undertake a medical exam with a 'panel doctor' - a doctor approved by either INZ or DIAC.

However, now the list of doctors will be greatly expanded as panel doctors for either country will be jointly managed, meaning they can approve patients applying to move to Australia or New Zealand.

A joint statement issued INZ head Nigel Bickle and DIAC secretary Martin Bowles said the move was intended to improve customer service and communication between the two countries.

It is also hoped better levels of participation between the two countries will help to detect and limit the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis.

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, said the move should mean visa applicants for either country will have greater access to panel doctors.

"Getting an appointment with a panel-certified doctor can be a tricky part of the application process, given the relatively small number of them," said Ms Cotton.

"Combining both Australia and New Zealand's resources however should help to expedite the process and ensure more visa applicants progress through their applications quicker."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau and 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.

Visa Bureau featured in Australia & New Zealand Magazine

by Dominic 4/29/2013 3:43:00 PM

Australia and New Zealand Magazine

Rebecca and Duncan Camilleri explained their move
to Perth in the April issue of Australia & New Zealand
Magazine.

Moving to Australia is such a popular daydream in the UK and Ireland that few people don't know at least a couple of people who've done it and made the move Down Under. While the Australian Visa Bureau is on hand to help anyone and everyone with the process once they've made the decision, the Australia & New Zealand Magazine is there to help people to make the decision.

Published every month, the Australia & New Zealand Magazine is the only UK-based magazine dedicated to helping people organise their move to Australia or New Zealand. Every issue, the magazine runs a 'Real Life' section, in which fresh arrivals in Australia or New Zealand explain their decision to move around the world, how they did it and how they are finding their new lives.

In the April, 2013 issue, Rebecca and Duncan Camilleri explained why they love their new lives in Perth, and we at the Visa Bureau could not be more happy for the couple, given that they were Visa Bureau clients!

The couple decided to make the move after visiting Australia a few years ago and decided they wanted to head back:

We visited Australia’s East Coast for a holiday five years ago. We hired a camper van and drove from Cairns to Sydney and just loved Australia, but had never been to Perth. We had read about Perth in books though and fell in love with the place!

We were living in Ferndown, Dorset when we decided to make the move. We enlisted the help of Sue Tempany from Visa Bureau – she was excellent! We wanted to get our visa application in before the new system came in place, and because of this we were limited on time. Sue was brilliant as she made sure no details were missed and would let us know when things had to be done. Her assistance was priceless, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone do it on their own!

Now Rebecca and Duncan are there, they're taking advantage of every opportunity and are loving their new lifestyle:

In the past couple of months we have had maybe two rainy days and three or four quick showers. The rest of the time it is glorious sunshine and just so lovely!

The move has changed our lives dramatically as we live such a healthy lifestyle now! In the UK we were always hoping for a sunny day to plan something that would end up being ruined by the rain. We also watched TV a lot! Now we are out in the sun every day after work. I commute to work by cycling through two beautiful parks, with ducks, swans, turtles. We make sure that we see the beach every weekend, even if we are really busy.

We look for outdoor activities to do rather than indoor ones and find that there is no time for TV! We are both always home by 5pm and then either go to the beach, play tennis, go for a swim or go and see friends. During our weekends, we are spending more time out in parks, beaches and doing touristy things.

To read more about Rebecca and Duncan's new life in Perth, as well as their experience with the Visa Bureau, you can read the full article here.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.

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