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Australian State Migration Plans: What the states and territories are saying

by Lauren 2/17/2010 5:10:00 PM

State Migration Plans are set to be a key part of the Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, but there remains little information as to exactly what they will be and how they will work.

When the Australian immigration changes were announced on 8 February, 2010, it was said that 'state migration plans are developed by State/Territory governments and include occupations that are in demand in each individual state and territory. Each state migration plan is approved by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.'

However, there wasn't any information on the State Migration Plans, beyond the indication that they would be launched in 'mid-2010'. To try and get a better understanding of what to expect, Matt Parker of the Australian Visa Bureau Casework Department approached each individual Australian State and Territory via email.

See below for the responses Matt received regarding the State Migration Plans from each Australian State and Territory:
WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Response:

"The State Migration Plan is being negotiated with DIAC. Please keep yourself up to date with information on our website which is http://www.migration.wa.gov.au/."


VICTORIA

Response:

"The Victorian State Government is still in the process of putting together a state migration plan. We are not privy to what is going to be included in this plan, therefore I unable to provide further information on who it will effect.

It is believed that the plan will be announced in the middle of the year, however it could be longer than this."


SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Response:

"State Migration Plans (SMPs)

  • At this stage the State Government has only received preliminary communication from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australian Government) regarding the concept of SMPs.  Therefore, at this stage we can provide very little information of use to prospective migrants or to migration agents acting on their behalf.
  • DIAC have made the decision that each State/Territory is to have a State Migration Plan which will be a formal signed agreement between the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and each State and Territory Government. 
  • It is expected that the SMPs will identify occupations in which migration is required to supplement supply available from the local labour market.
  • The number of occupations to be included under the SMP is not yet known.
  • It is expected that an SMP will be introduced around the middle of 2010, however no date has been set by or agreed to by South Australia and DIAC.
  • None of the states or territories currently has a State Migration Plan.

Please monitor the Immigration SA (http://www.migration.sa.gov.au/) website for any changes."


QUEENSLAND

Response:

"To the best of my knowledge, no jurisdiction has yet developed a State Migration Plan. Queensland has commenced discussions with DIAC to clarify plan requirements, timeframes and other matters."


NEW SOUTH WALES

Response:

"DIAC is still in the process of consulting with State and Territory governments as what will comprise the individual States/Territory's migration plan."


NORTHERN TERRITORY

There has been no response to our enquiry regarding State Migration Plans from the Northern Territory as of today, 17 February, 2010.

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


TASMANIA

Response:

"Tasmania’s state migration plan will be complete by the end of June 2010 but it needs to be approved by DIAC before it takes effect."


AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT)

Response (UPDATED 22 FEBRUARY):

"At this stage I don’t have a time frame for the new State Migration Plan – soon we hope (as in the next fortnight). The ACT Government will honour any sponsorship applications that have already been approved.  The State Migration Plan will encompass the current sponsorship program."

As you can see from the responses Matt received, the message seems to be that the individual States and Territories are still unable to provide any further information on the State Migration Plans for now.

However, it's interesting that all States and Territories reiterate that any plans are subject to the approval of DIAC, giving the impression that the Department will be taking a far more 'hands-on' approach to state sponsorship and migration, rather than let the States and Territories work autonomously.

When can further information on the State Migration Plans be expected?

Until DIAC finish consulting with the individual State and Territories on the approach to take to the State Migration Plans, it seems unlikely that further information will be provided. Therefore, we're assuming that it will still be at least a couple of months until they are revealed to the public.

With the State Migration Plans set to be a vital part of the new GSM process, we will keep monitoring the situation and provide more information as and when it becomes available.

- 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.

Relocation Down Under: Northern Beaches, Sydney

by Stephanie 2/11/2010 3:52:00 PM

The final episode of Phil Spencer’s programme Relocation: Phil Down Under airs this week, with Phil looking for a home for the Sharples family in Sydney.  

New South Wales, and the capital Sydney, is the most popular destination for Australian immigration: some 67,000 migrants moved there last year. The buzzing cosmopolitan city enjoys coastal breezes, long sandy beaches, and plenty of sunshine along with the benefits of being an international financial and fashion centre.

The week, Phil is helping three generations of the Sharples family find their first permanent home in almost a decade in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney.

The Northern Beaches extend almost 30 kilometres along the New South Wales peninsula from Barrenjoey Lighthouse to Manly with 22 stunning beaches, each with their own personality, along the way.

The most well-known on the Northern Beaches is the busy and popular tourist attraction of Manly, but there are other beaches such as the Pittwater beach to the north-west of the peninsula, a picturesque waterway with national park bushland surrounds, that belong to the locals.

Real estate along this peninsula has always historically been varied in price, although the price for anything near the water or with a view climbs steeply.

Australia’s most popular online real estate search website, realestate.com.au,  lists the pros of the Northern Beaches market as being the wide choice of properties, price range and areas, and with good local infrastructure and steady prices it’s a good investment. However, the Northern Beaches can be an expensive market to enter, due to the proximity to water and the lack of ability for the suburbs to expand due to the natural peninsular boundaries. 

For almost a decade Jon and Jeannette Sharples have been moved from one posting to the next with John's job in the military, and they are keen to finally have their own dream house although the move Down Under is their biggest yet.

Making things a little more complicated for Phil, Jon's mother Joan will be joining the family in Australia and will need her own space in the new home.

Despite the challenge, Phil also finds the time to do a spot of property searching for himself.

The last in the series Relocation: Phil Down Under screens on Channel 4 on  Friday, 12 February, at 8pm.

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications 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.

Major Australian immigration changes: MODL axed, new SOL coming

by Lauren 2/10/2010 6:55:00 PM

Australian immigration

Major Australian immigration
changes were announced by Chris
Evans, Minister of Immigration.

Even though major Australian immigration changes have been in the pipeline since the announcement that the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) was undergoing a review, the announcement made by the Minister of Immigration, Senator Chris Evans, on 8 February, 2010 still came as a shock.

It was the immediacy of some of the announced updates that took many Australia visa applicants unaware, leaving many people on the pathway to Australian immigration confused and concerned whether they would will still be eligible.

While not every aspect of the Minister's announcement has been fully clarified, I've tried to provide an explanation below of exactly what changes were introduced, as well as interpret how they will affect visa applicants:

What Australian immigration changes were made on 8 February?

  • The Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) has been revoked, effective immediately.

    Before 8 February, 2010, Australian skilled migration applicants with an occupation on the MODL could gain a minimum of 15 extra points. With the list now revoked, all MODL points that were able to be claimed by having an occupation featured on this list are now no longer available (unless the applicant has already lodged).

    One way around this for applicants is for them to reconsider the visa subclass they are applying under. For example, by receiving sponsorship from an Australian State or Territory, it is possible to pass the points test with a score of 100 and apply for the Skilled - Sponsored visa subclass, as opposed to a score of 120 required for the Skilled - Independent visa subclass.

    Alternatively, there are alternative ways to gain additional points towards the points test. One way to do so would be to achieve a band score of 7.0 in all categories of an International English Language Testing Scheme (IELTS) test, which would help you score the maximum of 25 points for English language ability.
  • The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is to be replaced mid-2010, at which time the Critical Skills List (CSL) will also be revoked.

    At this time, the intention for the new SOL seems to be to have it act as a tool that determines both the occupations that Australia is in demand of and the order in which Australia visa applicants will be processed.

    This new list is going to be compiled by Skills Australia with a view to provisionally release it in April, 2010, but it is unlikely that the new SOL will be fully finalised until mid-2010. At this time, the Critical Skills List (CSL) will also be revoked.
  • The Australian visa points test used to assess skilled migrants will be reviewed.

    A discussion paper on a review of the Australian GSM Points Test is currently being prepared, with a released date of 12 February, 2010.
  • State Migration Plans are currently being agreed upon between the states and DIAC (Department of Immigration and Citizenship).

    As yet there has been no guidance into what methodology will be applied or exactly when these plans will be implemented.

Am I going to be affected by the changes?

If you have yet to lodge your visa application, you will be affected by the changes. However, many applicants will have alternative visa pathways available to them (i.e. through state sponsorship), so it's hopeful that the vast majority will not become ineligible for migration as a result of this announcement.

What still needs to be clarified?

There are a few details that remain uncertain, such as when the new SOL will come into action (as there is some contradictory information in the information released), when information on the state migration plans will be issued, and whether any state sponsorships will ‘transferred’ to the new State Migration Plans if all the (as yet unknown) criteria is met. For example, Western Australia have said it is 'unlikely' that their state migration plan will be released until 1 July, 2010.

Without this information, it is impossible to provide accurate advice on the best way forward. Once these key issues have been clarified, applicants caught by the changes can give some proper consideration towards alternative solutions. 

When will further information be provided by DIAC?

Hopefully, further news will come to light before the end of the week (i.e. 12 February). As a company, we will be systematically assessing all our clients and personally informing them of their options, but this will only happen once we feel we have the necessary information to advise with confidence.

What do affected visa applicants need to do now?

At this time, it's easy to feel despondent that DIAC have once again 'moved the goalposts' and made it harder for many visa applicants to reach the standards required to emigrate to Australia. However, my advice remains the same as always; to remain calm and research all alternative options before making a decision.

Further details need to be provided regarding some aspects of the changes (especially the state migration plans), but I will make sure to provide more information as and when I receive it.

- 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.

Relocating Down Under to the Sunshine Coast

by Stephanie 2/4/2010 3:20:00 PM

Britain is still tightly in the grip of winter, but on Relocation: Phil Down Under this week things are decidedly warmer in the sunshine state of Queensland

Australian property expert Phil Spencer meets up with Mark and Amanda Daniels, who are house-hunting on the Sunshine Coast with a cool one million dollar budget.

The ample budget doesn’t mean Phil will find this search easy, as the Sunshine Coast is undisputedly one of fastest growing regions in Australia and the local property market has seen tremendous capital growth over the last decade.

Less touristy than the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast is still only around an hour or two from the capital Brisbane, with gorgeous beaches, expansive coastal views, a beautiful hinterland, and a growing economy.

Lifestyle on the Sunshine Coast is a major pull, but as well as the idyllic beachside living it also has excellent local schools, universities, roads, and other infrastructure.

The Mark and Amanda left behind their successful recruitment business in Devon to emigrate to Australia with their two children. They are keen get the most of their money and want a modern, open-plan home that is close to the beach,  with a minimum of three bedrooms, an office, and a pool for the active children.

Luckily, Phil has a few modern homes along the coast that might appeal to the family.

Relocation: Phil Down Under on Channel 4 on Friday, 5 February at 8pm.

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications 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.

Relocation Down Under: Melbourne

by Stephanie 1/28/2010 2:49:00 PM

More than 2 million viewers tuned in last week for the first episode of Phil Spencer’s new programme, Relocation: Phil Down Under.

It was quite a tidy result for Channel 4, and arguably shows the interest at the moment in the Australian property market, or perhaps the joy of watching a British family find their dream home.

In the second part of this new series, which screens Friday night, Phil will be focusing on Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia, to find a home for Adam George and wife Cam in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges.

Adam George, a recycling manager, and his wife, Cam, an occupational therapist, from Basingstoke, met while travelling around Australia almost 13 years ago. They are keen to trade in their three bed semi in Basingstoke for spectacular national parks and bush land.  

After emigrating to Australia and  spending nearly nine months in the country with their two daughters they are ready to buy and put down roots.

The Georges were looking for a four-bedroom house with plenty of room for the girls, within easy reach of Melbourne, but also to be near countryside with views and a large garden. Phil managed to find their dream home for £223,000 – and it was three times the size of their Basingstoke home.

Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, is already one of Phil’s favourite cities because of its European-like feel, multiculturalism, four distinct seasons, and top class sporting facilities.

Melbourne is the home of many Australian major sporting events, like the Australian Open tennis and the Melbourne Cup horse race. With 3.8m people, it also has all the amenities and cultural perks, cafes and restaurants that anyone could wish for. 

Phil also considers property in Melbourne to be good value. The average house in Melbourne costs £278,000, according to Australian Property Monitors.

Relocation: Phil Down Under screens tomorrow night on Channel 4 at 8pm.

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications 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.

Australian visa client testimonial: The Wilson family are Wanted Down Under!

by Stephanie 1/22/2010 12:55:00 PM

Wanted Down Under recently featured Visa
Bureau clients Tanya and John Wilson
(Image: BBC)
We were delighted to see some current Visa Bureau clients appear on the BBC's Wanted Down Under programme recently.

Tanya and John Wilson have both been in the midst of the Australia visa application process for a couple of years now, with their situation summarised in the BBC's programme listings as follows:

"The Wilson family from Liverpool want more space and better weather to enjoy an outdoor life. They try out life in Perth, Western Australia, for a week. John Wilson finds a potential job as an artisan baker. But, the family hadn't bargained on the emotions they experience at the prospect of leaving friends and family back on in the UK."

Sadly, the programme in which they appear is no longer available on the BBC iPlayer (although we're sure it'll be repeated at some point on the future).

However, we recently got in touch with Tanya to get her thoughts on the Wanted Down Under experience, as well as how they've been helped by Visa Bureau in their process of emigrating to Australia:

“I’m absolutely buzzing about Australia and I can’t wait to move. We all loved Australia, our family are all behind us to go, so we have all the support we need,” she said.

“Perth did seem brighter, not congested. It was nice, bright, airy and not daunting at all.”

“We had a good experience meeting expats and Australians and getting a taste of the day-to-day life. Household chores are always going to be the same, but experiencing the outdoor lifestyle was different,” she said.

The Wilson family at the bandstand in
Adelaide Botanic Park.
(Image: Tanya Wilson)

"John spent some time with the New Norcia bakery in Mount Hawthorn, Perth. Director Kingsley Sullivan, the staff and customers were lovely. John really enjoyed his experience there.

Filming for Wanted Down Under was a little daunting for the family, but ultimately they found it a rewarding experience. 

“The filming process was brilliant, although you did have to follow a strict filming schedule and you did feel a little like stars having to stop and re-film sections.  It was a worthwhile experience.”

Tanya said the family enjoyed the week in Perth, which was filmed in September last year, and have chosen to complete the process and emigrate to Australia to live in Adelaide.   

"We went to Perth as that was the only option for filming but it still gave us a great insight into Australian life, of which we loved every minute," Tanya said.

The Wilson boys are Owen 12, Callum 14, and their hobbies include karate, fishing, walking and camping

"For ourselves, karate, camping, walking and we really enjoy the beach be it summer or winter. Our karate club, GKR Karate, originated in Australia, which we also attended courtesy of Wanted Down Under in Perth. The boys loved every minute, except the thought of leaving friends and family. Owen has his case 'theoretically' packed already," Tanya said. 

The Wilson family lodged their Skilled Visa application around the same time of filming Wanted Down Under, and unfortunately have been affected by recent changes in processing by the Australian Government and are still waiting for approval.

Tanya though is upbeat, and remains positive.

“I’m very optimistic and positive about the move, although my husband is a little worried that we won’t be able to go,” she said.

Visa Bureau caseworker Leonie Cotton helped the Wilsons with their application, and Tanya said her help through the skilled migration application process was invaluable.

“It would have been an awful lot of hard work if we had decided to do the application process without Visa Bureau, particularly on the initial preparations. As much as we did our own research and preparation the help with writing and re-writing the application questions was excellent. Our application under the Trades Recognition Australia was accepted the first time, we didn’t have to resubmit.

“I’ve recommended Visa Bureau to my friends and I wouldn’t have done that if I wasn’t happy with the service.”

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications 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.

Property down under: relocating with Phil Spencer

by Stephanie 1/21/2010 5:12:00 PM

TV property presenter Phil Spencer will be on Channel 4 tomorrow night offering his top tips for making a move to Australia, and landing on your feet in the Australian property market.

In the programme Relocation: Phil Down Under, Phil will be drawing on his own property experience and knowledge of the Australian market, to help four British families find their dream home.

Phil has visited Australia many times over the past 20 years, starting with a year as an outdoor education instructor and sports coach with a school on the Gold Coast having just left school in 1989.  Phil and his Australian girlfriend Fiona, now wife, also travelled for three months in the country in 1999 and go back every year for monthly holidays at Christmas.

The four families in Relocation: Phil Down Under are a small part of the some 40,000 Brits who emigrate to Australia every year, keen to take advantage of the arguably more affordable housing market.

The first family being screened in tomorrow night’s episode is the Davidson family. Lee and Bronagh Davidson, an insurance salesman and teacher with three daughters, from Essex are giving up their three-hour commutes and small, expensive house in search for an improved quality of life.

After completing the Australia immigration process, the family wants to move to Perth, and had their heart set on a detached four-bedroom house with a swimming pool within walking distance of the beach. They got the lot for £275,000.

What is the current state of the Australian property market?

The Australian economy has performed relatively well during the global recession, in contrast to the UK market, and so Australian houses have largely retained their value. Argueably though, there are still opportunities for house hunters to purchase properties for considerably less than the equivalent in the UK.
  
The well-respected annual Financial Times Property Index for June 2009 shows that the UK house prices were 13.1 per cent lower in 2009 than in June the previous year. Coupled with a strong Australian dollar, comparing property prices is perhaps not favourable until you consider what your money can purchase you in Australia.

What is the cost of an average Australian house?

The Real Estate Institute of Australia’s Real Estate Market Facts research showed the average three-bedroom freestanding house in Australia in the June quarter of 2009 was £255,478 (this figure has been converted to Sterling using the exchange rate of 1.79 Australian dollars to the British pound, as provided by Oanda.com on 23 October 2009).

According to live tables of the housing market and house prices provided by the Government’s Communities and Local Government website http://www.communities.gov.uk/, the average UK house price in the same quarter was £224,064, but to buy the equivalent to the Australian three-bedroom house in the UK the average price is £344,989.

Certainly, with six state and two territories in Australia there are also many locations from which to choose.

Relocation: Phil Down Under begins on Channel 4 on Friday, 22 January at 8pm.

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications 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.

Breaking Australian immigration update: Many UK panel doctors set to be removed

by Lauren 1/19/2010 3:26:00 PM

DIAC is removing the number of panel
doctors eligible to conduct medical checks
for Australian immigration applicants

Even in the ever-changing world of Australian immigration, it's still generally accepted that upon being requested by your Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) case officer to submit health and character checks, you've entered the final stages of having your Australia visa application finalised and potentially just a month or two away from being ready to migrate.

However, a recent change that affects this final stage (and which many migrants may have missed out on) is the current review of UK panel doctors by DIAC. You can see the notification on the top of this page here, but you'll notice that there isn't an awful lot of information given.

Since hearing about this update though, we've spoken to a few GPs who have received notification from DIAC that they will be removed as eligible panel doctors (with some set to be removed as soon as the end of the week).

It's interesting seeing DIAC rationalise the decision, as you can see in the following paragraph of the notification letter sent to affected doctors:

"By reducing single panel clinics in areas of relatively low demand and concentrating services in centralised areas with clinics that can provide a one stop shop for clients, we are expecting to be able to provide our clients with a higher level of all round service. While we recognise that some clients may need to travel greater distances in order to visit a panel doctor we believe this will be balanced by the other factors."

It's certainly arguable that reducing the number of eligible panel doctors will provide Australia visa applicants with a 'higher level of all round service', especially if you're required to travel much further than previously to visit an eligible doctor as a result. Regardless though, the most pertinent piece of information to people currently at this stage of their application seems to be the following:

"All medicals conducted prior to your removal should now be completed and forwarded to the processing office by 25 January 2010. However, should you have any medical cases you conducted prior to your removal which are yet to be finalised due to outstanding requirements, please proceed to complete these."

Therefore, the situation seems to be that any checks conducted with a panel doctor who has since been removed will still be accepted by DIAC, provided they were initially conducted BEFORE the panel doctor was notified they would be removed.

This is good news for any visa applicants who are awaiting the results of their medical checks, but should also come as a warning to anyone preparing to enter this stage of the process. It is VITAL that you keep aware of the most current list of accepted panel doctors (which you can find here) before you arrange for any medical checks to be conducted.

It's also advisable that you confirm with your doctor on the day of the medical checks to ensure that they are still listed by DIAC, so you don't risk paying for medical checks which will not be accepted and could risk lengthening the finalisation of your application for Australian immigration.

- 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 Year, new Australian immigration changes: Fee updates for 2010

by Lauren 1/12/2010 11:36:00 AM

The Australian High Commission
is working to an increased level of
exchange rate in 2010.

While the scheduled MODL review has yet to be announced, 2010 has still already been an eventful year for migration updates made by various departments and bodies that are set to have a lasting impact on the Australian immigration process.

On Friday, I covered the recent updates made by VETASSESS and yesterday, I looked at the news from other assessing bodies. Today, I'll look at changes made to the application fees associated with some aspects of emigrating to Australia.

Australian High Commission in London increases exchange rate for paying DIAC fees

The Australian High Commission in London's exchange rate for paying the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) fees has increased as of 1 January, 2010, resulting in an increase of cost to the applicant despite the fee technically remaining the same.

For example, while the Australian skilled visa application fee is still AU$1,705.00, under the former exchange rate used by the Australian High Commission in London, the cost was £870.00. However, according to the new exchange rate used as of 1 January, 2010 though, it is now equal to £1,000.00.

This predominantly affects applications for the Australian partner visa, the Australian prospective marriage visa and the Australian child visa (as well as the second visa application charge for the Australian contributory parent visa, if you choose that it is favourable to pay it in the UK).

Western Australia state sponsorship fee reduced

The Western Australia state sponsorship fee has been reduced as of 1 January, 2010, going from AU$220.00 to AU$200.00. All applicants looking to lodge a state sponsorship application with WA should be aware of this and ensure to pay the correct fee.

- 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 Year, new Australian immigration changes: Assessing body updates for 2010

by Lauren 1/11/2010 10:06:00 AM

The Australian Computer
Society (ACS) will change
their policy on 1 February.

While the scheduled MODL review has yet to be announced, 2010 has still already been an eventful year for Australian immigration changes made by various departments and bodies that are set to have a lasting impact on the Australian immigration process.

On Friday, I covered the recent updates made by VETASSESS, and today, I'll look at changes made by some other major skills assessing bodies, including the Australian Computer Society (ACS), Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) and  Teaching Australia (TA).

Changes to Australian Computer Society (ACS) assessment policy from 1 February

We have received notification of an upcoming change to Australian Computer Society (ACS) assessment policy which will be implemented from 1 February, 2010

The criteria for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process is set to change. At the moment, the requirement is that applicants write three mandatory 'core body of knowledge' essays,  with applicants also able to write on other areas of knowledge using their own discretion.

However, from 1 February, 2010, there will be a new set of criteria called 'Key Areas of Knowledge'. There will be very little overlap between this new set of criteria and the criteria currently in place.

Therefore, if you are in a position to lodge to the ACS or are close to this point, it is recommended that you do so immediately.

However, if you are not able to lodge with the ACS before 1 February, it is advisable to cease working on the RPL aspect of the application, as much of the work you will do will be obsolete (although it is still possible to work on the employment references required for the application, as they will still be necessary).

As yet there is no further guidance on the new criteria, but we expect that it will be released before the implementation of the new assessing policy. As soon as we have any further details you will be notified.

Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) release new application form

On 1 December, 2009, Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) released an updated version of the General Skilled Migration Skills Assessment application form (Version 1.8).

The new application form has new mandatory fields to collect the applicant's passport and visa information.  It's important that all applicants ensure to use this new application form as failure to provide the aforementioned information may result in delays in processing your application.

Teaching Australia (TA) change name to Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) came into being on 1 January, 2010, as the new name for Teaching Australia (TA).

While the change seems to be a predominantly superficial change (i.e. one with no updates to assessment criteria), there have already been changes scheduled for 22 March, 2010 relating to demonstrating English language ability and the amount of days of supervised teaching practice required. I'll write more on these changes closer to the time and will continue to monitor the AITSL to see whether any further updates are introduced.

- 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.