June 1, 2012

The Australian education system has earned a reputation of being one of the most sought after curricula in the world. In June last year, more than 15,000 Malaysian international students were living in Australia.

In 2010, 73 countries took part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) testing, an internationally standardised assessment for 15-year-olds, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Australia was placed in the top 10, out-performing most of the large English speaking countries. Seven of Australia’s universities are ranked in the top 100 worldwide.

Considering the above and the popularity of the Australian education in Malaysia, it is undoubted that the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) has earned an outstanding reputation through its rich and rigorous educational programmes, stimulating learning environments, international and multicultural perspectives and highly qualified and experienced Australian-trained staff.

AISM is a vibrant and growing Kindergarten to Year 12 international school for children from age 3 (Preparation) to age 18 (Year 12). Established in 2000, AISM is the only international school in Malaysia offering an Australian curriculum, delivered by Australian teachers and following the Australian school year.

AISM houses all three of its schools, Junior, Middle and Senior, on one campus and has about 560 students represented by more than 30 nationalities. The school offers a rigorous academic programme leading to the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

Whilst great emphasis is placed on academic excellence, the physical, emotional and social dimensions of growth are seen as crucial elements of the school’s teaching and reflect the Australian education philosophy of developing the whole child.

“AISM is certainly a pathway to international excellence. Our students have successfully entered institutions in Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, as well as many European countries,” says David Kilpatrick, the school’s principal. “In fact, one of our Year 12 students has received a full scholarship to study in the UK and will be applying to the University of Oxford.”

AISM recently hosted the inaugural meeting of the Principals of Australian International Schools from all over the world. The meeting was attended by principals from other eight countries — United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Bangladesh — who have become the Founding Members of the Australian International Schools Association (AISA). The forming of this association brings together more than 10,000 students who are studying the Australian curriculum throughout the world.

With the formation of AISA, the principals have formalised different means of collaboration between the Australian International Schools that will provide more diverse opportunities for their students to be involved in competition and collaborative events between the schools, explains Kilpatrick.

With the aim of providing the best of Australian education for all in Malaysia, AISM has also invested heavily in creating a truly 21st century, student-centred learning environment. Its recent major development and expansion project will accommodate classrooms and open learning spaces for the school’s Junior students (aged three to 10 years), extensive performing arts facilities (including a Black Box Theatre, instrument practice, orchestral and dance rooms), excellent ICT facilities, a science and technology centre, a new learning resource centre (library) and a dedicated space for Senior students in their final years of study (Year 11 and 12).

Source: New Straits Times (www.nst.com.my )

November 3, 2011
November 3, 2011

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today announced businesses using the subclass 457 visa program can now gain access to priority processing and approval for six years under a new accreditation scheme.

‘This new scheme recognises that many Australian businesses have a long history of dealing with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and an excellent record of compliance with workplace and migration laws,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘From 7 November, these businesses will be able to seek accreditation that qualifies them for sponsorship approval of six years rather than the current three, as well as ensuring faster processing times for all future subclass 457 nominations and visa applications.’

Businesses will need to meet certain additional benchmarks to qualify for accredited status, including being an active 457 visa sponsor for the past three years and a commitment to ensuring at least 75 per cent of their domestic workforce is Australian.

‘While employers should first look to Australians to fill skill vacancies, the subclass 457 visa provides a fast and flexible process for the entry of overseas workers where they are needed to fill skill vacancies,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘The new accreditation scheme was developed in consultation with the Skilled Migration Consultative Panel, which includes representatives from major employer groups, unions and state governments.’

The 2011 KPMG Skilled Migration Survey of employers found that the subclass 457 visa program provided a flexible avenue to alleviate skill shortages in growth sectors such as the mining industry.

Use of the subclass 457 visa program is increasing, with 54 360 subclass 457 primary visas granted in 2010–11, an increase of 38.2 per cent compared to the same period the year before. The UK was the most popular source country, with 11 820 primary applicants granted visas.

The median processing time for a subclass 457 visa remains at a historically low level of 22 days.

Minister Bowen has announced that DIAC will introduce a Sponsorship Accreditation system from Monday 7 November 2011.

Employers can apply for Accredited Sponsor status to qualify for priority processing for Subclass 457 visa nominations and visa applications.

Accredited Sponsor status is valid for six years, unless it is revoked because the employer no longer meets the required criteria.

Accreditation status is for employers with have a long and positive history of dealing with the Department and an excellent record of compliance with workplace and migration laws.

Applications for Accredited Sponsor status are made in the same way as applications for approval as a Standard Business Sponsorship applications, online or using Form 1196S.

A company must meet all the following criteria to gain Accredited Sponsor status:

  • be a government agency, a publicly listed company, or a private company, with a minimum of $4 million turnover per year over the last three years;
  • have been an active Subclass 457 visa sponsor for the past three years (with a break of no more than six months, which was not due to any sanction);
  • have no adverse information known of it based on DIAC and DEEWR monitoring, including formal warnings and sanctions;
  • have had at least 30 primary Subclass 457 visa applications granted in the previous 12 months;
  • have lodged a high level of Decision Ready applications over the previous two years;
  • have a non-approval rate of less than three percent during the previous three years; and
  • have Australian workers comprising at least 75 percent of its workforce in Australia, and have made a commitment to maintain this level.

Information on sponsorship accreditation is on the DIAC website, with further information to be available on Monday 7 November.

October 13, 2011

IEAA can help your kids to study in Australian High School, then direct entry to University.

One of the option is TAYLOR College. Established in 1920, Taylors College provides world-class secondary school education (Year 10, 11 and 12) and specialised university preparation programs in partnership with leading universities in Australia and New Zealand.

At Taylors College, the unique learning environment allows students to fulfil their ambitions and to enjoy life at university and beyond. With campuses at central locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Taylors College is known throughout the world for its success in preparing students for the rigours of tertiary study and providing the smoothest transition to help them achieve the career of their dreams.

English Language Preparation Program (TELP)

The Taylors English Language Preparation program, taught by experienced teachers and delivered in 12 week terms, will prepare you to study their High School or Foundation Programs in Australia or New Zealand.

High School Programs in Australia (Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12)

Taylors College High School program is the passport to the best universities in the world.

Taylors College delivers the final three years of Australian secondary education (Years 10, 11 and 12) for the following qualifications at Melbourne and Sydney campuses and Years10, 11at Perth campus

  • Victorian Certificate of Education (Victoria)
  • Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE)
  • Higher School Certificate (NSW)

University Foundation program

Taylors College Foundation Programs are unique, dedicated pathways to some of the most prestigious universities in Australia and New Zealand. The Foundation programs are run exclusively at Taylors College campuses in Sydney, Perth and Auckland.

  • Taylors Auckland Foundation Year (TAFY)
  • The University of Sydney Foundation Program (USFP)
  • The University of Western Australia Foundation Program (UWAFP)

Partner Universities in Australia and New Zealand

  • University of Sydney, Sydney
  • Monash University, Melbourne
  • University of Western Australia, Perth
  • University of Auckland, Auckland
  • Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland
  • Massey University, Auckland
for further information please write to sydney@inteducation.com
October 13, 2011

 

Students at Australia’s universities will have access to better quality services and amenities when they return to campus next year, following the passage of the Higher Education Support Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans said the Bill signalled a long overdue boost for student services, and a big win for regional universities which have been among the strongest advocates for change.

“This legislation will assist universities in rebuilding vital student services and amenities to ensure that they can support their growing student populations,” Senator Evans said.

“From next year, countless campus services which were stripped of funding under the former Coalition Government will start to be rebuilt.

“Students will benefit from improved access to a range of campus services, including sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, child care, financial advice and food services.

“The Coalition’s neglect of student services hit regional campuses particularly hard, with many student facilities at regional campuses forced to close down.”

A key feature of the new arrangements is that students can benefit from better student services while they are at university but defer payment of the fee through the HECS system until they are earning a decent income.

“Students have a clear interest in how their fees are being spent. Universities will be required to consult with students on the specific uses of the proceeds from any services and amenities fees,” Senator Evans said.

Under the new legislation, higher education institutions can charge a fee of up to $263 per student in 2012. No student will be forced to join any student organisation and the Bill expressly prohibits fee revenue being used to support a political party.

The student services and amenities fee will provide universities with more than $250 million over four years for much needed student amenities and services.

October 3, 2011

 

Australia’s 39 universities are preparing for a brand new day in 2012: not only will government quotas on the number of local students they enrol be lifted, but they will also be able to recruit as many foreigners as they wish as a result of a new fast-track visa system.

In an unexpectedly generous move that surprised even sceptical vice-chancellors, the federal government decided to lift most restrictions on the issuing of student visas to overseas students applying for a university place, opening the way for a likely flood of new applications from China, India, Pakistan and other Asian countries.

Universities that agree to meet certain requirements regarding the students they admit will also have access to a new streamlined system that will speed up visa processing.

The government’s imposition of tighter visa rules two years ago was a reaction to dodgy college operators using vocational education courses as a front for their clients to obtain permanent residency visas. As tens of thousands of students enrolled in cooking and hairdressing courses in the hope of staying on after completion, a debate began to rage about Australia allowing relatively unskilled migrants with poor English into the country.

The stricter visa rules also applied to applicants seeking university places while, at the same time, the Australian dollar began rising sharply against the US dollar. These changes made obtaining a visa to study here harder and more expensive than in Canada or the US; and as the number of full-fee international students fell sharply, universities suddenly found a significant source of non-government income drying up.

In 2009, the estimated economic benefit to Australia of having nearly 500,000 fee-paying foreign students enrolled in schools, colleges and universities was AUD18 billion (US$18 billion); two years later this had fallen by AUD2 billion.

As vice-chancellor protests became louder, the government appointed a former New South Wales Labor government minister, Michael Knight, to review the situation.

In a 150-page report just released, Knight proposed a series of changes he claimed would boost the competitiveness of Australian universities in the global student marketplace. Although his 41 recommendations apply mostly to universities, the changes effectively give vice-chancellors almost total freedom to recruit as many foreign students as they want.

To the surprise of every higher education lobby group, the government accepted all the recommendations and promised to implement them before the start of second semester next year.

Among the changes expected to improve the attractiveness of Australian higher education is the scrapping of a rule requiring foreign students to prove they have enough money saved to allow them to study in the country for two years.

A student from China, by far Australia’s biggest source of international students, at present must have access to at least AUD100,000 to obtain a visa. From mid-2012, however, students will only need to declare they can afford to pay tuition and living costs. As well, those who graduate with at least a bachelor degree from a university will be able to stay on and work for up to four years and will not be tied to any particular occupation.

“All applicants will still be subject to basic requirements such as having health insurance and not being a security or health risk. And the Department of Immigration will reserve the right to look separately at applications from any group that poses a particular concern,” Knight says in his report.

“However, beyond those basic requirements, [the Department] will effectively take the university’s word that the student is suitable. Therefore universities can be confident their students will have their applications processed quickly.”

But Knight warns that “these substantial benefits” come with significant obligations: universities will be accountable for the visa outcomes of their students. If these outcomes are consistently poor, the university will be removed from the streamlined processing arrangements and prospective students will be processed under the existing rules.

Despite universities being subject to government “checks and balances and integrity measures” before gaining access to the new streamlined visa procedures, critics say the changes will open the doors to a new wave of foreign student workers who, after graduating, will compete with Australians for jobs and add to the thousands already seeking to stay on a permanent residents.

Monash University social scientist and demographer Dr Bob Birrell said past experience showed that thousands of students from poorer families who could not meet the costs of fees and living expenses were now likely to apply for university. Birrell, founder of Monash’s Centre for Population and Urban Research, said the result would be a significant influx of students seeking through a university education to gain access to the Australian labour market.

“We have had repeated examples of this in the past, starting with the English language college debacle of the late 1980s and more recently the vocational college debacle over cooks and hairdressers,” he said. “I’m amazed the Immigration Department has gone along with this because they know what happened in the past.”

Another critic, Peter Holden, said Knight’s decision to confine the changes to universities was against federal government policy, which wanted an integrated tertiary sector with a single regulatory body. “His old-school approach reinforces outdated stereotypes and elitist views of post-secondary education,” Holden said.

“Knight’s reasoning is that if things go off the rails it will be easier for the Department of Immigration to rein in universities because there are only 39 of them. This is not exactly a ringing endorsement of high quality and low risk. As Knight admits, universities are not perfect.”

Holden is director of international engagement for TAFE Directors Australia, the heads of the country’s public technical and further education colleges. Writing in The Australian newspaper’s higher education section, he said one in five students in Australia’s universities was from overseas – among the highest ratios in the world.

“For the whole public vocational education sector, including all qualification levels, the ratio is less than one in 27. In terms of stability, TAFE institutes are equally well-managed with high levels of accountability and transparency.

“The Knight review perpetuates the flawed impression the problem lies within the vocational education and training sector, as though it can be treated as one amorphous whole.”

Source: Geoff Maslen / 02 October 2011 / Issue: 191  /university world news

 

September 28, 2011
September 28, 2011

 

UNIVERSITIES will be allowed to entice foreign students with quick visa approvals and the right to two years of work after graduation as part of a reform package to stem further losses of overseas student income.

 

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said yesterday they would act on a remarkably frank report on Australia’s education export industry by former NSW politician Michael Knight.

 

By mid next year, foreign students keen on an Australian university degree will have access to a new, fast-track visa system.

 

Students from supposedly high-risk countries, such as China, no longer will have to show $75,000-plus in a bank account to prove they can cover fees and living costs.

 

Regardless of where they are from, would-be students will simply have to make a declaration they can support themselves.

 

Onerous financial requirements have been bitterly criticised as an over-reaction to past failings when migration was the motor of education, especially in private colleges.

 

Under yesterday’s Knight reforms, which single out universities for special treatment, foreign graduates emerging with a bachelor’s degree will be entitled to two years of work with no restriction on the type of job.

 

But if they want to stay for good they still have to satisfy stricter rules for skilled migration, which are much less generous to on-shore foreign students with low value skills.

 

University leaders yesterday welcomed the liferaft thrown them by the government.

 

“The reforms announced are more positive than anyone we spoke to expected [and] they come when competitors are kicking own goals _ riots in the UK and US funding cuts,” said University of NSW vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer.

 

“We expect a moderate lift in 2012 and a significant lift in 2013.”

 

In New Delhi yesterday, Professor Hilmer said education agents had told him that a streamlined student visa system was “the key to restoring our competitive position”.

 

Violence against students and tighter rules for skilled migration drove Indian students away while the US and Canada were making inroads on the China market.

 

In 2010-11, Australia’s education export earnings fell by almost 10 per cent from their $18 billion peak. Sharp declines in numbers at English language colleges and tertiary preparation courses suggest that universities are heading into tough trading conditions next year.

 

The education export industry complains of “a perfect storm” _ meaning rapid and unsettling changes in visa rules and skilled migration policy, the strong dollar and more competition for students overseas, and lingering reputational damage done by attacks on Indian students.

 

Under the Knight reforms, broadly adopted by the government, students wanting to study for a bachelor’s or higher qualification at university will find it easier and quicker to get a visa, regardless what country they are from.

 

“Unfortunately the worst perceptions about visa processing times are in Australia’s biggest market, China,” Mr Knight said.

 

From next autumn, would-be university students would benefit from an end to the requirement that they show large amounts of money upfront as evidence of capacity to pay.

 

Also promised next year is a comprehensive review of the so-called risk assessment levels that immigration officials use to vet would-be students. This system makes it harder for students from China and India, for example, to get visas.

 

Mr Knight recommended a new work rights regime for foreign students who graduate from an Australian university.

 

He said this had to be “administratively very simple”.

 

“The scheme must be one which can be marketed by the universities to prospective students as almost guaranteeing post-study work rights,” he said.

 

Glenn Withers, chief executive of Universities Australia, said the work entitlement was “one of the biggest breakthroughs”.

 

“This [work right] is as good or better than the Canadian or the US provisions,” he said.

 

But Monash University researcher Bob Birrell said the labour market implications had not been thought through.

 

Locals already were competing with thousands of former overseas students who were on bridging visas following a reform of the skilled migration rules, he said.

 

Stephen Connelly, from the International Education Association Australia, welcomed the Knight reforms.

 

He praised the extension of the new streamlined visa rules to packages including university study with foundation programs or English language courses.

 

“Australia has world’s best practice in pathways and preparatory programs for university studies, and this aspect of the recommendations will help cement our competitive advantage in this area,” Mr Connelly said.

 

He urged rapid implementation of the reform package to try to reverse the downward trend in on-shore student numbers.

 

Mr Knight justified special measures to boost overseas student recruitment by universities, rather than by TAFEs or private colleges, on the basis that universities were of “universally high” quality.

 

He also cited the “huge financial stake” of taxpayers in a university sector that had become heavily dependent on fees paid by foreign students.

 

He expressed surprise at the degree of dependence, pointing out that in 2009, about 25 per cent of students at the elite group of eight universities were internationals.

 

Andrew Norton, higher education expert at the Grattan Institute, was troubled by the favouritism shown to universities.

 

“My concern is that this is a big blow to the private higher education sector and the TAFES … and that this will distort the market further,” he said.

 

He said public universities already enjoyed a privileged position in the demand-driven system starting next year.

 

Adrian McComb, from the Council of Private Higher Education, said the “university centric nature” of the Knight report was disappointing.

 

He said this ran counter to the unified system of regulation for higher education, public and private, under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

 

Mr Knight said universities were “not perfect”.

 

He put universities on notice that they would be held accountable for systematic migration abuses by their students or for lower standards.

 

“The financial dependence which universities now have on the fees from international students could create pressure to soften entry standards and assessment standards,” he said.

 

He said his freeing up of student visas would be “quite dangerous” unless immigration officers put new effort into checking that applicants were genuine temporary visitors as well as genuine students.

 

However, Dr Birrell said the guidelines for this new student visa test were “so opaque that it’s almost impossible to apply. I cannot see how [an immigration] officer could possibly implement them.”

 

BY: BERNARD LANE From: The Australian September 23, 2011 12:00AM

August 19, 2011
August 19, 2011

 

Many international students rely on part-time work while they study. It might pay for your cost of living abroad and all those travel adventures, or you may want to send some money home to your family.

But how do you find the right part-time job as an international student? Read our guide to part-time work abroad, and find out!

Jobs for students

What kind of job can I do?

 

This will come down to your student visa and your language ability, rather than your course and skills. So check your visa restrictions first. If you are on a standard student visa to Australia or New Zealand, you can usually work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during the holidays. If you are studying an postgraduate course and married or have a partner, you partner can work full time otherwise similar to you.

 

In the USA you are restricted to on-campus work for up to 20 hours per week. This could mean working in the college administration office, cafeteria, shops, or within a faculty.

 

You may be studying a PhD, but you most probably won’t be able to get part-time work in your chosen field. That’s fine – no matter what you end up doing, it will add to your CV experience and understanding of the workplace culture abroad.

 

International students are often found working as…

 

  • Waiters and bar staff
  • Retail staff
  • Warehouse staff
  • Call centre phone operators
  • Data entry staff
  • Security Officer
  • Car Park staff
  • Language teachers

 

These are all jobs that offer flexible part-time shifts, so you can take on more work as time and coursework allows. Make sure you feel confident in your local language ability before applying for a job that requires you to talk a lot on the phone or face to face – such as a market researcher!

 

How do I find a job?

 

You won’t be able to start looking until you’ve arrived and settled in – most employers will want to meet you in person.

 

Start with your university’s job centre or employment office. As well as current listings of local jobs, they can help you write your CV and job application,  prepare for an interview, and be ready for differences in work practices.

 

You can also look online at career websites, such as www.seek.com.au , www.careerone.com.au in Australia.

 

Some countries have government-run job centres as well. Local newspapers are also a great source of convenient part-time work.

 

How much will I be paid?

 

Make sure you understand exactly what your terms of work are before you start. Most countries have a minimum wage that all employers must stick to, even if you’re a casual part-time shift worker. In the Australia this is currently  A$14.31 per hour and in the US it’s US$7.25.

 

You may be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly, and usually as a direct deposit into your bank account. You will pay tax out of your salary, and you should register for a local tax number (called a a Tax File Number in Australia) as soon as you are offered a job. You may be eligible for a tax return when you leave after your studies.

 

What about voluntary work?

 

Even though you might not be paid, it’s still worth taking on voluntary work for a non-profit organisation, or a short-term work experience placement. You will learn valuable work skills. Just check that it’s not a job that a local citizen would be paid to do – don’t take the risk of being exploited.

 

But how will I fit it all in?

 

It’s important to think about your course workload before you take on part-time work. If you have a lot of contact hours and a heavy commitment to group work, you may not want to take on work that will cause you extra stress.

 

But some jobs can add an entirely new dimension to your student life. You’ll meet new friends, learn new skills and discover your own hidden talents. It could be the highlight of your study abroad experience.

November 16, 2010

 

On 11th November the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, announced the government’s intention to implement a new points test applying to certain skilled migration applications made on or after 1 July 2011.

The new points test will not apply to unfinalised applications lodged prior to 1 July 2011.

It is proposed that a new points test for skilled migration visa applications will be introduced on 1 July 2011. It complements the series of reforms the Australian Government announced in February 2010.

The new points test is focused on selecting highly skilled people to deliver a more responsive and targeted migration program. It was developed following a review of the current points test, which considered submissions from a variety of experts and the wider Australian community.

The new points test balances the different factors that are considered when determining whether someone will be granted a skilled migration visa. It will deliver the best and brightest skilled migrants by emphasising high level qualifications, better English language levels and extensive skilled work experience.

The new points test will continue to award points for study in Australia, including regional study, community languages, partner skills and completing an approved Professional Year. Points will no longer be awarded on the basis of an applicant’s occupation, but all applicants must still nominate an occupation on the applicable Skilled Occupation List.

 

Under the new points test, points will no longer be awarded on the basis of occupation. Applicants will still be required to nominate a skilled occupation and provide a satisfactory skills assessment from the relevant Australian assessment authority for that occupation.

The equal weighting of occupations will have the added benefit of not distorting the study choices of international students. For more information of the point test see: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/points-fact.pdf .

The Minister’s speech includes this statement: “Educating the future leaders of our regional partners can make an important contribution to our diplomatic efforts long into the future. The measures I’m announcing today strike the appropriate balance between recognising valuable overseas qualifications and encouraging study at Australian institutions.”

For the complete speech see: http://www.chrisbowen.net/media-centre/allNews.do?newsId=3889 .

For further details:

August 5, 2010

 

 

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are designed for clients who have already lodged an application for General Skilled Migration (GSM). These FAQs should be read with the information about the priority processing arrangements.

Please note: These FAQs will continue to be updated in response to common questions received from clients about the changes.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, set new priority processing arrangements for certain skilled migration visas on 14 July 2010. These priority processing arrangements apply to all applications already lodged with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, as well as all future applications.

QI What is priority processing?

Priority processing refers to the order in which the department considers skilled migration applications. Section 51 of the Migration Act 1958 gives the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship powers to consider and finalise visa applications in an order of priority that the Minister considers appropriate. Departmental officers must follow this ministerial direction, which applies to both new applications and those applications awaiting a decision.

Q2 What are the changes to the skilled migration visa processing priorities?

The Minister has set new priority processing arrangements which apply to the following visas:

 

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
  • Certain General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas.

 

Under the arrangements, processing priorities (with the highest priority listed first) are:

 

  1. Applications from people who are employer sponsored under the ENS and the RSMS.
  2. Applications from people who are nominated by a state or territory government agency with a nominated occupation that is specified on that state or territory’s state migration plan.
  3. Applications from people who have nominated an occupation on the new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) – Schedule 3 in effect from 1 July 2010.
  4. All other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

 

Q3 Which GSM visas are affected by priority processing?

The following GSM visas are affected by priority processing:

 

  • Skilled — Independent subclass 175
  • Skilled — Independent subclass 176
  • Skilled — Regional Sponsored subclass 475
  • Skilled — Regional Sponsored subclass 487
  • Skilled — Independent Regional subclass 495
  • Skilled — Designated Area-sponsored (Provisional) subclass 496
  • Graduate — Skilled subclass 497
  • Skilled — Onshore Independent New Zealand Citizen subclass 861
  • Skilled — Onshore Australian-sponsored New Zealand Citizen subclass 862
  • Skilled — Onshore Designated Area-sponsored New Zealand Citizen subclass 863
  • Skilled — Independent Overseas Student subclass 880
  • Skilled — Australian-sponsored subclass 881
  • Skilled — Designated Area-sponsored Overseas Student subclass 882
  • Skilled — Independent subclass 885
  • Skilled — Sponsored subclass 886.

 

Q4 Which GSM visa subclasses are exempt from priority processing?

The following visa subclasses are exempt from priority processing:

 

  • Skilled — Recognised Graduate subclass 476
  • Skilled — Graduate subclass 485
  • Skilled — Designated Area — Sponsored (Residence) subclass 883
  • Skilled — Regional subclass 887.

 

Applications for these visa subclasses will be processed in the order in which they are received by the department.

Q5 What applications are not affected by the Direction or priority processing?

The following applications are not affected:

 

  • Applications that have been remitted by the Migration Review Tribunal for reconsideration.
  • Applications where it is readily apparent that the criteria for grant of the visa would not be satisfied.
  • Applications by visa applicants claiming to be a member of the family unit of a person who holds a visa granted on the basis of satisfying the primary criteria in Schedule 2 to the Regulations and who did not make a combined application with that person.
  • Visa applications for a Skilled – Regional Sponsored Subclass 487 visa where the applicant holds a Skilled – Independent Regional (Provisional) Subclass 495 visa, Skilled – Designated Area-sponsored
  • (Provisional) Subclass 496 visa, Skilled – Regional Sponsored Subclass 487 visa or Skilled – Regional
  • Sponsored Subclass 475 visa at the time they apply.

 

Q6 The new direction refers to Schedule 3 of the Skilled Occupation list (SOL) what do these schedules refer to?

The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is a list of occupations that are accepted for general skilled migration. Applicants must have a nominated occupation which is on the SOL that applies to them at the time they apply. The recent changes to skilled migration have included generous transitional arrangements for some people. These arrangements require that the previous version of the SOL be kept available for those people so they can access their transitional arrangements. The changes also included a change in the way occupations are classified, from ASCO to ANZSCO. This change required that the previous version of the SOL be provided in both the ASCO and ANZSCO coding.

The different SOLs are distinguished by different schedules, as follows:

• the SOL in existence prior to 1 July 2010 in ASCO code (schedule 1) — applies only to GSM applicants who lodged their application prior to 1 July 2010.

• the SOL in existence prior to 1 July 2010 in ANZSCO code (schedule 2) — applies to GSM applicants who are eligible for transitional arrangements and who lodge their application before 1 January 2013.

• the current SOL (schedule 3) in effect from 1 July 2010 — applies to all new GSM applications, including applicants eligible for transitional arrangements if they prefer to use it.

• the State and Territory SOL (schedule 4 ) — applies only to GSM applicants nominated by a State or Territory government under a State Migration Plan.

More information about change to the SOL are available from the departmental website. See: www.immi.gov.au/skilled/sol/

Information about the transitional arrangements is available from the departmental website. See: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/faq-sol.pdf

Information about the department’s introduction of ANZSCO, which replaces ASCO in relation to skilled occupations, is available from the departmental website. See: www.immi.gov.au/employers/anzsco/

Q7 What is a State Migration Plan?

State Migration plans are developed by state or territory governments and include occupations that are in demand in an individual state or territory. Each state migration plan is approved by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. State migration plans are currently being developed and are expected to come into effect during the second half of 2010. A notice will be put on the department’s website when plans come into effect.

Q8 Why have the processing priorities changed?

The priority processing arrangements take account of the changes to the SOL that came into effect on 1 July 2010, as well as the revocation of the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) and the Critical Skills List (CSL). These changes to priority processing simplify previous arrangements. Many applicants will find that they are in a higher priority group. Some will have to wait longer for their visas to be processed.

Q9 When did the changes to priority processing come into effect?

The changes took effect from 14 July 2010 and apply to applications lodged with the department on or after this date. The changes also apply to applications lodged before 14 July 2010 that have not been finalised.

Q10 Is there any difference in the processing priorities that apply to onshore and offshore visa subclasses?

No, the processing priorities apply to both onshore and offshore applications. Processing times, however may vary for onshore and offshore applications

Q11 What will happen to applications in the final stages of processing where the department has requested applicants to provide health and character clearances?

The new arrangements apply to all visa applications, including those in the final stages of processing. Applications in lower priority groups cannot be processed further until those in higher priority groups are finalised in accordance with the priority processing direction.

Q12 Can I request that my application be given higher priority outside of the Minister’s Direction?

No, please do not contact the department to request your application be exempt from the priority processing direction. Case officers must adhere to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship’s priority processing direction.

Q13 My nominated occupation is Accountant but I was not eligible for the CSL. What level of priority processing will I receive?

The occupation of Accountant is included on Schedule 3 of the current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and therefore your application will be in priority group 3, except those already included in priority groups 1 or 2.

Q14 My application is in priority category 4. When can I expect to have my application finalised?

Applicants with nominated occupations in priority group 4 will have a long wait for visa processing. The department’s Client Service Charter will be updated shortly with information about current estimated processing times. See: Visas for Migrating to Australia as a Skilled Person (http://www.immi.gov.au/about/charters/clientservices-charter/visas/8.0.htm)

Q15 I have been nominated by a state or territory government but my occupation is not listed on a State Migration Plan. What level of priority processing will my application receive?

If your nominated occupation is not on your state or territory’s State Migration Plan, your application will be processed on the basis of your nominated occupation. Applicants who have nominated an occupation that is included in Schedule 3 of the current SOL are in priority processing group 3. An applicant with a nominated occupation that is included only in Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the current SOL is in priority processing group 4.

Q16 If my nominated occupation is not in Schedule 3 of the SOL in effect at 1 July 2010 what level of priority processing will I receive?

Applicants with a nominated occupation that is included only in Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the current SOL are in priority processing group 4, unless they have applied for ENS or RSMS or have a state or territory nomination in an occupation on a state migration plan.

Q17 I applied for GSM. If my nominated occupation is not in Schedule 3 of the SOL in effect at 1 July 2010 can my application receive higher priority processing?

Yes if you are nominated by a state or territory government under a state migration plan. Applicants who lodged before 1 July 2010 that have been nominated by a state or territory government agency in an occupation that is subsequently specified in their nominating state or territory’s state migration plan will receive processing under priority group 2.

Q18 What are my options if my application is in priority group 4 and I have applied for an onshore GSM visa?

The options available are:

 

  • continue to live and work in Australia (if your visa permits) while you await a decision on your visa application
  • assess your eligibility for an employer sponsored visa or a nomination by a state or territory government under a state migration plan agreed to by the minister
  • apply for another substantive visa
  • withdraw your application and depart Australia.

 

Please note: Some of these options would require the lodgement of a new application and the payment of a new Visa Application Charge (VAC). If you choose to withdraw your application you will not be entitled to a refund of your VAC.

For applications lodged after 1 July 2010, a new application may be required if you have obtained a state or territory nomination after lodgement. Please contact the skilled processing centre. See: http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/australia/processing-centres/adelaide-skilled.htm

You may also seek an employer sponsorship under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).

More information about ENS and RSMS is available from the departmental website. See: www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/visa-permanent.htm

More information about estimated processing times are available from the departmental website. See: http://www.immi.gov.au/about/charters/client-services-charter/visas/8.0.htm

Q19 What are my options if my application is in priority group 4 and I applied for an offshore GSM visa?

The options available are:

 

  • continue to await a decision on your visa application
  • assess your eligibility for an employer sponsored visa, or nomination by a state or territory government under a state migration plan agreed to by the minister
  • withdraw your application.

 

Please note: Some of these options would require the lodgement of a new application and the payment of a new VAC. If you choose to withdraw your application you will not be entitled to a refund of your VAC.

For applications lodged after 1 July 2010, a new application may be required if you have obtained a state or territory nomination after lodgement. Please contact the skilled processing centre. See: http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/australia/processing-centres/adelaide-skilled.htm

More information about estimated processing times is available from the departmental website. See: http://www.immi.gov.au/about/charters/client-services-charter/visas/8.0.htm

Q20 I am currently in Australia but my visa will expire before my application for an offshore GSM visa is finalised can I remain in Australia while my visa is processed?

Applicants for an offshore GSM visa are not eligible for an associated bridging visa to remain in Australia while their GSM application is being processed. You must apply for another visa to remain in Australia lawfully; otherwise you will need to depart Australia.

Q21 I am an onshore GSM applicant on a Bridging C visa which does not allow me to work. What can I do?

It is possible to be granted a Bridging C visa that will allow you to work. Please complete a Form 1005 Application for a bridging visa and submit this and supporting documentation evidencing financial hardship to the skilled processing centre processing your visa application.

Examples of the types of supporting documents required include a statement outlining income against outgoing expenses. Other examples may include living expenses such as accommodation costs and other bills.

Q22 I want to travel overseas but my onshore visa application has not been finalised. What should I do?

If you were granted a Bridging A visa when you applied for your GSM visa you may be able to lodge an application for a Bridging B visa to allow you to travel and return to Australia (within a specified period). A Bridging B visa is
generally not issued for longer than three months.

You must apply for a Bridging B visa at one of the department’s state or territory offices, not the skilled processing centre which is processing your GSM application. See: http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/australia/

If you travel on a Bridging B visa, you do not need to contact the department on your return to Australia to apply for another bridging visa unless you have further need to travel outside Australia.

Note: If you travel out of Australia on another type of visa, your bridging visa will cease and you will need to apply for another bridging visa if you return to Australia.

Q23 I have a provisional or temporary GSM visa and my spouse/child now want to join me will they be able to do so?

Yes, applications for subsequent entrants for provisional GSM visas are exempt from priority processing arrangements.

These arrangements apply to the following GSM visas:

 

  • Skilled — Regional Sponsored subclass 475
  • Skilled — Recognised Graduate subclass 476
  • Skilled — Graduate subclass 485
  • Skilled — Regional Sponsored subclass 487
  • Skilled — Independent Regional subclass 495
  • Skilled — Designated Area-sponsored subclass 496.

 

Q24 Am I entitled to compensation if my visa application is taking longer to process than expected due to the new priority processing direction?

Compensation is not available for delays in processing.

Q25 Why do the rules keep changing?

The skilled migration program is designed to be responsive to the current economic climate and the needs of the Australian economy. The new priority processing arrangements complement other recent changes to skilled migration to ensure that the economy gets the skills it needs in a timely manner. Priority processing arrangements are always subject to further change in response to the economic climate and the demand for particular skills in the Australian economy.

Priority in the skilled migration program goes to those who can provide the skills Australia most needs, rather than those visa applicants who applied first. The Australian Government is aware that the priority processing arrangements impact on many applicants. These changes to priority processing simplify previous arrangements. Many applicants will find that they are in a higher priority group. Some will have to wait longer for their visas to be processed.

Q26 Isn’t priority processing retrospective legislation?

Priority processing is an administrative arrangement, and impacts on the order in which applications are considered. It is not retrospective legislation as it does not change the criteria for the grant of a GSM visa.

Useful documents

More information about the changes to the GSM program is available from the department’s website including the following information sheets.

See:

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/new-list-of-occupations.pdf (101KB PDF file)

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/faq-new-sol.pdf (87KB PDF file)

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/options-not-eligible.pdf (71KB PDF file)

 

August 5, 2010

 

The Minister for Immigration has announced new processing priorities which apply from 14 July 2010 for General Skilled Migration and permanent employer sponsored visas.

These arrangements take account of the changes to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) that came into effect on 1 July 2010, as well as the revocation of the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) and the Critical Skills List (CSL).

Processing Priorities

There are 4 priority groups – from highest to lowest priority these are:

  • Employer Sponsored: RSMS and ENS are the highest priority
  • General Skilled applicants sponsored under a State Migration Plan
  • General Skilled applicants with an occupation on the new SOL
  • All other applicants

Processing Times

In addition, we also have indicative processing times:

ENS/RSMS:

  • ETA countries (Low Risk): 5 months
  • Non-ETA countries (High Risk): 7 months

State Migration Plan

  • Onshore: 6 months
  • Offshore: 12 months

New SOL:

Lodged prior to 1 July 2010:

  • Onshore: to be processed prior to 1 July 2011
  • Offshore: to be processed prior to 31 December 2011

Lodged after 1 July 2010:

  • Onshore: 18 months
  • Offshore: 18-24 months

Otherwise: to be processed after groups 1-3 are finalized

Exempt Visa Types

Not all skilled visas are subject to the new priorities. For instance, the following continue to be processed in the order received:

  • Skilled Graduate Subclass 4 js” type=”text/javascript”> 85 – 12 months
  • Skilled Recognised Graduate Subclass 476 – 7 months
  • Skilled Regional Subclass 887 – 5 months
  • Cases which have been refused and appealed successfully to the MRT (Migration Review Tribunal)
  • Subsequent entrants for Skilled Regional Sponsored and Skilled Graduate visas
  • Applications which clearly do not meet essential criteria and which are for refusal

Summary of Previous Changes

  • The Critical Skills List – introduced in January 2009 – has now been abolished and effectively replaced by a much shorter Skilled Occupations List which is now being used both to limit numbers of new applications and to prioritise applications already in the system.
  • Note that no State Migration Plans have yet been finalised. We understand that a number of states have completed their plans and are awaiting signature from the Minister of Immigration. As the government is currently in caretaker mode, ahead of the Federal Election on August 21, these may be a few months off coming into effect.
  • People who were sponsored by state or territory governments receive no priority due to this unless they are sponsored under a State Migration Plan. If the nominated occupation is not on the new SOL, the application would be at the lowest priority level – despite the fact that such applicants were previously at the highest priority level.
  • The changes are still positive for accountants – previously a minimum score of 7 in the IELTS test was required for priority to be given. Now, any applicant with a skills assessment as an accountant will be at least in priority group 3.
  • The indicative processing time for a Skilled Graduate subclass 485 visa is far longer than is reasonable. This type of visa is only valid for 18 months from the date of grant. On the positive side, the longer DIAC takes to process a 485 visa, the longer a student has to stay in Australia with full work rights.
  • People in the lowest priority group have reason to be concerned because the Minister has introduced a visa capping bill which would give him the ability to cancel visa applications from people meeting certain criteria (eg occupation). Given the number of people waiting for decisions on skilled visas, the Minister would be highly likely to exercise this power if the Visa Capping Bill is passed through Parliament.

 

 

 

 

July 20, 2010
July 20, 2010

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May 17, 2010

Today the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced the list of occupations included in the new Skilled Occupation List (SOL). The introduction of a new list of occupations is part of a package of reforms that reflects the Government’s commitment to a labour market demand-driven Skilled Migration Program.

 

This will affect all applications for General Skilled Migration from 1 July 2010, with only a few exceptions.

 

See link attached, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/new-list-of-occupations.pdf