The 1 July 2018 saw the beginning of a new migration year in Australia. Over the last 6 weeks there have been an abundance of changes to the skilled migration process. These changes are outlined below:

1) Minimum points required for skilled migration increase to 65

Applicants applying for a Skilled Visa for Australia must achieve a minimum of 65 points to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). This change applies to all applicants on 60 points who have not yet received an invitation to apply for a skilled visa.

Achieving the new minimum point score of 65 does not assure you an invitation to apply for a visa. As per previous invitation rounds, applicants currently need a minimum of 70 points to apply for a Skilled Independent 189 Visa.

Completing a recognised English Language Test or securing State Sponsorship are the two primary ways in which to increase your points score. Most Australian states have reopened their nomination programmes to new applicants.

2) SkillSelect rounds now occur monthly

As of 11 August 2018, SkillSelect invitation rounds will take place monthly. The number of invitations issued monthly will remain the same; however this is subject to change in accordance with the department’s processing capacity and pipeline.

Once submitted, an Expression of Interest is valid for 2 years.

3) Visa application charges have increased

As of 1 July 2018, the new visa application charges for General Skilled Migration (subclass 189, 190 and 489) are as follows:

Base application charge$3755.00
Additional applicant aged 18+$1875.00
Additional applicant under 18$940.00

 
The Department of Home Affairs charge a card fee on payments of 1.32% (Visa and Mastercard) and 1.40% (AMEX).

If you are interested in migration to Australia you can complete our free online assessment.

The points required for Australian General Skilled Migration is increasing to a minimum of 65 points.

Applicants applying for a Skilled Visa for Australia must secure a minimum of 65 points to apply from 1 July 2018. This change will affect all applicants on 60 points who have not yet received an invitation to apply for a skilled visa.

It’s important to note that obtaining the new minimum points score of 65 does not guarantee an invitation to apply for a visa. The points for skilled visas remains inflated, with applicants requiring a minimum of 70-75 points to secure an invitation to apply for a Skilled Independent 189 Visa.

The most common ways to increase your points score include completing an English Language Test or applying for State Sponsorship. The majority of states are temporarily closed due to the large volume of applications received. We anticipate most states will reopen after 1 July 2018.

To assess your visa points score complete our free online assessment.

Immigration South Australia has announced temporary closure of their state sponsorship programme.

Immigration South Australia has announced closure of their state nomination 190/489 application system from Monday 25 June 2018. As a result no further invitations to apply for South Australia nomination will be given after this date.

All received applications will continue to be processed as normal. You must submit and pay for your application before 25 June 2018. Failure to do so will result in your draft application being deleted.

Immigration South Australia will announce the opening of their nomination programme in the first week of July.

As the points threshold for skilled migration remains inflated, an increasing number of applicants are seeking state sponsorship. Consequently it’s becoming more difficult to secure state sponsorship and quotas are being filled quickly.

State sponsorship programmes for Victoria, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales are currently closed. As a result applicants are unable to apply to these states for state sponsorship.

Northern Territory and Tasmania currently remain open to new state nominations.

As General Skilled Migration becomes more difficult it can be beneficial to seek professional advice from a Migration Agent.

Assess your eligibility for an Australian Visa by completing our FREE ONLINE ASSESSMENT.

Business & Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) have announced temporary closure of their state sponsorship programme due to a backlog of applications. BSMQ will no longer be issuing new invitations for applicants to apply for state sponsorship. As a result skilled and business applicants will no longer be able to apply for Queensland state sponsorship. BSMQ have not stated when they will re-open applications.

Barriers to State Sponsorship

As a result of Immigration reducing the number of invitations available, the points required for securing an invitation to apply (ITA) for a skilled visa has fluctuated to 70 and beyond. Previously the points required for an ITA were 60, and while you can still successfully lodge an EOI on 60 points it is highly unlikely you will receive an invitation at this given time. This in turn has seen people waiting substantially longer to receive an invitation to apply for a 189 Skilled Independent Visa, with many people opting for alternative solutions such as State Sponsorship. Consequently it’s becoming more difficult to secure state sponsorship.

The ACT skilled migration programme has been closed since 23 August 201 to overseas applicants and no date has been released as to when (and if) it will re-open. While other states remain open, there are strict criteria in place which create barriers for potential migrants. Common criteria include meeting financial requirements or evidencing employability in the main applicant’s profession. Additionally, many states are increasing their processing times for state sponsorship applications. The Northern Territory are currently taking 6-8 months to make a decision on submitted applications.

Identifying the best Skilled Visa pathway for you

As skilled migration becomes more difficult it can be hugely beneficial to seek professional advice from an experienced Migration Agent. Darren at Visa Go has over 15 years experience in the industry and has helped hundreds of families successfully move to Australia. You can complete a free online visa assessment here: https://visa-go.visasystems.com/australia/assessment/skilled/default.aspx

The Australian Government will increase the value of Assurance of Support (AoS) bond.

The AoS Bond amount will increase from 1 April 2019 and will impact those visas already lodged. The new amounts are as follows:

  • Main Applicant $15,000 AUD (previously $10,000 AUD)
  • Secondary Applicant $6,000 AUD (previously $4,000 AUD)

This legislative change is driven by Social Security and not by Immigration.

Assurance of Support FAQ’s

 

What is an Assurance of Support?

The Assurance of Support (AoS) is a commitment to pay back any income support provided to the visa holder during their initial stay in Australia.  The AoS support period differs for each visa type.

  • 10 years for Contributory Parent Visas (143 / 864)
  • 2 years for Parent Visas (103/804)

This time starts from when your visa is granted.

What is the Assurance of Support bond?

The Assurance of Support includes a ‘bank guarantee’ or ‘AoS bond’. This is held with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for the duration of the AoS period (either 2 or 10 years).

Should you experience any financial difficulty during the AoS period then the money used to provide you with income will be deducted from the ‘AoS bond.’

Who is the assurer?

Generally the sponsor (your Australian Child) acts as the assurer unless you have  arranged someone else to act as the assurer either alongside your sponsor or in place of them. The assurer agrees to financially support you during the AoS period if required.

You can use a maximum of 2 people as part of the assurance of support. For example, your sponsoring child and their partner can both act as assurers.

You do not need to choose who will be your assurer until you have been contacted by the Parent Visa and asked to arrange the assurance of support. This gives your sponsor a choice to act as the assurer or use someone else. The assurer must be an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident.

Should you not claim any social security during the AoS period then the AoS bond is returned in full to the assurer.

Why does the assurer/sponsor have to complete an income test with Centrelink?

Should the income support you need exceed the bond amount then the assurer will be required to support you financially. To ensure the assurer can support you financially they will need to provide details of their income and details of how many dependents they have.

If your sponsor does not work full time then they can use another Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident to help them with the Assurance of Support. Centrelink can guide them on what they need to do for this.

Will the increase in the value of AoS bond impact me?

If your Assurance of Support has not been finalised before 1 April 2019 then the bond increase will apply. The new fees from this date are as follows:

  • Main Applicant $15,000 AUD (previously $10,000 AUD)
  • Secondary Applicant $6,000 AUD (previously $4,000 AUD)

For more details on the Assurance of Support please visit the Department of Human Services website.

Can I speed up my visa application to avoid the increase in cost?

No – the processing times for the parent visa will continue to fluctuate. I  will continue to monitor progress of your visa application and provide updates on the processing times. Unfortunately there is nothing which can be done to expedite your visa application and they will continue to be processed in date order.

All applicants can monitor visa processing times on the Government website.

South Australia has confirmed restrictions to their High Points category, in addition to other recent changes.

Immigration SA will be closely monitoring the level of High Points category applications in the coming weeks, due to the high number of applications that have been submitted. When the number of applications is close to the quota allowed for the High Points category, the minimum points threshold will be automatically raised to 90. If the quota is completely filled then the High Points category will be closed until the end of the 2017/2018 migration year (until 20 June 2018).

Additionally, if an application is submitted after 19 February 2018, the list of occupations below will no longer be eligible for sponsorship in the High Points category:

  • 132211 Finance Manager
  • 221111 Accountant (General)
  • 221112 Management Accountant
  • 221113 Taxation Accountant
  • 221213 External Auditor
  • 222112 Finance Broker
  • 222199 Financial Brokers nec
  • 222211 Financial Market Dealer
  • 222299 Financial Dealers nec
  • 222311 Financial Investment Adviser
  • 222312 Financial Investment Manager
  • 225113 Marketing Specialist

The High Points category is for those who want to apply for a Skilled Visa but who need State or Territory sponsorship to achieve higher points.

If an applicant has an occupation on the South Australia Supplementary Skilled List and can achieve 75 points, then they can apply for sponsorship in South Australia under the High Points Category. Another option is the South Australia State Nominated Occupation List where listed occupations have special conditions.

Essentially, an applicant whose occupation is on the South Australia State Nominated List OR the South Australia Supplementary Skilled List may be eligible for the High Points category.

Quotas do apply to the High Points category, so occupations will only have a certain number of spaces available. If you are approved for the High Points category then you will be automatically invited to apply for a Skilled Visa. However, you will still need to meet the other nomination requirements for South Australia.

Applicants who require 5 points will be invited to apply for the Skilled – Nominated (190) Visa.

Applicants who require 10 points will be invited to apply for the Skilled – Nominated (489) Visa.

A Registered Migration Agent can help you to identify the visa pathway that suits you best. Contact us today by completing a free online visa assessment.   

The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs publish global visa processing times monthly on their website. On 18 January 2018 the visa processing times were updated, showing a decrease in processing times for all skilled visas.

Two processing times are provided which indicate how long it’s taking to process 75% and 90% of applications submitted globally.

Processing times are for applications received globally. The current visa processing times are:

  • 189 : 5 to 8 months
  • 190 : 7 to 9 months
  • 489 : State – 5 to 8 months
  • 489 : Family – Unavailable due to low number of applications

The above processing times are from the date of visa lodgement and should be used as a guide only.

To keep up-to-date with current visa processing times (from lodgement) on the DHA website click here: http://bit.ly/2mKnUAu

These timeframes are issued by the Department of Home Affairs and only they have control over how long it will take to finalise your visa application. The department will take the time they need to finalise your application in accordance with immigration rules, including carrying out the necessary checks.

It’s important that applicants do not make any irreversible decisions such as selling your house, quitting your job or making travel arrangements until your visa has been granted.

Can I apply directly to the Australian Government?

Yes, however the purpose of the Australian Government department is to enforce immigration law and therefore they will not offer any assistance when applying for a visa. You will find basic guidelines on the official Government website; however there is no tailored advice available. The visa process can be challenging so if you do have questions it’s best to consult an experienced Registered Migration Agent.

Can I use internet forums to guide me through the visa process?

At some point during the process you will most likely discover the vast amount of Facebook groups and internet forums dedicated to migration. Whilst these forums can provide insight into Australian lifestyle and expat stories, you should proceed with caution when it comes to migration advice.

It’s important to remember that discussion amongst expats is very different to actual Australian Migration Law. Inaccurate migration advice can cause significant time delays, loss of money, visa refusals and bans. Using Visa-Go Emigration will save you time and money while offering you peace of mind.

Can I speed up the processing time of my visa application?

No. Each visa application is unique and will be processed as and when the department decides, meaning no one visa application will be given preferential treatment. You can make your visa application process smoother by ensuring that all relevant documents are uploaded as clear colour copies, and any requests from the case officer are met by the deadline provided.

You can check current global visa processing times here 

Why should I use a Registered Migration Agent to process my application?

Using a MARA Registered Agent can ensure you submit a full and correct visa application, saving you time and money. A good agent will identify the best visa pathway available for you, using their extensive knowledge of current Australian migration legislation. All MARA Agents are obligated to complete continual professional development each year to maintain their registration.

Registered Migration Agent Darren Chatt has been helping people with their visa applications for Australia and New Zealand since 2001, successfully supporting thousands of migrants with their journey Down Under. You can read more about Darren and check his registration here.

It is important to note that only an individual can be MARA registered – not a company – so ensure you are speaking with the MARA Registered Agent and not a sales person. Beware of some Migration Agents who lend their registration, name and reputation to other companies.

Economists reported that Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to a four-year low. Figures show that the unemployment rate was just 5.5% in September this year which is the lowest rate since March 2013. According to Nine News, more than 4,000 new jobs are created in Western Sydney every month alone.

The increase in jobs has been the primary reason for unemployment rates falling. In Australia, job vacancies have continued to steadily increase and are now at the highest they’ve been in five years. With the demand for skilled workers in Australia increasing it’s a great time to think about migrating.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics jobs survey, healthcare has been the biggest source of additional employment vacancies. If you work in the healthcare industry and would like to migrate to Australia then complete our free online skilled visa assessment here.

Another expanding industry is construction, with approvals to build new homes climbing to a 7-month high in September. The housing construction boom is great news for trades workers as more jobs are being generated to meet the demand. Furthermore it’s good for the economy with boosted sales of furniture and electronics. If you are a skilled trades person who would like to migrate to Australia, why not explore your visa options today.

In Western Australia the economy is bouncing back from recent struggles, and engineers are once more in high demand. The state has added 20,000 jobs since the start of the 2017.

If you’re looking to migrate to Australia Visa-Go can provide the expertise and assistance you require. As a Visa-Go client your visa case will be managed by Registered Migration Agent Darren Chatt MARN: 0211214 and a dedicated Case Processor. You can read more about Visa-Go here.