Tag Archive | "Visability"

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Visability :: My boss wants to sponsor me but can’t

Latest figures point to new Irish exodus to Oz

Dear John, My wife and I have been in Australia since September 2008 on 457 visas sponsored in my trade. In June 2012 we applied for permanent residence through employer nomination (ENS). My application was fine but the employer application was refused as my employer had been sanctioned by Immigration for non-compliance on his temporary sponsorship obligations.  Because of the employer’s problem, my PR application was refused. The application was appealed in the MRT but has just failed again as the employer’s ban has not been lifted yet. The age limitation and waiver rules for Employer Nomination changed in July 2012 so we are now over the age limit for a new nomination by any other employer. Our three adult children all live in Australia, as do our grandchildren. One of our children is a permanent resident; another is in the process of applying for permanent residence. With all our family here, we don’t want to leave Australia. What are our options to stay now? Name Withheld

Dear NW,

Employer Nomination applications have two parts, the first part being the employer’s. This must be successful for the employee’s visa application to succeed.

One of the requirements for the employer’s part is that there is “No Adverse Information” about the employer.

If an employer is found to have not met their temporary sponsorship obligations, this can constitute adverse information.

Approved employer sponsors sign off on a number of obligations, and it’s really important for the future of the sponsored employees and the business continuity that employers don’t ignore their obligations during the approval period. Read more here.

As you can see, the consequences of non-compliance can be disastrous.

I always recommend a pre-application check on the employer’s part to ensure they are likely to meet the ENS requirements. Where there is some doubt, the employer part of an ENS can be lodged prior to the visa application, and then wait to see if part one is successful before committing to the visa application itself.

In your case it seems there may have been some haste to ensure you applied for the visa prior to flagged law changes on age coming in on July 2012.

At this point as you are over 50, you can of course look to get further 457 visas with other employers.

With three children in Australia, when your second child becomes a permanent resident, you would meet the “balance of family test” requirement and be able to look at parent visa options to get to permanent residence.

There are a number of parent visa options to consider. In general, to lodge a parent visa while in Australia the applicants need to be “aged” (pension age).

There are offshore applications options for younger parents. The contributory parent visa stream is processed in around 18-24 months but has high cost of application. There is a temporary to permanent option that can see these significant costs spread over several years.

See more here.

Parent visa regulations are complex so consider asking a registered migration agent for professional assistance with your application. Find an agent here.



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Visability :: How soon can I become a citizen?


Dear John, I’m Irish and have been a permanent resident in Australia for nearly a year. I was on a working holiday visa and then a 457 temporary visa before becoming a permanent resident. Am I eligible for Australian citizenship? Do I have to give up my Irish passport if I become an Australian citizen? What is the benefit of citizenship and how do I go about getting it approved? Thanks, Ger T

Dear Ger,

There are a number of good reasons to take out Australian citizenship. The good news is Irish and UK citizens do not need to give up their passports to do so and effectively become dual citizens.

Permanent Residence visas allow you to stay in Australia for ever but the travel component to leave and come back to Australia is for a five year period from date of grant.

After this date, you must get a resident return visa if you travel overseas and want to return to Australia as a permanent resident.

Taking out citizenship allows you to apply for an Australian passport; you will then avoid having to keep the permanent residence /resident return renewed.

It is possible to hold Australian and Irish passports at the same time.

As an Australian citizen you have the right to vote in elections, apply for work in the Public Service or Defence Forces, and importantly, you will be able to register children born overseas as Australian citizens by descent. This is worth remembering if you are planning spending long periods outside Australia. To apply for citizenship as a ‘migrant’ you need to be able to meet the current Australian Residence requirements.

This is based on the time you have lived in Australia and the time you have spent outside Australia.

You need to have been living in Australia on a valid visa for four years immediately before applying, with at least the last 12 months as a permanent resident, so time spent here on temporary visas counts towards the four years.

So in your case if you were here for three years on temporary visas prior to becoming a permanent resident, you could be eligible to apply for citizenship.

You must not have been outside Australia for more than one year in total in the four-year period, including no more than 90 days in the year before applying.

It’s important to check all the dates you have been in and out of the country on all visas.

There is a helpful Residence Calculator on the Department of Immigration website here.

Once you have checked you meet the residence period you can start to prepare your application.

You will need to take a citizenship test as part of the process so best to do some homework on the questions by getting the test resource book from the Department of Immigration here.

You may also need to get new police checks from the Australian Federal Police.

After you lodge your citizenship application, DIBP (immigration) will send you an appointment date to sit the citizenship test.

You then have to wait for the results.

When your citizenship application is approved, you will be able to complete the process by attending a citizenship ceremony.

Ceremonies are held periodically in local suburb town halls and Immigration offices and at special events such as Australia Day celebration venues.

The application fee is $260; expect the process to take at least three months.

Once you have citizenship you can apply for an Australian passport.

Consider asking a registered migration agent for help with assessment of your eligibility. Find a registered migration agent here.

To submit a question to John McQuaid, Email Him Here

This Migration Column is intended to provide general information on migration issues and does not constitute legal or migration advice. While all care is taken, no responsibility is accepted by the Irish Echo or John McQuaid for the accuracy of material in the column. People seeking advice on migration law should seek advice from a registered migration agent.


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Why is my 457 visa application taking so long?

John McQuaid answers your visa questions.

John McQuaid answers your visa questions.

Hi John,  

I’m work for a company in Europe, which has a base in Australia. They offered me work on a project in Australia that started at the end of July. My company sent in the documents for a 457 sponsored visa in the second week of June and have not heard anything from the Department of Immigration. Should it take this long to get any correspondence from the department? 

Peader Mc

Dear Peader,

The stated standard processing time for this visa type is two months and often the result will be faster.

However, major rule changes and fee hikes flagged for the 457 programme as of July 1 resulted in a high number of applications in June.  This slowed processing times.

Despite the delays, if you have not heard from immigration within their processing time, chase them. This can be frustrating and will need to be led by your employer as they lodged the paperwork.

Immigration will only talk to the person listed as the point of contact, so even though you are the applicant, officials may not talk to you directly. When making contact, have your application receipt number at hand.

Expect a long wait if calling and several days wait for a response to web messages.  Paper-lodged applications will take longer to be processed.  There is also the possibility that a paper-based application posted or couriered to immigration did not get delivered.

Check if your employer or you received an acknowledgment of application letter or check the credit card used to see that the application fees were deducted.  Since July 1, all 457 visa applications must be made online.

Send your visa questions to visability@irishecho.com.au.


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How to switch from a 457 to partner visa

John McQuaid answers your visa questions.

John McQuaid answers your visa questions.

Dear John,  

I have been on a 457 visa now for fifteen months, sponsored by my employer.  My Australian partner of over twelve months has suggested we look at lodging a partner visa.

Can I apply for this now or do I have to work with my sponsoring company until I have two years of my sponsorship completed?  Also, I am leaving Australia with my partner for a month next April – will this cause a problem?


Dear NM,

For partner visa applications, there is no requirement to have worked for any length of time on a 457 visa.  The two-year rule you refer to applies only to people looking to move from a 457 visa to employer nominated permanent residence visas through the Temporary Resident Transition Scheme.

To look at applying for a partner visa, you need to be able to show that you and your partner are in a genuine and ongoing de facto (living together) or married relationship.  This generally means having good evidence of living together for at least 12 months.

However, in some Australian states such as New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, the need to show 12 months relationship can be reduced by registering your relationship with the local Births Deaths and Marriage office. Strong evidence of a genuine and ongoing relationship is still needed.

The Department of Immigration application fee for a partner visa lodged onshore is now $4,575. If there are any dependent children to be added, there will be additional costs.
The Department of Immigration currently have a large back log of partner visa applications and have advised that processing can take 12 months or more.

When applications are lodged onshore, a bridging visa is granted, which will only come into force when the previous visa expires. If your 457 has another two or more years on it you will stay on it until the partner visa is granted. This means you must meet the visa conditions: you can only work for the nominating employer or move the 457 visa to a new sponsor.

If the 457 visa expires, the bridging visa will allow you open work rights. Be careful here, if you leave your employer while on a 457 visa, you have 90 days to find a new employer to take over the visa. If the 457 visa were to be cancelled for non- compliance, the bridging visa is also cancelled – this could lead to you becoming unlawful.

When the temporary partner visa is granted it will override any other visa held, allowing open work rights. Two years after you apply for the initial visa, you need to resubmit evidence of the relationship for PR. People in long-term relationships have options to apply directly for the permanent partner visa.

I recommend those in a strong relationship with an Australian permanent resident, citizen, or eligible New Zealand citizen, to consider this visa. If you are eligible, apply now.

The alternative option of waiting for employer nomination may be there, but this means relying on people outside your family unit.

Travelling abroad on a 457 visa while waiting for partner processing is not an issue.

Find an agent: mia.org.au/


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New Australian visa fees under the spotlight

John McQuaid answers your visa questions.

John McQuaid answers your visa questions.

Co Antrim native and registered migration agent John McQuaid provides a uniquely Irish perspective on current visa and migration issues. This week, John responds to a reader’s question about the new visa application fees introduced on Monday.

Hi John,

We are here in Australia on 457 visas for the past year and working towards lodging our skilled visa application for permanent residence. I’ve been told the new visa application fee rules mean we have to pay extra for each family member. Is this correct? My wife and I have two children here. How will they be affected?

Pádraig T.

Dear Pádraig,

The Department of Immigration has introduced new visa application fees from July 1.

Typically, visa application fees rise each year by about five per cent. But this year, for the first time, the government has introduced significant additional visa fees where there are family members on the application. Under this new “user-pays” system, there will be an extra fee for each additional family member.

For permanent skilled visa applications such as the independent 189 visa or employer nominated 186 visa, where there is a partner on the application, there will be an extra fee of $1,530. There will also be a charge of $765 for each child on the application.

So for a family of four, the total extra fee will be $3,060. This is on top of the “base application charge” of $3,060.

Immigration claims this new pricing structure brings Australia’s visa pricing into line with that of other countries such as Canada, the US and Britain. The structure of the new visa application fees is complex, so it is important to take care and calculate the visa application fees correctly.

Paying the wrong fee can mean a visa application is deemed invalid. An invalid application will be returned unprocessed.

Temporary visa applicants with family will also be affected by the new fee rules.

The popular sponsored 457 visa fee is now $900. An extra $900 fee is payable for a partner and $225 for each child on the application. Under the new rules, people applying for their second temporary visa while in Australia will find they have to pay a “subsequent temporary application charge” (STAC) of $700 a person.

The STAC would not apply to people applying for their second working holiday visa, as the first working holiday visa is always granted outside Australia.

However , it seems that a person on a second working holiday visa granted in Australia would be liable for the STAC fee if they then apply for a further temporary visa such as a 457 or student visa while in Australia.

The STAC fee does not apply if a person is outside Australia at the time they apply. Immigration is also bringing in an extra $80 fee for some visa applications that are not made online.

This fee will apply to the working holiday visa, so save some dollars by applying online.

Although the base application fees for visas look set to remain unchanged from last year, these additional fees will put pressure on families budgeting for Australian permanent residence and on people seeking to remain in Australia on other temporary visas.

It is now more important than ever to plan ahead and set your visa strategy as early as possible. To work out your visa options and fees, consider consulting a registered migration agent.

Find an agent at www.mia.org.au

Do you have a question for John? Email it to visability@irishecho.com.au


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NSW visas equal good news for accountants

Hi John,

I am a qualified accountant looking at applying for a permanent skilled migration visa. I see there are options for state-nominated or independent visas.

Is there any advantage in applying via state nomination? Which is the better option?

Libby McFadden



July 2012 saw the introduction of the Skill Select System and major changes to the rules around the points-tested independent and state-nominated visa system.

The Skill Select System now requires applicants to have at least 60 points to make an “expression of interest” (EOI) application for their preferred visa

Some positives for state nomination are that an extra five points are available for the nomination, this in itself may be critical to some applicants meeting the 60-point minimum

Also, lodging an EOI with state nomination approval means that so long as you have at least 60 points, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) invites you to apply for the visa right away. This is a real advantage if you are in Australia on a visa that’s expiring soon or wish to move here in the shorter term.

One possible negative is that you must commit to living in the nominating state for the first two years of the visa, so research your chosen state well.

New South Wales is sponsoring accountants and has not imposed any additional criteria over and above DIAC requirements.

Other states may have specific requirements such as minimum or specialised experience and sometimes look to see you have access to significant relocation funds.

Anyone lodging an EOI without a state government nomination has to wait for the DIAC invitation to apply for the independent stream visa.

The invitation is based on the highest point-scorers in the various occupational categories.

Every month, DIAC sweeps the expressions of interest for an independent visa, picking the highest point-scorers first.

Although the independent system favours high point-scorers, recent DIAC reports show many EOI applicants with 65 points or above being picked to apply for visas.

This pick system can mean waiting several months to find out if you will be invited to apply for a visa and unlike the state nominated applicants, there is no guarantee of receiving an invitation to apply for a visa.

To make the free EOI application a migration skills assessment and English language test are needed as these determine the points score and eligibility.

So although there is no fee to make the EOI, you will have a significant cost to get to the point of EOI.

The good news is that once invited to apply for and pay for the visa, DIAC processing is reasonably quick at about four to six months.

Bridging visas are also granted to anyone applying for the visa from within Australia.

Be prepared, getting the required skills assessment can take from four weeks to four months depending on your occupation.

Also allow four to six weeks to obtain English language test results.

Understanding how your personal profile meets the points and eligibility is critical so consider asking a registered migration agent for a detailed personal assessment before starting any of these applications.

Send your visa questions to visability@irishecho.com.au


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New visa rules offer bridge of hope for partners

Dear John,

I lodged a partner visa application back in July and am still waiting for it to be processed. I am on a working holiday visa and it’s about to expire so I’ll be on my bridging visa from next week. Can you tell me how long the processing should take and will the bridging visa last until then?  I’ve heard the bridging visa rules have changed recently, I’m a bit confused how it all works.

Andrew M

Dear Andrew,

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) recently issued an advice stating that it currently has a large backlog of partner visa applications, and to expect processing in Australia to take around 12 months.

When a partner application is lodged in Australia, you are granted a bridging visa, typically a “Bridging A” that allows you to stay until a decision is made on the new application.

There is no specific time limit on the Bridging A visa, and remember it only comes into effect when any current visa expires.

The Bridging A normally carries the same work rights as the visa you previously held, so for example on a Working Holiday Visa (417), there is a six-month work limit with any one employer, or on a sponsored 457 visa you can only work with the sponsoring employer.

However, DIAC have just made some positive changes to the bridging visa rules for onshore partner and parent visa categories.

The changes mean that Bridging A visas issued from November 24, 2012, will have nil work restrictions.

This is great news for anyone making a partner or parent visa application now.

However , for applications made prior to November 24 it’s not quite so simple.

DIAC are advising that applicants who currently hold either a Bridging visa A or B with a work restriction condition can apply for the grant of a replacement bridging visa A or B with nil visa conditions.

So if it looks like your partner/parent visa application is going to take some time to be processed, it’s probably worth looking to apply for the new version “nil restriction” bridging visa.

So much for the DIAC policy of simplifying visa rules!

It seems this rather silly situation could have been avoided by making the new bridging visa law retrospective.

Anyone making a new visa application while on a sponsored visa or a student visa should take careful note that it is important to maintain your visa status while waiting for processing.

Cancellation of a student visa or sponsored 457 visa for non-compliance can lead to the cancellation of any bridging visa held, and thus the potential to become unlawful and in turn negatively affect the outcome of the new visa application.

For complex visa issues, consider seeking professional assistance by asking an experienced registered migration agent for help.

Send your visa questions to visability@irishecho.com.au



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Visability: Can I become sponsored?

VisabilityDear John,
I’ve been here on a student visa for six months and working part time as a metal fabricator. The owner of the place I’m working for wants to sponsor me so I can work for him full time. He has sponsored people before but they weren’t on student visas. Can I be sponsored?
Gerry McAuley

Dear Gerry,
Yes, it is possible to be sponsored by an employer and move from a student visa to a sponsored 457 work visa.

You need to have qualifications or at least three or four years’ experience in your trade to meet the sponsored visa requirements. You also need to check the student visa grant email to ensure there are no conditions that prevent lodging another visa application in Australia.

This would be unusual on a student visa granted to a Irish-UK passport holder but check nonetheless; or ask a registered migration agent to check the status for you.

For a temporary sponsored 457 visa, if the employer is already an approved sponsor, the employer will need to lodge a nomination application with immigration.

You can then lodge the 457 visa application.

You need to maintain your studies in line with the student visa while you wait for processing.

Having a student visa cancelled for non-compliance could jeopardise any new visa application.

You can start working full time for the employer when the sponsorship visa is granted or if the study course finishes before the new visa is granted.

When the sponsored 457 visa application is lodged you get a bridging visa that comes into effect only when the student visa expires.

At this time, if the new visa application is still not decided, because your study course is no longer in session,  you can work full time on the bridging visa until you get a decision.

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) for permanent residence has a different set of rules for student visa holders.

To be eligible to lodge an ‘onshore’ ENS visa application from a student visa the student visa holder must have successfully completed at least diploma level studies. So, if you are halfway through a diploma course you might need to finish the course first.

Alternatively, the offshore version of the ENS programme does not have the same rules. So long as you meet the other eligibility criteria, you can apply for the offshore version while ‘mid-student visa’. As it is the offshore version, you will need to leave Australia for the visa to be granted. This may mean departing for a week or so.

These are complex visa categories; permanent visa applications have particularly high visa application fees and skills assessment costs, so consider consulting a registered migration agent for a full assessment of your situation before committing your hard earned dollars.


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Visability: Perth and regional sponsorship

VisabilityHi John,
My employer in Perth is looking at sponsoring me and I’ve heard that immigration is giving regional sponsorship applications the fastest processing. My working holiday visa expires in December. Can I get sponsored by then or is there a better way?
Peter F

Dear Peter,
In July this year the Government added Perth as an eligible area for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) and as a regional area for family sponsored applications through the regional General Skilled Migration (GSM) programmes.

A decision-ready RSMS application could be processed in around two months from lodging but allow three to four months to prepare the application.

If you can’t get an RSMS application prepared before your visa will expire, you can lodge this from outside Australia. If you prefer not to leave Australia you may want to look at a temporary sponsorship on a 457 visa as a faster alternative due to the shorter preparation time needed.

When lodging an onshore application before your current visa expires, you will get a bridging visa that allows you to say in Australia until you get an answer on the application.

RSMS is the regional version of the more widely used Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS). The rules and criteria are a little different.

Under RSMS the employer does not need to meet any training criteria but does have to offer a job that’s an occupation on the Skilled List and the job must be available for at least two years. The visa applicant must agree to stay in the position and the regional area for at least two years.

The employer’s nomination has to be approved by a local regional certifying body before the applications can be lodged with Immigration. Each body has slightly different criteria so check carefully. See http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/regional-certifying-bodies.htm.

The visa applicant needs to have relevant qualifications for the job, which has an Australian equivalent trade, diploma or higher qualification.

There is no requirement for work experience for this visa but there will be a work experience requirement to meet when getting the necessary migration skills assessment.

Where an occupation needs licencing or registration, the licence needs to be in place or obtainable without further training at the time you apply for the visa.

Check for licensing and registration for specific occupations at http://www.immi.gov.au/asri/.

All areas of Australia are covered by RSMS except Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, and Melbourne.

Generally, applicants under the RSMS need to be under 45 years of age, and have functional English.

The age, English and skill requirements may be waived if the applicant can demonstrate that exceptional circumstances apply. An employer can also ask approval to waive the skill requirement for positions that are so unusual or highly specialised that the employer is unlikely to find anyone with the necessary formal qualifications.

Waiver applications are particularly complex so consider consulting a registered migration agent for a full assessment of your situation before committing your hard earned dollars.

Find an agent at http://mia.org.au/


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Visability: How do I find a job that’ll sponsor?


Passport to employment

Dear John,
I am a 43-year-old with more than 20 years’ experience in construction business and construction project management. I am in Ireland and seeking an employer for work sponsorship to Australia, preferably in Perth, but open to any location. So far I have not had any luck. Is there any way I can get a sponsor?

Dear JV
With more than five years’ experience in construction project management, it is certainly possible to be sponsored by an employer on a temporary 457 work visa. These visas are for up to four years at a time. It is possible to move to a permanent visa from a 457 visa at a later stage.

There is no age limit for temporary 457 visa applicants. Currently, employer nomination for permanent residence the age limit is 45, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

If you have formal qualifications in your field, you could look to get migration skills assessment in your occupation. With a skills assessment and at least three years’ post qualification experience, an employer has the option to nominate you directly for permanent residence.

This may also give you an edge when seeking a position as some employers will be more open to permanent nomination.

Check any requirements for registration or licensing for your occupation. Each Australian State has different requirements; see http://www.immi.gov.au/asri/a-z.html

The key is in finding a suitable employer. Employers need to apply for approval as a sponsor or nominator. This involves meeting a number of requirements, often needing them to provide evidence of, or commitment to, training their Australian staff.

So, in addition to choosing you for the job, your employer needs to be willing and able to make their own applications to assist you secure the visa.

To convince an employer to go the extra yards here, applicants should be prepared to travel to Australia to meet prospective employers face to face.

A well-written CV with copies of work references and qualifications is essential.  Applying directly to employers will have a higher chance of success; employment agencies are often unwilling to present applicants who do not already hold a visa with work rights.

Consider seeking employment in Regional Australia, that’s all areas of Australia except for Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne or Perth. See http://www.immi.gov.au/employers/rsms_postcodes.html

The Australian Government is currently giving top priority to Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) applications. This is a permanent visa where the requirements for employers are lower. A local government certifying body must approve the job offer and the job must be full time in a regional area for at least two years.

The visa holder must commit to living in the regional area and to working in the occupation for at least the first two years. See details at http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/rsms/

Consider seeking a full assessment of your qualifications and experience from a registered migration agent before starting any application. Find an agent at http://mia.org.au/


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