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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ASCO Codes and their meaning

This post is for all those who are interested in applying for migration to Australia. The post explains how the Australian standard Classification of Occupations work and how a prospective migrant can use the ASCO codes to determine his/her suitability for a particular trade.

Ok first of all what exactly is ASCO and ASCO codes?

To be able to apply for immigration to Australia, you need to have some sort of skills which are required in Australia. The list of all such skills which are in demand in Australia are listed on a Skilled Occupation List, SOL which can be accessed by visiting the URL

If you open the SOL, you will see that there are dozens of professions listed in the SOL. All the professions listed on the SOL are in demand in Australia. Against each profession there is an ASCO code assigned.

The ASCO code of the profession defines the profession and it is the definition of the ASCO which matters while determining the skills of a person. For example I was once contacted by a person who was a high school teacher of Biology. He wanted to apply for immigration by nominating the profession of Biologist. Now according to him he was a biologist but according to the ASCO classification he is a high school teacher and not a biologist.

Similarly in another incident, a pharmacist applied for immigration by nominating the profession of Pharmaceutical sales representative. The person was not aware that according to the ASCO classification, he is a pharmacist and not a Pharmaceutical sales representative.

Hence, it is of utmost importance that before you apply for immigration and nominate a profession, you should be 100% sure that you are nominating the correct profession. Other wise your application will be simply rejected on the basis that you do not have expertise in the nominated profession.

Now the question is how can a person check whether his expertise are in accordance with the classifications of the ASCO codes. While trying to figure out the answer, I finally found an online copy of the complete ASCO codes and the definition of each and every code.

The copy can be accessed at the following weblink

ASCO Codes

So if you are not sure whether your skills and work experience fall into a particular category then simply visit the URL above and check the classification.

Kind Regards

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hiring Migration agents

I have received a few queries regarding benefits of applying through a migration lawyer. Why should a person apply for immigration through a migration agent/lawyer when much of what an agent does can also be done by the applicant too? After all the agent does is to fill in the forms, send the application to DIAC and be the primary correspondent for all communications.

This is some thing the applicant can also do. So why hire a migration agent and pay large amounts of fees?

Well the above reasoning is very well justified. However, the real role of a qualified agent comes into play when the DIAC raises an objection which the applicant didn't fore see while lodging the application.

For example I have just received an email where an applicant applied for visa subclass 175 and on the date of application he didn't have a valid IELTS results. Although the applicant had appeared in the IELTS exam a few days before he lodged the application, he didnt have the results as yet.

In the opinion of the applicant, there was nothing wrong with lodging the application and he would provide the IELTS results to DIAC when the results are delcared.

What the applicant didnt know is that from Sept 2007, any person who lodges a GSM application must have a valid IELTS result on the date of application.
So according to the law, the application should be rejected on grounds of not fulfilling the criteria at the time of lodging the application and the applicant would incur a loss of $2000 AUD not to forget the waste of time.
So how can a qualified lawyer solve this issue? First of all, if the person had first consulted an agent, the agent would have informed him of the proper way of lodging the application. Secondly an agent knows the intricacies of the migration law and fully understands how the legal framework of the migration law. As a last resort a migration agent can apply for special consideration by invoking ministerial intervention.
This is just one of the many mistakes applicants make while lodging applications.

A good migration agent just doesnt fill in forms and serves as a PO Box service. A good migration agent can save you lots of time and hassle if not money.

So if you are well versed in the migration law, then there is no need to hire a migration agent. However, if you are not sure what you are doing, then its better to hire a migration agent.

Hope this helps

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Accepting cases from now onwards

This post is for any one who would like to hire my services for filing a visa application with the department of immigration. I am accepting cases for skilled migration, spouse visas, student visas, contributory parent visa and state sponsorship visas. Readers interested in hiring my services can contact me.

With great pleasure, I would like to inform my readers that I have entered into a partnership agreement with Australia's most professional and qualified migration agent, Dr Arun Garg, director Auslead International.

Dr Garg is MARA certified agent with RMAN number 9794416. Readers interested in hiring our services can contact me for an initial consultation.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Immigration for Medical practitioners: Doctors and Nurses

This post is for those doctors and nurses who are interested in obtaining visa 457.

Australia is suffering from a drought of doctors and nurses. The demand for qualified medical practitioners has sky rocketed during the last few years.

Overseas doctors trained doctors and nurses who are interested in working in Australia can either apply for permanent migration by applying for 175 visa(Please see my post for overseas immigration) or obtain a sponsorship from an employer who is willing to sponsor and get a temporary 457 visa which is a three years work permit.

The following websites of each the health departments of each state territory of Australia lists jobs which are open for medical practitioners.








The process of obtaining a 457 visa is long, specially for doctors and nurses as it requires obtaining approval from state territory boards as well.

The first step is to get an employer interested in you. Get a letter of offer and kick start the process.

Apart from the above mentioned websites, DoctorConnect is also a very good website to start with.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Immigration departments of states and territories

Here is a list of websites of the immigration departments of Australia's various states and territories.

The skills in demand in each of the state can be found by visiting the immigration departments websites of the respective states.

Kind Regards

Difference between 176 and 475

This article is for those who are interested in applying for 176, 886, 475 or 487 visas. Normally people who cannot achieve the pass mark for 885 or 175 visas apply for the above mentioned visas.

Those applying for offshore immigration (applying from outside Australia) often ask the question

"What is the difference between visa 176 and 475?"

A similar question is asked by those who apply for onshore immigration (applying while inside Australia) 

"What is the difference between 886 and 487?"

Searching for the answer, I stumbled upon this link by the Victorian government.

As obvious from the link, every state maintains two types of occupational lists. One list is for 176 visas and one is for 475 visas. 475 visas are mostly regional visas away from Metropolitan centres of the state.

So if your occupation is present on the 475 list of a state, then you can only apply for 475 visa. If your occupation is listed on the 176 list of a state then you can only apply for 176 visa.

Please note that 475 is a temporary 3 years work visa where as 176 is a permanent visa. Both of them require 100 points to qualify.

Here is a list of state/territories offshore 176 and 475 visas. The same applies for onshore 886 and 487 visas.

Victoria 176 list

Victoria 475 list

WA 176 visa list

WA 475 visa list

QLD 176 visa list

QLD 475 visa list

NSW 176 visa list

NSW 475 visa list

NT 176 visa list

NT 475 visa list

TAS 176 visa list

TAS 475 visa list

  SA 176 Visa

  SA 475 Visa

Making a complaint to the Immigration department

If you have lodged an application for a visa and have not received any response, then the first point of contact would be to send them a notice through the following weblink.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Financial requirements for Student Visas

If you are applying for a student visa; the following people can be in the list provides sources of funds and people who are acceptable as financial guarantors.

Acceptable sources of income

The money to support you and your family members must come from one or more acceptable sources, which may include:

  • a money deposit with a financial institution that has been held for at least six consecutive months immediately before the date of your visa application by
    • you
    • your spouse
    • your brother or sister
    • your parents
    • your grandparents
    • your aunt or uncle (only if they usually live in Australia and are either a citizen/permanent resident of Australia or an eligible New Zealand citizen)
  • a loan from a financial institution made to (and in the name of)
    • you
    • your spouse
    • your brother or sister
    • your parents
    • your grandparents
    • your aunt or uncle (only if they usually live in Australia and are either a citizen/permanent resident of Australia or an eligible New Zealand citizen)
  • a loan from the government of your home country
  • your proposed education provider
  • the Australian Government or an Australian State or Territory government
  • the government of a foreign country
  • a provincial or state government of a foreign country that has the written support of the national government of the foreign country
  • an organisation gazetted by the Minister
  • an acceptable non-profit organisation
  • a multilateral agency.
    Examples: United Nations, World Bank or Asian Development Bank

Note: Non-cash assets such as property and shares are not acceptable sources of income. However, non-cash assets may be liquidated or used as collateral on a loan, if they are provided by an acceptable source.

Providing evidence of money deposits or loans

You need to show evidence of how the money to fund your studies was accumulated.

If your source of income is a money deposit held in a bank account, you must provide the following evidence:

  • pay slips
  • bank loan documents
  • interest from investments.

If your source of income is a loan, you must provide the following evidence:

  • a bank statement showing the amount of available credit
  • a statement from the holder of the loan that its purpose is to support your studies.

Note: If your source of income is a home loan with a redraw facility from an Australian financial institution, the funds from the redraw facility may be considered a loan. A home loan with a redraw facility from a non-Australian financial institution may be acceptable, but must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Financial support from a non-profit organisation

A non-profit organisation providing you with financial support must be lawfully established and operating in Australia or overseas.

You must show evidence of the organisation's non-profit status, including:

  • statement from the Australian Taxation Office showing organisation's status
  • documents of incorporation as a non-profit organisation.

You must also show evidence that the organisation has sufficient funds or income to support you financially. Evidence may include:

  • bank statements
  • financial statements.

Supporting family members when studying for less than 12 months

If you are applying to study in Australia for less than 12 months, your family members are not eligible to come with you to Australia. However, you must show that you have enough funds to support your family members in your home country, taking into consideration the standard cost of living in that country.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

List of eligible sponsors for 886 and 176

If you are applying for visa subclass 176 or 886 and you want to be sponsored by a relative.

You need to know the list of eligible relatives who can sponsor you.

Who can be a sponsor?

To sponsor a skilled worker you must be at least 18 years of age and usually resident in Australia as one of the following:

an Australian citizen
an Australian permanent resident
an Eligible New Zealand citizen.

You, your spouse or your interdependent partner must be related to your sponsor as one of the following:

a non-dependent child – including an adoptive or step-child
a parent – including adoptive or step–parent
a brother or sister – including adoptive or step-siblings
a niece or nephew – including adoptive or step–niece or nephew
an aunt or uncle – including adoptive or step–aunt or uncle

Where can a sponsor be living?

Your sponsor can live anywhere in Australia.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Formula for calculating two year study

After a lot of searching, I have finally found out the formula, the immigration department case officers use, to calculate whether a student has studied for two years or not.

Here is the formula.

T=L X C/U , where:

T= Duration for which the student studied the course
L= length of course on CRICOS
C = number of units completed by student, excluding exemptions
U = number of units which would be necessary to complete the studies

Hope this helps all those who are not clear about the two year study rule.

Kind Regards


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Assessment level changes for student visas from 1st of Sept 2008

The immigration department has undertaken a review of the student visa Assessment Levels (ALs). This review resulted in changes to the Assessment Levels for 52 countries in one or more education sectors.

The changes are specified in legislative instruments that are available on the Commonwealth of Australia Law website.
See: ComLaw

The new Assessment Levels will be in effect from 1 September 2008. Student visa applications lodged on or after 1 September 2008 will be subject to these new Assessment Levels.

As of 1 September 2008 Form 1219i Overseas Student Program - Assessment Levels will reflect the new Assessment Levels.
See: Student Assessment Levels - 1 September 2008 (184KB PDF file)

Note: The two errors previously identified in the legislative instruments specifying Assessment Levels have been corrected. All Assessment Level changes will be in effect from 1 September 2008.

Assessment Levels and the Student Visa Program

A record number of more than 278,000 student visas were granted in the 2007-08 program year. This represents more than 21 per cent growth in the student visa program in one year.

The department considers each of these student visa applications on their individual merits. Assessment Levels (ALs) streamline this process, allowing the department to deliver fast and efficient service to our clients while maintaining the integrity of Australia’s immigration program.

Transparency in visa requirements and consistent decisions are a pivotal part of the student visa program. In 2007-08, visas were granted to students from over 190 different countries. Assessment Levels, as an objective measure of immigration risk for each of these student groups, are a key tool in determining visa requirements and enable consistency in decisions across this diverse range of clients.

There are five Assessment Levels in the student visa program. They serve to align student visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by applicants from a particular country studying in a particular education sector. Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest immigration risk and Assessment Level 5 the highest. The higher the Assessment Level, the greater the evidence an applicant is required to demonstrate to support their claims for the grant of a student visa.

How are Assessment Levels determined?

Each country, across each education sector, is assigned an Assessment Level which is based on the calculated immigration risk posed by students from that country studying in that education sector.

To determine the Assessment Level of a particular country and education sector, the department examines that group’s compliance with their visa conditions and other indicators of their immigration risk in the previous year.

Where these statistical indicators show that a group has a higher level of immigration risk over a sustained period, the department responds to this trend by raising the Assessment Level of that group. In effect, this requires applicants to submit a higher level of evidence to support their claims that they wish to study in Australia.

Where a group’s indicators demonstrate that they tend to abide by their visa conditions, these lower immigration risk groups have their Assessment Level lowered. This streamlines the visa process by reducing the level of evidence that these applicants need to submit to support their claims for a student visa.

The department regularly undertakes a comprehensive risk assessment of the entire student visa caseload and reviews the Assessment Levels to ensure that they align to the immigration risk of groups.

What Assessment Level am I?

The passport you hold and the education sector of your principal course will determine the Assessment Level of your visa application.

To identify the Assessment Level for your visa application, match your passport type with the visa subclass for the education sector of your principal course.

Form 1219i contains a list of the current Assessment Levels for all passports and education sectors. Your Assessment Level is the one in effect for your passport and visa subclass on the date that you lodged a valid application with the department.

See: Information form 1219i Overseas Student Program - Assessment Levels (58KB PDF file)

If your passport is not listed in the table on Form 1219i you will be subject to Assessment Level 3. If you are sponsored by AusAID or Defence and are applying for a subclass 576 – AusAID/Defence student visa you will be subject to Assessment Level 2.

What Assessment Level are my family members?

Your family members may be eligible to apply for a visa to accompany you to Australia. Family members are subject to the same Assessment Level as the student, regardless of the type of passport the family member holds.
See: Bringing Family

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tougher immigration rules for Indian students,25197,24284358-12332,00.html

AN immigration crackdown will make it harder to recruit students from India, the fast-growing big market in Australia's $12.5 billion education export industry.

University of NSW's pro vice-chancellor (international) Jennie Lang told the HES all universities were likely to have urged students to get their visa applications lodged and processed before the September1 change in immigration risk levels, which affects a host of overseas markets.

"We will also be encouraging (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) staff in offshore posts to ensure that university sector applicants are given priority," Ms Lang said.

A spokesperson from the department said "genuine applicants had nothing to fear from the changes".

According to the latest official data, there were 65,000 Indian students in Australia in the year to June, mostly in vocational education. Although they make up a smaller market than the Chinese, the Indian growth rate is much higher: student numbers from India grew by 55 per cent, compared with 19per cent from China.

The China market, however, benefits in the latest revision of immigration risk, which is based on factors such as rates of document fraud, visa overstay and asylum claims, as well as applications for non-skilled residency for a spouse, for example.

Hong Kong-based international education consultant Alan Olsen told the HES that the change affecting the China market was particularly significant. He said demand for places in English language colleges was likely to increase sharply.

"I think we would all agree that, ahead of events like World Expo in Shanghai in 2010, the learning of English by hospitality staff in China is one of the world's great needs," he said.

Another beneficiary of the immigration change is Saudi Arabia, which has been reclassified as representing the lowest risk level.

Qatar, Oman and Brazil also shifted to the lowest of the five possible levels of immigration risk category; 23 countries now have that rating. Their students are eligible to make online applications offshore.

In all, 43 countries have been judged less risky.

India was not alone in moving up the risk scale. Visa applicants from Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Romania and Zimbabwe will have to do more to show they are genuine students.

They will have to give extra evidence of their capacity to support themselves financially, especially with savings histories.

The status of these nine countries had been changed "to combat increased levels of immigration risk", the department spokesperson said.

The risk levels are set across various sectors, including English language courses, vocational education and higher degrees.

The higher risk assessment affects all sectors of the Indian education market, which moved up by one level.

Although the risk level for would-be students from Iran had not been raised, the Iranian Government had been warned this could happen if negative trends continued.

In the latest year-to-date figures from Australian Education International, there were more than 392,000 overseas students in Australia, representing almost a 20 per cent increase inenrolments.

India, China and Nepal continued to be strong growth markets, but those such as Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan continued to decline.

Vocational education was the fastest-growing sector, up 46.5per cent overall, while university enrolments increased by 2.7 per cent and commencements by 10.1 per cent.

English language courses were up by about 28 per cent.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Study: Migration boosts Australian economy, eases skills shortage

According to a press release by Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans, a recent report by Access Economics shows that new immigrants in Australia contribrute hundreds of millions of Australian dollars to the nation's budget and economy every year.

Evans stated in a speech before the Australian Mines and Metals Association that the overall fiscal benefit of immigration is "substantially positive" and it continues to grow over time.

The economic analyst's report entitled Migrant Fiscal Impact Model: 2008 Update looked at the costs that immigrants impose on health, education, welfare, employment services, and settlement services, compared to the fiscal benefits from taxation and visa charges.

For the 2006-07 fiscal immigration year, Access Economics estimated that that years immigrants would contribrute a total benefit of AUD $536 million in the first year, then another AUD $856 million in the second year. This would grow steadily over time and reach AUD $1.5 billion by year 20.

"Applying the same modelling to the 2007-08 migration program, the net fiscal benefit is $610 million in year one, $965 million in year two then growing to $1.5 billion by year 20," Evans noted.

"The forecast for the 2008-09 migration program is for an $829 million benefit in the first year, $1.16 billion in the second year, then $1.8 billion by year 20," he added.

Evans said the Access Economics report dispelled the myth that immigrants impose a huge cost on the taxpayer.

"The positive fiscal impact is particularly pronounced for skilled migrants, which reflects their high rate of labour market participation and higher incomes which in turn leads to a high level of direct tax receipts," Evans said.

Australia's General Skilled Migration program allows individuals to immigrate to Australia if they possess skills and past experience in a large list of occupations.

Evans also said that skilled migrants help Australian employers fill "critical labor gaps" at a time when many employers are struggling to fill positions.

"The bottom line is that our migration program is vital to keep the economy growing as well as helping Australian businesses overcome skills and labor shortages," he added. "Australia is facing a demographic shift that will see more people retire than join the workforce so the permanent skilled migration program provides a stable, effective and targeted source of skilled workers."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Overseas students flout work restrictions

INTERNATIONAL students are making a mockery of immigration laws by flouting visa conditions which limit them to 20-hour working weeks, with those driving taxis in Victoria clocking up to twice as many hours behind the wheel as they're allowed.

Despite a warning from Immigration Minister Chris Evans that taxi owners who employed students in breach of their visa restrictions risked up to two years' jail, cab advocacy bodies and student drivers revealed the industry was largely ignoring the law.

Student bodies have urged the Rudd Government to lift the 20-hour cap, saying overseas pupils should be entitled to juggle their academic commitments with as many hours of work as they can manage.

The Australian understands the Howard government planned to target Victorian taxi businesses as a first step in a national crackdown on students who were rorting the employment restrictions of their visas.

Victorian Taxi Drivers Association secretary Thomas Henderson, whose organisation represents the interests of both driver and owner members, admitted some holders of student visas were clocking up to 40 hours a week on the road.

Read on

The Australian

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Australia reducing labor shortages through skilled immigration

New data released by immigration authorities in Australia show a 27 percent increase in its temporary skilled migration program for 2007-08 financial year.

According to Immigration Minister Chris Evans, the increase in the number of temporary 457 visas highlighted the importance of the program to Australian employers in delivering skilled labor from overseas.

A total of 110,570 temporary visas were granted to foreign workers and their dependents in 2007-08 compared to 87,310 the previous year. The number of primary visa holders increased from 46,680 in 2006-07 to 58,050 in 2007-08.

New South Wales had the largest number of 457 visas granted with a total of 20,480 primary 457 visa holders, followed by Western Australia at 11,800 primary visa holders.

81 percent of foreign workers holding temporary 457 visas were employed in professional occupations and highly skilled jobs. The top three occupations were computing professionals, registered nurses, and business and information professionals.

Nearly 25 percent of 457 visa holders in 2007-08 came from the United Kingdom. They were followed by India at 14 percent, the Philippines at 9 percent, and the US, South Africa and China at 6 percent each.

The 457 temporary visa allows employers to hire overseas workers for periods between three months and four years. However many choose to remain in Australia permanantly. In 2007-08, 25,000 457 visa holders became permanent residents, an increase of 30 percent over the previous year.

Evans stated that minimum salary levels for 457 visa holders will rise at the end of the summer.

"Minimum Salary Levels for subclass 457 visa holders will increase by 3.8 per cent from August 1 after remaining frozen for more than two years," Evans stated in a release.

Minister says Australia needs unskilled overseas labor

Australia may need to let in more unskilled foreign labor to meet critical shortages in some industries, according to Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

Evans told the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy that the agricultural, hospitality, and aged care industries are demanding access to unskilled and semi-skilled workers from overseas.

"The question of whether or not temporary and unskilled foreign labour is needed to sustain our economy has been answered," Evans said. "Our economy is already reliant on that labour source."

He stated that in some cases, businesses may be forced to shut down if they cannot fill occupations with help from overseas.

Currently, Australia's immigration policy grants preference to skilled migrants under schemes such as the 457 temporary foreign worker visa and the General Skilled Migration program.

Recently, the Australian government increased the number of people allowed under its skilled migration policy for the current financial year by 31,000. This brings the total number of skilled migration places to 133,500.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Trade Personnel: Migrating as a trade person

There are a lots of skilled trade persons in demand in Australia. Some of such trade persons are

1. Automotive Electrician
2. Cooks and Chefs
3. Blacksmith
4. Plumbers
5. Brick layers
6. Butcher
7. Carpenter
8. Electrician
9. Gardener
10. Hair Dresser

The list is exhaustive and can be checked by viewing the Skilled Occupation list at the following URL

Migrating as a trade person is relatively easy as compared to a Professional or an Associate professional. There are many limitations on professionals which are not there on trade persons. For example, to immigrate as a trade person,

  1. You only need to have a score of band 5 , vocational, in all modules to be eligible for an application for permanent residency where as in non-trade professions such as accountant, IT, engineering, you require a minimum score of band 6 in all modules of IELTS.
  2. The minimum amount of study requirement is only high school where as in most non-trade professions the minimum amount of requirement is at least a bachelors degree.
The above mentioned two main advantages of applying for immigration as a trade person make it very easy for trade persons to apply for offshore immigration.

The greatest benefit in applying for immigration as a trades person is that there is great abundance of highly paid jobs for qualified trades personnel. I personally know a chef who gets paid an annual salary of $80,000 in one of Sydney's best restaurant.

So my advice to all those people who are not able to apply for immigration as professionals is that they should explore the option of applying for immigration as a trades person.

The usual process of skills assessment and the usual requirement of work experience of one year applies to trade personnel as well.

In most cases the assessing body for trades personnel is either VETASSES or TRA.

Australia: Extensions to some Working Holiday visas

Some young people in Australia on Working Holiday visas will be allowed to stay longer, Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced on 01 July 2008.

"From today, working holiday visa holders who have worked in the construction industry in regional Australia for at least three months will be eligible to apply for a second working holiday visa," Evans said.

"Extending this concession to construction will help this booming industry by encouraging people on working holidays to undertake short-term construction work in regional Australia," he added.

Previously, second Working Holiday visas were only available to individuals who have worked for farmers in regional Australia for at least three months.

The initiative has assisted thousands of farmers across Australia. Almost 12,000 second Working Holiday visas are expected to be granted in 2007-08.

"We are seeing a record backpacker program this year, which is great for businesses, especially in regional Australia, and good news for Australia's tourism industries," Evans noted.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the number of Working Holiday makers has more than doubled in the past decade. DIAC estimates that 155,000 visas are likely to be granted in 2007-08, a 24% increase over the previous year.

DIAC also estimated that 180,000 Working Holiday visas may be granted in 2008-09.

"The increasing numbers of working holiday makers will continue to meet the needs of other industries that employ the backpackers and will not be disadvantaged by the extension of the concession to the construction industry," Evans said.

Australia: Minister urges states to increase skilled immigration

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans is urging states and territories to increase their use of state-sponsored skilled migration to meet labor market demands.

"There is the capacity within the Federal Government's permanent skilled migration program for states and territories to sponsor overseas skilled workers in occupations in demand," Evans said.

Evans noted that the government recently added an extra 31,000 skilled migrant places to the 2008-09 Migration Program in an effort to help employers in Australia deal with skills shortages. In total, skilled migration makes up 133,500 places in the Migration Program.

"I will be encouraging the states and territories to increase their use of state-sponsored migration to better link skilled workers to the economic needs in their jurisdictions," Evans said. He said that the government would consider providing "greater flexibility" for states and territories under the sponsorship program to enable them to sponsor more skilled migrants.

According to Department of Immigration and Citizenship figures, state and territory sponsored skilled migration only makes up 10 percent of overall skilled migration into Australia in recent years. In comparison, employer sponsored immigration makes up 20 percent.

Skilled workers coming to Australia under independent skilled migration visas -- the visa of choice for most individuals looking to live and work in Australia -- continue to dominate the program at over 50 percent.

Australia: Experts to advise government on 457 visas

A panel of experts will advise the Australian government on how to improve its temporary 457 visa scheme, according to Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

The panel will include various Australian state government officials as well as industry groups and union representatives.

Australia's temporary 457 visa -- similar to the United States H-1B visa -- allows Australian employers to hire workers from abroad. Controversy has surrounded the program related to allegations of employer-exploitation of workers.

In addition to providing advice pertaining to possible skilled migration policy changes, the panel will advise the government on an ongoing "integrity" review of the 457 visa program and provide feedback on reform proposals.

The panel will also examine how the temporary 457 visa program "can best integrate with the employer and state-sponsored permanent skilled migration program," according to a press release by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Employer and state-sponsored permanent migration makes up a small part of Australia's immigration program, something Minister Evans would like to see changed. Currently, more than 50 percent of skilled immigrants come to Australia under its independent visa categories, which do not require sponsorship or a previous job offer.

Australia responds to need for skilled migrants

Three new Australian 'Centres of Excellence' have been set up in Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne to speed up the processing of temporary 457 visa applications for employers wishing to hire overseas workers.

The centers were set up in response to increasing demand by Australian employers for skilled workers from overseas to help ease labor shortages.

The 457 visa allows Austrlalian employers to employ skilled workers from abroad to fill occupations in Australia on a temporary basis for between three months and four years.

The centers come in response to recommendations by a panel of experts commissioned by the government to help improve the efficiency of the 457 visa program.

According to Immigration Minister Chris Evans, 457 visa processing times were already showing improvement.

"In June 2007, an average of 400 cases was processed within seven days whereas in June 2008, more than 1200 applicants were granted visas within a week," Evans said.

"The 457 program is critical to meeting the current labour market demands and the new Centres of Excellence will continue to improve the effectiveness of the processing of visas," he added.

Australian immigration authorities were dealing with a backlog of about 13,000 subclass 457 visa applications since March. That backlog has since been cleared.

The 457 visa is only one of many visas designed to bring skilled overseas workers to Australia. The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program allows skilled individuals in a long list of occupations to immigrate to Australia permanently, with or without an existing job offer with an Australian employer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Australia: Mining industry looks to immigration for skilled workers

A new report commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia states that the Australian mining industry will need an additional 90,000 workers by 2020 to keep up with demand in the growing industry. The report said that increasing skilled migration is one step towards achieving this goal.

The report forecasted a 6 percent annual employment growth rate to 2012, double the Australian government's estimate of 3 percent and "far higher" than previous industry forecasts.

Due to the minerals and energy requirements of India and China, Australia is expected to make it through largely unaffected the recent uncertainty in global financial markets resulting from the slump in the United States housing market.

"We are confident we are three years into a 'super cycle' of global demand for our products - a decade and more of sustained demand - which some consider could even last twenty years," said Minerals Council Chief Executive Mitchell H. Hooke.

"The report found that more than half the growth in jobs will occur in Western Australia, Queensland's minerals industry labour force will grow by 50 percent and South Australia's demand for minerals workers will more than double", Hooke added.

Skilled migration is seen as an important source of employees for the mining industry. Mining professions, among many other occupations, are listed on Australia's Skilled Occupation List, for which the government grants permanent visas under its General Skilled Migration program.

"While the Minerals Council welcomes recent Federal Government initiatives to increase the number of skilled training places and streamline temporary visa applications for skilled immigration, more must be done to[...]further increase skilled migration," Hooke said.

However, the Australian government has not been sitting idly by while Australian employers clamor for more skilled immigrants. Recently, the Australian government increased the number of skilled migration places for the current year, increasing the quota from 102.500 to 133,500 for 2008-09.
Source: Work Permit

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My story

Achieving the Permanent residency status is the number one agenda of every international student or prospective migrants wanting to come to Australia.

I was one such international student who arrived in Australia on the 2nd of Feb, 2005 and became a permanent resident on the 28th of May 2008. I had to go through a painful, stressful and outrageously expensive process , though, I think there was also a less expensive way to do so.

Any how, what is done is done. Let me narrate my story in pictures and words. Hope the readers are able to make a much better decision and learn from my experiences.

Offer of admission from UTS

I was offered a letter of offer from UTS some where in Nov 2004. I quickly started the procedure for the final grant of a student visa to Australia. Paying the tuition fees, performing medical check ups, blah blah.

Grant of visa

Finally after filling out all the forms, submitting all the documents requested, I was finally granted the visa.

Letter of grant of visa from the Australian High Commission, Islamabad, Pakistan

Unlike previous times, I was not interviewed for the visa. The visa was sent stamped on my passport and sent to the offices of my educational consultant.

Original Student visa as stamped on my passport. The label has been stamped inoperable on expiry.

Studying at UTS

Studying while searching for work and getting blue collar jobs such as filling shelves in super markets, washing cars and delivering pizzas was some thing I had never done before.

After a lot of struggle, hard work, patience and determination, I was finally able to finish my studies from UTS

Page one of my UTS transcript

Degree awarded during graduation ceremony

Permanent Residency

I applied for Permanent residency on the 27th of Sept, 2007. After appearing in the IELTS exam for three times, I was able to achieve a score of

Listening 8.5
Reading 9.0
Writing 8.0
Speaking 9.0

in the exam because of which I was able to claim the extra bonus points.

Copy of my IELTS report.

Finally on the 28th of May, after waiting for almost eight months , I was awarded the permanent residency.

Stamp of permanent residency on my passport.

End of story!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Australia updates Migration Occupations in Demand List

Australia has updated its Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL), adding twelve new specialties and removing one. The MODL is a list of occupations that the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) consider to have a shortage of skilled labor in Australia.

Immigration authorities grant bonus points to skilled migrants who have experience in an occupation listed on the MODL when applying for skilled immigration to Australia. The nation uses a points based system, much like the UK's Tier 1 skilled immigration system, which assesses applicants based upon factors such as age and past experience. Successful applicants may be eligible to immigrate to Australia under a permanent visa, even without a previous job offer from an Australian employer.
Twelve occupations were added to the MODL on 17 May 2008, including five Computing Professional specializations. Electronics Engineer, Optometrist and Dental Technician were also added to the list. In addition, three trade occupations were added: Binder and Finisher, Landscape Gardener, and Tree Surgeon.

The 'Computing Professional specializing in Sybase SQL Server' profession was removed from the MODL.

For a complete listing of occupations in demand in Australia, see our online MODL. Also, please note that the MODL is a separate list from the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

People applying for skilled immigration to Australia under the General Skilled Migration program must show experience and/or qualifications in a job listed on the SOL to qualify for entry. However, if they can also nominate an occupation that is also listed on the MODL at the time the application is lodged or assessed by immigration authorities, they can gain bonus points for the 'occupation in demand/job offer' section of the General Skilled Migration points test.

To see if you have the qualifications that Australia is looking for, use our points calculator.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New permission to work arrangement for student visa holders

What is the new arrangement? Why was it introduced?

People granted student visas on or after 26 April 2008 will receive permission to work with their visa grant. This will apply to both the primary student and any family members travelling with them on their student visa. As a result, most student visa holders will no longer need to apply separately in Australia for permission to work. The new arrangement will save student visa holders time and money.

Does it change when I can work, and the hours I can work?

No. Work rights for student visa holders haven’t changed. Students are still not allowed to work until they have started their course and the hours they can work have not changed. They can work up to 20 hours a week while their course is in session (excluding any work undertaken as a registered component of their course of study or training) and they can work unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks. Family members of students are not allowed to work until the student begins their course. They are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week at all times. Family members of students who have started a masters or doctorate course may work unlimited hours.

Have student visa application charges changed?

Yes. Previously most student visa holders paid a total of $490 – an initial $430 for their visa application and $60 in Australia for the separate permission to work. Now student visa holders will pay only one charge of $450 for the combined visa application and permission to work.

I need to lodge a new student visa application but already have work rights. Will I have to pay the new $450 visa application charge?

Yes. All people who apply for a student visa on or after 26 April 2008 will pay the new $450 charge.

I was granted my student visa before 26 April 2008 and haven’t yet applied for work rights. How can I get permission to work?

People granted student visas before 26 April 2008 can still apply separately for permission to work. To find out more go to

Do I need a visa label to show my employer my work entitlements?

No. Your visa information is held electronically and you can access it at any time using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. Employers, banks and government services can also check details about your visa entitlements on VEVO once they have your consent to do so. For information on how to access VEVO go to

I was granted a student visa outside Australia after 26 April 2008. My visa label still shows Condition 8101 – Do I need to get a new visa label?

No, you do not need to get a new visa label. Your visa information is held electronically and you can access it at any time using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. For information on how to access VEVO go to

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Various Visa Conditions

The following post describes various conditions which can be imposed on your student visa. You must know what visa conditions are on your student visa and what their implications are.

Most of the conditions explained in the post are on student visas. Conditions imposed on the family members accompanying students are also listed in the post.

  • You cannot work more than 20 hours per week* when your course is in session (other than work which has been registered as a part of the course).
  • Note: No work limits apply during recognised periods of vacation offered by your education provider.
  • You cannot undertake work until you have commenced your course in Australia.
  • *A week begins on a Monday and ends on the following Sunday.


  • You must remain enrolled in a registered course (unless you are an AusAID/Defence student or secondary exchange student in which case you must maintain full-time enrolment in your course of study or training).
  • Note: a registered course is one that is on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
  • See: CRICOS website
  • You must maintain satisfactory attendance in your course and course progress for each study period as required by your education provider.
  • You must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance during your stay in Australia.
  • Note: Under policy, this means that you must maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
  • You must continue to satisfy the requirements for grant of your student visa. This means, for example, that your main course of study must continue to be a course in the education sector that matches your student visa, and that you must continue to have sufficient financial capacity to support your study and stay in Australia.
  • You must maintain adequate schooling arrangements for your school-age dependents who joined you Australia on a student dependent visa for more than 3 months.

If you have not turned 18 you must maintain adequate arrangements for your accommodation, support and general welfare for the duration of your stay in Australia.

To maintain adequate arrangements for welfare you must stay in Australia with:

  • your parent or legal custodian
  • a relative who has been nominated by your parents or custodians who is aged over 21 and is of good character
  • accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements that have been approved by your education provider.

Note: You must not change those arrangements without the written approval of your education provider.

If your welfare arrangements are approved by your education provider you must not travel to Australia until your welfare arrangements are due to commence.


  • You must notify your education provider of your residential address in Australia within 7 days of arriving in Australia. You must notify your education provider of any change in your residential address within 7 days of the change. You must notify your education provider of a change of education provider within 7 days of receiving the electronic Confirmation of Enrolment certificate or evidence of enrolment.

You are not entitled to be granted a further substantive visa, other than:

  • a Student visa with Permission to Work
    Note: if you apply for and are granted Permission to Work, this will change only the work conditions on your Student visa, all other conditions will remain the same including 8534
  • a further Student Guardian visa
  • a visa to engage Australia's obligations under the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees.

You are not entitled to be granted a further substantive visa, other than:
  • a Student visa with permission to work
    Note: if you apply for and are granted permission to work, this will change only the work conditions on your Student visa, all other conditions will remain the same including 8535
  • a Student visa that is supported by the sponsoring government agency
  • a visa to engage Australia's obligations under the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees.

Note: The effect of this visa condition is that, except in extremely limited circumstances, it will not be possible for you to remain in Australia beyond the date authorised by your visa.


  • You cannot work in Australia.
    Note: You may apply for a new Student visa with Permission to Work when you have arrived in Australia and commenced your course.
    See: Working While Studying
  • You must not change your course, or your thesis or research topic, unless the department has granted approval.

You must not undertake or change a course, or a thesis or research topic for a:
  • graduate certificate
  • graduate diploma
  • masters degree
  • doctorate
  • a bridging course required as a prerequisite to a course of study or research for a master degree or a doctorate. Unless the department has granted approval.
  • You must not become involved in any activities that are disruptive to, or in violence threaten harm to, the Australian community or a group within the Australian community.
  • Your family unit members must not leave Australia later than you.

You are not entitled to be granted a further substantive visa, other than:
  • a Student visa with Permission to Work
    Note: if you apply for and are granted Permission to Work, this will change only the work conditions on your student visa, all other conditions will remain the same including 8534
  • a Graduate-Skilled (subclass 497) visa
  • a further Student Guardian visa
  • a visa to engage Australia's obligations under the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees.

Note: The effect of this visa condition is that, except in extremely limited circumstances, it will not be possible for you to remain in Australia beyond the date authorised by your visa.


You are not entitled to be granted a further substantive visa, other than:
  • a Student visa with permission to work
    Note: if you apply for and are granted permission to work, this will change only the work conditions on your student visa, all other conditions will remain the same including 8535
  • a Student visa that is supported by the sponsoring government agency
  • a visa to engage Australia's obligations under the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees.

Note: The effect of this visa condition is that, except in extremely limited circumstances, it will not be possible for you to remain in Australia beyond the date authorised by your visa.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"NO Further Stay"

If you have been granted a visa with the condition "No further stay" on it, then this article is for you to read.

Some times, when you are granted an Australian visa, whether it is student or visitor, a special condition called “No further stay, 8503” is imposed on your visa.

It depends upon case to case basis and the visa officer granting the visa. Just in case your visa carries the 8503 restriction, then you should know what your options are as you are in a little bit of trouble.

First of All: How to check if condition 8503 has been imposed on your visa:

If condition 8503 has been imposed on your visa, you will see the code '8503' listed under the conditions on the visa label in your passport. If you don't have a visa label in your passport there will be information in your grant letter advising that condition 8503 has been imposed on your visa.

What are the implications of condition 8503?

If condition 8503 has been imposed on your visa, it means you cannot apply for another visa or ask for your visa to be extended while you are in Australia. Once you depart Australia, condition 8503 will not prevent you from applying for other visas.

For more information read the following document.

Department of Immigration: No Further stay 8503

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A-Z of Offshore Migration

In my previous posts, I have mainly discussed onshore migration visas. You can find related posts for onshore migration here, here and here.

Just to recap once again, following are the different categories for offshore migration visas.

Offshore immigration. If you are outside Australia

Skilled – Independent (Migrant) visa (subclass 175)
A permanent visa for people with skills in demand in the Australian labour market. Applicants are not sponsored and must pass a points test.

Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) visa (subclass 176)
A permanent visa for people unable to meet the Skilled – Independent pass mark. Applicants must be either sponsored by an eligible relative living in Australia or nominated by a participating State or Territory government. Applicants must pass a points test lower than that for the Skilled – Independent visa.

Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 475)
A three (3) year provisional visa for people who can meet the lower pass mark for this visa. Applicants must be either sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area of Australia or nominated by a participating state/territory government. After living for two (2) years and working for at least one (1) year in a Specified Regional Area, applicants can apply for a permanent visa.

Skilled – Recognised Graduate (Temporary) visa (subclass 476)

An 18 month temporary visa for graduates of recognised overseas educational institutions who have skills in demand in Australia. There is no points test for this visa.

There are some other offshore migration visa options but all of them come with strings attached. Which means there are conditions attached to them.

Obviously, every one would be interested in the visa subclass 175 which doesnt place any restrictions of any sort. You can live and work any where in Australia. The rest of the visas have their conditions like living in a particular area etc.

How to Apply for offshore migration

Step 1.

The first step in applying for an offshore migration visa subclass 175 is to chose a profession which is listed on the Skilled Occupation List, SOL, or the Most on Demand List, MODL.

If your profession is not listed on the SOL/MODL then you cannot apply for skilled migration. There might be other ways but this post only deals with skilled migration.

Also, you must satsify some basic criterias for being able to apply for offshore skilled migration. For example, you should be under 45 years of age AND you must have post-secondary (such as university or trade) qualifications (in a small number of occupations substantial relevant work experience may be acceptable) and your skills must have been assessed by the relevant Australian assessing authority as suitable for your nominated occupation.

Check what the is current pass mark for your visa sub class 175. And see that provided you get a positive skills

Step 2.

The second step is to make sure that you have, in the past 24 months before you lodge the application, at least have 12 months of experience in the profession you have selected on the SOL/MODL.

Please note that this is only the immigration departments work experience requirement. You might need more work experience depending upon who your assessing body is.

For example for IT professionals the work experience requirement set by the Australian Computer Society, ACS, is 4 years, whereas the work experience requirement set by Engineers Australia for engineers is zero years. Yes, engineers Australia require an engineer to write a competency demonstration report. If you write a good report perfectly, you get a positive skills assessment. If you write an unsatisfactory report, you get a negative skills assessment. So basically you can get yourself assessed from engineers Australia right after your undergrad degree and then work for one year and then apply for immigration.

In order to get a positive skills assessment from ACS, an IT professional must have 4 years of work experience. If you do not have 4 years of work experience, ACS will not give you a positive skills assessment. Which means the Immigration department will not be able to consider you for immigration as the ACS doesn't consider you a qualified IT professional.

Step 3

Get yourself assessed by your assessing body. The name of each assessing body is listed next to the profession on the SOL/MODL.

Different assessing bodies have different criterias for giving overseas applicants a positive skills assessment.

For example, an IT professional, must have studied in a degree which has 75% of core computer science subjects AND also have 4 years of paid professional experience in the IT industry.

For engineers, the Australian Engineering council requires writing of a Competency demonstration report, CDR, by the candidate as well as 3 years of professional experience.

Most assessing bodies consider undergraduate degrees PLUS work experience as the criteria for giving a positive skills assessment to a candidate.

The process of getting a positive skills assessment takes any where between 8 to 12 weeks.

Step 4

Appear in the IELTS exam. You must be at least at the "competent" level in the IELTS exam to be eligible to apply for occupations other than trade occupations. You should have a high enough level of English that would enable you to score at least a "6" on all four components of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination. However, if your nominated occupations is a trade occupation, a score of "5" (vocational) will suffice.

From Sept 1, 2007, any one getting 7 and above in all bands of IELTS is awarded bonus points and an applicant can gain 25 points if he/she scores 7 or above in all bands of IELTS in either academic or general version of the test.

Step 5

After having acheived a positive skills assessment and a score in IELTS exam, you should lodge an application with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, DIAC.

While applying online, you will realize how many points you are scoring. It is better to calculate your points beforehand using the points calculator which you can access at the following link.

Points calculator

If you are falling short of points, it would be advisable to contact a lawyer.

It is better to lodge the application online as that speeds up the process.

The online process is pretty straight forward. Once the application is lodged online, you might be asked to send original documents by post.

The process takes between 10 to 16 months.

Bonus Points

You can gain bonus points for getting 7 and above in all bands of IELTS, for having a spouse whose profession is also on the SOL/MODL. Note that to claim points for spouse skills, the spouse will also have to proove his/her skills by getting a positive skills assessment from the relevant assessing body.