One of the first questions that a visa applicant asks him/herself before applying for a visa is “will I get a visa refund?”
The question is close ended, yet the answer is not as simple as yes or no. A visa refund would always depend on a number of factors.
An applicant whose visa application has been refused cannot request for a visa refund, same as an applicant who, in the middle of the process, changes his/her mind about the visa application.
Am I eligible to apply for a visa refund?
However, before a person applies for a visa refund the question of eligibility must first be answered. In most cases, the appropriate person to request for a refund is the payer or an authorised representative can also request on behalf of the payer.
Can I get a visa refund?
A visa refund is possible in some specific and limited circumstances only. Here are some of those factors:
- The applicant died before a decision could be made
- The fee or charge paid was greater than the prescribed fee or charge
- Fee or charge was accidentally paid or charged twice
- Fee or charge paid but no fee or charge was due
- The fee was paid but no application was lodged, or the application was deemed invalid
- Incorrect fee paid
- Departmental error
These factors may seem straightforward, but you have to consider the fact that the Department of Home Affairs sets the fees and are the decision-makers on whether your visa application is eligible for a refund.
Have you had a visa recently refused and believe you are eligible for a refund? Get in touch with us so we can assess your circumstances and advise you accordingly.
Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs, Hon Alan Tudge, has announced the new Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) that will help Australia in its recovery from the COVID pandemic.
The 17 occupations cover three industries, health care, construction, and information technology, which will help the country strengthen its health and economic response.
Visa holders who have an occupation listed on the PMSOL and are sponsored by an Australian business may request an exemption from Australia’s travel restriction. In addition, visa applicants with occupations listed on the PMSOL will also receive priority processing.
All travelers are mandated to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon arrival to Australia and it will be at their own expense.
This list is temporary only, and its purpose is to assist Australia in its economic recovery. Therefore, the PMSOL is subject to change without notice.
The 17 occupations (ANZSCO code) are:
- Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
- Construction Project Manager (133111)
- Mechanical Engineer (233512)
- General Practitioner (253111)
- Resident Medical Officer (253112)
- Psychiatrist (253411)
- Medical Practitioner nec (253999)
- Midwife (254111)
- Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
- Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
- Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
- Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
- Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
- Registered Nurses nec (254499)
- Developer Programmer (261312)
- Software Engineer (261313)
- Maintenance Planner (312911)
Is your occupation listed in the PMSOL? Don’t wait, contact us to see how we can help.
If you are planning on applying for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa, before you do so it is important to know that there are certain sponsorship limitations, which may apply to you.
You are only allowed to sponsor 2 approved spouses, fiancés or de facto partners. You will then not get approval for another sponsorship under any of the Partner of Prospective Marriage categories, for at least 5 years after submitting the first visa application.
If you migrated as the sponsored or nominated partner, the same restriction applies to you. This means you will not be able to sponsor or nominate another spouse, fiancé, de facto partner or interdependent partner for a minimum of 5 years from the time your own visa application was made. This restriction may be waived under special circumstances.
Understanding How the Two Sponsorships are Considered
Every individual is allowed only two sponsorships. This applies to both temporary and permanent visas. Two stage partner visas are considered as a single sponsorship. The number of partners you sponsor is also taken into consideration. There are certain circumstances under which your earliest sponsorship may or may not count.
Your earlier sponsorship does not count under these circumstances:
- The connected visa application was denied
- You were first sponsored as a spouse and then again as the fiancé (this is considered as 1 sponsorship).
- You travelled to Australia on a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) but did not marry your sponsor. You later married another person and applied for a Partner visa.
Your earlier sponsorship counts under these circumstances:
- The person you sponsored was granted a visa but failed to travel to Australia – the fact is the visa was granted so that counts
- Your fiancés sponsorship was approved and the visa was granted, but the marriage did not occur even though the applicant travelled to Australia
- A spouse sponsorship visa was cancelled prior to the spouse entering Australia
- You were granted a sponsored visa on the grounds of family violence, but the relationship between you and your sponsor has ceased
- Your sponsored Partner visa was granted based on your sponsor having passed away.
Understanding the 5 Year Limitations
The 5-year limitation was imposed to prevent people from abusing the system. It affects you regardless of whether you are sponsoring someone or you are the one being sponsored.
If you had applied for a partner sponsorship and now want to make another application for your new partner, you must understand how to calculate the 5-year commencement.
For sponsors who have sponsored or nominated another person, the 5-year period commences from the date the first visa application was made to the date a decision is made on the new application.
For sponsors who were sponsored previously, the 5-year period commences from the date their visa application was made to the date a decision is made on the new application.
The important date is the date on when the sponsorship decision was made. Based on this, you may not need to wait for 5 years before starting your new application. However, you will face the limitation if the decision is made before the 5 years are up.
Understanding Compelling circumstances
If you and your partner are experiencing compelling circumstances, the ban may be waived and the sponsorship approved. Compelling circumstances may include but are not limited to:
- Death of a previous partner
- The applicant and their sponsor have a dependent child who is dependent on each of them.
- The earlier spouse abandoned the sponsor but there are children who are dependent on the sponsor and who need care and support
- The new relationship is long standing
The Department of Home Affairs takes the following factors into consideration when evaluating the circumstances under which a waiver may be granted:
- The detriment or the nature of the hardship that the sponsor may experience is the sponsorship was not approved
- If a sponsor who has strong ties with Australia feels compelled to leave the country as the only way to maintain their relationship with the applicant
Are you looking to sponsor a partner but are unclear about whether or not the limitations apply to you? Before you make any decisions, it is always a good idea to speak to an experienced migration agent who will be able to give you the best advice as to how to proceed.
Skilled migrants can now apply for fast-tracked visas to Australia, on condition that they are willing to move to and work in specified regions in the country. According to David Coleman, Australia Immigration Minister, skilled migrants are in great demand in regions outside Sydney, Melbourne, and Southeast Queensland.
The federal government of Australia has introduced Regional Fast-Track Visa initiatives as part of its new population plan. The aim is to help local businesses and communities in these regions to attract skilled workers. This is a great opportunity for skilled migrants looking for a way to speed up their immigration to Australia. The funds earmarked for this purpose are $19.4 million, which will be spent over a period of four years.
Extension of (DAMA)
This latest agreement between the federal government of Australia and the regions is essentially an extension of Designated Area Migration Agreements or DAMA, which is an existing agreement. According to the terms of the new extension, visa applications for individuals who have received sponsorships from employers in the region will be processed on a priority basis.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, at this time, processing visa applications take anywhere from 74 days for Temporary Skills Shortage visas (subclass 482) to 2 years for visas in other categories. The revised agreement will shorten this processing time considerably.
Skilled migrants who obtain their visas through this fast-track initiative are restricted to working within the designated area only. Anyone who wants to work in a different region will have to apply for another visa. While this is an option that applicants can consider, the immigration minister has stated that their application for a different type of visa or permanent residency is unlikely to be approved.
Resolving the Population Problem
Australia’s population last year was estimated at 25 million. This rapid population growth was unexpected. Initial estimates suggested that the population would reach 25 million only in 2040. This has posed certain unprecedented problems to the government of Australia. To resolve the challenges posed by overpopulation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s goal is to trim permanent migration numbers by 30,000. He revealed this in a statement released late last year.
Officials of the Department of Home Affairs have scheduled visits to the regions to discuss regional migration opportunities with regional employers to ensure that their need for skilled migrants is met.
If you are looking to apply for immigration to Australia, whether under the Fast-Track Visa or any other scheme, get in touch with us so we can assess your circumstances and advise you accordingly.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman announced on the 1st of March 2019, that with effect from 17th April, eligible individuals could submit applications to sponsor their parents under the new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa.
On approval of the sponsorship application, the sponsored parent can apply for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa. Applications for this particular visa will start with effect from the 1st of July 2019.
What is the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa?
This visa offers parents a chance to reunite with their children and grandchildren in Australia on a temporary basis, without requiring taxpayers to bear the additional costs.
The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The parent they are sponsoring must be their biological, adoptive or step parent.
Anyone interested in sponsoring their parent under the new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa, can submit their sponsorship application any time starting from 17th April 2019. On approval of the sponsorship, the visa applicant can then submit their visa application. The visa application cannot be initiated until the sponsor has been approved and it must be done within 6 months after the sponsorship has been approved.
Benefits of the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa
Prior to the introduction of the new Sponsored Parent Visa, parents could only visit their children and grandchildren with a Visitor visa, which only allowed them to stay for short periods of time. The new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa allows parents to stay in Australia for a longer period of time – up to 5 years – without any conditions to departing the country.
However, it must be noted that although the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa allows parents to stay considerably longer than a Visitor visa, it is still a temporary visa. It is not a permanent Parent visa, and does not allow sponsored parents to take up permanent residence in Australia, while on this visa.
Are you interested in applying for the new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa but are unsure where to start? Contact us today to see how we can help.
In a recent interview, David Coleman, Australia’s newly appointed Minister of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, revealed his plans of prioritising regional visas. Additionally, the immigration portfolio no longer falls under the portfolio of the Home Affairs Ministry.
Hon David Coleman has had a long and illustrious career spanning multiple industries. Before entering politics, he worked in the media and technology industries in the private sector, where he held various positions in several different companies. He was Chairman of ninemsn, Director of Strategy and Digital of Nine Entertainment Co, operator of the Mathletics business, and board member of 3P Learning, and Sky News as well as a few other companies.
Latest statistics published by Home Affairs reveal that skilled migrants were allocated an estimated 128,550 places. Of these, about 16,000 were regional visa grants.
The repercussions that are expected from this move could include:
Allocated Places For Regional Visas As Subclass 489 Regional Could Be Realigned
The subclass 489 regional visa is a type of provisional visa. This visa allows skilled workers to live and work in regional or low-population areas of Australia for a period of up to 4 years. This visa paves the way for migrants who have proven that they are committed to living and working in a regional area, to apply for permanent residence.
According to the Home Affairs website, only ten invitations were issued for the subclass 489 in August 2018, which is very low as compared to the 250 invitations issued for August 2017.
Greater Focus On The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Program
The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme or RSMS is a special program aimed at helping businesses located in regional Australia. The RSMS makes provisions for regional employers to nominate skilled migrants where there is a genuine need for a full-time paid employee. The vacancy should be available for a minimum of 2 years and the nominee could be on a temporary visa and in Australia already, or they could be overseas. Under the RSMS, only businesses that are legally and actively operating in regional Australia can nominate workers of foreign origin for permanent residence. As this visa focuses on developing regional areas, the program is not applicable to businesses operating in major cities such as, Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Brisbane, Wollongong and Newcastle, Perth.
This particular visa category is not points tested and does not require an Expression of Interest to be submitted.
Expansion of Regional Occupation List
The Regional Occupational List (ROL) includes occupations that are needed in regional Australia. The occupations on the ROL are regularly modified and reviewed by the Department of Jobs and Small Businesses. This is a special department of the Australia Government assigned with the responsibility of regulating job services, small businesses, employment, deregulation and the labour market.
Migrants may wish to exercise this option if their occupation is listed on the ROL. For example, they will get direct access to subclass 482 and 187 visas.
Greater Focus On Labour Agreements
If there is a demonstrated need for skilled labour, approved businesses can use Labour Agreements to sponsor skilled workers from overseas if the Australian labour market cannot meet their need and if standard temporary or permanent visa programs are not available.
The Department of Jobs and Small Businesses works together with employers to develop relevant labour agreements, which are then valid for about 5 years. According to the Australian Government, Labour Agreements offer the most effective solution to the pressing shortage of skilled labour in regional areas as they provide a pathway to permanent residence.
There are industry specific labour agreements that pertain to the fishing, pork, meat, dairy, and restaurant industries.
One thing that is not yet clear is what the Minister’s stand is on the question of Australian Citizenship. In 2017, the Senate squashed the contentious Citizenship bill because of its stringent eligibility requirements in terms of language, character and residency. Whether the Minister decides to re-introduce this bill is yet to be seen.
Migrating to a new country seems to be the adventure of a lifetime, but it can also be a tedious process in the mean time. When you make the decision of applying for a visa, the choice of using a migration agent makes a lot of difference in accomplishing your migration roles. Let’s go through the reasons why you should use an experienced migration agent.
With a lot of forms and supporting materials to fill out, getting a visa is not always straightforward. If you are applying for a visa for the first time, you may not be familiar with the immigration process. However, using a migration agent can save you time as they have expert insight into the Australian migration laws. Their knowledge makes a difference between a visa approval and a refusal.
Access to Enormous Information:
The visa application form is the primary document that would state whether or not you qualify for a particular visa. If you choose to lodge yourself, you might miss out certain information that could lead to a refusal of your application. However, the registered migration agents are aware of diverse red flags and get your application processed successfully. So, utilising the experience of a migration agent allows you to gain access to the enormous quantity of information and saves you from a lot of frustration.
Get It Right The First Time:
If you make even a small error on your visa application, it could possibly result in a refusal. Having your visa form rejected can be a major drawback, and the process can be stressful enough as well. However, a proficient migration agent will thoroughly scrutinise your application before lodging it, ensuring that your visa application will be approved the first time.
Migration Laws Change Constantly:
Migration laws are evolving constantly. A document, which seems to not have been necessary lastweek may be an essential document at the present date. Moreover, the information required by the Department of Immigration to approve your visa application may also differ from time to time. An expert migration agent stays up-to-date with all changes to the migration rules and prevents your application from being refused.
Time Saving & Cost-Effective:
If your visa application is refused, you will end up losing your application fees, which may add up to thousands of dollars. However, the migration agents handle everything on your behalf to improve your chances of successful outcome the first time, saving you time and money.
To enable your family members to join you on your trip to Australia there are a few steps you need to follow. Please make sure that you follow the instructions precisely as this would ensure that you and your family can enjoy your time in Australia.
Approved family members can do the following:
- Travel with you in Australia as long as you have included them on the Visa Application.
- Visit you in Australia as a subsequent entrant as long as you have included them on the original Visa Application.
For any Visa Application, it is crucial that you include all your family members on the application as they will not be granted entry if you did not add them to your Student Visa Application.
In the event that you did not add all your family members on your Visa Application, the excluded family members will not be granted access and you will have to reapply for a new Student Visa in order to add them. The only exception to this is if they became family members AFTER you were granted a Student Visa and before a subsequent application was made.
For your family to join you in Australia as subsequent entrants on your Student Visa, you will need to provide the following certified documents with the online application:
- Certified copies of Identification Documents i.e. – Birth Certificates, National ID Card, Passport or Hoko Book
- Certified proof of Relationship for each family member i.e. – Birth Certificates or Marriage Certificate
- Certified Copy of your main Passport
- Evidential documents from education provider that you are still studying
- Evidence of Financial Capacity
- Proof of annual income of minimum AUD $70,000
- Proof of funding for travel and 12 months tuition as well as living costs for all entrants traveling on the visa, including dependents for the first 12 months
- Proof of school enrolment for school-aged dependents
- Proof of health insurance for each person on the application
Every subsequent entrant must comply with the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement and health and character requirements to be granted this Visa. All subsequent entrants could also be requested to provide additional documentation depending on their specific circumstances.
The Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa allows international students who have successfully completed their studies in Australia, to remain in the country for work experience purposes. This visa allows students to remain in Australia to gain the practical skills and knowledge in their chosen occupation. The Temporary Graduate visa is extremely beneficial for applicants, as being on this visa can add point to the “Expression of Interest” requirement when applying for one of the Skilled visas.
While applying for the Temporary Graduate visa may appear quite straightforward, a small mistake could result in getting your application refused. Unfortunately, in the past many applicants have often overlooked some detail, or they may have misunderstood what they are required to do at which stage of the process. As a result, this may lead to grounds of having the visa application refused by the “Department of Home Affairs”. This in turn may lead to several months of headaches spent appealing the decision at the “Administrative Appeals Tribunal”.
One of the more common mistakes applicants make is in relation to the health insurance requirement and when to submit this document. This requires that applicants must have made adequate arrangements for health insurance, which must be submitted with their application. If evidence of health insurance is not submitted at time of the application, it may be considered that the applicant did not meet the qualifying criteria for the Subclass 485 visa and their application may be refused.
In most cases, the problems associated with this visa subclass arise from the complex wording in the legislation. This piece of legislation reads: “When the application was made, it was accompanied by evidence that the applicant had adequate arrangements in Australia for health insurance”. Most applicants understand ‘accompanied by’ to mean that there is some amount of flexibility as to when the evidence of health insurance can be submitted. This is a wrong interpretation of the requirement. The correct interpretation is that applicants must submit the evidence of health insurance “at the same time” or “close to” the lodgement date of their visa application.
Therefore, it is in the best interest of the applicant when submitting their documents via their ImmiAccount, to upload their health insurance documents immediately after submitting their visa application.
The best way to resolve this predicament is by making sure that you have all your required documents ready at hand when you are lodging your application. This way you can upload your documents immediately after you submit your visa application, saving you time and money further down the track.
If you do not have the evidence of health insurance ready at hand for whatever reason, it is advisable to inform “Home Affairs” that the evidence will be obtained and submitted at the earliest time possible.
If you receive a notification from the department requesting you to submit evidence of health insurance, it is in your best interest to comply and submit the documents within the specified time frame so that your application may proceed without any further setbacks.
Despite what you may have heard, getting approved for the Temporary Graduate visa is not all that easy. Making a minor mistake in your application submission may lead to your application being refused. One-way to avoid this disastrous situation is by getting help from a Registered Migration Agent. A migration agent will go over all your documents carefully prior to lodgement and will give you valuable advice and suggestions that will ensure the best chances of success.
Interested in applying for this visa?
Contact our office today for a free consultation.
The thought of going abroad to study can be both exciting and unnerving. It sounds like a fun adventure of sorts but being so far away from family, friends and familiar surroundings is undoubtedly challenging. But for every reason you have in mind that urges you not to go, here are four compelling reasons why you should consider studying abroad.
YOU GROW AND DEVELOP PERSONALLY
Living alone, far away from home teaches you how to get things done independently, without getting help of immediate family. Familiarising yourself with a different culture and understanding what is and what isn’t socially acceptable in a new country can be a journey of learning and self-discovery. This is something you will never be able to find when you stay back in familiar surroundings. Living in another country helps you understand yourself better and makes you more confident and ready to face any challenge that comes your way. You will of course have the support of the college faculty and your peers, which is a great way to get started as you will not be all alone.
IT LOOKS GOOD ON YOUR RESUME
Studying abroad looks good on your resume. It gives you the competitive edge and sets you apart from the other applicants when you are job hunting. You show your potential employer that you can easily adapt to new surroundings and have an understanding of how different cultures function. When you study abroad, you will also get the opportunity to enrol in courses and be a part of internships that may not be available in your home country, adding yet another dimension to your resume. Overall, you give out the impression that you are flexible, confident and open to unique ideas, all of which are traits that employers look for when hiring new workers.
HELPS YOU BUILD NEW PERSPECTIVES
The world is an interconnected place. It is a globalised society we live in. You need to develop a broad worldview and think from a multi-national perspective, no matter what course you are studying. As you face these obstacles, you come up with new, innovative and creative answers. You get to experience life in a whole new way. You treat every single day as an adventure, waiting to unravel. As you learn and understand new things, you look at the world through a different point of view and accordingly develop your own perspectives that are very different from the ones you used to hold.
IT HELPS YOU BUILD A WIDER NETWORK
You know you will always have the love and support of your family and childhood friends but now is the time to expand and grow your network and what better way to do this than by studying abroad. Your classmates will consist of students from around the world. After you graduate, you know you will have connections with professionals in different parts of the world. The potential to collaborate on research and business projects is tremendous. Studying abroad can seem unnerving at first but you will soon settle down and begin to have fun as you familiarise yourself with a new culture, reshape perspectives, forge new bonds, try new cuisines, and experience life as a confident, young adult.
Ready to take the next step?
Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve your dreams.