CHANGES TO PARTNER VISA SPONSORSHIP - DELAYED

CHANGES TO PARTNER VISA SPONSORSHIP - DELAYED

The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) has released information after receiving advice from the Department of Home Affairs.

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016, passed by Parliament on 28 November 2018, will provide a framework to separate sponsorship assessments from visa application assessments for Family visas.


The separate sponsorship framework will first be implemented in the new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa which will be open for sponsorship applications from 17 April 2019.

Further regulation and system changes are required for the new framework to apply to other visas. At this stage, there is no timeframe for expansion of the new sponsorship framework to other family visas and therefore the current arrangements for existing visas, including partner visas, will continue to operate from 17 April 2019.

Therefore, at this stage partner visa sponsorship arrangements will not change on 17 April 2019.  

Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne to speak to one of our immigration law team members.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

FAMILY VISA SPONSORSHIP CHANGES CONFIRMED

FAMILY VISA SPONSORSHIP CHANGES CONFIRMED

The Australian Government has just announced that the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018 will commence on 17 April 2019.

This amendment allows Immigration to implement a separate sponsorship process for Family Visa sponsors – such as the new Temporary Parent visa – and to require that this sponsorship be approved before a visa application can be lodged.

Although it has not yet been announced by Immigration, we expect that the introduction of the separate sponsorship process will affect Partner visa applicants and their sponsors.

Applicants in Australia would not be able to lodge a Partner visa and secure a bridging visa while they wait for the sponsorship to be approved.

If you would like advice or assistance with applying for a Partner visa before 17 April 2019, please contact us and book a consultation now.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111
Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

AUSTRALIA AND GREECE TO COMMENCE RECIPROCAL WORK AND HOLIDAY ARRANGEMENTS

AUSTRALIA AND GREECE TO COMMENCE RECIPROCAL WORK AND HOLIDAY ARRANGEMENTS

Young Australians will more easily be able to holiday, work and study in Greece with reciprocal Work and Holiday arrangements set to commence on 1 July 2019.

Five hundred places each will be available annually for young Australians and Greeks to visit each other’s country for up to twelve months.

While on their first visa, Greek nationals may undertake specified work in regional areas to become eligible for a second Work and Holiday visa and extend their stay.

The option of a third year stay will also be available to them if they undertake six months of regional work in their second year in Australia.

The Work and Holiday visa requires first-time Greek applicants to hold or be studying towards tertiary qualifications and to have a functional level of English.

Please contact our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents at Nevett Ford Lawyers for further information and advice.

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

 

ADEQUATE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR VISA HOLDERS

ADEQUATE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR VISA HOLDERS

You are financially responsible for any health debts you incur in Australia.  The Department of Home Affairs (Immigration) might consider any outstanding health debts you have if you apply for a visa in future.

If you are not eligible for Medicare, any treatment you have in a hospital or emergency room will be as a private patient. Most temporary visa holders are not eligible for Medicare.

For routine medical treatment in Australia, out-of-hospital treatment from a general practitioner is normally the most cost-effective solution.

Immigration offer a guide to the minimum level of health cover that will mitigate your financial risk but your healthcare costs are unlikely to be covered completely. You will still be liable for the balance of your healthcare costs.

Consider whether a higher level of cover than Immigration specify here might be more suitable for you.

You can be charged a patient contribution, excess or co-payment for treatment by either or both:

  • your insurance fund

  • any hospital you are treated at

Benefit levels

You should get cover that provides benefits at least equivalent to the following:

Public hospital

For admitted patient treatment, a benefit equal to the state and territory health authority gazetted rates for ineligible patients for:

  • overnight and day only hospital accommodation (all costs including: all theatre, intensive care, labour wards, ward drugs)

  • emergency department fees that lead to an admission

  • admitted patient care and postoperative services that are a continuation of care associated with an early discharge from hospital

This includes all admitted treatments covered by the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS).

Surgically implanted prostheses

For no-gap prostheses and gap-permitted prostheses as listed in the Private Health Insurance (Prostheses) Rules 2007, a benefit at least equal to 100 per cent of the minimum benefit amount listed.

Pharmacy

For all PBS-listed drugs, prescribed according to PBS-approved indications, that are administered during and form part of an admitted episode of care, a benefit equal to the PBS-listed price in excess of the patient contribution.

This includes the cost of PBS-listed drugs administered post-discharge if they form part of the admitted episode of care.

Medical services

For admitted medical services with an MBS item number, 100 per cent of the Medical Benefits Schedule fee or less if the patient is charged less.

Ambulance services

100 per cent of the charge not otherwise covered by third-party arrangements for transport by ambulance provided by, or under an arrangement with, a government-approved ambulance service when medically necessary for admission to hospital, emergency treatment onsite, or inter-hospital transfer for emergency treatment.

This includes inter-hospital transfers that are necessary because the original admitting hospital does not have the required clinical facilities. It does not extend to transfers due to patient preferences.

Informed financial consent

The insurer will allow hospitals to check members' eligibility so members are able to give informed financial consent when they are admitted.

Waiting periods

To comply with the minimum level, the only waiting periods that can be applied are:

  • 12 months for pregnancy related conditions

  • 12 months for pre-existing conditions applied in a way that is consistent with Section 75-15 of the Private Health Insurance Act 2007

  • 2 months for psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care, whether or not the condition is pre-existing

Excluded treatments

To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, the only admitted patient treatments that may be excluded are:

  • assisted reproductive treatments

  • elective cosmetic treatments

  • stem cells, bone marrow and organ transplant

Insurance policies may also exclude:

  • treatment provided outside Australia, including necessary treatment en route to or from Australia

  • treatment arranged in advance of the insured's arrival in Australia

  • services and treatment which are covered by compensation or damages provisions of any kind

Insurers don't have to exclude these treatments. They can choose to cover them or not.

Global annual benefit limits

To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, the per-person, per-annum benefit must not be less than AUD1,000,000.

Out-of-hospital cover

For treatment that relates to medical services with an MBS item number, cover up to the Medical Benefits Schedule fee.

Except where otherwise stated, the insurer can decide whether to provide cover for out-of-hospital treatment. The insured person can choose to purchase this additional cover or not.

Excess, co-payment or patient contribution

The insurer can decide to charge an excess, co-payment or patient contribution. Excess, co-payment and patient contributions can be charged on either an annual or per-separation basis.

Portability

When determining waiting periods, insurers must recognise previous length of membership on a policy held with another Australian insurer that meets the minimum standards.

That is:

  • when transferring between Australia-based insurers where the customer has been a member of the previous fund for more than 12 months, waiting periods of no longer than 12 months will apply to the higher level of benefits

  • when transferring between Australia-based insurers where the customer has been a member of the previous fund for less than 12 months, any unserved waiting periods must be completed with the new fund. If increasing the level of cover or benefits, further waiting periods of no longer than 12 months will apply to the higher level of benefits. These waiting periods are to be served concurrently

To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, the insurer must agree to:

  • grant a member who transfers between Australia-based insurers continuity of cover for up to 30 days from the date they leave their previous insurer

  • provide members who terminate their policy with a clearance certificate, approved by the Department of Home Affairs, within 14 days of the termination date or the date they were notified of the termination, whichever is later

Buy-out clauses

To comply with the minimum level of health insurance, a policy must not contain a buy-out clause that would have the effect of terminating the insurer’s liabilities in exchange for a predetermined lump sum payment.

Arrears

The insurer will allow the insured person 60 days from the last financial date of membership to pay a premium without terminating the membership.

Insurers do not have to pay for treatment received during any arrears period until and unless the arrears are paid for the relevant period.

Evidence of adequate health insurance

Some visas require you to provide evidence of adequate health insurance before Immigration grant the visa and where applicable (seek advice).

Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne for advice and assistance:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

FIVE YEAR PARENT VISA – FROM 17 APRIL 2019

FIVE YEAR PARENT VISA – FROM 17 APRIL 2019

On 1 March 2019, Minister Coleman announced that applications to sponsor a parent for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa will be open from 17 April 2019. 

Once a sponsorship application has been approved, a sponsored parent will be able to apply for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa. Applications for the visa are intended to open from 1 July 2019

The visa provides parents with a new pathway to temporarily reunite with their children and grandchildren in Australia, while ensuring that taxpayers are not required to cover additional costs. The visa responds to community concerns about the limited number of Parent places in the migration program and associated lengthy waiting periods. 

To be eligible for the visa, a parent must be the biological, adoptive, or step-parent of the sponsor, who must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. 

The following information is subject to introduction of supporting regulations which are expected to be released in the near future.

Based on currently available information, parents will be able to stay for up to five years at a time without departing and the Department has announced that up to 15,000 per year will be granted. 

Charges

  • Sponsorship application: $420

  • Visa application charge: $5,000 for 3 years duration, $10,000 for five years duration 

The visa application charge is payable in two instalments, with one payment at time of application and the remainder paid prior to visa grant.

Other features include:

  • No Balance of Family test will be applied

  • 'No work' conditions will be applied

  • Require health insurance 

  • Must provide evidence of access to funds

 Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne today for further information, assistance and advice.

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

CHANGES TO WORKING HOLIDAY MAKER VISAS – 3 YEAR VISA

CHANGES TO WORKING HOLIDAY MAKER VISAS – 3 YEAR VISA

A new Legislative Instrument - F2019L00196 - Migration Amendment (Working Holiday Maker) Regulations 2019, increases the maximum number of Subclass 417 and 462 visas a person may hold in Australia to three (3) visas.

These Regulations increase the maximum number of ‘working holiday maker’ visas from two (2) to three (3), where the visa holder meets additional work requirements. 

The applicant is required to complete 6 months specified work in specified circumstances in order to be eligible for a third ‘working holiday maker’ visa. 

Applicants for third WHV must have undertaken 6 months specified work while holding a second WHV and that this work was carried out on or after 1 July 2019

The specified work and circumstances are set out in IMMI 17/018: Working Holiday Visa – Specified Work and Regional Australia) Instrument 2017 and Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with any questions or queries.

This Instrument commences on 1 July 2019.

Please contact our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents at Nevett Ford Lawyers for any questions or queries.

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

CHANGES TO EMPLOYER SPONSORSHIP REQUIREMENTS FOR OVERSEAS DOCTORS

CHANGES TO EMPLOYER SPONSORSHIP REQUIREMENTS FOR OVERSEAS DOCTORS

The Department of Health has introduced a ‘Visas for GPs initiative’ which is expected to commence on 11 March 2019. 

Employers wanting to sponsor an overseas doctor will need to obtain a ‘Health Workforce Certificate’ before lodging a nomination application for either a Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage Visa, Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme, or Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa. 

The occupations impacted by this change are:

·         General Practitioner (ANZSCO 2531-11);

·         Resident Medical Officer (ANZSCO 2531-12); and

·         Medical Practitioner not elsewhere classified (ANZSCO 2539-99).

The government is implementing the ‘Visas for GPs initiative’ to direct doctors into areas that have lower access to services such as those in rural, remote and regional areas of Australia, and prevent an oversupply in other areas. The requirement to obtain a Health Workforce Certificate assists the Federal Government achieve this by issuing a certificate only to those employers that can demonstrate a genuine need to fill a position with an overseas doctor. 

The Health Workforce Certificate will need to be uploaded to any nomination application lodged after 11 March 2019.

Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with all visa applications, including employer sponsored applications. 

Please contact us for any information, advice and assistance:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

Important changes to Partner Visas

Important changes to Partner Visas

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 has passed both houses of Parliament in November 2018 and is now awaiting royal assent.

Who will this affect

Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens who wish to apply to sponsor a family member and family members who want to apply for a sponsored family visa.

What this means for you

This bill will introduce significant changes to the existing Sponsored Family Visas, making it harder for people with a history of domestic violence to sponsor a partner as sponsor partners will be scrutinised before they can be approved as an eligible sponsor.

A key element of this bill requires the sponsor partner to first lodge their sponsorship application and have it approved before a visa application can be made. In addition, the Department of Home Affairs can share personal information with sponsor, visa applications and other prescribed government agencies. This means that the sponsor partners are required to agree to the results of their character checks being shared with the person they are sponsoring, ensuring that visa applicants are aware if their sponsor has a history of domestic violence.*

When will it take affect

There is no commencement date and can commence any date. However, we anticipate that the changes will come into effect in April 2019.

Effect on processing time

The current processing time for a Sponsored Partner Visa can take as long as 25 months to process. We anticipate that the changes will further prolong the process of obtaining a partner visa.

 If you are thinking about applying for a partner visa and are concerned that the changes may affect you, we urge that you contact our experienced team of immigration lawyers and registered agents to discuss your eligibility.

We recommend that you lodge the partner visa as soon as you are eligible before April 2019.

 

Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers for advice and assistance.

 

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

 

*(Regulations may prescribe circumstances for disclosure etc.)

VICTORIA IS TO RE-OPEN INVESTOR AND BUSINESS VISA NOMINATIONS - FEB 2019

Victorian nomination for select business and investor visas is currently paused – with the intention to resume accepting nomination applications in February 2019.

The current pause on applications for Visa Nomination is temporary to manage demand.

The following visa subclasses are currently on pause:

  • 188 - Business Innovation stream

  • 188 - Investor stream

  • 188 - Significant Investor stream

  • 188 - Entrepreneur stream

  • 132 - Business Talent (Permanent) - Significant Business History stream

  • 132 - Business Talent (Permanent) - Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream

Nomination applications received prior to 5 January 2019 will continue to be assessed.

Nomination applications for the following visa subclasses are still being accepted:

  • 405 - Investor Retirement

  • 888 - Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent)

  • 892 - Business Owner

  • 893 - Investor

The immigration lawyers at Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with all Australian visa applications including business visas. 

Please contact us for more information by telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111 or by email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

 

PACIFIC LABOUR SCHEME – FIJIAN WORKERS

Fijian workers will work on Australian farms under the expanded Pacific Labour Scheme as Australia sends 1000 hours of television the other way each year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit Fiji on Thursday to also announce an $84 million partnership to provide university education for teachers and lift teaching standards.

"We will work with Fiji to help them access the Pacific Labour Scheme this year, boosting both economies while helping Australian farmers," Mr Morrison said ahead of his visit.

The expanded migrant labour scheme, which was previously capped at 2000 places, allows workers from select Pacific island countries to work in rural and regional Australia for up to three years.

Australia is also expanding its voice in the Pacific, as it pushes back against Chinese efforts to increase its power in the region.

A $17 million program will send 1000 hours of Australian content each year to established media networks in the Pacific for the next three years.

FreeTV will run a study on what Pacific viewers are looking for before the news, sport, drama, lifestyle and children's shows are sent for broadcast.

A six-year, $84 million deal with the University of South Pacific will also help lift teaching training standards.

"Our investment into tertiary education means better teachers, more students accessing study, while creating opportunities for the Australian education sector," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison will meet Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and the two leaders are expected to announce a significant new economic and security partnership, including upgrading the Black Rock military training base.

He will also face questions over Australia's attempt to strip terrorist Neil Prakash of his Australian citizenship.

The Melbourne-born terrorist, who is awaiting trial in Turkey, has a Fijian father but Fiji says Prakash is not one of its citizens.

Mr Morrison visited Vanuatu on Wednesday, where he promised Australia would directly fund projects to tackle the impact of climate change in the Pacific.

Nevett Ford Lawyers migration law team can assist with all Australian and US visa related matters.  Contact us today for assistance.

SOURCE AAP - SBS

 

DESIGNATED AREA MIGRATION AGREEMENT WITH WARRNAMBOOL CITY COUNCIL

Warrnambool City Council has signed a Designated Area Migration Agreement, or DAMA with the Commonwealth for the next five years.  DAMAs utilise the existing Temporary Skilled Shortage (or the subclass 457) visa framework to enable overseas nationals to work for specific approved employers within the DAMA-approved geographic region.  However, unlike the TSS program, variations to the standard requirements of this program are available.  These variations typically include:

  • Concessions to the level of English Language of the overseas national;

  • A greater number of occupations than what is permissible under the TSS program; and

  • In some situations, an ability to offer a salary under what is required under the TSS program is also available. 

A new DAMA (“DAMA II”) has also been agreed between the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth.  DAMA II is set to replace the original DAMA for the Territory which expires on 31 December 2018.  Like the previous incarnation, DAMA II will also offer a pathway to permanent residency for the skilled and semi-skilled occupations that have been approved under it.  Given occupations on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List no longer have a pathway to Permanent Residency, further details are required to determine what settlement options are available to visa holders issued through the Warrnambool DAMA, particularly for any occupations which are not otherwise available under the TSS Visa program. 

If you are an employer in the Northern Territory or on Victoria’s Great Southern Coast Region and what to know more about the DAMA and how it may assist with your recruitment difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us directly here or on the details below.

https://melbourne.nevettford.com.au/contact/

 

VETASSESS UPDATE FOR PHD STUDENTS IN AUSTRALIA

 Last week Vetassess announced changes to their skills assessment criteria which will affect many PhD students studying in Australia.

Previously, Vetassess accepted a full scholarship as ‘work experience’ for the purpose of obtaining 1-year work experience for a skills assessment or for work experience points. However, this is due to change from Friday, 15 December 2018. This is a major change and it will affect many PhD students including those who intend to work in careers such as University Lecturers and Scientists. Applications lodged prior to this date will continue to be assessed under the criteria in place at the time of lodgement.

This new change means that any PhD applicants with a full scholarship will soon be required to obtain paid work experience in their field after completing their PhD to meet the criteria for a positive skills assessment.  For many PhD students studying in Australia, the obvious pathway to gain adequate work experience is to apply for a Subclass 485 Visa after completing their studies.  

The 485 visa is for international students who complete 2 years of study in Australia. Depending on the criteria being met the visa will be granted for either 18 months, 2 years, 3 years or 4 years. PhD graduates may be eligible for a 485 Visa for between 18 months and 4 years depending on when you first studied in Australia. The 485 visa is a great option as it offers full work and study rights. You will be working on steps to help kick start your career or gain permanent residence.

Have you recently completed your PhD? Contact one of our Immigration Lawyers or Registered Migration agents for further information on how to apply for your skills assessment and extend your stay in Australia:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

Source: Vetassess December News Letter

Visa Refusal Appeal

 

Visa Refusal Appeal

Have you received a notice of intention to cancel you visa or has your visa been refused? 

Common Visa refusal reasons include:

  • you have not met the conditions of a previous visa

  • you did not provide enough information to prove the claims you made in your application

  • you do not meet Australia’s health or character requirements

  • you gave the wrong information, or made a false claim in your application (bogus documents or misleading information)

  • For student visas, when your preferred course of study is not in line with your previous studies

  • Not showing that you are able to support yourself financially

  • For employer sponsored visas, when the business sponsoring you is not viable or there is no genuine need, the pay is not according to market salary rates and many more.

You have a limited time to respond to a “Natural Justice Letter” so it is important to act quickly and seek professional advice.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION AND ADVICE

Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with all visa refusals and appeals matters at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), Federal Court and in relation to Ministerial Intervention cases. 

Please contact one of our experienced Immigration lawyers & Registered Migration Agents for further information.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

 

ATO Changes mean employers face significant fines for not checking employees’ visas

AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE (ATO) CHANGES MEAN EMPLOYERS FACE SIGNIFICANT FINES FOR NOT CHECKING EMPLOYEES’ VISAS

Any business who employs foreign citizens and has not been performing ongoing visa checks can now be automatically caught as a result of new data matching between the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Department of Home Affairs (Immigration).

WHAT HAS CHANGED?

In respect to Visa holders, the biggest change for employers is the recording of tax file numbers against Visas, combined with release of the ATO’s ‘Single Touch Payroll’. Since December 2017, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has collected tax file numbers from all new visa applicants, enabling simplified data matching between the two departments.

As a result, when an employer submits their payroll / PAYG data to the ATO, the DHA can data match against that and can determine that: a) the employer has not been checking employees’ visas (because the DHA retains a log of every check against a Visa holder), and b) that Visa conditions have been breached.

A COMMON SCENARIO

For example, if the payroll data for a given visa holding employee indicates a salary commensurate with working 60 hours over the fortnight, but the visa holder is restricted to work 40 hours over that period, as is often the case for student visa holders, a breach could be automatically detected.

In the past, detecting a compliance breach typically involved the Department of Home Affairs conducting an audit, which is both time consuming and inefficient. However, with the introduction of ‘One Touch Payroll’, audits can be performed automatically simply through inter-departmental data sharing.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN?

Australian businesses can face fines of up to $315,000 for breaching visa conditions. Company directors can be held personally responsible for non-compliance, even if they are unaware of the specific employee, and can individually face fines of up to $63,000 per illegal worker.

Further, in the scenario listed above where visa conditions were breached, not only would the employer face potentially significant fines, the visa holder would likely have their visa cancelled resulting in deportation for the individual concerned.

EMPLOYER OBLIGATIONS

Where employees are foreign citizens, employers are required to check that employees have the legal right to work in Australia both during on-boarding, and throughout the duration of employment.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION AND ADVICE

Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist employers in relation to all visa related matters, including compliance matters.  Please contact one of our experienced Immigration lawyers & Registered Migration Agents for further information.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

 

Major Partner and Family Visa Legislation Passes Senate

Major Partner and Family Visa Legislation Passes Senate, Awaiting Royal Assent - Impact on Partner/Fiancé Visas Uncertain

New partner and family visa legislation has passed and is awaiting royal assent to become law.

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 passed in the Senate on 28 November and is awaiting royal assent. As of press time, the final version of the bill is not yet available, which may contain various amendments that were proposed for the Bill. Without knowing the specific content of the final Bill, it is not possible to accurately predict the effect of the new legislation.

Even once the final Bill's content is known, the specific impact of the bill on visa applicants will likely not be known until the applicable changes to regulations and policy are made. It is not known at the moment how far along the process of updating regulations and policy may be, adding an additional layer of questions and uncertainty to the current situation for migration practitioners.

Of specific concern to many migration practitioners is the anticipated change that the sponsor part of partner and fiancé visa application may have to be lodged and approved prior to visa applicants making their application. The effect on those intending to lodge partner visas while onshore in Australia, especially those on visas with a relatively short validity period such as visitor visas, is processing of the sponsor application may take longer than an intending visa applicant may have onshore to apply for a visa. Delays in the ability of onshore visa applicants to apply for partner visas could result in a spike in the incidence of Schedule 3 issues for onshore partner visa applicants if they delay lodging their visa application until they are unlawful or only hold a bridging visa from some other type of onshore application.

Of additional concern is the genuine temporary entrant status for visitors who have already been named in a lodged partner/fiancé visa sponsorship application - that application would seemingly establish that the visa applicant had an intention to remain in Australia on a permanent basis rather than being a temporary visitor. The effect re genuine visitor / genuine temporary entrant criteria on new visitor visa applications and new airport entries for visitor visa holders who have been named in a partner or fiancé sponsor application but have not yet been able to lodge their own visa applications onshore has generated significant concern from the industry since the anticipated changes were announced 2 years ago.

The Bill also intended to create additional obligations on current and future partner/fiancé visa sponsors, and impose sanctions on family visa sponsors if those obligations are not met.

Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist with all Partner visa applications.  Contact us today for more information. 

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

Source: Immigration Law News 2 December 2018

Retirement Visa Holders

Good News for Retirement Visa Holders

As a result of amendments to the migration regulations which came into effect from 17 November 2018, certain holders or former holders of subclass 405 (investor retirement) Visa or subclass 410 (retirement) visas may now apply for permanent residence through either the subclass 103 (Parent) Visa or a subclass 143 (Contributory Parent) Visa, without the need to demonstrate that they are the parents of Australian citizens or permanent residents.

To be eligible, applicants must have held either a subclass 405 or subclass 410 Visa on 8 May 2018, or not have held any substantive visa on that date and the last substantive visa held prior to that date was one of those visas. Applicants must be in Australia to apply.

 It is important to be aware of the distinction between the two visa pathways which are now available. The Contributory Parent Visa (S/C 143) carries with it a substantial Visa Application Charge (VAC) which must be paid before the Visa is granted. Processing can generally take between two and three years. At the moment the VAC is $43,600 for a single applicant.

The Parent Visa (S/C 103) on the other hand has a much lower charge at time of approval, currently $2065. However, the disadvantage with this visa is that the number of visa grants in any one year is capped or limited by the government – usually around no more than 1500 places per year, and because of this there is a tremendous backlog of applications waiting to be processed, meaning that applications may take many years before they are finalised. For persons wishing to transfer from the retirement visa this is not necessarily a problem because they will be entitled to remain in Australia on a bridging visa until such time as their Parent visa application is dealt with.

Irrespective of which pathway is taken it will be necessary for applicants to maintain health insurance until the permanent Visa is granted and meet the relevant health, character and other public interest criteria for the grant of the permanent Visa.

U.S. Diversity (Green Card) Lottery for 2020 is Now Open

Are you in the U.S. on an E-3 and would like to get a green card?  One way to get permanent residency is to enter the U.S. Diversity Lottery and maybe you will be selected as a lucky winner in the next year! 

You will have to be quick, as the applications are now open and only available until the beginning of November.  With the current political climate in the U.S, we do not know if the program will continue in the future, so if you have any desire to make your stay a permanent one, we highly recommend entering the lottery this year. 

The Diversity Visa Lottery is an application submitted annually for residency visas available for certain countries based on the country of birth.  A total of 50,000 green cards are available in this lottery.  For Australians and New Zealanders, the chance of success is the highest in the world, between 3 – 8%.  The application is initially free and you are allowed to apply every year if you like.  Contrary to popular belief, you may apply for the diversity lottery even if you currently are in the U.S. on an E-3 visa or are seeking other residency or visa options.

While the chances may seem slim, we have had quite a few clients who have been successful in the past couple of years. The deadline for submissions this year is Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 12:00PM EST in the U.S. (GMT -5).

Online registration for the 2020 Diversity Lottery is now open and can be found at the US Department of State’s webpage at: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/(S(ghqzrgpbjp3ezlok1sgcfnr1))/default.aspxT  Remember that there is no cost for the initial application, so if you find yourself on a website that requires payment, that would not be an official government application.

Please feel free to contact us for further questions or to set up a consultation to review your U.S. visa options. 

Nevett Ford on the ABC about the US Green Card Lottery

Melissa Vincenty was recently interviewed on the ABC about the US Green Card Lottery. A blog will be posted shortly about the Lottery but in the mean time listen the the audio clip for further information.

AUSTRALIAN PARTNER VISAS

If you are married to, in a committed (de facto) relationship with or the fiancé of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to obtain an Australian Partner Visa.   

Due to the complex nature of Partner visa applications, and the high number of visa refusals each year, legal advice and assistance is highly recommended to ensure that you can remain in, or come to Australia, to live with your Australian spouse / partner.

Applying for a Partner Visa is far from simple and being in a genuine and committed relationship doesn’t always mean that your application will be approved. The problem often lies with self-lodged applications which fall short of the required standard.

  • A large portion of self-lodged applications are refused,

  • The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) are increasing its scrutiny of visa applications,

  • Partner Visa rules are strict and many complexities can arise,

  • Not requesting professional assistance in the first instance means that applications are often not up to the required standard and may therefore be refused or substantially delayed.

It costs much more to ‘fix’ a Partner Visa refusal because:

  • The DHA Partner Visa application fee is $AUD7,098.00,

  • If the application has been refused, fixing the issue usually requires an Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) appeal application or a new application – a costly, time-consuming and difficult process,

  • The right to work, access Australian healthcare, seek citizenship and suchlike are all delayed during the time waiting for visa approval

Common reasons why Partner visa applications are refused:

  1. Lack of evidence of relationship between the applicant and the sponsor

  2. Inconsistency in information and/or evidence provided to the Department

  3. The sponsor has already sponsored 2 partners on a Partner visa or has sponsored a partner within 5 years before the new Partner visa application

  4. Inability to show the required level of commitment to each other due to significant linguistic, age, cultural and social differences between the parties

  5. Inability to respond adequately at the interview

We will guide you through the whole application process. We have helped thousands of people gain temporary and permanent residency under the Partner visa stream.  A small mistake could ruin your application and that is why legal advice and assistance with the process is highly recommended.  We will ensure that all documents supplied to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) are correct, complete and assessed prior to lodgment to ensure that you get the visa.

AUSTRALIAN PARTNER VISAS TYPES:

1.    Subclass 820 / 801 Partner Visa is for visa applicants who are married or in a de facto relationship and who are onshore (in Australia) when they lodge their application.  The right to work and access to healthcare is automatic in respect of onshore applications.

2.    Subclass 309 / 100 Partner Visa is for visa applicants who are married or in a de facto relationship and who are offshore (outside Australia) when they lodge their application.

3.    Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa (also known as the Fiancé visa) is for visa applicants who are engaged and they have physically met their Australian partner in person.  The visa applicant must be offshore (outside Australia) when they apply for this visa.

4.    Subclass 461 New Zealand Family Relationship (Temporary) Visa is for the partner of an eligible New Zealand citizen.

5.    Same-sex relationships Australia accepts same sex relationships for Partner visa purposes (see more detail below).

All applicants for a Partner Visa must have an Australian sponsor who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. Your sponsor must provide a written statement pledging to support you for your first 2 years in Australia, including accommodation and financial assistance to meet reasonable living needs.

Your relationship with your partner will be assessed as part of the application process. Additionally, applications are assessed against Australian health and character requirements.

Married Partners

To apply for a Partner Visa on the basis of your marriage, you must be legally married to your partner. If you were married in a country other than Australia, your marriage will generally be recognised as valid under Australian law. In order to be eligible for a Partner Visa, on the basis of your marriage, you have to:

  • be sponsored by an eligible person

  • be legally married to your partner (who is usually your sponsor)

  • show that you and your partner have a mutual commitment to a shared life as husband and wife to the exclusion of all others

  • show that you have a genuine and continuing relationship with your partner

  • show that you and your partner are living together or, if not, that any separation is only temporary

  • meet health and character requirements.

De Facto or 'Common Law' Spouse

If you are applying for a Partner Visa as a de facto spouse, you and your partner generally must have been in a de facto relationship for the 12 months immediately prior to lodging your application.  If you have not been in a de facto relationship for 12 months prior to application you may still be able to lodge an application if you have legally registered your de facto relationship according to the relevant State / Territory requirements where you live.  You must:

  • be sponsored by an eligible person

  • show that you and your partner have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others

  • show that you have a genuine and continuing relationship with your partner

  • show that you and your partner have been in a de facto relationship for the entire 12 months immediately prior to lodging your application or that you have legally registered your de facto relationship

  • show that you and your partner are living together or (and if not, that any separation is only temporary)

  • meet health and character requirements.

Same Sex Couples

The Partner Visa also allows same sex partner migration to Australia on the basis of being married or being in a de facto relationship (as above).

Prospective Marriage (Fiancé) Subclass 300 Visa

A Prospective Marriage Visa is a temporary visa that is valid for 9 months. You must enter Australia as a fiancé and marry your sponsor within the period the visa is valid and then submit an application for a Subclass 802/801 Partner visa.

New Zealand Family Relationship (Temporary) Subclass 461 Visa

You could be granted a 461 visa if:

  • Your sponsor is a New Zealand citizen

  • You and your partner are married or can prove you have lived together for over 6 months

This visa does not lead to permanent residence. The subclass 461 visa is for a temporary stay in Australia and to apply for permanent residence you will need to take a different route. The 461 visa will grant you 5 years’ temporary residence in Australia and can be renewed once this period comes to an end.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applying for a Partner Visa is a 2-stage process. You apply for both a temporary and permanent visa in the one application at the same time.

Temporary Partner Visa

If you lodge your application outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the temporary visa is granted.

If you are granted a temporary visa, you will:

  • Have permission to travel to and from Australia until a decision is made on your permanent visa application; and

  • Be able to work in Australia.

Permanent Partner Visa

If you lodge your partner application outside Australia, you may be either in or outside Australia when the permanent visa is granted.

In most cases, permanent residence cannot be granted less than 2 years from when you lodge your temporary partner visa application. However, you may be granted a permanent visa without having to fulfil the usual 2 year waiting period if at the time you apply you meet certain criteria, as follows:

  • You have been in a relationship with your partner for 5 years or more (as a married or de facto partner); or

  • You and your partner have been in a married or de facto relationship for 2 years and have children.

PARTNER VISA REFUSALS

If you have had your Partner visa refused we can assist.  If your partner visa application has been refused, you often need to decide whether to appeal, or to apply again.

When an application for a Partner Visa is refused, the applicant can appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

An AAT Tribunal member will look at your partner visa application again.  They make a new decision about the factor your application was refused on. The Tribunal may agree with the refusal decision of the immigration department.  Alternatively, they may disagree with the refusal decision, change the decision, and send your application back to the department for further processing.

However, if you lodged an offshore partner visa application and it was refused you could apply again from offshore.

The best option needs careful consideration and we can help as we are immigration lawyers with many years of experience in this field.

Potential Australian Citizenship changes

The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 is set to make a comeback. The Bill has been assigned a ‘‘priority status’ by previous Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s department and will be introduced to the Parliament.

The initial proposed changes were scheduled on 20 April 2017 and to have them take effect on the same date. A Bill was required to be drafted and passed for the proposed changes via Parliament; however this fell through on 18 October 2017 as the Government missed the deadline in the Senate.

However, this hasn’t put a stop on the proposed changes as the Government is still keen to implement and have these changes finally introduced into Australian law.

The proposed changes will require the applicant to meet the following criteria:

  • Have lived in Australia as an Australian permanent resident for at least 4 years

  • Pass an English language test. The recommended pass level for Australian citizenship was Competent English which is an overall score of 6 in IELTS. (Other test may be accepted)

  • Pass a new citizenship test. This will be a `strengthened' version of the current test and is designed to assess the applicant's understanding of, and commitment to, Australian values

  • Complete the citizenship test only once. This means applicants must pass the higher level test on the first attempt

  • Prove their integration and contribution to the Australian community

If the above come into effect, the process to acquire Australian citizenship will become longer and more difficult for applicants.

If you meet the current Australian citizenship requirements, we strongly encourage you to consider lodging your application soon to avoid any necessary changes.

Contact one of our Immigration Lawyers/Agents to discuss your eligibility to apply for Australia citizenship or ant visa related matters.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: Melbourne@nevettford.com.au