Viewing entries tagged
migration agents

ADOPTION VISA – Australia (Subclass 102 visa)

The Australian Adoption visa (subclass 102) lets a child come to Australia to live with their adoptive parent. The child can already be adopted or be in the process of being adopted. The adoptive parent sponsors the child for this visa and usually applies on their behalf.

This is a permanent residence visa. If the adoption is through a State or Territory adoption authority, you can lodge the application before the adoption is finalised.

To apply for the Adoption Visa (Permanent) (Subclass 102), the child must be:

  • outside Australia when applying for the visa
  • adopted:

- with the involvement of an Australian State or Territory adoption authority (either under the Hague Adoption Convention, a bilateral adoption with a competent authority of another country, or another adoption agreement)
- under the laws of a country other than Australia and their sponsor or their sponsor's partner has and been living outside Australia for the 12 months before the child applies for the visa

  • sponsored by their adoptive parent or their adoptive parent's partner
  • under 18 years of age when the application is lodged and when it is decided.

The child must also be sponsored by an adoptive parent who is:

  • an Australian citizen; or
  • the holder of an Australian permanent resident visa; or
  • an eligible New Zealand citizen.

What this visa lets the child do

It allows the child to:

  • travel to and stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses
  • apply for Australian citizenship (if they are eligible)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted – after that time they will need another visa to enter Australia

Guardianship of children adopted from overseas

  •  If an adoption is not finalised or if it is not recognised by a state or territory adoption authority when the child enters Australia, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection will be the guardian of the child. The guardianship powers are delegated to state and territory welfare authorities.
  • The minister stops being the guardian if any of the following occur:

- the child becomes an Australian citizen
- the child turns 18 years of age
- an Australian adoption order is made for the child

Adoptive parents living in Australia

Your relevant Australian State or Territory Central Adoption Authority (STCAA) must be involved in managing the adoption process with the country where the child is living.

If you are considering adopting a child from outside Australia, you should contact the central adoption authority in your State or Territory.

Privately arranged adoptions

Australian STCAAs do not generally support privately arranged adoptions either from in or outside Australia, including the adoption of children who are relatives. They are not able to help children or sponsors to meet the eligibility requirements for granting a visa to an adopted child.

Important: If you want to proceed with an adoption from outside Australia, which has not been arranged by your STCAA, it is strongly recommended you first seek legal advice both in Australia and in the country where the child lives.

Adoptive parents living outside Australia

Adoptions that are undertaken by Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens who usually live in countries other than Australia, and that are arranged without the assistance of an Australian STCAA, are known as expatriate adoptions.

It is important to obtain appropriate advice before embarking on the adoption process.  Nevett Ford Lawyers has expertise in all aspects of the adoption visa process and can provide advice and assistance.

Please contact us today for further information:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

NEW Skilling Australians FUND (SAF)

The Skilling Australians Fund legislation has just been passed in the Senate.

The Australian Government has stated that the purpose of the Skilling Australians Fund (the Fund) is for it to provide ongoing funding for vocational education and training (VET).  The Fund is supposed to support 300,000 more apprenticeships, traineeships, pre-apprenticeships, pre‑traineeships, and higher apprenticeships all across Australia.

The revenue for the Fund will be financed by the Government’s skilled migration reforms that require employers who sponsor a foreign worker to pay a Nomination Training Contribution Charge (known as a levy) under the following visa types, including:

 
  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) visa
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187) visa

The levy has replaced the previous training benchmarks for employers who sponsor foreign workers on the above mentioned visas.

The new levy is payable by companies sponsoring overseas candidates for subclass 482/TSS visas and subclass 186 visas. The new system is a simpler one and for many employers it will be easier to meet and to administer. The training levy will be payable per application and at the nomination stage of the visa process. For each person an employer sponsors they will pay a set amount per year. The other relevant fact is the size of the employer's business or more specifically the size of their sales turnover or revenue. There will be one levy for employers with a turnover of less than $10 million and a higher amount for employers with a turnover of $10 million and above.

The amounts for a TSS/ subclass 482 visa are:

Capture.JPG

For permanent residence employer sponsored applications - visa subclass 186/187. The permanent application figure is a higher payment bit it is one off payment and paid not annually:

 
  • If turnover less than $10 million - $3000
  • If turnover $10 million or higher - $5000

Some good news is that the levy will be tax deductible and if a nomination is refused or where an incorrect application is lodged and withdrawn, the levy will be refunded. However the cost of Skilling Training Fund levy cannot be passed on to the visa applicant.

If you need more information on SAF, call one of our Lawyers and Agents for a consultation.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Immigration

The Government is implementing measure in attempt to clamp down on fraud, tax avoidance, superannuation requirements and working without proper permission.  This may impact you directly if you are a visa holder.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has announced that around 20 million visa holders are to be scrutinised under a data matching scheme with the aim of catching those who are avoiding tax, falling foul of superannuation compliance and working illegally.

What it means

Under the data matching scheme, the ATO will become privy to your tax, bank, social security and wages and will be able to share this information with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) (Immigration).

This means it will be easier for officials to detect anyone who is flouting their obligations be that a visa holder or an employer.

The Federal Government will look at records and review information on not just sponsors and visa holders but also migration agents and education providers.  Officials will be able to find out where visa holders have travelled, where they have worked or studied and the payments they have received.

It could also mean that those who left Australia may be entitled to superannuation which they didn’t know about.

How will it affect employers and visa holders?

If you claimed that you undertook some regional work as part of your Working Holiday Visa but didn’t actually carry it out, if that information comes to light, it could prevent you from extending your visa.

If you're employer and an approved sponsor, then you have a duty to keep records of wages and produce pay slips. Even if you pay cash, this needs to be documented.

Subclass 457 and 482 visa holder employees who do not declare their wages to the ATO will be found to be in breach of their visa conditions and this may lead to visa cancellation.

Data matching will pick up any discrepancies between Business Activity Statements (BAS), tax assessments, bank records between employers and employees.  

If evidence emerges that you’re an employer who offers sponsorship and are paying visa holders below average wages, then it could result in your sponsorship approval being cancelled.

When will the audit take place?

This audit will take place over the next three years and is part of a recent Australian Government drive to pay closer attention to the information it holds and be able to share records to investigate fraud and non-compliance.

Should you have any questions about the above information or if you want to discuss your particular circumstances in more detail please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential discussion on (03) 9614 7111.

 

New Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

As a result of a broad package of reforms relating to employer sponsored skilled visa programs, announced by the Government on 18 April 2017 the 457 visa will cease to exist on 18 March and will be replaced by the new Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa which enables employers to access a temporary skilled overseas worker if an appropriately skilled Australian worker is unavailable.

An overseas worker must be nominated by a sponsoring business and obtain a Subclass 482 visa before they can commence work in Australia. The Subclass 482 visa has three streams:

  • Short-term stream – allows employers to source skilled overseas workers in occupations on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) for a maximum of two years (or up to four years if the two year limitation would be inconsistent with an international trade obligation);
  • Medium-term stream – allows employers to source skilled overseas workers for occupations on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for up to four years; and
  • Labour Agreement stream – allows employers to source skilled overseas workers in accordance with a labour agreement with the Commonwealth, where there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and standard visa programs are not available.

Changes to the Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) visa will be implemented to complement the introduction of the Subclass 482 visa. The main changes will result in a tightening of eligibility for these visas by reference to criteria dealing with age, employment history, salary, English language, and eligible occupations.

Changes to eligibility requirements for the Temporary Residence Transition stream in the Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 visas will not apply to persons who held or had applied for a Subclass 457 visa when the changes were announced by the Government on 18 April 2017.

If you require further information or advice please contact the experienced team at Nevett Ford Lawyers.

Skilling Australians Fund

There have been significant legislative changes affecting visa holders and applicants of both the permanent Skilled Migration Program and the Temporary Skilled Migration Program (often known as the 457 visa program) and these continue throughout 2018.  However there are also changes forecasted for employers who participate in these programs, specifically in terms of an increased economic contribution into a newly formed fund designed to increase the skills, training and vocational education of Australians.

A Commitment to Training – The Existing Requirements

At present, in order to be an approved sponsor for the purposes of the 457 visa program (or support an application for permanent residency through the employer sponsored program), an organisation has two ways in which they can demonstrate their commitment to training. 

The first option is to demonstrate that they are spending at least 1% of their annual payroll on activities for the benefit of their employees that can be appropriately characterised as having a learning outcome.  These requirements come with a few caveats including:

  • The training outcomes must fit the size, scope and nature of the business;
  • The training must be for the benefit of Australian employees; and
  • The expenditure must not be for family members of the principals of the business. 

This leaves some discretion in the hands of employers as to how they want to engage and develop the skills of their existing employees.  For example, one of the most direct and obvious ways in which it is possible to meet the training obligations is for an employer to take on an apprentice or trainee.  The wages paged to that individual are then directly attributable to the employer’s commitment to training.

In the event a particular employer cannot meet this requirement there is an alternative option whereby a contribution to the value of 2% of the organisation’s annual payroll can be made into an Industry Training Fund (such as TAFE organisations). 

Skilling Australians Fund – The New Requirements

Commencing in March 2018, a new fund will be set up to assist with vocational education and training for Australians – the Skilling Australians Fund.  While the details of the funding model are currently being finalised, it will in part be funded by organisations who are participating in the temporary and permanent employer sponsored programs.

Organisations who have a need to source labour from abroad will be categorised as either small or large organisations depending on whether their turnover is below or above $10 Million.  From there they will be required to pay a levy per applicant into the Skilling Australians Fund.  From the information that has been announced, the levy will be payable in full at the time of the nomination, that is before a decision has been made on the nomination or the visa applications. 

The details of the levy payable are as follows: 

Table One:  Overview of Skilling Australian Levy of Organisations participating in Economic Migration Programs

Migration Program     

Temporary (457 / TSS) Visa Program
- Small Organisation: $1,200 per year per visa applicant
- Large Organisation: $1,800 per year per visa applicant

Permanent Visa Program
- Small Organisation: $3,000 per year per visa applicant
- Large Organisation: $5,000 per year per visa applicant

Should you have any questions about the above information or if you want to discuss how your business can access these arrangements in more detail please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential discussion on (03) 9614 7111 on send us an on-line enquiry.

 

The new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa

The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa will come into effect by March 2018.  It replaces the 457 visa and will be split into two groups Short-Term stream and Medium-Term stream. Here’s what you need to know:

What happens if I am on a 457 visa?

Those currently on a 457 visa will continue under the existing rules which apply to a 457.  The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is expected to announce what may happen to these 457 holders in the future.  It may be that an individual can transfer from a 457 to a TSS visa.

Short-Term TSS stream

The aim of the Short-Term TSS visa scheme is to allow businesses to fill posts with foreign workers on a temporary basis. They can only do this when they cannot find a suitably skilled Australian worker.

The positions eligible on the Short-Term TSS visa stream will be listed on the Short-Term Skilled Occupations List.  It’s a two-year visa with the possibility of one renewal so that’s a maximum of four years. It’s not clear at this stage whether they will be available to move onto permanent residency under the Employee Nominated Scheme (ENS) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS). All potential applicants will need to meet a certain standard of English and score 5 or above on an International English Testing System (IELTS). 

Medium-Term TSS stream

The aim of this scheme is to allow Australian businesses to fill posts with foreign workers where there is a severe shortage in highly skilled and in demand occupations.  These positions have been assessed as being of high value to the Australian economy.

The positions eligible on the Medium-Term TSS visa stream will be listed on the Medium and Long Term Skilled Occupations List.  This visa is available for 4 years and people can qualify for permanent residency after three years of employment with the same employer.

For further information, advice and assistance, please contact the experienced team of Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents at Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne:

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111

Emailmelbourne@nevettford.com.au

 

 

Changes for visa applicants in same-sex relationships

From 9 December 2017, you can apply for a visa as your partner’s ‘spouse’ if you are in a same-sex marriage following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia.

Under the changes, if you are in a same-sex marriage you can apply for a visa as your partner’s ‘spouse’, rather than as their ‘de facto partner’.

The changes will apply to Partner visas (subclasses 100, 309, 801 and 820) and to all other visas where you can include your spouse in your application.

You can also apply for a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) if you are in a same-sex relationship and genuinely intend to marry your prospective spouse in Australia.

For further information, advice and assistance, please contact the experienced team of Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents at Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne:

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

457 News Update: New training levy (March 2018)

The existing Subclass 457 training benchmark requirements will cease in March 2018, with a new Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy to be paid instead at the time a Nomination is lodged for the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, as well as the subclass 186 and 187 visas.

Based on currently available information the amounts payable per applicant are set out as follows:

·         The charge will be calculated according to the number of years set out in the nomination.

·         A small business (annual turnover of less than $10 million) will pay $1,200 per nomination per year for a TSS visa.

·         A large business will pay $1,800 per nominee per year.

·         If the employee is applying for a 4 year TSS visa, this will require the 4 annual payments to be made at the time of application. If a large business nominates an employee for a 2 year TSS visa, the business must pay the annual amount for 2 years.

·         For permanent visas, the charge will be $5,000 per applicant for a large business, and $3,000 per applicant for a small business.

·         The maximum amount of the nomination training contribution charge is capped at $8,000 for nominations relating to a temporary visa, and $5,500 for nominations relating to permanent visas, for the financial year commencing 1 July 2017.

·         Nomination contribution charges to be made in later financial years will be indexed in line with CPI.

It is still unclear but it is likely that this fee cannot be passed on to the visa applicant.

For further information and advice please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers:

Telephone: + 61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au

Australian citizenship changes – again!

On 20 April 2017, the Australian Government announced a series of changes to the Australian citizenship requirements.

After the legislation necessary to implement these changes was introduced into Parliament it became clear that the government would not receive sufficient support to have the legislation passed and so, on 18 October 2017, proposed amendments to the Bill were announced.

Subject to the passing of the proposed amended legislation, the new requirements for citizenship will come into effect on 1 July 2018 and include:

  • increasing the general residence requirement, which means applicants for Australian citizenship will need to have a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship with no more than one year spent outside Australia during that period
  • completing a separate English language test, where applicants will need to demonstrate English language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at the modest level before applying for citizenship by conferral
  • strengthening the Australian values statement to include reference to allegiance to Australia and requiring applicants to undertake to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community
  • strengthening the test for Australian citizenship through the addition of new test questions about Australian values and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship
  • a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community
  • strengthening the pledge to refer to allegiance to Australia, and extending the requirement to make the pledge to applicants aged 16 years and over for all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption.

What does this mean for persons who have already applied for citizenship?

Applications for Australian citizenship lodged up to 30 June 2018 will be assessed against the eligibility criteria in place when the application was made.

Applications on or after 1 July 2018 (subject to the passage of legislation)

From 1 July 2018 (subject to the passage of legislation), the new requirements for Australian citizenship will take effect. If you apply for Australian citizenship on or after this date, your application will be assessed against the new requirements.

Further information

Please contact us if you require more information.

457 Visa Update – October 2017

As previously flagged in one of our earlier updates, the 457 visa program will transition to the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa from March 2018.  It is expected that there will be ongoing changes to the requirements businesses need to meet in order to nominate visa holders. This update relates to some of the recent changes for businesses and 457 visa holders.

Changes to Market Salary Rate Requirements

The Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP) has strengthened ‘market salary’ requirements, meaning employers will need to provide additional documentation to show they are paying their visa holders equivalent market salary rates to local workers.

In an initiative to prevent visa holders from being exploited where there is no Australian-equivalent employee, employers will need to:

§  Provide a written statement outlining how they have determined the pay for an equivalent Australian worker

§  Prepare references to the job outlook and prospects of the role in the Australian market.

This extra documentation is required in addition to the usual evidence requirements businesses must show to ensure Australian market salary rates have been met.

Labour Market Testing Evidence Arrangements

Businesses who have lodged a nomination application on or after 1 October 2017, will need to provide additional evidence to show they have adequately tested the local labour market.

The main changes for businesses are as follows:

§  A copy of relevant advertisements will need to be provided, including evidence of the duration of the advertising period;

§  Receipts for any advertising fees paid to be submitted at the time of application;

§  Advertisements also need to be nationally accessible, for example through a service such as SEEK, MyCareer, LinkedIn, Gumtree and alike;

§  The Domestic Recruitment Table will no longer be accepted by DIBP as a way of demonstrating that the Australian labour market has been tested.

 

When the 457 visa program transitions to the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa in March 2018, businesses may need to meet additional labour market testing requirements. Further information is expected from DIBP in coming months.

The DIBP states that these changes aim to ensure overseas professionals are nominated for positions which demand skills and experience that are difficult to source locally.

Permanent Residence Prospects for Employees Currently on a 457 visa

We can confirm existing subclass 457 visa holders or applicants as at 18 April 2017 will continue to have access to an employer sponsored pathway to permanent residence, however the policies governing the transitional provisions are yet to be confirmed by DIBP. The DIBP has stated it hopes to advise of this before the end of the year.

Managing the 457 visa changes

To support businesses throughout the 457 changes, Nevett Ford Lawyers can advise your business on how to manage and prepare for the additional requirements to nominate visa holders.

Contact us today and speak to one of our team of immigration lawyers and registered migration agents for more information:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: Melbourne@nevettford.com.au

Subclass 602 Medical Treatment visas

There has been an amendment to the migration regulations which removes barriers to applicants applying for medical treatment visas onshore by removing the current ‘Schedule 3’ requirements. These are replaced by the requirement to provide legislatively specified documentation.

This documentation is designed to ensure only applicants with genuine medical conditions may apply for this visa and will include the additional Form 1507 which must be signed by a registered medical practitioner.    

These amendments apply to medical treatment visa applications made on or after 1 July 2017.

Please contactNevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne for advice and assistance