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A Summary of the July changes in Migration Legislation - 2016

 

Immigration stampEvery year, when July approaches, tensions rise as everyone starts dreading what changes in Migration legislation will take place. Rumours do the rounds, some turning out to be true later, most just fear-mongering.

In all these years working with immigration law in Australia, I believe that the risk of changes being announced to the Skilled Occupation List (the famous SOL), is the most feared change of all.

A lot of people have a lot invested in an application for Skilled Migration, and a lot of people have long-term plans for skilled visas in that program, be a temporary or permanent visa. The plans are long-term as people have to finish studies, or save money for costly application fees, or they are waiting for invitations in the SkillSelect queue, or they need to score a certain grade on English exams such as the IELTS.

If their nominated occupation is removed from the SOL before they apply for a visa, their plans are either going to have to change dramatically (and costly) or their plans end.

Some popular occupations are always rumoured to be on the verge of coming off the list. “This year Accountants will go for sure!” or “IT Professionals have no future!” are just a few of the comments we hear all the time at Bravo Migration.

Yet once more this year, these professions remained on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

So what changed (or not) in the SOL?
The occupations of Accountants and Chef will remain on the list for another year, and we know this is going to make a lot of people happy.
IT Professionals will also be happy as all IT occupations that were on the list have been kept on.
That includes ICT Business Analysts, Systems Analysts, Analyst Programmers, Developer Programmers, Software Engineers and Computer Networks and Systems Engineers also remain.
Most Engineers have also been kept on the list, with the exception of Mining Engineers and Petroleum Engineers, which were removed from the list. We believe this reflects the end of the “mining boom” and what the government thinks will happen to those industries in the next few years.
Also gone from the list are the technical Dental occupations of Dental Hygienist, Dental Prosthetist, Dental Technician and Dental Therapist.
The Department of Immigration has also removed Occupational Health & Safety Adviser, Metallurgist and Environmental Health Officer from the list.
New additions to the list this year include: Audiologists, Orthotists/Prothetists and Panelbeaters.

And what’s up with Occupation Ceilings?
The Occupation Ceilings are the maximum number of invitations that can be issued for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Family Sponsored Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visas on the SkillSelect system.
Every end of Financial Year the government decides what the number of visas to be granted for the next year will be and how many invitations for visas per profession will be issued.
It sounds complicated, and it is, but that affects directly how fast people get invited on the SkillSelect database.

Click here to see all the maximum invitations for the occupation categories.

The biggest change of all: Student Visas

I have been in Australia for 20 years, of which 16 years I have worked with visas and migration legislation, and there has never been a change to the Student Visa Program so dramatic. From 7 types (Subclasses) of Student Visa, we will only have 1 Subclass, the Subclass 500 Student Visa.

There are some good changes, such as all applications being able to be lodged online, and the end of the Assessment Levels determined who could apply for a Student Visa while in Australia and who could not. The Assessment Levels have been kind of replaced with a new system, that will rate schools and universities according to their "risk".

That risk will be measured according to the "quality" of the students the school/university accepts.

But if the introduction of Risk Ratings for the schools and universities will be a good thing, is still yet to be seen. It will definitely weed out dodgy education providers but it may be too heavy a burden on the decent providers. Plus, there will still be a lot of scrutiny for applications for Student visas from citizens of some countries the Department of Immigration considers risky - based in statistics.

Click here to read about the Student Visa changes in detail.

Most Bridging Visas can now be applied for electronically (online):
Most Bridging Visa applications can now be made online. If you are in Australia when you lodge an application for a Substantive Visa, in most circumstances you are granted a Bridging Visa as a consequence of such application.
In other cases, some people have to apply for Bridging Visas separately, as for example in cases when you wan to travel out of and back to Australia and need a Bridging Visa B. Until now you could only apply for a Bridging Visa B in person at one of the department of immigration offices. Now you can do that online, as well as applying for other types of Bridging Visa.
Be careful as in a lot of cases, Bridging Visas are granted as a consequence of a valid application made onshore, but the Bridging Visa doesn’t come into effect (and the conditions attached to it) until the Substantive Visa the person holds has expired.

Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) applications for the ACT (Canberra) will reopen on 1 July 2016.
A couple of months ago, Canberra had suspended nominations for the Permanent State-Nomination Visa Subclass 190, as it had been inundated with applications and it reached its total nominations very quickly, after publishing a very long list of professions they were looking for.

A new list of occupations for  Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) applications for South Australia  will be published on 4th July 2016.
Let's see which occupations and under which conditions South Australia will be seeking. This is a popular state with professionals who want to migrate to Australia but don't have occupations on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). Keep an eye on our Facebook page to be notified of when the list is published, we will post it for you.

More English Tests accepted for Skills Assessment of Nurses and Midwives
From the 1st July, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council, which is the skills assessment authority for nurses and midwives seeking to apply for skilled and employer nominated visas. will accept not only IELTS Academic but also other exams and it will also accept a combination of test to achieve the minimum score:

IELTS (Academic)
Results from one test sitting OR a maximum of two test sittings, in a six-month period only with at least
a) a minimum overall score of 7 in each sitting
AND
b) no score in any component  below 6.5

Occupational English Test - OET
Results from one test sitting OR a maximum of two test sittings, in a six-month period only when applicant:
a) is tested in all four components in each sitting
AND
b) no score in any component of the test is below C

PTE ACADEMIC

Minimum overall score of 65 AND a minimum score of 65 in each of the four communicative skills - listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Also results from one test sitting OR a maximum of two test sittings, in a six-month period only if the applicant achieves:
a) a minimum overall score of 65 in each sitting
AND
b) no score in any of the four communicative skills is below 58

TOEFL iBT

Minimum total score of 94 AND minimum score in each section of the test:  24 listening, 24 reading, 27 writing & 23 speaking
Results may be from one test sitting, OR a maximum of two test sittings in a six-month period only if the applicant achieves:
a) a minimum total score of 94 in each sitting AND
b) no score in any of the sections is below:
- 20 listening
- 19 reading
- 24 writing
- 20 speaking

Chinese Engineers streamlined to be accepted by Engineers Australia

Engineers Australia is the Skills Assessment authority for engineers seeking to apply for skilled and employer nominated visas.

Some countries have to show evidence of competencies in their careers, while other countries are accepted in a more streamlined way. Now China joins these countries as they became full signatory of the Washington accord and holders of Chinese accredited qualifications completed in or after 2016 will be eligible for Membership of Engineers Australia as well as Migration Skills Assessment via the accredited qualifications pathways.
For the qualification to be recognised as accredited under the Washington Accord, it needs to be listed on the list of accredited qualifications and be completed in or after 2016.

So here is a brief summary of all the changes. Nothing too dramatic, but when seeking to apply for a visa, please seek the opinion of an accredited professional, as the changes above may affect you.

We hope you continue enjoying this amazing country.

Erica Carneiro
Co-Founder, Director and Registered Migration Agent 0532487

Resources:
Migration Institute of Australia
Department of Immigration and Border Protection

(c) Bravo Migration – the information above is for general information purpose and it is not to be considered legal advice. Bravo Migration takes no responsibility for applications made without our assistance and made based only on the general information present in this article.

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New occupation ceilings for the year 2016-17 have been announced

The Occupational Ceilings are the maximum number of invitations that can be issued for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Family Sponsored Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visas.

employees

ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS

The ceiling for Accountants has increased by 89% to 4,777* places (2525 for previous year).

The ceiling for auditors has increased by 41% to 1,413 places.
___________________________________________________________________________

*23 June 2016 - MIA Notice:
The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) has received clarification from the Department on the 2016/17 occupational ceiling number for Accountants.

The 4,777 includes the number of accountants that will be approved for both the points tested visa AND employer sponsored visa subclasses.
The Department's rationale is that this will provide a more accurate figure for accountant planning levels across the broader skilled migration program.
The number of places for all other occupational categories in the SkillSelect table are for points tested visa subclasses only.
The percentages quoted in the *note are based on ABS 'total stock employment figures'.
___________________________________________________________________________

ENGINEERS

Engineering Managers: increase of 39% to 1,407 places

Civil Engineering Professionals: 27% decrease to 2,174 places

Electrical Engineers: 2% increase to 1,254 places

Electronics Engineers: no change – remains at 1,000 places

Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers: 14% reduction to 1,539 places

Mining Engineers: Eliminated from SOL for 2016-17

Telecommunications Engineering Professionals: No change – 1,000 places

Other Engineering Professionals: No change – 1,000 places

IT PROFESSIONALS

Software and Applications Programmers: ceiling increased by 6% to 5,662 places

Computer Network Professionals: ceiling reduced by 28% to 1,426 places

ICT Business and Systems Analysts: ceiling reduced by 4% to 1,482 places

OTHER OCCUPATIONS

The following occupational ceilings were increased significantly for 2016-17:

Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics: 64% increase

Solicitors: 58% increase

Psychologists: 26% increase

Physiotherapists: 22% increase

Registered Nurses: 18% increase

Medical Laboratory Scientists: 18% increase

Chefs: 15% increase

Plasterers: 15% increase

Wall and Floor Tilers: 15% increase

The new ceilings will be effective from 1 July 2016.

References:
Occupation ceilings for the 2016-17 programme year

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Changing lives

 
In 2008 we founded Bravo Migration because we had a vision, a vision such that we still hold dear and that guides everything we do: to offer innovative solutions to advance the lives of everyone we deal with, our clients, staff and associates.

I believe that you cannot advance in life without change, without choosing to change more specifically and if your change requires you to move to another country, where you think you will be happier, then we’re here for you.

Last week we held workshops in South America for the first time since Bravo started operations in Brazil. We had presented seminars in Brazil before, under the Bravo banner. I still remember all my trips to Brazil and Peru, speaking about General Skilled Migration 10 years ago, sometimes to rooms with 300, 400, even 500 people.

Back then not many people knew about the Australian General Skilled Program and I often got asked if it was real, as it sounded too good to be true. I had to tell people over and over that yes, Australia was seeking skilled migrants and that yes, if you qualified the Australian government would give you a visa to move here and you could change your life.

Now the media cannot stop talking about the program, and many times I see incorrect information published everywhere in blogs and other places, but it’s great to see that people finally understood the possibilities that Australia offers.

Organising Workshops in Sao Paulo and Rio last week had a different taste however: we wanted something more interactive and intimate, where the people attending could have a chance to ask questions, where we could discuss their cases and really add value.

The seminar format is great, but we wanted to do something different. It was a success. We only had 25 places at each workshop and they were both fully booked in 72 hours, with another 25 people in each workshop expressing interest in attending if there was a place. So watch this space as we will have another one very soon!

We have always offered services to people who are not in Australia from our Sydney office, but as myself and Michel, the founders of Bravo, were both born in Brazil, I have to admit it feels great to be able to offer our services to people there. The more lives we can change, the better.

We have obtained visa approvals for thousands of people – I have been registered with the Department of Immigration in Australia for 11 years – and I have to say, I never get tired of telling someone their visa was approved.

We want to make that phone call to thousands of people more. Hopefully one day I will be calling you!

Check out some photos of the workshops in SP and Rio below, and thanks to those who participated, your feedback was amazing!

IMG_0759

Sao Paulo

IMG_0772

Rio de Janeiro

IMG_0775

Rio de Janeiro

IMG_0770

Rio de Janeiro

Erica Carneiro
Co-Founder, Director and Registered Migration Agent 0532487

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