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Applying for a Partner Visa – Onshore or Offshore? Find the right strategy for you

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So, you’ve fallen in love, and want to spend the rest of your life in Australia with your partner. What an exciting time in your life!

You may be wondering – how do I make this happen?

Applying for a Partner Visa allows you, as the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian permanent resident, citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen, to live in Australia.

Depending on your location – either offshore or onshore in Australia, you may have different needs and options. We know that, if you are living overseas and your partner is in Australia, you usually want to be reunited as soon as possible!  Finding a solution that allows you to reunite quickly, may therefore be your priority. Others, however, have ongoing commitments overseas that they must deal with first. So determining the right timing and order of actions is important. 

Let’s look at some of the opportunities and restrictions that might apply, depending on whether you are onshore or offshore . 

But first a quick recap of the criteria (read more in our Guidebook “Reunite with your loved one).

  • You must be sponsored by your Australian permanent resident / citizen / Eligible NZ Citizen partner. S/he must have the capacity to provide you with food clothing and shelter
  • You must be in a partner relationship, that is, either married or in a de facto relationship
  • Your relationship must be genuine and continuing
  • You must meet public interest criteria

Ok, so you meet all these criteria? Then let’s move on! 

I’m in Australia and want to apply for a Partner visa

To apply onshore, you must hold a visa that allows you to do so. Some visas may have a ‘no further stay’ condition attached, so be sure to check. Also, it is preferable to apply prior to the expiry of your substantive visa, although there are options for applying with an expired visa as well (best to seek advice about this). 

In applying onshore, you must be ready to also be in Australia at the time of decision. So, think about your travel plans and commitments overseas before deciding whether an onshore application is right for you. 

Once you have validly lodged your Partner visa application onshore, you will be granted a Bridging Visa to allow you to remain lawfully in Australia until a decision is made on your application. 

The type of bridging visa granted will depend on your visa status at the time of lodgement – and therefore may come with restrictions around travel and working in Australia. Understanding this before you apply may influence your consideration of whether or not to apply onshore. 

If you have been lucky enough to obtain a Bridging Visa A, then what happens if you need to visit family back home, or are planning an overseas  holiday? If you have good reasons for travel, then you may apply for a Bridging Visa B to make one or more trips and return to Australia to await your application outcome. 

And a final benefit to most onshore applicants is their eligibility to apply for a Medicare card.

I’m overseas and my partner is in Australia 

For partners who are not in Australia, and either cannot obtain a visa for Australia or choose not to, you will apply for the Partner visa from offshore. An offshore applicant must be offshore both at the time of lodgement and time of decision.

During processing, however, you might like to apply for a visa to visit your Partner in Australia. The Department of Home Affairs, recognising that Partner visa applications can take some time (six to eighteen months), have a policy to facilitate Tourist visa applications in genuine cases. 

But remember, you must be offshore for grant of the Partner visa, then can return on the Partner visa, once granted.

How to ensure your application is approved

It’s important that your application for a Partner visa is carefully prepared and submitted – or there could be delays or, worse still, a refusal. At Aspire Australia, we guide you through the process, from start to finish. We go above and beyond just telling you what documents need to be included. 

Helping you with informative and easy to understand resources is just the first step in our 7-Step Proven Pathway.

At Aspire Australia, we want you to stay focused on the positive things – and not get dragged down by the administrative stress that often comes with preparing a visa application.

With extensive experience in uniting couples for good, you can be assured we know what works and what doesn’t.

Providing strategic advice, we will guide you through the preparation from beginning to end, taking the pain out of the paperwork, to lodge your application approval-ready!

Want more information?

To get started, we invite you to download our Partner Visa Guidebook to help you understand the visa options and process. If you’re ready for a chat, please book a Discovery Session to discuss your specific circumstances!

 

Australian Citizenship Application – Processing Time and Practice Test Preparation

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Becoming an Australian citizen is a true honour.

It is the final step in a long journey. The citizenship ceremony marks a very important moment in your life.

Some people become a citizen for the symbolic significance – they want to officially call themselves Australian. Others choose to undertake the process because they feel strongly about adopting Australia’s democratic beliefs and values.

Whatever the reason, it’s a substantial undertaking. The process can be confusing: Where do I start? Do I meet the criteria? How long will it take?

So let’s review the different steps in the citizenship process, so you can get a better idea of the commitment you’re making and the timeline you’re looking at.

 

1. Assess your eligibility for citizenship

First and foremost, you need to check that you meet all criteria including residence, identification and character.

We have created a guidebook, Pledging your loyalty to Australia, that breaks down the criteria so you can assess your current situation and whether you are eligible

If you don’t appear to meet the requirements, a migration agent can advise you on ways you can change your circumstances in order to fulfill the criteria – for example, spending some more time in Australia, or advise you whether any waivers might apply to you.

 

2. Gather relevant documents and data

You must provide the Department of Home Affairs with a range of documents to prove your identity, your residence, your intentions and your character.

As you will need to provide original documents at your citizenship appointment, ensure you have them organised in advance, as getting documents from overseas can take time.

It’s also important to verify that your data and documents are correct and consistent. Is the spelling of your name the same on all documents? Is there any information that differs from what you stated in any previous visa applications? If so, this will need to be addressed.

 

3. Lodge the application and pay a fee

The best way to apply is to lodge your application online through an ImmiAccount. You will upload your documents and pay the lodgement fee of $285. Ensure your application is complete so that it can be processed efficiently.

 

4. Prepare to sit the Australian Citizenship test

Most applicants for citizenship by conferral aged between 18 and 59 years will need to have a personal interview at the Department of Home Affairs and sit the citizenship test.

The questions in the test are based on these topics:

  • Australia and its people
  • Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties
  • government and the law in Australia.

The Department has a booklet you can read called Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond. This booklet contains all the information you need to know to pass the test. You can also sit a practice test here.

 

5. Attend interview and sit the Australian Citizenship Test

At the interview, you will take the original documents of those you lodged with your application. These documents will be checked and verified and if there is any information or document missing or incorrect, the interview will not proceed and you will be asked to return at a later date.

Remember, brush up on the information for your test. It will be an online test with multiple choice questions. Take your time to read the questions and all possible answers before selecting the appropriate one. Good luck!

You will now wait for notification that your application for Citizenship has been approved!

Next step, the Ceremony!

 

6. Attend the Australian Citizenship Ceremony – to finally become a Citizen!

The final milestone on your journey to becoming an Australian citizen is the ceremony.

It will be conducted by your local council in a ceremony that is very significant and moving.

​At the ceremony, you will make the Australian citizenship pledge, a public commitment to Australia, accepting the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. You can read more about the pledge here.

The ceremony usually takes between 1 – 2 hours. Arrive early with your guests so you can register and find your seat.

The proceedings will include a speech by a prominent member of the community or Federal Member of Parliament, an address to participants, the pledge – and finally, the National Anthem.

Congratulations – you have now become an Australian citizen and can officially barrack for Australia in the tennis, cricket etc!

And, you may now apply for an Australian passport.

 

How can a Migration Agent help?

Determining the right timing and strategy to gain citizenship can be confusing.

Adopting the wrong strategy could result in either delay or refusal of your citizenship application.

At Aspire Australia, we guide you through the process, from start to finish.

Having worked with many people like yourself – who have gone through a long migration journey, and want to take that final step of becoming a Citizen, we understand the significance and impact that applying for Australian citizenship has for you..

Providing strategic advice, we will guide you through the preparation from beginning to end, taking the pain out of the paperwork, to lodge your application approval-ready!

To discuss your eligibility or take the next step, we invite you to contact us today to book a discovery session and take your next step.

We look forward to helping you achieve your dream of becoming an Australian Citizen!

 

Don’t forget to download our Pledging your loyalty to Australia guidebook!

 

State Sponsorship: A strategic advantage in the General Skilled Migration Programme

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As many skilled workers trying to achieve an Australian visa already know, the General Skilled Migration Programme is highly competitive. 

What makes it different to other visa programmes is that candidates must be invited to apply for a visa by the Department of Home Affairs, after lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI).

There are only two ways to be invited: achieve the highest points for your occupation in any given invitation round or obtain a state/territory  sponsorship. 

Understanding which is the best strategy for you, will give you the best chance of success. 

Let’s take you through how it works.

 

Gaining maximum points in the GSM programme

In our most recent blog, we gave you some tips on how to ensure your Expression of Interest accurately reflects your attributes. We also discussed how important it is to prepare evidence to support your claims. 

Once your EOI is submitted, you will be considered for visa selection according to a range of factors including: 

  • occupations being invited in that round by the Government (not all occupations receive invitations each round)
  • the number of positions being invited
  • the points scored by other EOI candidates. 

Those with the highest points will be invited first. 

Here’s a handy tip from our Migration SuperHero Sarah: The Department of Home Affairs website provides statistics for various elements for the Skill Select programme, including annual quotas for each occupation, details of high demand occupations and scores at which candidates have been invited.

But what if you can avoid the competitive points scrum and be lifted out of the EOI pool – and issued a visa invitation through a state or territory sponsorship? 

 

Why the Skilled Occupation Lists are important

Occupations for General Skilled Migration appear either on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) or the Regional Occupations List (ROL).

Occupations on the MLTSSL list allow for independent migration through subclass 189

Occupations on the STSOL or ROL, however, will require state/territory sponsorship or, for the new 491 visa, state / territory or family sponsorship. 

EOI candidates who obtain a state/territory sponsorship, will be immediately invited to apply for the relevant GSM visa (190 for permanent residence, 491 for temporary residence). 

But here’s the interesting part – it is not only those on the STSOL who can access state/territory sponsorship.

EOI candidates on the MLTSSL may also use the strategy of obtaining sponsorship to effectively leap over other candidates in the EOI pool and obtain the golden ticket, a visa invitation. 

So, what do you need to do, which state should you choose and how do you manage the options that appear in the EOI? 

 

Selecting a state/territory in your Expression of Interest

In the EOI, you have the opportunity to select the options that interest you.

Starting with – what visas you wish to be considered for. 

Here’s our advice. Even if you are entitled to apply for the 189, consider adding in the 190 visa (and the 491 if interested).

You will then be asked to select which states or regions you are interested in.  You may select ‘All states’ or you may specify one particular state.

Something to keep in mind – most states will only consider sponsoring candidates who have only selected their state/territory. 

Therefore, it’s worth starting with the state you prefer and, if a sponsorship is not forthcoming, move gradually through the list of available states.

So which states are available for which occupations? 

This is a moveable feast and, especially as the migration programme year progresses and quotas are filled, opportunities may reduce. You can access information about which states are offering sponsorships for which occupations and visas on the Department website.

Here you can see each state at a glance, and whether they are sponsoring your occupation, for which visa (190 / 491) and whether there are any additional criteria. 

Different states/territories may require candidates to have certain

  • English language levels
  • minimum years of work experience
  • a job offer 
  • evidence of living/working/studying in the state or territory.

Check carefully to see if you meet all the criteria. 

 

What if you don’t meet the criteria?

If you do not currently meet the criteria for a state sponsorship, there is often a strategy that can be adopted to work towards obtaining a sponsorship. 

If you are onshore:

  • Can you move? 
  • Can you obtain a job offer? 
  • Can you improve your English score? 

Many onshore candidates will move interstate to improve sponsorship opportunities or transfer their studies to a regional area. 

If offshore, obtaining a job offer or improving your English may be sufficient to snag a state/territory sponsorship. 

 

Flexibility on where you live

A very important point in your consideration is whether you, and any accompanying family members, are willing to live in the state/territory area that is available. 

If you’re granted the 190 visa, you are expected to live and work in a regional area for two years. 

If you’re granted the temporary 491 visa, you may be living, working and studying in a regional area for up to five years before transitioning to permanent residence. 

So, ensure that you do your due diligence in terms of investigating job opportunities, cost of living, schools, environment and weather before deciding if a particular area is on your list or not.  

 

The home stretch

Having undertaken your research and identified your options – update your EOI, selecting only the state/territory for which you are currently eligible. 

Once you have done this in your EOI, you may apply directly to that state/territory for sponsorship (except for NSW and Victoria)  

If you are interested in NSW or Victoria, after selecting only the one state, candidates must wait to be invited to make an application for state sponsorship.

Once a state sponsorship is granted, you will immediately receive an invitation to apply for a visa! 

And you will be well on your way to bringing your dream of living and working in Australia to reality. 

 

A winning strategy

At Aspire Australia, we believe the strength is in the strategy!

We use our experience and insider knowledge to give you a competitive advantage.

Our guidebook, How to Live and Work Down Under, can help you understand the process. Download it today, to learn about the different visa pathways in the GSM Programme.

If you are ready to move to the next step, and would like a guide along your journey from beginning to end – we invite you to book into an Individual Discovery Session with our Migration SuperHero, Sarah Gillis, and obtain your very own MAP: Migration Action Plan.

We look forward to connecting with you soon!

 

Expression Of Interest: Your Gateway to an Australian General Skilled Migration Visa

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When it comes to applying for a visa, the first step in the process is usually preparing an application.

The General Skilled Migration Programme works differently.

The GSM programme is for highly skilled workers. It is designed to address shortages in some of the industries in Australia.

Due to the selective nature of the GSM, applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI), where they will then be considered – and invited to apply, should they be an attractive candidate.

 

The Expression of Interest is your key to unlocking a visa invitation. It enables you to be visible and available to be selected for either a state sponsorship – or a visa invitation. 

The SkillSelect system has created a highly competitive programme, in which candidates attempt to claim as many points as possible. 

So, how does SkillSelect work – and how can you ensure your EOI shows off your full range of attributes, to ensure your best chance of an invitation? 


How the ‘Expression of Interest’ developed

 

Prior to 1 July 2012, the General Skilled Migration programme allowed candidates to apply directly for an Australian skilled visa, if they met the thresholds of skills, English and points.

From that date, however, SkillSelect changed the landscape to establish a selective migration programme – where key skills required across Australia could be identified and candidates invited to make an application based on need.

A key component of the new SkillSelect programme was the EOI. It allows the government to filter through interested applicants and select the best candidates to extend an invitation to. 

This makes your EOI a crucial element in your journey to live and work in Australia. 

Let’s take a look then, at how caring for your EOI may improve your prospects for visa selection.

 

Getting your Expression of Interest right

 

Think of the Expression of Interest as an application for a job. 

All the data included should be accurate and will, eventually, need to be backed up by verifiable evidence. This will include things like certificates, references, test results and personal documentation. 

It is extremely important to get it right, for when the Department eventually assesses your score.

Why? If you have claimed too many points in the EOI, points for which you are in fact not eligible, and your actual score is less – you will not meet the visa requirements when it comes time to be assessed. 

This means it is essential to only claim the points for which you know you are eligible and can support with evidence.  

 

Common mistakes candidates make in their Expression of Interest

 

The Expression of Interest is NOT an application for a visa. 

It is a summary of your attributes. The EOI itself will not be assessed and you are not required to produce any documents with its submission. It is only at visa stage that your attributes will be verified.

So, what are the most common mistakes candidates make in claiming points for their EOI?

 

Education

Not all studies are equal. 

Points are available for qualifications that meet Australian standards, such as a diploma or bachelor’s degree.

Unfortunately, some qualifications from overseas universities are not considered equivalent to an Australian qualification. In that case, lower points – or no points – may be available. This could drastically affect your points score. 

For more information about recognition of your educational qualifications,  the Department of Home Affairs has a points table, for your reference. 

 

Employment

Many candidates make the mistake of attempting to claim points for all employment that appears to be relevant to their career. 

But here’s the thing – points are only available for paid work that is in the nominated occupation or a closely related occupation. 

Work that is part of a degree course, that is unpaid or precedes the relevant qualification cannot be claimed. 

The formal skills assessment will generally indicate which employment is considered relevant and at the skill level for the occupation – so it is worthwhile obtaining a full assessment of work experience from the preceding ten years.  

Something to keep in mind is that you will need to obtain supporting evidence in regards to any work that you wish to claim points for. Without verifiable evidence, the Department will not allocate the points. Here is a checklist you can use, to make sure you include everything you need.

 

Character

All applicants for Australian visas must meet public interest criteria, which includes health and character. 

You might be wondering, how do they assess my character?

Each application will have a series of questions to elicit responses that may alert the Department to a candidate who does not meet the character criteria. 

For example, some candidates will tick ‘no’ to all questions – but when a police report is obtained at a later date, an offence will show up on the report. 

It might be worth obtaining the relevant police reports early, so you can be sure of what will appear on them and provide the correct information from the beginning. 

This is also a good time to review if information provided in previous visa applications was correct. If not, then it is important to notify the Department and update it.

 

Gaining more points after your EOI is lodged 

With all your data verified and your EOI submitted, remember that you can update your EOI as your attributes improve. 

For example, if you 

  • obtain better English results
  • wish to claim points for partner skills
  • complete a professional year
  • obtain a new job

Keeping your EOI up to date will ensure that at the next selection round, you are presenting yourself as the best candidate you can be.

 

Your best chance of success

At Aspire Australia, we use our experience and insider knowledge to give you an edge.

We have created a guidebook, How to Live and Work Down Under, to walk you through the process, step-by-step. It compares the different visa pathways, outlines the criteria and the Skills Occupation Lists. 

Download it today, to get a better understanding of the GSM Programme.

If you decide you want more information – or someone to guide you through the visa process from beginning to end – contact us for an individual discovery session,

We hope to hear from you!

For our next blog, we will look into using state / territory sponsorship as a strategy to improve your selection prospects.

 

The Australian General Skilled Migration Points Test – How to ensure the best chance of success

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If you’re a skilled worker wanting to live and work in Australia, it’s likely you’ve looked into the General Skilled Migration Programme.

Reading through the information on the Department of Home Affairs website, you will have come across terms like the Skilled Occupation List, making an Expression of Interest, state sponsorship and passing a points test.

But what does all this mean in relation to your eligibility? If you can achieve the threshold of 65 points, does this mean you will be invited to apply for a visa?

Not necessarily.

Your strategy for accumulating points is, without doubt, the most important part of your application.

Candidates with active Expressions of Interest (EOI) must be invited to apply for a visa by the Department of Home Affairs. Those with the highest point score will be invited first.

So what are your options for achieving the maximum points possible?

 

Skilled Migration Points Test

Visas for skilled migration to Australia require applicants to score a minimum number of points – this is the entry threshold. Achieving additional points, however, will give you better prospects of selection. The minimum score is presently 65 points, but recent experience has shown that candidates have only been invited at 80 points and higher.

Points are available for the following attributes:

  • Age
  • English language ability
  • Qualifications
  • Employment history
  • Australian study
  • Partner attributes or relationship status
  • State/family sponsorship
  • Community language skills

Whilst some of these attributes (such as your age) cannot be changed, there are others (eg English) which may be improved to enhance your points tally.

 

How can I gain more points to improve my chances of an invitation?

Let’s say you’ve submitted your EOI – but have not received an invitation, or have tallied your points and fall short of either the threshold or the recent invitation level.

What happens next?

You will need to find a way to accumulate more points to have a chance at a visa.

Are you willing to spend the time and make the effort needed to achieve your dream of living in Australia?

Consider the following ways you could improve your GSM point score.

 

Improving your English

Your English language skills will be assessed as part of your application. All candidates must prove at least Competent English. But if you can achieve a higher English level, then you may claim points.

10 points are available for Proficient English.

20 points are available for Superior English.

There are a variety of tests that can be taken, all of which measure a candidate’s skills over reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Taking the time to improve English skills is one of the simplest ways to better your chances.

 

Study in Australia

If you are already in Australia, or are willing to undertake further study at an Australian educational institution, you may gain points for that study if your course (or courses) are of at least two years’ duration. Additional points are also available for study in a regional area.

Completing a degree qualification or some specific trades in Australia may also open up the pathway for the post graduate subclass 485 visa. And, if you have undertaken those studies in regional Australia, you may be eligible for a second two-year 485 visas.

So, why not consider the benefits of studying Down Under.

 

State or Territory sponsorship

If you have nominated an occupation on the MLTSSL but can’t accumulate enough points independently, you may consider a State or Territory Government sponsorship.

Nomination by a State or Territory Government either to a regional or metro area may provide you with up to 15 additional points. Specific criteria may apply and you may need to show your intention and commitment to living in that area by living, working, studying or obtaining a job offer first.

Apart from providing a points advantage, candidates with a state sponsorship gain a strategic advantage. As soon as a state sponsorship is granted, a visa invitation will be issued, short-cutting the competitive EOI process.

Can I gain points after I’ve submitted my Expression of Interest?

Yes!

Once you have submitted your EOI, it is valid for two years. Here’s the good news – you can access your EOI and update your information at any time during that period to enhance your chances at receiving an invitation to lodge a visa application. So, as you accumulate more points as you gain new work experience, a higher qualification – or improved English language ability, update your EOI.

 

How can a Migration Agent can help me?

Australia’s GSM programme is highly competitive. You need to have the right strategy from the beginning, for a successful application.

This is where a migration agent can make all the difference.

Developing a winning strategy yourself can be time-consuming, frustrating and confusing.

If you want advice on which occupations to avoid on the skills list, how to achieve more points, or what a ‘commitment to living in a regional area means’ – we can help.

At Aspire Australia, we will use our experience and insider knowledge to give you an

edge and the best chance for success.

We have created a guidebook, How to Live and Work Down Under, to walk you through the process, step-by-step. It compares the different visa pathways, outlines the criteria and the Skills Occupation Lists.

Download it today, to get a better understanding of the General Skilled Migration Programme.

If you decide you want more information – or someone to guide you through the visa process from beginning to end – contact us.

We can arrange an individual discovery session – a 1-on-1 consultation with our Founder Sarah Gillis, to explore your visa options and obtain your customised MAP: Migration Action Plan.

The earlier you seek advice on the best visa option for your situation and what evidence you will need for sponsorship – the better decisions you can make.

Get your shoes and sox on and take your first step!

 

DOWNLOAD GUIDEBOOK

and

BOOK INDIVIDUAL DISCOVERY SESSION

 

Other resources

If you would like more information about General Skilled Migration in Australia, head to the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you want to learn about the different State Migration Plans, here is an easy way to filter your search.

 

Changes to the General Skilled Migration Programme

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The Federal Government has introduced significant changes to the General Skilled Migration Programme which will take effect from November 2019. 

The changes focus on the distribution of migrants to regional Australia and maximising the economic and social contribution of applicants in the skilled migration cohort. 

The changes affect existing and new EOI candidates  and apply to the subclass 189 and 190 visas, as well as the new Subclass 491 visa which commences on 16 November 2019.

The Government will introduce the following changes:

  • A revised POINTS system linked to the applicants’ ability to make the greatest economic contribution.

    Additional points will be awarded for skilled partners or those with ‘competent English’,  single status applicants, primary applicants skilled in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) occupations, and applicants being sponsored to settle in designated regional areas.

The revised points are as follows:

  • 15 points for nomination by State or Territory government or sponsorship by family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia
  • 10 points for STEM qualifications
  • 10 points for skilled partner
  • 10 points for applicants without a partner
  • 5 points for partner with ‘competent’ English
  • 5 points for Australian citizen partner

Setting PRIORITIES for processing skilled migration applications.

When points are equal (excluding partner qualifications), invitations will be ranked in the following order:

  1. Applicants without a partner
  2. Applicants with a partner who demonstrates competent English but who does not have the skills to obtain Skilled partner points
  3. Applicants with a partner who is not eligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points.

Introduction of three NEW regional visas designed to attract migrants to settle into and remain in regional areas 

  • Subclass 489 visa will be replaced by subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional).
  • Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa will close
  • Introduction of a new subclass 191 (Permanent Resident (Skilled Regional) visa for subclass 491 and 494 visa holders who have earned a minimum taxable income for at least three years as the holder of a regional provisional visa; and have complied with the visa conditions.

New visa conditions which will require the visa holders to live, work and study in regional Australia and prevent them accessing other skilled/family visa programs for three years.

Condition 8579 will require provisional visa holders to live work and study in a designated regional area. It allows visa holders to move between designated regions but prevents visa holders from accessing any other skilled migration visa for three years.

Extending the 485 visa period by one year for international students graduating from regional campuses with higher education or post graduate qualifications  

 

Concerned about what these changes might mean for your existing EOI?

Unsure how you can benefit from the new changes? 

Interested to make the move to this sunburnt country?

Want to know more? 

Download our “How to Live and Work Down Under” Guidebook or

Click here to book an appointment to discuss your next steps. 

 

Visas for Parents to Australia – What’s the best strategy for you?

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It's a conundrum: migrants take the big leap to fulfil their dream of living and working in Australia arrive - then miss home.

Being removed from the familiar food, childhood home and environment, culture, friends and family, can make settling into a new country lonely.

It's not unusual to miss having your parents close-by, especially if you have started a family! Having grandparents involved in a child's life has benefits for everyone. Obtaining a visa for your parents to come to Australia could be the solution to reuniting your family.

There are several options available - and it can be difficult to work out which is the best one for you - and which strategy has the best chance of approval.

As migration agents, it is our privilege to help reunite children with their parents. Here are some important things families need to consider when thinking about applying for a Parent Visa to Australia.

What does family reunion mean to you?

There are some considerations that need to be weighed up, before you even begin the application process.

There are several visa options - and there are benefits and drawbacks to each of them. Your circumstances will determine the best option for you.

So, it's important to think about the following things when deciding.

How quickly do you want your parents here?

Are you planning ahead and thinking more long term? Or is it an 'as soon as possible' situation?

If your family is experiencing challenges and you want your parents here for comfort and support, you may wish for them to be here quickly. The ‘fastest' option, however, may not also be a permanent option.

A Tourist Visa is a quick way to get your parent here in a hurry - but it only allows for up to 12 months' stay with no work. While a standard Parent visa can take 10 to 20 years to be processed, parents willing and able to make a financial contribution to the expenses of their settlement in Australia, may be able to access a swifter process in the ‘contributory' category.

How long do you want them to stay?

Do you want your parents to come for an extended visit, or are they committing to life in Australia? Or - somewhere in the middle?

Permanent visa options may give you the outcome you want, but take longer to be processed. A temporary solution such as the Sponsored Temporary Parent visa will have a quicker processing time, but only allows for a three to five year stay on initial application. This could be the first step in a long-term settlement strategy.

What will their situation be once they get here?

Will your parents need to work? What is their health status? Where will they be living?

Sponsors for the Sponsored Temporary visa will have legal liability for any public health expenditure including aged care arrangements incurred by the parents in Australia.

They need to support the parent(s) for basic living requirements of food, clothing and shelter.

How we can help

As you can see, there are many factors to consider. Each situation is different, and therefore requires a unique approach.

When it comes to the Australian migration processes, you need time, and patience. When your hope falters, you need someone to be there for you.

That is where we come in!

As Migration Superheroes (aka migration agents) we provide advice, prepare applications and liaise with the Department of Home Affairs on your behalf. We will work with you and your family to design the best strategy to meet your desired outcome.

At Aspire Australia, you will receive open, honest feedback on what will work and what won't. We are sticklers for the rules, but that is what gets results.

Want more information?

Download your Aspire Australia guidebook Reunite With Your Parents and receive bonus material that will walk you through the process, step-by-step.

  • Compare visa pathways
  • Understand the criteria that apply to you
  • Discover the costs and timeline
  • Learn how a migration agent can help

DOWNLOAD GUIDEBOOK

and

BOOK YOUR INDIVIDUAL DISCOVERY SESSION

Hiring and sponsoring skilled workers – what to know before you start

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Do you need to hire someone who has a unique set of skills - but they aren’t an Australian resident?

Every year, thousands of Australian businesses employ international skilled workers (who are either onshore or offshore) to fill skills gaps in their company.

But sometimes you feel like you need superpowers to navigate the process.

Luckily, we’re Migration SuperHeroes, and we are here to help you find your way!

There are many different pathways you can take to fill skills gaps within your business.
If you’re not sure where to start, start here.

Recruitment

The best time to start considering if you need to hire an international worker is in the recruitment process.

Remember, these visa pathways have been developed to fill skills gaps within the Australian economy: there is often a requirement to prove that your only option is to hire an international resident.

Your role must also align with an occupation on one of Australia’s skills lists. Before you start recruitment, it’s a good idea to have a look at those skills lists.

If your role is on one of the lists, this may open up the door to you seeking out an international worker.
Australia’s employer-sponsored visa programmes are underpinned by three lists. They indicate which occupations are in shortage in different parts of the country and therefore which visas are available:

  • MLTSSL - Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List
  • STSOL - Short-term Skilled Occupation List
  • ROL - Regional Occupation List

Access the occupation lists at the Department of Home Affairs website.

Choosing the right pathway

Have you already found your ideal candidate? Let’s take the next step.

It’s time to start considering which visa pathway will be best for your business and your candidate.

  • How long do you want the candidate to stay – short or long term?
  • Is your business or role in regional Australia?
  • What is the age of your candidate?
  • Is your candidate onshore or offshore?
  • When do you want them to start?
  • Do they have any other visa considerations? These may affect your planned timeline.

Once you’ve got answers to these questions, you can explore which pathway suits you and your candidate.

Right now, in Australia, employers can access the following options:

  • The temporary 482 visa programme
  • The permanent 186 Employer Nomination Scheme
  • The permanent 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (closing on 16 November 2019)
  • The new temporary Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (available from 16 November 2019)

To learn more about choosing the best employer-sponsorship pathway for your business, read our guidebook: Choosing the right employer sponsorship option for your business.

You will find a helpful visa comparison table where you can easily see the different criteria for each option, and learn more about the ins and outs of the process.

Where to get advice

A refusal can have major implications for your business operations. Getting advice before you start is the most important part of the entire process. It lays the foundation for future success.

When it comes to Australian migration processes, you need time, and patience. When your hope falters, you need someone to be there for you.

That person is a registered migration agent.

Migration agents provide advice, prepare applications and liaise with the Department of Home Affairs on your behalf.

With over 4000 registered migration agents to choose from, finding someone you can trust through the entire process can be daunting.

Remember, any mistake can be costly.

You need someone who can stay the course, keep the momentum and who doesn't settle for anything less than an approval-ready application.

At Aspire Australia, you will get open, honest feedback on what will work and what won’t. We are sticklers for the rules, but that is what gets results.

Positive results.

Download your guidebook

Choosing the right employer sponsorship option for your business and receive bonus material that will walk you through the sponsorship process, step-by-step.

  • Compare employer sponsored visa pathways
  • Understand the criteria that apply to you
  • Discover the costs and timeline
  • Learn how a migration agent can help

Applying for a Partner Visa – Proving your relationship is genuine and continuing

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Being separated from your loved one is incredibly stressful.

As can a looming visa deadline, worrying that you or your partner might be sent home.

A Partner Visa solves these problems.

As migration agents, we work with many people who are desperate to bring their partner to Australia. They miss them terribly and they really can’t afford the time - or the emotional burden - of a visa rejection. 

But there is one thing many people get stuck on. 

How do I prove my relationship is ‘genuine and continuing’?

One of the key elements to your Partner Visa application is demonstrating this to the Department of Home Affairs.

But how? What does love look like on paper? What documents will the Department need to be satisfied?

Genuine and continuing - what does this mean?

In the initial stages of your Partner Visa Application, the Department considers four factors when determining whether or not a relationship is ‘genuine and continuing’.

Every relationship is different. Everyone’s love looks different. It’s about more than a marriage certificate and some photos. You’ll need to go deeper to show how your relationship with your partner works.

But - there is also such a thing as providing TOO many documents.  More is not always better Lots of bank statements, pictures and receipts don’t necessarily prove a genuine relationship. . 

You need to provide the right documents that meet the criteria. Here are some pointers to help you cover the four factors.

Cohabitation

This is a relatively easy one to collect as couples usually accumulate many documents showing that they live at the same address.

These might include:

  • Bills - Electricity, internet, rates, water - any household bill that has both of your names on it - or several different bills for the same address with one name on each. 
  • Driver licence - or another official form of identity with your home address on it.
  • Insurance - Home or contents insurance will have your home address listed in the policy.
  • General Correspondence - any letters or statements that include your name and home address.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these items - a migration agent can tell you when you have enough evidence to satisfy the requirements or suggest alternatives. 

Joint financial commitment

Demonstrating joint financial commitment is about more than joint bank accounts. Every relationship has a different financial arrangement, designed to suit their circumstances.

It’s about clearly detailing your arrangement with your partner - and why you have done it this way, then providing evidence to back that up.

For example, one person may be paying the mortgage and other loans, while the other buys groceries or pays the bills. Or you may have children, and one partner might be the majority wage earner, while the other is the primary caregiver.

This is all ok! Every relationship is unique. What you need to do for your visa is 

  1. explain why your financial situation is structured this way and 
  2. how you manage your expenses together. 

You may also be able to provide the following .

  • receipts for purchases that are in both names. This might be a car, or a computer, furniture or appliances - anything with both of your names on the receipt.
  • joint bank statements
  • Wills, superannuation statements or other documents where you indicate a financial benefit to your partner. 

Social recognition

For this factor you will provide evidence that you are recognised as a couple by family, friends and by others .

Items you may include here are:

  • Photos (think about family functions, parties and other events where you are with other people, you as a couple at identifiable locations)
  • Joint travel records 
  • Invitations addressed to both of you
  • Detailed statements from friends and family members

Including specific details will help personal statements from family and friends carry more weight. If you search through your emails and social media accounts to confirm dates and other details, this goes a long way towards ensuring accuracy.

Commitment to each other

This is an area which can vary greatly. Cultural differences and personal preference mean commitment can look very different from one couple to another. 

Therefore, the most important documents to include to demonstrate commitment are statutory declarations from you and your partner 

These statements should include things like:

  • Relationship milestones – how you met, have you introduced your partner to your parents, or significant people in your life? 
  • Challenges you have overcome together - show how you support each other.
  • Your plans for the future - are you working to buy a house? To start a family? What are your dreams?

Consistency is crucial. The statements needs to be compatible with each other.

What is ‘enough’ evidence?

Always remember - your application is being processed by an actual person. 

This person has been trained to look for specific things. They will be frustrated if they have to read irrelevant documents or those that are not explained 

On the other hand, there are some essentials that absolutely need to be included. Failure to provide these will result in a rejection.

Nobody wants this!

At Aspire Australia, we go above and beyond just telling you what documents need to be included.  

We start by devising with you the best strategy to meet your needs. We will then manage the application at all stages of the process. We create and adapt your checklist to take into account your specific circumstances. We then help you put together the statutory declarations, to make sure they cover the important aspects of your relationship, we manage your forms, instruct you about the public interest criteria. 

We support you through the process from beginning to end- overcoming any challenges, and celebrating with you on approval. We love seeing our clients reunited with their loved ones!

If you want peace of mind that your application has the best chance of success, we would love to be your guide.

Want more information?

To get started, we invite you to download our Partner Visa Guidebook to help you understand the visa options and process.

If you’re ready for a chat, please book a time with us now!

Don't forget to download our Partner Visa GUIDE here

Are you fit to migrate?

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Health checks are an essential step in the visa process if you are looking to migrate permanently to Australia but do you understand the importance of passing the medical test? And are you aware of the ‘one fail all fail’ system – whether a member of your direct family unit is migrating with you or not, they must undergo a medical screening and, if they do not pass the health test, your application can be refused.

So while you may get a clean bill of health, an ‘unhealthy’ family unit member may jeopardize the success of your visa application.

Australia screens closely for TB, Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS as well as other diseases and conditions that could affect the health of Australians, or that require medical services in short supply here. For more details download a fact sheet.

Many permanent and temporary visa applications have been refused for medical reasons – including diabetes, obesity, kidney  and heart conditions and most cancers.

 

As part of your visa application process you should know that:

1) You will be required to attend an Australian Government approved panel doctor to have the required medical examinations as part of the visa application process. And remember, that goes for your direct family unit members as well.

2) If you know that either you or a family member has a health issue, then you can have your health status analysed at the beginning of your migration process. It is possible to get a medical opinion on the likelihood of passing the medical screening from an Australian consulting medical practitioner familiar with the Australian visa medical requirements.

Instead of waiting until the end of the process – after all the time and money has been spent –get the advice at the beginning, saving expense and heartache.

In some cases, your health and the health of your family can be improved with a change in diet and correct exercise – helping your chances of a successful migration.

3) Depending on the visa category in which you intend to apply, a health ‘waiver’ may be available, making it possible to obtain a visa despite having a listed disease or condition.

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Aspire Australia can help you plan your visa application process – including helping with obtaining a medical opinion – so that you have the best chance of successfully fulfilling the requirements and being able to start a new life in Australia. Call us now for expert advice.