For some employers who are based in a regional area of Australia, finding and employing skilled workers can be hard. The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) enables employers in specified areas of Australia to sponsor overseas skilled migrants for permanent residency provided they commit to working in that regional area, and remain with the employer, for at least two (2) years after visa grant.
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, unlike the Employer Nomination Scheme, does not require a skills assessment for applicants who are nominated in certain occupations and can adequately meet the ANZSCO skills requirements. This means, provided you have suitable supporting evidence, it is possible to apply for this visa without the hassle of skills assessment – which is necessary for particular, other permanent residency visas.
Many visa applicants become concerned when they hear the word ‘regional’ – this shouldn’t be the case. Many major areas fall under the ‘regional’ classification, including cities such as Darwin and Perth. The locations, although regional, still provide for a wealth of job opportunities, schools and housing, as well as great lifestyles to be had by all.
The International English Language Testing System (or IELTS for short) is a key requirement of many visas in Australia.
IELTS examinations test the applicant’s abilities in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening in the English language. As the language instruction in many work-places in Australia is English, it is important to have a grasp of this language for health and safety reasons if anything else.
At the moment IELTS examinations are not needed for applicants from Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. A copy of your passport is usually sufficient however the Department of Immigration has every right to request an IELTS test from you.
Visas applied through General Skilled Migration require evidence of English-language skills and, the higher score you obtain in each band, the more points you are awarded towards the visa itself. IELTS is also necessary for some employer-sponsored options, as well as other visas not mentioned here.
To prepare for a test, the IELTS Organisation offer numerous courses and practice questions around the world and these can be booked relatively easily online. In some instances, the more practice you have the better your chances of scoring highly on the test.
In June 2014, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection swiftly removed certain family visas from the application process and closed access to future applicants. These visas were primarily non-contributory family-based visas such as the Parent Visa, Remaining Relative Visa and Care Visa.
This decision paved way for all applications lodged under the family stream to be re-routed to what is known as contributory visas – a quicker application process, but one that requires a large payment in addition to government charges, in order for the visa to be successful.
The contributory visa options have always existed however other pathways were available until earlier this year.
Some politicians have felt that the way in the non-contributory visa classes were ceased and removed without little warning was inappropriate and, as such, on the 25th September 2014 a disallowance motion was lodged with the view of enabling such visas to be re-introduced so that unfinished applications can be lodged. This motion was finalised on the same day and the Department has allowed a six (6) month period in which applications for non-contributory visas should be lodged.
Although this is great news for applicants of non-contributory family visas, the Department has advised that it can take upwards of twenty-five (25) years for a non-contributory parent visa to be granted and approximately fifty-six (56) years for a remaining relative visa to be decided. Whether or not such processing times will be decreased in the future is yet to be advised.
Recently, the Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison announced a comprehensive review of the border related fees, charges and taxes – including visa application costs. This will be known as the ‘Fees Review’.
Spearheaded by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), the ‘Fees Review’ will be conducted jointly with the Department of Agriculture, as well as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
It is expected that the ‘Fees Review’ will provide comment on those charges incurred at the border including Import Administration, Passenger Movement Charges, as well as Visa Application Charges levied by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The Australian Government collects approximately A$3 billion per year from its border activities, including the processing of visa applications and provides upwards of A$6 billion towards the maintenance of its border, and the costs of running it smoothly.
The ultimate aim of the ‘Fees Review’ is an attempt to source the most appropriate balance to ensure continued Australian international competitiveness as inter-border business remains a key form of revenue for Australia. In addition to this, the ‘Fees Review’ hopes to ensure that the costs of maintaining the Australian border are distributed equally to all interested parties.
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(Press release 01-06-2014)