With Britain leaving the European Union to the upcoming state election, we need to brace for the upcoming financial year.

Brexit: How will it affect Australia’s borders?

Britain’s Brexit decision to leave the European Union (EU) will bring in a flood of young British families and increased business investment in Australia, according to Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett. British young professionals and families will likely be unsure about their future in the United Kingdom and may consider migrating to Australia to explore opportunities for job security and career progression, housing affordability and access to quality health the education.

On the other side of the world, if the UK intends to implement our points based immigration system by 2020, the change could favour Australians in staying in the UK because we would not be squeezed out by EU citizens with free movement within the union.

There are still a number of speculations out there – only time will tell.

State Election

Election day is Saturday, 2 July 2016. Don’t forget that all Australian Citizens over the age of 18 are required by law to enrol and vote. If a person does not vote and is unable to provide a ‘valid and sufficient’ reason, a penalty is imposed.

Occupations moved from SOL to CSOL

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have released the new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) for 2016-17. The SOL is used for 189 (Skilled Independent Visa), 489 (Skilled Regional Provisional Visa) and 485 (Graduate Temporary Visa) visa applications.

The DIBP have also released the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) which is used for 190 (Skilled Nomination Visa), 457 (Temporary Work Skilled Visa) and 186 (Employer Nominated Scheme) visa applications.

To summarise, the following occupations will be moved from the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) to the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL):

  • 233611 Mining Engineers (excluding Petroleum)
  • 233612 Petroleum Engineers
  • 234912 Metallurgists
  • 251311 Environmental Health Officers
  • 251312 Occupational Health & Safety Advisers
  • 411211 Dental Hygienists
  • 411212 Dental Prosthetists
  • 411213 Dental Technicians
  • 411213 Dental Therapists

The following occupations will be added to the SOL:

  • 251912 Orthotist or Prosthetist
  • 252711 Audiologists

Changes to the occupation lists will affect invitations and applications made on or after 1 July 2016. This enables applications made during this period to still use occupations on the lists that were current at the time of application.

Accredited Status – Business Sponsorships

457 sponsors who have a long history of good dealings with the DIBP are able to apply to come ‘Accredited Sponsors’ – with their sponsorship then valid and for six years, and visa and nomination applications receiving priority processing.

In addition to priority processing of nomination and visa applications, sponsors with accredited status after 1 July 2016 will also be eligible for streamlined processing of nominations where the nominated base salary is equal to or greater than:

  • The Fair Work High Income Threshold and occupation as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO; or
  • $75,000 and the occupation is classified as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO with the exception of certain occupations.

For those who are already accredited sponsors, the DIBP will give them an opportunity to upgrade their accredited status this month to enable them to access the new streamlined nomination processing arrangements.

If you want to know more about accredited status – please contact our office for more information.

Declaration/Certification forms for ENS and RSMS applications

On 1 July 2016, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 nomination and visa application e-forms will be modified to capture the applicant’s statement at time of lodgement. The forms will include a statement that the applicant must respond to with either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The application cannot be progressed or submitted to the DIBP if no response has been made to this statement.

Please note that applications submitted prior to 1 July 2016 will continue to require the existing declaration/certification form for the application to be assessed.

General Skilled Migration – Occupational Ceilings for 2016-17

The Occupational Ceilings are the maximum number of invitations that can be issued for 189 (Skills Independent Visa) and 489 (Skilled Regional Provisional Visa) visas.

The occupational ceiling is a good indication of whether the processing time or minimum pass mark for an EOI invitation will increase for the new program year.

Accountants and Auditors
On 27 June, the SkillSelect website broadcasted that there are only 2,500 places available in the 2016-17 program year for accountants. As this is about the same number of places as last year, the expected minimum point score (70 points) and processing times to be similar to last year.

The new simplified student visa framework

A new framework for the Student Visas will commence on 1 July 2016, the new simplified student visa framework has 2 new visas:

  1. Subclass 500 (Student); and
  2. Subclass 590 (Student Guardian).

From 1 July 2016, there will be only one student visa available to study in Australia – Subclass 500. Applicants looking to study in Australia will need to apply for the Subclass 500 regardless of their field of study.

Those already holding a student visa with subclass numbers 570 to 576, the visa will remain valid and visa conditions will not change after 1 July 2016.

Labour Hire Company Policy

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) have announced an elected Shorten Government would tackle worker exploitation in the labour hire industry through new legislation, the creation of a new compliance body and increase penalties for breaches.

Starting from 1 July 2017, the ALP’s policy would make it unlawful for labour hire companies to operate without a licence and for other firms to knowingly or recklessly use an unlicensed labour hire company. Breaches of these licensing laws will carry a penalty of $216,000 for individuals (1,200 penalty units) and $1.1 million (6,000 penalty units) for a body corporate.

To help oversee the new licensing rules, the ALP will establish a Labour Hire Licensing and Compliance Inspectorate within the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman which will have the power to monitor compliance with the licensing regime, and will also keep a public register of all licensed labour hire companies.

Licences will only be granted to employers who are judged to be ‘fit and proper’ persons, taking into account criminal convictions as well as their cooperation with the Fair Work Ombudsman and the new Labour Hire Licensing and Compliance Inspectorate.

ImmiAccount Outage

The DIBP will be undertaking system maintenance between 7pm, 30 June and 9am, 1 July AEST. We urge that all urgent applications by 7pm on Thursday, 30 June as ImmiAccount, eLodgement, VEVO, LEGENDcom, and Visa pricing estimate will not be available.

190/489 application system closing temporarily
The application system will be closed at 9am on 30 June 2016 and re-opened on 4 July 2016 (any time from 12pm).

Saved applications and applications submitted but no payment made
If a 190 or 489 state nomination application has been saved or an application submitted with no payment made, the application must be submitted and payment must be made before 9am (South Australian time) on 30 June 2016. Otherwise, the application will be deleted.

Visa Application Charge (VAC) Increases?

We have not received any information from the DIBP as to whether the VAC will increase from 1 July 2016. However, we will notify you as soon as we are aware of any changes in fees.

2016 Summer Olympics – Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Tourists from USA, Canada, Australia and Japan have been added to a list of nationalities that will be able to visit Brazil without a visa for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Brazilian Federal Government has announced that citizens of these four counties will be able to enter Brazil for leisure reasons between 1 June and 18 September, and stay for 90 days, without having to arrange a visa in advance.