Entrepreneur Visa to be Introduced

On 10 September 2016, a new Entrepreneur visa has been introduced to attract entrepreneurial talent to Australia. The visa may be granted for up to 4 years and provides a pathway to permanent residence.

The eligibility criteria for this visa subclass requires the applicant to:

  • be under 55 years of age;
  • have a competent level of English;
  • have an agreement in place for at least $200,000 to grow his / her entrepreneurial venture in Australia;
  • hold at least 30 per cent interest in that entrepreneurial venture;
  • be nominated by a state or territory government.

The new Entrepreneur visa will be a suitable path for applicants seeking to start innovative ventures in Australia. If you would like an assessment or eligibility advice under this subclass, please contact our office for an initial consultation.

Reduced surcharges for Migration and Citizenship applications

The immigration department has confirmed that surcharges for migration and citizenship applications will be reduced from 10 September 2016. Our office will continue to use MasterCard to pay for all applications, for changes please refer below:

  • Visa or MasterCard credit card — 1.08% reduced to 0.98%
  • American Express or Japan Credit Bureau (JCB) credit card — 1.99% reduced to 1.4%
  • Diners Club International credit card — 2.91% reduced to 1.99%.

New ACT Occupation List (effective 1 September 2016)

Effective 1 September 2016, there have been a number of changes to the Australian Capital Territory Skilled Occupation List (SOL), in summary:

  • The following occupations are now closed: Restaurant Managers, Management Consultants, Solicitors, Financial Advisers, Human Resource Advisers, Recruitment Consultants, Workplace Relations Advisers.
  • The demand for skills within corporate management, HR and the creative / design sector is increasing. Occupations within these sectors have now opened.
  • The ‘open’ status of the following occupations remains unchanged indicating a continual high demand for civil engineers, general practitioners, retail pharmacists, early childhood teachers, architects, medical imaging professionals, registered nurses, counsellors, mechanics, psychologists and real estate professionals.

The new ACT Occupation list (effective 1 September) can be found here – http://www.canberrayourfuture.com.au/portal/migrating/article/act-occupation-list/.

General Skilled Migration – Skill Select Points Test Changes

From 10 September 2016, amendments to the General Skilled Migration points (GSM) Test have been introduced. An additional 5 points will be available for applicant’s who meet the requirements for a specialist educational award.

The special educational award is available for applicants who have completed at least two full academic years of post-graduate studies at doctoral or masters level in the following fields:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Natural and Physical Sciences
  • Other Natural and Physical Sciences
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Other Information Technology
  • Aerospace Engineering and Technology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Technology

Compliance for Business Sponsors and our recent experience

Over the last 24 months we have noticed a considerable shift from the department’s approach to monitoring business sponsors from educational to punitive for non-compliance.

In particular, we note the following are being closely monitored and referenced in decisions:

  1. Business sponsorship compliance under regulation 2.72;
  2. Position nomination (occupational) compliance pursuant to condition 8107;
  3. Market salary benchmarking compliance.

Importantly, decisions made by the immigration department are being affirmed by Tribunal members alike with less ‘purported’ leniency for minor breaches, which indicates a distinct change in departmental and tribunal mindset.

Corporate governance, conduct of directors, tax and accounting practices are just a few factors being assessed to determine a sponsor’s commitment to comply with legal standards (Immigration and otherwise) and in essence identify their business acumen and capacity to comply with Sponsorship Obligations.

Previously minor infringements (such as minor record keeping breaches) could be explained however the issue of records being independently verifiable leaves little scope to manoeuvre. If you are unsure of whether or not your business practices meet regulation standards, please contact our office to discuss an audit process. Our approach to immigration risk has been developed through firsthand knowledge of departmental process in relation to audits and investigations. We aim to eliminate exposure through a measured systematic approach of risk elimination. In respect to the primary sponsorship obligations, we would undertake various searches under ASIC and ATO databases to determine whether all relevant notices to the immigration department have been served within the relevant timeframe together with a questionnaire that serves to uncover any changes to the business that may have occurred within the last few years that may have not been notified to us.

You can find a full list of the sponsor obligations here.

If you are a business sponsor and require regular immigration audits to ensure compliance with sponsorship obligations, our qualified and experienced professionals are here to assist you achieve your goal.

Contact us for further information.