No more Australian visa labels

Effective 1 September 2015, labels for Australian visas will no longer be issued in an attempt to streamline visa processing and encouraging digital service use.

Visa holders’ passports are electronically linked to the holder’s visa records in a central database and are used to check traveller’s details. Changes to passport details must be notified to prevent delays in travel.

Genuineness of Position

Over the last few months we have noticed an increased number of requests for further information from the immigration department in respect to genuineness of positions under the subclass 457 visa program and employer sponsored schemes.

The documentation specifically requested in respect to genuineness of a position includes:

  1. Evidence that the position fits within the scope and scale of the business;
  2. Evidence that the position is necessary to the operations of the business;
  3. An organisation chart;
  4. Evidence that the position has been previously occupied and a statement of reasons why it has become vacant; or
  5. If the position is new, evidence of new contracts secured by the business / business expansion plans / market research.

To the extent possible, we aim to pre-empt such requests by the immigration department, however, requests for further evidence continue to be received regardless. As a result, the processing of applications has been delayed for periods of up to 4 weeks.

Parent Visa Queue

In the 2015-16 Migration Programme Year:

  • 1,500 places have been allocated to Parent (non-contributory) visas (subclass 103 & 804);
  • 7,175 places have been allocated to Contributory Parent visas (subclasses 173/143 & 884/864).

To ensure equity, all Parent (non-contributory) visa applications are assessed in order of lodgement, assigned a queue date and then placed in a queue for the relevant visa subclass. When a queue date has been assigned it is a fixed date and the application cannot be given priority ahead of other applications.

Based on current planning levels, applicants for a Parent (non-contributory) visa can expect an approximate 30 year wait before visa grant consideration. This waiting period is reflective of the significant number of Parent (non-contributory) visa applications in comparison to the limited number of visa places available each Migration Programme year.

Changes to the eligibility requirements for a second Working Holiday visa

Working Holiday visa holders will no longer be able to use volunteer work to satisfy requirements for a second Working Holiday visa.

From 31 August 2015, all applicants for a second Working Holiday visa must provide payslips as evidence of appropriate remuneration with their application. Work performed before the commencement date will not require payslip evidence.

Primary School Teacher [ANZSCO 241213] added to CSOL

The occupation of Primary School Teacher has been listed as an eligible occupation for the following visa subclasses, effective 1 July 2015:

  • Subclass 190;
  • Subclass 489;
  • Subclass 186;
  • Subclass 457;
  • Subclass 402.

ATO and Data matching

The Commissioner for Taxation has gazetted a Notice of a Data Matching Program for visa holders which allows the ATO to acquire names, addresses and other personal details of visa holders, sponsors and their migration agents for FY2014, FY2015, FY2016 and FY2017 from the immigration department.

It is estimated that this information will be collected from 1 million visa holders and will be used to improve the integrity of visa programs and compliance overall, reduce immigration fraud and assist in developing strategies to address effective operation and compliance.

Migration Amendment (Strengthening Biometrics Integrity) Bill 2015

This Bill amends the Migration Act 1958 to implement a number of reforms including:

  1. Enable personal identifiers to be collected from minors and incapable persons without the need to obtain the consent, or require the presence of a parent, guardian or independent person during the collection of personal identifiers;
  2. Enable personal identifiers to be required by the Minister or an officer, either orally or in writing, or through an automated system;
  3. Enable personal identifiers to be provided either by way of an identification test, or by another way specified by the Minister or officer (such as a live scan of fingerprints on a handheld device);
  4. Provide flexibility on the types of personal identifiers that may be required, the circumstances in which they may be collected, and the places where they may be collected.