5 Key Immigration Changes for 1 July 2014

webster By Mark Webster
Tuesday, 17 June 2014

There are a 5 key changes to Australia Immigration Law coming into effect from 1 July 2014 which visa applicants need to be aware of.

In summary, these are:

  1. Maximum Validity of Skills Assessments to be 3 Years
  2. Good News for Commercial Cookery Students and Chefs
  3. Occupations Added to SOL and CSOL
  4. Visa Evidence Charge Doubles
  5. Students Must Declare Dependent Family Members

These are explained in more detail below.

1. Maximum Validity of Skills Assessments to be 3 Years

From 1 July, Skills Assessments will be valid for a maximum of 3 years for the following visa types:

However, if the skills assessment specifies that expires sooner than 3 years, the shorter validity period would apply.

The following 2 examples illustrate how this will work from 1 July 2014:

  • Paula has an ACS skills assessment which has an expiry date of 1 September 2014. She will not be able to use the skills assessment after 1 September 2014 as this is the expiry date given on the skills assessment.
  • Jim has an ICAA skills assessment which was issued on 5 November 2011 and has an expiry date of 5 November2016 (a period of 5 years). He will not be able to use it to apply for a visa after 5 November 2014 as skills assessments are valid for a maximum of 3 years.

If you lodge prior to 1 July, there is no expiry date for skills assessments. The change affects all applications lodged on or after 1 July 2014. Please contact us urgently if you wish to lodge prior to this.

2. Good News for Commercial Cookery Students and Chefs

With the addition of chefs to the Skilled Occupations List (SOL), this opens a new pathway for commercial cookery students in Australia. Students would now be able to apply for a Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visa in the Graduate Work Stream.

In order to qualify you would need to:

  1. Complete a Certificate IV or higher in a relevant field (ie commercial cookery); and
  2. Have at least 360 hours of relevant work experience - generally this would be a placement forming part of the Certificate IV; and
  3. Score a minimum of 6 in each of the 4 components of IELTS; and
  4. Complete your qualification in Australia over 2 academic years.
The 485 visa is an 18 month visa with full work rights. The best way for international students to then qualify for permanent residence is to find a job in a regional area and apply for a permanent RSMS visa.

Qualified chefs can now apply directly for a Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa - to qualify for skills assessment as a chef for the purposes of the 189 visa, you must have at least 3 years of work experience in addition to the basic requirements to pass assessment as a cook.

3. Occupations Added to SOL and CSOL

The following occupations will be added to the Skilled Occupations List from 1 July:

This means that applicants in these occupations can apply for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visas, and also 485 visas in the graduate work stream.

Occupations have also been added to the CSOL (Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List) which applies to employer sponsored visas (457, ENS, Occupational Trainee) as well as state nominated skilled visas (190 and 489):

The good news, especially for accounting graduates, is that NO occupations have been removed from either list.

4. Visa Evidence Charge Doubles

The Visa Evidence Charge will more than double from 1 July, increasing from $70 to $150.

The Visa Evidence Charge is the cost of having a visa label put into your passport. Visa Evidencing is generally not required these days because Immigration can verify your status electronically.

Though there is no announcement as yet, it is quite likely that application fees for most visa types will also rise by approximately 5% from 1 July 2014.

5. Students Must Declare Dependent Family Members

The requirements to have family members join you in Australia on dependent student visas have been clarified.

You do not need to include all your family members (ie spouse and children) in your initial application.

However, if you would like them to join you in Australia after your student visa is granted, you MUST have declared them in your initial student visa application. Note that this does not apply to people who became family members after you lodged your initial student visa - for example if you get married or have a child after you apply.

Conclusion

Please contact us if you would like advice on your situation and how the above changes would affect you.

References

Department of Immigration - Changes to SOL and CSOL
ComLaw - Migration Regulations Changes from 1 July 2014

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