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March 2016 - News, Views & Clues from Migration Plus

This month's issue looks at an important Federal Court decision regarding Partner visa applications, the proposed streamlined pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders and a recent increase in visa cancellations. In addition, there have been several additions to the Work & Holiday visa programme, and a campaign is launched against the proposed 'backpacker tax'. Read on for this and other interesting migration news!

Federal Court Decision: Partner Visas

A recent Federal Court decision has overturned the DIBP's approach to policy and waivers for onshore Partner visa applicants who do not hold a substantive visa.

This could have important consequences for a number of onshore Partner visa applicants.

The relevant policy provides that the requirement for onshore Partner visa applicants to hold a substantive visa at the time of their application (or to have recently held such a visa) may only be waived where there are 'compelling reasons'. 

The DIBP has been applying this policy strictly (particularly where the applicant has been unlawfully in Australia), requiring the 'compelling reasons' to have existed before the visa application was lodged. This has resulted in many Partner visa applicants being forced to leave Australia in order to lodge their applications.

In Waensila v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Federal Court overturned this approach, finding that the compelling reasons may arise after the application was lodged. This means that the requirement to hold a substantive visa may be waived if and when compelling circumstances arise, not solely where they existed prior to the application's lodgement.

It is likely that this decision will have an impact on many Partner visa applicants, and should hopefully result in fewer Partner visa applicants being forced to go offshore in order to lodge their applications.

Please contact us if you have applied for (or are interested in applying for) a Partner visa and would like to know if this decision affects your application 

Streamlined Pathway for NZ Citizens

The Government recently announced that a new streamlined pathway to permanent residency and citizenship of Australia will be available to certain New Zealanders from 1 July 2017.

Permanent residency via this pathway will be offered through the Skilled - Independent visa stream.


The streamlined pathway will be available to NZ citizens who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 (but on/before 19 February 2016), have lived in Australia for the last five years and have earned at least the equivalent of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), which is currently $53,900 per year. They must also satisfy the mandatory health, character and security checks.

It is estimated that around 60,000 - 70,000 New Zealanders may be eligible for this streamlined pathway.

This is separate from the pathway already available to certain New Zealanders who were in Australia on 26 February 2001.
Please contact us if you are a NZ citizen and would like information regarding your eligibility for this pathway or other migration options

Increase in Visa Cancellations

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has used newly introduced visa cancellation powers to deport a record number of people in recent months.

Current legislation allows the Minister to revoke the visas of temporary residents who have spent a total of 12 months or more in jail in Australia.
During the last financial year, the Minister cancelled almost 600 visas on this basis, in some cases based on relatively minor offences such as road rage or driving on a suspended licence. The majority of these cancellations related to NZ citizens.

Source: www.chandlertraining.com.au

Chinese Visitors - Priority Processing Trial

Chinese citizens applying for a subclass 600 Visitor visa in the Tourist or Business streams may now request priority processing for a fee of AUD1000 (in addition to the normal visa application charge).

The DIBP is trialling this priority processing service as part of its aim to make Australia a more attractive destination for visitors.
The DIBP will attempt to decide such applications within a shorter timeframe; however there is no guarantee that a 'priority' application will in fact be decided more quickly than a standard application, as the outcome may still be delayed by such matters as health and character checks.
Please complete our free online assessment to check whether or not you may be eligible for a Visitor visa

 Work & Holiday Visa - Countries Added

Slovenia and the Slovak Republic have been added to the list of countries eligible for a subclass 462 Work & Holiday visa.

This visa allows young people from eligible countries to work and holiday in Australia for up to one year.
In addition, Hungary has signed an agreement with Australia that will allow Hungarians to work and holiday in Australia under the subclass 462 visa. This arrangement will be capped at 200 places per year, with a commencement date yet to be announced.

Campaign Launched Against 'Backpacker Tax'

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) has launched a campaign against the 'backpacker tax' proposed by the Government.

Under the proposed legislation, from 1 July 2016 all working holiday makers will be taxed as non-residents at a rate of 32.5% on all income.
The NFF is concerned that this will deter potential working holiday makers from coming to work in Australia. This would in turn have a negative impact on the farming industry, which relies on backpackers to fill seasonal labour shortages. The NFF has proposed a lower tax rate of 19% as fairer both on backpackers and the industries that employ them.




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www.lonsdaleincairns.com.au





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Parent Visa Allocation Dates

The DIBP has announced that Parent visas are currently being allocated based on the following lodgement dates:

-Offshore subclass 173 & 143: 13 March 2014

-Onshore subclass 884 & 864: 30 June 2015

-Temp 173/884 holders applying for perm 143/864:  June-July 2015 

-Applications that have received a queue date:

-Offshore 103: 1 February 2009

-Onshore 804: 1 June 2009



 


Migration Plus | Level 12, Cairns Corporate Tower,
15 Lake Street, Cairns QLD 4870
Phone: 07 4041 2620 | Email: visa@migrationplus.com.au

This newsletter is general information only.  Specific advice, taking into account your circumstances,
should be obtained before taking any action.
Dr Christopher R White MARN 9255749


We recommend the following links to you for information about the Migration Agent Profession:
Consumer Guide
Migration Agent Code of Conduct
www.migrationplus.com.au

Helping you, helping others

Migration Plus adds value to the community in which it works. At least 5% of our profit goes towards our contributions to what we call Step Up and Reach Out which assists selected young people from Australia and around the world who choose to improve their position in life through education and learning. Read more

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Migration Plus is a long established, Australian based privately owned independent immigration consultancy with a team of highly skilled OMARA Registered Migration Agents who represent our clients from around the world.  Migration Plus provides fee-based services in addition to the official Government application fees and disbursements to advise, assist and represent our clients through the complex visa application process.

All decisions for granting of a visa remain with the Australian Government, subject to lodging a valid application using the forms or electronic lodgement systems available on the Government website and meeting the relevant criteria. Migration Plus is not affiliated with the Australian Government.  We act independently in assisting and representing our clients interests, we advocate for our clients. The Australian Government registers Migration Agents – all our Agents are registered under that system.  We are also licensed to provide Continuing Professional Development to Migration Agents and we belong to the Migration Institute of Australia.  We take great pride and offer exceptional professionalism in helping you achieve your immigration goal.