Migration Plus
November 2017 - News, Views & Clues from Migration Plus

In this month's issue, we look at the Australian Government's postponement of changes to Australian citizenship requirements, provide some timely reminders for employer sponsors, and review changes to the character requirements for visa applicants. We also look over some changes coming up in 2018!

Australian Citizenship Changes Postponed

The Australian Government has announced that the proposed changes to the requirements for citizenship by conferral will be postponed until July 2018.

As mentioned in our last newsletter, if passed, the Bill containing the changes would have had retroactive effect as of April 2017.
The proposed changes included the requirement to have been a permanent resident for at least 4 years prior to application, and to have competent English.

However, the Bill failed to pass and the Government now proposes to introduce new changes to the requirements in July 2018.

This means that the current requirements continue to apply, including only one year of permanent residence, and no specific English language test.  Applications for citizenship by conferral lodged PRIOR to 1 July 2018 will be subject to these requirements.

The changes that the Government proposes to introduce in July 2018 still include the requirement for four years of permanent residence prior to application. However, the level of English required has been changed to 'modest'. If this legislation is passed successfully,  all applications lodged from 1 July 2018 will be subject to the new requirements.

Given the changes proposed, it is advisable for all those who are currently eligible and considering applying for Australian citizenship to give serious thought to lodging their applications as soon as possible.
Please contact us to check if you are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral.

Character Requirement Change

On 18 November 2017 the Government broadened the character requirements for visa applicants.

Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4020 allows the DIBP to refuse a visa application if the applicant has previously provided false or misleading information in support of a visa application.
Prior to 18 November this criterion applied only to false or misleading information supplied in support of a visa that the applicant had held during the last 12 months.

The criterion has been expanded significantly, and now applies to false or misleading information supplied in support of any visa held or applied for during the last 10 years. This expanded PIC 4020 will affect any visa applications lodged on or after 18 November 2017.

This makes it particularly critical that visa applicants ensure all information they provide to the DIBP is totally accurate and complete. Any potentially incorrect, false or misleading information supplied to the DIBP in support of a visa application will now affect any visa applications lodged in the following 10 years.
Please contact us if you have any concerns or questions regarding the impact of this expanded character requirement.

ENS/RSMS: Subclass 457 Transition

As discussed in our May edition of this newsletter, the Government has announced that as of March 2018 the Medium & Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) will be the skilled occupation list for both ENS & RSMS applications (with additional occupations in the farming & agricultural sector available for RSMS applications). 
This is a MAJOR change as it means that many occupations will NOT be eligible for these visas from this date. In addition, employers nominating positions under the ENS/RSMS must pay visa applicants the market salary AND this must meet TSMIT (currently $53,900 per year). Visa applicants must also have at least three years of relevant work experience and be no older than 45 at the time of application. There will be various other changes, including to employer training requirements, as outlined here.

However, the Government has announced that transitional requirements will apply to ENS & RSMS visa applicants who hold subclass 457 visas that were held OR applied for prior to 19 April 2017. These RSMS/ENS visa applicants will not be subject to some of the new and more onerous criteria that will be introduced in March 2018. In particular:
- the current skilled occupation lists will apply (i.e. there will be no restrictions provided the visa applicant remains in the position nominated under 457)
- the age threshold will remain at 50
- the work experience requirement will continue to be 2 years rather than 3

Current criteria for RSMS and ENS visas continue to apply to applications lodged prior to March 2018.
Click here for a free online assessment of your eligibility for a RSMS or ENS visa.

Skilling Australians Fund

The Government has introduced two Bills to allow for the creation of the Skilling Australians Fund, which is intended to train Australian workers in new skills.

Provided this legislation passes, from March 2018 employers who wish to nominate applicants for the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa, which will replace the subclass 457 visa, must pay an annual foreign worker levy to the Fund.
Large businesses (with an annual revenue of more than $10 million) will be required to pay $1,800 per year for each worker nominated. The total charge payable for each worker will be capped at $8,000 to allow the flexibility for future increases, and to provide employers with some certainty. Smaller businesses (with an annual revenue of less than $10 million) will pay $1,200 per year for each nominated worker. 

Employers who wish to nominate applicants for ENS or RSMS visas will also be required to make a one-off payment to the Fund for each worker nominated. This one-off payment will be $3,000 for businesses with an annual revenue of less than $10 million, and $5,000 for businesses with an annual revenue of more than $10 million. It will be payable IN FULL at the time of the nomination. The payment will be capped at $5,500 to allow for future increases and to provide certainty.
Please contact us for further details regarding the Skilling Australians Fund and the contributions required from employers.

Perth No Longer Regional

As of 18 November 2017, the Perth metropolitan area has been removed from the list of regional areas eligible for the RSMS.

This means that businesses located in the Perth metropolitan area are no longer able to nominate workers for RSMS visas, and must instead use the ENS to nominate permanent employees.
This applies to applications lodged on or after 18 November 2017. Applications lodged prior to this date are not affected by the change.

Gold Coast Restaurant Penalised

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) recently announced that the operators of two Gold Coast restaurants have been penalised more than $284,000 and criticised by a Judge for their 'heinous' conduct in underpaying overseas workers, and using false records to cover it up.

The owners underpaid nine employees by $59,080 over four months in 2015. Most of the workers were Japanese citizens in their 20s who were in Australia on subclass 417 Working Holiday visas, and were performing cooking and waiting duties at Samurais Paradise Restaurant and Japanese Curry House Kawaii.

Following an audit of the restaurants during which the owners provided records to show that they had paid employees in accordance with workplace laws, a FWO investigation determined that they had in fact been paying employees between $8 and $11 per hour and had provided false records to cover this up.

The Judge noted that the exploitation of the workers was 'certainly deliberate' and that the record-keeping falsification was 'very serious'. The owners have now back-paid the workers' wages in full. See here for the relevant FWO article.

The FWO has stated that any businesses found to be breaching record-keeping laws run the risk of even higher penalties in the future.
Visit the FWO's website,, for free advice and assistance regarding employee and employer rights and obligations in the workplace. 

Chef/Cook Shortage in Queensland

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council recently hosted a forum to discuss the ongoing shortage of chefs and cooks in Queensland. There are over 900 vacancies on Seek for cooks and chefs in Queensland, including 70 in Cairns and the Far North. Businesses have reported increasing difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified chefs who are willing to work the often unsocial hours required.
Restaurateurs are also warning that the skills shortage, both in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia, will be exacerbated by the upcoming abolishment of the subclass 457 visa and introduction of the TSS visa.

The proposed changes to the temporary visa programme could jeopardise both restaurants' plans for expansion and the recruitment and retention of skilled employees who may not come to work in Australia if the pathway to permanent residence is removed. See here for the full ABC article regarding the impact of the changes on the industry.
Please contact us for an assessment of your eligibility for a temporary work visa, or to check if your business is able to sponsor temporary workers.

MIA Conference 2017

The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA), the professional association for migration agents in Australia, held its annual national conference in Melbourne from 8-10 November 2017.

Migration Plus was represented at the conference by Director and Senior Agent Mateja Rautner, along with 9 other members of our team.

The conference was well-attended and our agents heard from a range of speakers on multiple issues, including the DIBP's latest updates on changes to employer-sponsored visas, and the processing of family visa and citizenship applications.

In addition, Dr Chris White, our founder and a member of the MIA for more than 25 years, was honoured at the gala dinner for obtaining the MIA's Lifetime Achievement Award shortly before his recent passing.
 Partner Visa Processing Changes
 The DIBP has announced that as of 18 November 2017, ALL Partner visa applications must be lodged ONLINE. Paper applications lodged on or after this date will be invalid.

In addition, the DIBP has advised that Partner visa applications that are lodged by registered agents with no (or very poor) supporting documents may be refused without notice and without any requests for further information. This approach is being implemented due to the high level of incomplete and undocumented applications being lodged, and is aimed at reducing the large backlog.

The DIBP has also stated that it will prioritise the processing of low-risk and well-documented applications in 2017-2018.

This change in the DIBP's processing approach underlines the critical importance of supplying all documents in support of a Partner visa application as soon as possible, preferably at the time of lodging the application.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the documents required in support of a Partner visa application.

FREE Online Assessment

Click HERE for a free assessment of your eligibility for an Australian visa! 



Client Testimonials

"Thanks Rebecca and the Migration Plus for the hard work and kind help. It's very lucky of me to be with you guys."

"Very prompt in response. Much appreciate all that has been done."

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A New Book by Dr Chris White 

We are delighted to announce the recent publishing of a new book by our late founder, Dr Christopher White.

"How is it really? This seemingly simple question is at the root of many of life's philosophies, and answers are often based on religion or a call to blind faith. But when we truly ask ourselves this question, we are asking about some fundamental truths about existence - truths that don't cross or conflict with the bounds of religion, science, creed or nationality. 

Philosopher's Corner is not a traditional philosophy of life; it is about revelations that we have closed our minds to and lost sight of both in the Western and Eastern worlds, and it is about individually bringing back these lost truths to the forefronts of our minds. Instead of asking us to struggle for the unachievable and the unwarranted. It offers us a way to see how we are intimately connected to the universe - and how our actions can affect the universe, just as a toothache affects the entire body. Prejudice and obstinate, unquestioned beliefs seem inherent to the human condition. But with a new way of thinking, we can come to value openness, learning and a spirit of examination.

With eighteen lessons every parent should deliver to his or her children in their formative years, Philosopher's Corner offers a choice - to try to achieve a life of true happiness rather than one destined to greed, selfishness and unachievable desires. Since these desires are the root causes of anxiety, dissatisfaction, and depression, rediscovering lost, authentic truths can release us from these toxic ways of thinking."

Migration Plus | Level 12, Cairns Corporate Tower,
15 Lake Street, Cairns QLD 4870
Phone: 07 4041 2620 | Email:

This newsletter is general information only.  Specific advice, taking into account your circumstances,
should be obtained before taking any action.
Mateja Rautner MARN 1387375

We recommend the following links to you for information about the Migration Agent Profession:
Consumer Guide
Migration Agent Code of Conduct