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Category Archives: News

December 31, 2023

The Australian Migration Strategy 2023 significantly hopes to revise the student and graduate visa scheme, with a strong emphasis on maintaining the integrity of international education. Most of these changes are yet to be legislated and we will update you further then the legislation is released for each of them. To counter the trend of non-genuine students exploiting the visa scheme to access Australia’s labour market, the Government has implemented several measures:

  • Closure of loopholes allowing students to switch to lower-quality education providers for work.
  • An increase in the savings requirement for student visa eligibility to $24,505.
  • Prohibition of agent commissions for onshore transfers between institutions​​.

Elevated English Language Requirements

From early 2024, the Australian Government will introduce higher English language requirements for Student and Temporary Graduate visas:

  • Temporary Graduate visa: IELTS score requirement will increase from 6.0 to 6.5.
  • Student visa: IELTS score requirement will increase from 5.5 to 6.0.
  • ELICOS Pathway: IELTS score requirement will increase from 4.5 to 5.0.
  • University Foundation Programs: IELTS score requirement will be 5.5​​​​.

New Ministerial Directions and Genuine Student Requirement

Two new Ministerial Directions will be introduced:

  • Academic and Career Consideration: Focuses on the relevance of intended study to students’ future career prospects.
  • Prioritization of Processing: Based on the risk level of education providers, with higher risk providers facing slower processing times. A new Genuine Student test will be implemented to curb visa hopping and ensure genuine student progression​​​​.

Enhanced Pathways for Graduate Visa Holders

The graduate visa scheme will be simplified, shortening the transition period from student to graduate visas. The Government will strengthen pathways from graduate visas to temporary skilled visas, like the Skills in Demand Visa, to provide employers with greater certainty regarding graduates’ work rights and pathways to permanent residence. The work experience requirement for a Temporary Skills Shortage visa will be revised to facilitate easier transitions to skilled visas​​.

New Graduate Visa Period and Age Limit

The duration of Temporary Graduate Visas will be:

  • 2 years for Bachelor and Masters by coursework graduates.
  • 3 years for Masters by research and PhD graduates. Extensions of 1-2 years will be available only to those who studied in regional areas. The maximum eligible age for a Temporary Graduate Visa will be reduced to 35​​.

Clear Post-Study Pathways and Stricter Requirements for Education Providers

The Strategy provides clear post-study pathways, including opportunities for work and, in some cases, permanent residency. It introduces stricter requirements for education providers to ensure high-quality education and training. A new VET Integrity Unit run by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will oversee the quality of education and training​​.

Simplified Temporary Graduate Visas

The length of post-study work visas will change, but the Temporary Graduate visa will still allow graduates to gain valuable work experience. Graduates working in skilled jobs may be eligible for the new 4-year Skills in Demand visa, providing a clearer pathway to permanent residency​​.

Falcon Migration will keep you posted on these developments when they are legislated.

December 31, 2023
December 31, 2023

The warm December weather provides a perfect setting for locals, expats, and tourists to gather in various cities and towns, immersing themselves in the festive spirit. Here’s an exploration of how Australia rings in the new year:

Sydney: The Heart of Celebration

Sydney’s famous harbor foreshore becomes a hub of activity on New Year’s Eve. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House form a spectacular backdrop for a colorful fireworks display, attracting crowds from 09:00 PM to midnight​​.

Brisbane: A Sparkling Start

In Brisbane, the Story Bridge area is alive with celebrations. Over 30,000 firecrackers illuminated the sky from rooftops and river barges, creating a mesmerizing spectacle with two major fireworks shows.​​

Melbourne: A Carnival Atmosphere

Melbourne’s high-rise towers launch fireworks, lighting up the night sky. The Yarra River bank and Yarra Park become centers of celebration with carnival festivities, attracting locals and tourists alike​​.

Adelaide: A Musical Fireworks Extravaganza

Adelaide offers a mesmerizing fireworks display along the River Torrens. Elder Park turns into a concert venue, where visitors can enjoy live music and indulge in local Australian New Year foods​​.

Hobart: Celebrating Local Produce

Hobart’s Tasmania festival, spanning December and January, is more than a New Year celebration. It showcases local produce, cider, wine, and beer, with handcrafted delicacies available for visitors​​.

Canberra: Capital Celebrations

In Canberra, Civic Square is the focal point for New Year’s Eve celebrations, featuring live music and firework displays. Nearby Garema Place offers exciting parties with foot-tapping music played by DJs​​.

Perth: A Festival Haven

Perth’s Northbridge suburb hosts several festivals, starting as early as 06:00 PM. Street performers, animated movies, and live music concerts in East Perth contribute to the festive mood​​.

Darwin: Family-Friendly Festivities

Darwin starts its celebrations early with family events and live music at the waterfront. A splendid fireworks display lights up the sky from the seawall at 09:00 PM​​.

Lord Howe Island: A Tranquil Celebration

Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage site, offers a serene celebration. Visitors can enjoy a beach picnic, complete with a bonfire and champagne at midnight​​.

Gold Coast: The Party Hub

Known as Queensland’s party destination, Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise is a hotspot for tourists and locals, offering an extensive range of fireworks and beachside celebrations​​.

Each location in Australia offers a unique way to welcome the new year, blending traditional festivities with modern celebrations, making it a memorable experience for everyone.

December 31, 2023

In December 2023, Australia unveiled a comprehensive migration strategy, pivoting towards prioritizing skilled workers and revamping the immigration system. This shift, aimed at streamlining the process for high-value talent, introduces a three-tiered Skills in Demand Visa, catering to various skill levels and sectors​​.

Key Features of the Strategy Central to the strategy are fast-track visas for high earners, flexibility for temporary skilled workers, and an overhaul of the points system to focus on skills over duration of stay in Australia. Additionally, the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) and post-study work rights have undergone significant reforms, along with the replacement of the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) with the Talent and Innovation visa​​.

Implications for Skilled Visas The strategy emphasizes temporary skilled migration to address specific skills needs and promote worker mobility. It also reshapes permanent skilled migration with a potential reformed points test and introduces integrity measures for international education. These changes aim to tackle worker exploitation and enhance the quality of migrants entering Australia​​.

Challenges and Broader Context A key goal is shifting from temporary migration to permanent residence and citizenship, fostering a deeper connection to Australia. However, this shift occurs amidst challenges in housing affordability and infrastructure development, essential for accommodating population growth. The strategy also plans to stabilize annual migration intake to around 250,000 people​​.

A Balanced Approach Australia’s new migration strategy represents a transformative approach, aiming to attract skilled talent and address systemic issues. While it offers significant benefits, it must also navigate the challenges of housing and infrastructure to ensure a balanced and sustainable migration system.

December 2, 2023

From 25 November 2023 new nominations for the following visa streams will require Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) holders to have worked in a position with their sponsoring employer, or worked in the occupation for medical practitioners and certain executives, for 2 out of the previous 3 years.

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
  • Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream.

The following COVID-19 concessions will become redundant and will end:

  • Periods of reduced work due to COVID-19 will not count towards meeting the work experience requirements for new ENS/RSMS TRT stream nomination applications.
  • The COVID-19 concession to the age exemption for high income earning applicants will not apply for new ENS/RSMS visa applications.

The age exemption for legacy 457 workers in Australia for 12 months during the pandemic from 1 February 2020 to 14 December 2021 will apply for ENS visa applications lodged before 1 July 2024.

December 2, 2023
December 2, 2023

The COVID-19 concession period ceased on 25 November 2023. ​From early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in international travel restrictions, and deteriorating business and employment conditions. The former Government implemented temporary measures related to an initial concession period. This was to provide concessions for applicants of certain visa subclasses affected by travel restrictions and which made it difficult for them to meet visa requirements. This included where the applicant must be located at time of application.

The concession period is no longer relevant as all COVID-19 international travel restrictions have been lifted. Travellers to Australia no longer need to:

  • provide information in relation to their vaccination status, or
  • seek travel exemptions. 

September 2, 2023
September 2, 2023

A Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a type of Labour Agreement. Labour Agreements are work agreements that enable approved employers to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local workers and in response to identified market shortages.  These agreements are negotiated between the Department and employers or industrial associations. Other types of labour agreements also include: Company-specific labour agreements, Project agreements, Global Talent Scheme (GST) agreements and Industry labour agreements.

DAMAs are labour agreements between a Designated Area Representative (DAR) and the Australian Government and provide access to additional occupations and concessions to standard migration programs under the:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (Subclass 494)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)

Once a DAMA is in place, local businesses can apply for endorsement and enter into individual labour agreements under the conditions of the relevant DAMA.

September 2, 2023
September 2, 2023

Our services at Falcon Migration do not stop when you get a visa. With our staff based in different parts of Australia, we have team with a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience of settling in Australia. We have put together some useful links for you to look at for various settlement aspects.

Registering for Medicare

Medicare is Australia’s universal health scheme. It is an Australian government program that guarantees all citizens (and some overseas visitors) access to a wide range of health services at little or no cost.

To view which visas allow Medicare, refer to this link: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au

Health insurance options

If you are unable to access Medicare under your visa scheme, you can register for private health insurance.

You can compare private health insurance at the following websites:

www.privatehealth.gov.au

www.iselect.com.au

• https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/ meeting-our-requirements/health/adequatehealth-insurance

Finding a home Temporary accommodation

The following websites include serviced apartments, houses, hotels, and caravan parks :

www.tripadvisor.com.au

www.airbnb.com.au

www.stayz.com.au

www.booking.com

www.wotif.com

Renting or purchasing a property

The following websites include properties available for rent and to buy:

www.realestate.com.au

www.domain.com.au

September 2, 2023
September 2, 2023

Australia, known for its diverse landscapes and vibrant cities, has long been a coveted destination for immigrants. While major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are often in the spotlight, it’s essential to recognize that numerous regional areas across the country are equally appealing for migrants seeking new opportunities and a high quality of life. In this article, we explore Australia’s designated regional areas for migration purposes, shedding light on the benefits, postcodes, and exceptions that prospective immigrants should be aware of.

Understanding Designated Regional Areas

The Australian government classifies regions outside major cities as designated regional areas for migration purposes. These areas are further divided into two categories:

  1. Cities and Major Regional Centres: This category encompasses cities like Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong, and Hobart. Migrants choosing these locations can enjoy various regional incentives, including priority processing of regional visas, access to the Regional Occupations List (offering more job opportunities compared to non-regional lists), and an attractive offer for international graduates who have completed a bachelor’s or higher qualification from a regional campus of a registered institution – an additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa.
  2. Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas: In this category, migrants can access dedicated 11,200 regional places, priority processing of regional visas, and the Regional Occupations List. International graduates with a bachelor’s or higher qualification from a regional campus of a registered institution can enjoy an even more extended stay in Australia, with an additional 2 years on a post-study work visa. This category also provides priority in negotiating region-specific Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs).

Navigating Designated Regional Areas: Postcode List

A list of postcodes specifying designated regional areas is available and applies to various visa categories, including:

  1. Regional Visas:
    • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)
    • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
    • Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) – designated regional areas apply to visa holders nominated by a State and Territory government agency whose visa was granted after 16 November 2019.
  2. Skilled Visas:
    • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
    • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  3. Employer Sponsored Visas:
    • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) – the Temporary Residence Transition stream remains open to transitional 457 or Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) workers.
    • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) – If the position is located in regional Australia, the nomination fee is waived.
    • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) – If using an occupation on the Regional Occupation List for this subclass.
  4. Temporary Graduate Visa:
    • Second Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)
  5. Business Investment Visas:
    • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888)
    • State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa (subclass 892)

Additional Points and Exceptions

  • Nomination to live and work in designated regional Australia can earn migrants an additional 5 points (from 10 to 15) under the Skilled Migration Points Test.
  • If your studies were completed in a designated regional area and meet the Australian Study Requirement, you can claim an additional 5 points.

Exceptions to Regional Designation

While most visas emphasize geographical regions, some visas focus on specific industries. For instance, the Pacific Australian Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme allows work in certain industries rather than specific areas.

The Working Holiday Maker program offers a second and third-year visa option for individuals who have worked in a regional area and within eligible industries, with a different list of designated regional areas.

Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV)

The SHEV is a temporary protection visa for those engaging Australia’s protection obligations. Regional areas designated for SHEV arrangements differ from the list of designated regional areas for migration purposes. For specific details on SHEV requirements and SHEV regional area postcodes, consult the Safe Haven Enterprise visa pathway.

Australia’s regional areas offer a wealth of opportunities for skilled migrants, students, and entrepreneurs. Understanding the nuances of regional designations, postcodes, and exceptions is crucial for those considering a move to the land Down Under. With its diverse landscapes, strong economy, and welcoming communities, Australia’s designated regional areas beckon with promise and possibility.

September 2, 2023
September 2, 2023

The Department of Home Affairs in Australia has achieved a significant milestone by successfully clearing a large portion of the temporary visa backlog and delivering an exceptional Migration Program outcome for the year 2022-23.

In the financial year 2022-23, the department finalized an astounding 8.3 million visas, which is a staggering 190 percent more than the previous fiscal year (2021-22).

The Department’s efforts have led to a remarkable decrease in the backlog of temporary visa applications. On June 30, 2022, there were more than 600,000 on-hand temporary visa applications. Fast forward to June 30, 2023, and this number has plummeted by an impressive 73 percent to just over 161,000. This reduction has been observed across various visa categories, such as:

  • Visitor visas decreased by a substantial 76 percent.
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visas saw a significant 47 percent decrease.
  • Student visas declined by an impressive 66 percent.
  • Working Holiday Maker visas decreased by 58 percent.

This substantial decrease in the backlog signifies the department’s commitment to addressing the concerns of temporary visa applicants and streamlining the application process.

Total on-hand applications, including permanent visas subject to migration program planning levels, have also experienced a significant decline. In June 2022, there were nearly a million on-hand applications, but by June 2023, this number had reduced by almost 40 percent. Despite this remarkable reduction, the department continues to see a rise in the volume of new visa applications, with almost 7.9 million applications lodged in 2022-23. This represents a striking 152 percent increase compared to the 3.13 million applications lodged in 2021-22.

Another noteworthy aspect of the department’s achievements is that application lodgements in certain programs have surpassed pre-COVID levels. This is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of Australia’s immigration system. Programs such as Student, Working Holiday Maker, and Temporary and Permanent Skilled visas have witnessed a resurgence in applications, indicating a growing interest in Australia as a destination for education, work, and skilled migration.

In 2022-23, the department received 224,000 applications, surpassing the previous record set in 2016-17 by a substantial 26.8 percent. This surge in skilled migration interest is a testament to Australia’s strong economy and the appeal of its immigration programs for skilled professionals.

August 27, 2023

The recent announcement by the Department of Home Affairs regarding new visa allocations for each Australian state has created ripples in the migration landscape. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW) have seen significant reductions in their nomination places for the upcoming financial year 2023-24, with ACT’s allocation being nearly halved.

ACT, known for its strong demand for skilled migration, has been granted only 1,200 places for the 491 and 190 visa subclasses, a decrease from previous years. Interestingly, the Business Investment and Innovation (Provisional) visa category has not been allocated any places. These reductions are part of the Australian Government’s broader efforts to address skills shortages and promote social cohesion through the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program, which plans to allocate a total of 190,000 places nationwide.

The heart of the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program lies in its careful composition tailored to specific needs. The Skill stream, constituting around 72% of the program, aims to enhance the country’s productivity while filling skill gaps across industries, including regional sectors. The department highlighted that categories within this stream, such as Employer Sponsored, Skilled Independent, Regional, State/Territory Nominated, and Global Talent, have been customized to accommodate diverse skill sets and demands.

NSW has also seen a decrease in its nomination places. The allocation includes 2,650 places for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa and 1,500 places for the Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa. This is a significant drop from the 8,800 places allocated to the state in the previous year (2022-23).

As these allocation changes resonate across the states, various industries are assessing the potential impact on their workforce needs and recruitment strategies. The reshaping of nomination places underscores the dynamic nature of Australia’s migration policy, where economic and demographic factors constantly interact.

Summary of 2023-24 State and Territory Nomination Allocations

The following table summarizes the visa allocations for the 2023-24 financial year across different Australian states and territories under the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) and Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa categories. Notably, no allocations have been made for the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) during this period.

State and Territory Allocations:

  • ACT: Australian Capital Territory has been allocated 600 places for both the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) and Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visas.
  • NSW: New South Wales has received 2,650 places for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa and 1,500 places for the Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa.
  • NT: Northern Territory’s allocation includes 250 places for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa and 400 places for the Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa.
  • QLD: Queensland’s allocation comprises 900 places for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa and 650 places for the Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa.
  • SA: South Australia has been granted 1,100 places for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa and 1,200 places for the Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa.
  • TAS: Tasmania’s allocation consists of 600 places each for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) and Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visas.
  • VIC: Victoria’s allocation covers 2,700 places for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa and 600 places for the Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa.
  • WA: Western Australia’s allocation includes 1,500 places for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa and 850 places for the Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa.

Overall Allocations:

The total allocations across all states and territories for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa amount to 10,300 places, while the Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa is allocated 6,400 places. Notably, no allocations have been made for the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) for the specified period.

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