Archive for August 2009

Students And VISA Fraud

The Australian Government is being forced to take swift action to safeguard the lucrative  15.5 billion dollar education industry aimed at enticing foreign students to study in Australia with a view to gaining a qualification that will allow them to apply for permanent residence status. It is now a multi-million dollar industry and a lot is at stake if the government fails to address the three main issues of fraud, poor standards standards and overcharging by many of the colleges that have sprung up all over the place offering a wide range of courses and qualifications to overseas students in order to cash in on this market.

The Government is introducing stricter screening to scrutinize the ability of students to finance their livelihood in Australia once they arrive here. Students from certain countries like India, Mauritius, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Pakistan will be subject to this higher level screening of their applications. They will need to take part in face to face interviews and will no longer be able to rely 100% on online visa applications.

Genuine international students remain welcome. The Government wants genuine students to come to Australia but will not tolerate visa fraud. There must be a legitimate intention to study.

The Government will also be looking to weed out unscrupulous migrant agents that are abusing the e-Visa system using false documents.

Over the last few months Australia has attracted wide publicity over its treatment of certain foreign students and there have been complaints of some students being attacked, living in poverty and being exploited by dodgy education agents and migration agents who have taken their money simply to place them in low standard and illegitimate education institutions promising qualifications they cannot deliver or which will never be accepted as sufficient to support an application for permanent residence status after the student has completed his or her studies.

Under the new government rules prospective students will have to have $12,000 in the bank for living costs for each year of their study in addition to course fees.

Australia’s largest student market is China and the tougher rules are already being applied to students from China.

We continue to report these matters to you from our blog to keep reinforcing the need these days, more than ever, to retain the services of highly experienced and ethical migration agents who are prepared to give you up front written advice about your prospects of success and back that up with a guarantee.


Drop In Temporary Work Visas

Demand for temporary skilled migrant visas fell by 13% in the last Australian financial year ending June 30. This is clear evidence that the impact of the global economic downturn has curbed firms’ need for foreign workers on 457 visas.

It could well be that future demand for 457 visas by employers cold continue to fall as the government seeks to implement tough laws for the program commencing September 2009. These changes includes the planned introduction of “market rates” of pay for temporary skilled migrants. Visas will not be approved unless DIAC is satisfied that the pay conditions will be met by the sponsoring employer.

All occupations recorded a fall in 457 visas over 2008-09 with the exception of nursing, where the number of visas rose by 18%.

The 457 visa program is demand-driven and allows employers to bring in workers from overseas for up to 4 years. Many such workers eventually qualify to apply for PR (permanent residence) and especially if their occupation is listed on the Skills Shortages List (visit our website to check this).

In 2008-09 50,660 primary 457 visas were granted, down from 58,050 granted the previous year. Applications for future 457 visas were 45% lower in June 09 than in 08.

However the number of 457 visa grants among trade-based occupations increased in June 2009 over the previous month. This is interesting as it is hard to reconcile with the claim that there is a contraction in demand in the local trades market.

The signs are there that the Government’s stimulus package is working and that the economy is already in the process of rebuilding.

Again, we publish these details to keep those of you who are thinking of coming to Australia to work properly informed and updated as to the changes that are taking place so that you can better decide when to consider lodging an application.

The current environment for getting approved for a working visa has never been more complex and hence the risk of having your application refused by the Department of Immigration has never been higher than it is now. So it highlights the need to select a good quality migration agent to assess your prospects and take care of your visa application.

Australian Visa Experts does not engage in bartering over price of services provided. We offer a competitive and fair price that is aligned with what the Migration Agents Regulatory Authority recommends, but our principal focus is on expertise and quality and speed of service.

If you think you may be ready to apply – please drop us a line from our website and we will take it from there.


Regulation Of Migration Agents

Just recently the Australian Government took over the job of regulating all migration agents from the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA). Agents are regulated under the Migration Act and the Migration Regulations. The Act and the Regulations are said to be so long and complex that they are almost as bad as the Tax Act.

Lawyers who want to assist people to obtain a visa must also be registered as a migration agent. Lawyers are already heavily regulated under the Legal Profession Acts and some complain that the dual regulation that they are exposed to if they want to give “immigration assistance” and not just “immigration legal assistance” is just too burdensome.

About two thirds of migration agents are NOT legally qualified, and so whenever they need to get legal advice for a client they must retain the services of a lawyer for their client.

It makes sense to use a service that has under the one roof expertise in both migration visa practice, procedure and policy AND in immigration law.

Australian Visa Experts has it all under one roof.

Don’t fool around with unqualified or unscrupulous agents. Go for quality and experience and don’t just base your decision on who is offering you the cheapest price.

There are two types of “bad migration agent” – the one that rips you off mercilessly and leads you up the garden path and the one that is trying to get your business solely by bidding on price. Don’t fall for it. Go for quality and experience AND a fair and reasonable price every time. Every time you get knocked back by the Department of Immigration it gets harder to get through the second time. It is best to get it right the first time.

Call us.