Welcome to our Christmas and New Year’s edition of the Migration Solutions newsletter. 

Firstly I would like to wish everybody the best for the holidays and hope that everyone is able to spend some nice time with family and friends – hopefully enjoying some holidays from work or study.  It must certainly be a somewhat difficult and challenging time for many international students and new Australian’s who are spending time away from family and friends at this time of year.

2014 has certainly been a big year in immigration.  Migration Solutions has assisted thousands of visa applicants and employers with a wide range of immigration applications, some of whom obtained permanent residency after very long drawn out and extremely challenging applications at the Department, the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and with the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection.

One of our biggest outcomes at the MRT was challenging the Departments policy position on two-years post qualification work experience for the permanent employer sponsored migration program – the RSMS visa – with the Tribunal Member agreeing with our submission that Departmental policy does not govern the regulation and the regulation only requires an applicant to hold a Certificate 4 qualification as stated in ANZSCO (an occupational dictionary). This is a massive decision and will potentially affect hundreds if not thousands of visa applicants.

Whilst there has been some terrific highlights in 2014, there has also been some disappointments, none more than the highly anticipated 457 review. The omission of any changes to the minimum salary level – the TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold) means that a significant number of international students with the relevant skills and experience and local businesses are being locked out of the 457 program – the very program designed to provide businesses with access to skilled migrants to address skill shortages. In addition to this the fact that cooks are unable to be employed in food courts or fast casual dining establishments under the 457, regardless of the genuine demand or food being cooked is yet another example of internal departmental policy that needs to change.

One of the biggest shocks of 2014 with the Australian migration program is the significant increase in visa application charges for spouse and partner visas. This could indicate widespread changes and many more increases to visa application charges in 2015. I believe that if the Department is to increase fees they should also increase processing time frames which in some cases can take over 12 months for spouse visas. This is simply too long.

Looking forward to 2015, I am hoping to see the introduction of a new economic migration program, changes to the training visa allowing students in the VET sector to undertake an on the job training program – providing post qualification work experience options and an overall increase in the international student visa program. I am also looking forward to more discussions regarding the economic benefits of increasing South Australia’s migration program, using a targeted migration program as an economic enabler.

Of course in 2015 we will continue with our Migration Matters series as well as our Surprise Visa Grants videos in addition to a new series of videos “Where are they now” a series of 6 videos where we will be speaking with many successful migrants tracing back their journey to Australian residency, what they are doing now and what life in Australia means to them today. We will also be speaking with a range of employers to get their views on the importance of the Australian employer sponsored migration program and how skilled migration benefits their businesses and can assist in creating additional jobs and training opportunities.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the entire team here at Migration Solutions.  The reason that we are able to achieve such outstanding results and so many visa grants – especially in very difficult and challenging circumstances is due to each and every person who makes up the Migration Solutions team – it is an honour and pleasure to work with all of you.

Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you in 2015.

Mark Glazbrook

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