What a month and so much to talk about.

As we reach the end of another month, we edge closer to the end of the 2014/15 migration program year (30th of June).  Migration programs in Australia run in line with the Australian tax year – 1 July to the 30th of June.  Unlike many preceding years advice has been received from Immigration SA and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that many skilled migration visa programs are reaching their quota and as a result of this a large number of visa applications will be put on hold until the start of the new 2015/16 program year in July this year.  Does this mean that the Australian Government and the immigration department should increase or lift its migration program in 2015/16 or 2016/17?  I think so and as part of my recommendations to the review of the skilled migration program, I made a recommendation that the overall migration program be increased to somewhere in the vicinity of 215,000 to 225,000 per year up from 190,000 which is where it is now.

There was a great report that was published by the Migration Council of Australia this month called ‘The Economic Impact of Migration.’

If you’re like me and you love anything and everything about migration or if you are looking for a very factual report about the benefits of skilled or economic migration to Australia this is a very good paper to read.

The report states “For too long the economic contribution of migration to Australia has been significantly undervalued.”  This report documents the first comprehensive analysis in almost a decade of the impact of migration on our key economic indicators and the verdict is conclusive: migration is central to Australia’s future prosperity.

This is really a very interesting report and one which should be done locally here in SA so that we can once and for all, investigate and discus the importance of a targeted skilled migration program as a way to increase population growth in SA.

For example, did you know based on current population growth and directly related economic activity it takes SA over seven years to experience the same level growth that NSW and Victoria experience every single year.  In the next 10 years, the population of NSW and Victoria will grow by approximately one million people per state.  During the same period, South Australia’s population will only increase by 150,000.  The population of Victoria and NSW increases by 150,000 every 17 to 18 months.

During the month one of the most significant changes of immigration policy has occurred, this being the removal of the two year full time post study qualification work experience requirements.  This policy was removed only shortly after Migration Solutions successfully assisted one of our clients at the Migration Review Tribunal where we able to argue that the Departments policy was wrong and unfair and not in line with the relevant guidelines as set out in the ANZSCO occupational dictionary.

After much anticipation the Government’s response to the Independent review into the integrity of the 457 programme has been released.

Despite many beneficial changes for small to medium sizes businesses with regards to the training benchmark and a slight relaxation of the English language requirements it is still very disappointing that despite recommendation 5.4 the TSMIT is set to remain and no regional concessions have been introduced despite wide spread support from State and Territory Governments, many leading industry groups and employers alike.

Recommendation 5.4 states “That the government give further consideration to a regional concession to the TSMIT, but only in limited circumstances where evidence clearly supports such concession.”

In line with the recommendation and as it has been supported by the Government I have written to the Committee Secretary of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration requesting that the Joint standing committee for Migration review the viability of a regional concession of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) as per recommendation 5.4 of the Government’s response to the 457 review.  I am hopeful of this leading to a senate enquiry into the TSMIT in regional and low population growth areas of Australia.  Employers in such areas should not be locked out of the 457 program just because the local salary levels are less than the TSMIT.

With regards to the 457 program the CFMEU have again come out swinging in terms of their attack on the 457 program.  This includes photographs with captions such as Why Mr. Abbott do you look overseas for workers without looking local first. Statements such as this tarnish the overwhelming number of genuine 457 appointments and the underlying principles of the 457 program.  There are so many health professionals and university lecturers in Australia on 457 visas that are doing very valuable work that simple would not be done if it was not for the 457 program.  Some State Governments including South Australia are amongst the highest users of the 457 program.  This is not only limited to many state and territory governments, many unions have in the past confirmed use of the 457 program and back when Julia Gillard was our prime minister, she too used the 457 program to employ her chief media adviser.  The 457 program is a valuable program to the Australian economy and whilst there is always room for improvement in terms of the operational integrity of the program, the widespread attack and unfounded allegations about this program should cease.  I am hopeful that the Senate Inquiry into temporary work visas will show that the 457 program is very valuable to our local labour market and economy.  Every new temporary 457 visa holder, whilst they may be employed in the Australian workforce, they are also creating many other jobs in retail, hospitality, construction and other infrastructure and service related industries.

This month Migration Solutions also wrote to the South Australian Attorney-General and Deputy Premier John Rau MP requesting an immediate amendment be made to the Family Relationships Act 1975, allowing greater flexibility for South Australians to register their same-sex or heterosexual domestic relationship.  This matter has a significantly detrimental impact on many heterosexual and same-sex couples who are not legally married nor have lived together or cohabitated for 12 months or more allowing them to meet Australian immigration requirements to apply for a spouse/partner visa.  Watch this space, hopefully our letter will lead to a significant change in SA policy that would benefit many people in relationships with partners who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Finally, while you may notice a change in this month’s newsletter, this is only temporary.   Lachlan Sellar our previous social media guru has moved on to a new and extremely exciting full time role here in Adelaide and everyone at Migration Solutions wishes him all the best with the next stage of his life and career.  Lachlan was a very valuable part of the team at Migration Solutions and made an enormous contribution to the business.  Lachlan filmed and edited dozens of videos during his time at Migration Solutions, wrote and sent about 20 monthly newsletters and posted hundreds if not thousands of posts on Facebook.  Thank you Lachlan, all the best – we all wish you well.

We would like to introduce our new Digital Media Officer. Paul Bidmeade comes from in-business Magazine, which unfortunately closed down in February.

This is his first newsletter and if you would like to read more about him, please read his staff profile.

I hope you enjoy our latest newsletter.

All the best,

Mark Glazbrook.

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