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  • Accounting dropped from skills list

    The Department of Immigration has dropped accounting from its list of skilled occupations in demand for 2015, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review.

    The report states that while it is unclear if other professions have been taken off or added to the government’s 2015 skilled occupation list, the decision to drop accounting has stunned the major accounting bodies.

    "Chartered Accountants and CPA have lobbied the government hard to keep it on the list, maintaining there is a shortage of accountants. The pair planned to present a joint submission to this affect to officials at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on Friday." states the report

    The Australian Financial Review has written a series of articles on the diminishing job outcomes for accounting graduates over the last eight months.

    Deakin University published a study last month shedding light on the plight of international students - a crucial cash cow for universities - ‎when it came to securing professional work.

    Of all the professions on DIBP’s list of skilled occupations in demand, accounting is one of those used most frequently by foreigners seeking a 485 temporary visa, granting them work rights in Australia for up to 18 months.

    Migration Alliance

  • Record number of Australian visas granted, states immigration department report

    The SkillSelect scheme, introduced in July 2012, is reported to have facilitated the delivery of 38% of the general skilled migration streamed into the workforce.

    According to the immigration department’s annual report Australia’s Migration Programme gained 5,000 places over the previous year with 190,000 places. Australia has never before experienced such a high volume in successful visa applications.

    Employer sponsored visas were responsible for 47,740 successful visa applications and 60,185 visas were granted to those migrating to the country as family members of Australians.

    Martin Bowles, immigration department secretary commented on the report; “The past year has been one of unprecedented change. The department has dealt with often unpredictable challenges in supporting the government to shape the nation through managing permanent and temporary movements of people in and out of Australia, and in delivering settlement and citizenship programmes.”

    “To give an idea of the scope of our work, this year alone Australia had more than 30 million cross border movements by students, tourists and temporary migrants, as well as permanent residents and Australian citizens,” he added.

    “At the same time we responded with speed and flexibility to rapidly changing global circumstances including economic conditions and conflict and civil unrest that influenced the movement of millions of people around the world,” said Bowles. “Through all of this, we have recognized that each interaction with a client is an interaction with the life of an individual or a family, each with aspirations that we are committed to dealing with fairly and professionally.”

    Bowles commented that visitors, holidaymakers, students - preparing to study in Australia, and foreign investors who legally cross the Australian border every year are welcomed into the country and adds value to the country’s work force. “While we have dealt with a challenging and unpredictable operational environment over the past year, the department has also been instrumental in shaping the future of a prosperous, inclusive Australia.

    The department contributes to a cohesive, multicultural Australian society through promotion of cultural diversity and a unifying citizenship, and plays a significant role in building Australia’s future through managed migration.”


  • Celebrating Australian citizenship history with a modern twist

    The Department of Immigration and Border Protection today launched a yearlong social media campaign to kick of the 65th anniversary of Australian citizenship, highlighting the unique stories of those who have recently become Australians.

    More than 4.5 million people have become Australian citizens over the past 65 years, with a record 17 863 people set to officially become Aussies on Australia Day.

    A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the social media campaign would both share journeys of those who have adopted Australia in the past 65 years and focus on those taking the final step in their migrant journey.

    “Throughout the year the department will publish a web series The Pledge, which will provide an insight into the citizenship journeys of Australians from different walks of life,” the spokesmen said.

    “In addition, we are encouraging new citizens to share their citizenship story on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using the #AusPledge hashtag, which will map our new citizens around the country throughout the year.”

    The first story of The Pledge series launched today on the department’s immiTV YouTube channel. It features former Spanish celebrity chef, Miguel Maestre, who became an Australian citizen in October 2013.

    In the story, Mr Maestre said he struck up a romance with Australia after sparks flew at an Edinburgh restaurant with an Aussie waitress – his now wife.

    “I believe when you are a citizen, it’s just that little last step, that click – everything just clicks and you’re so proud and happy to just be a part of what is our amazing beautiful country Australia,” Mr Maestre said.

    The public can also add a message, photo or video to an e-card marking the 65th anniversary. This will act as a hub for members of the public to contribute to the 65th anniversary in their own way, including uploading past photos of their citizenship ceremony or of a family member’s experiences.

    “We encouraged all social media users to watch The Pledge and engage with stories of citizenship on the #AusPledge hashtag,” the spokesman said.

    “Australia is a patchwork of cultures and stories – this campaign aims to showcase the variety of journeys Australia’s citizens have experienced, and I encourage everyone to get involved and tell their story” the spokesman said.

    Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection

  • An Abbott government and the migration program

    Scott Morrison is the new Minister for Immigration & Border Protection.  He is already moving quickly to address the vexed and polarised issues around irregular maritime arrivals. 

    As of today, no permanent protection visas will be issued to unauthorised arrivals. They will have to apply for temporary protection visas (TPVs).  Since there are no statutory provisions for TPVs, more than 23,000 bridging visa E holders will be living in legal limbo for sometime until the new laws are passed. 

    It would be a safe bet to conclude that a TPV bill will be introduced quickly and it will find support from a wounded Labor parliamentary party. 

    The Migration Alliance also anticipates Bob Correll PSM will become the new Secretary of the newly labeled Department.  Mr Correll, known as ‘Uncle Bob’, in the Australian Public Service, was a Deputy Secretary to Immigration, and Employment before that. He has spent the last twelve months or so as Morrison’s closest adviser on migration matters.  Bob is no neophyte to the job. 

    The other big area of reform will be around some relaxation of temporary sponsored work visas. The pendulum is about to swing back towards employers and against red-tape with regards to 457 visas – the largest visa category granted in the overall migration program.  

    Already, the July 2013 reforms are creating a flood of rejections, appeals and compliance issues, as anecdotally reported to the Migration Alliance. It will reach crisis levels if not addressed immediately.

    With 457 visas, there will be less bipartisanship.

    Tony Abbott has long been supporter of a ‘Big Australia’. He wants the Department to be both the good cop and the bad cop with regards to the migration program. 

    The Prime Minister has said previously about a multicultural migration program: 

    “Australians have usually made it easier for immigrants to embrace their new home by appreciating that they would come to terms with life here in their own way and at their own pace. In the meantime, the different accents and different flavours of contemporary Australia have been a strength, not a weakness.” 

    His views are very generous. Indeed Abbott has stated the commitment of migrants to Australia should not be questioned. 

    It augurs well. 

    Since 1996, the migration program has become more weighted towards migrants who have English language abilities, qualifications and are generally self-reliant taxpayers.  It has left Australia better able to address its ageing population pressures. 

    Former ALP Senator and commentator, John Black, noted in the The Weekend Australia recently that the Liberals election messages were penetrating the migrant voter more than ever where migrants have strong English capacities. Where the capacity is weaker, they do not hear the Liberal message, which is filtered through migrant press and radio. 

    The political implication being a shift in the way migrant voters vote. It is a more aspirational professional class of migrant voter than the previous generation.  Over recent years, many international students and temporary work visa holders, who eventually become voting citizens have keenly felt the growing red-tape as much as migration agents and businesses.

    The Liberal messages resonate more than ever to migrant constituencies.  

    Can the Liberal machine maintain that political advantage over the longer term and create a new constituency for itself?

    An Abbot Government should be able to help forge a new national consensus about growing Australia through the migration program, one that resonates with votes in western Sydney and multicultural Melbourne. 

    As always, the policy proof will be in the legislative pudding.

    The Migration Alliance will be expecting some strong outcomes for the student and skilled migrant visa reforms as a priority.   

    It is also expecting a more relaxed culture in the Department with fewer arbitrary powers around ‘genuine temporary entrants’ and a renewed commitment to resolve the migration status to avoid the growing number of appeal applications and visa over-stayers.

    Migration Alliance

  • Australian Citizenship Day

    On September 17, we will once again celebrate Australian Citizenship Day.

    This was first held in 2001, and has been a highly successful annual event for the past 11 years.

    It continues to be organised by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), which reveals the event aims to "increase community awareness of Australian citizenship".

    Even if you're a migration agent, you may not be aware that the date on which Australian Citizenship Day is held each year has a special significance.

    September 17 is when the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 was renamed the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 - a very special moment in our country's history!

    Australian Citizenship Day is observed by people across the nation in a number of different ways.

    The DIAC is encouraging citizens to get as creative as possible in their attempts to prove their commitment and loyalty to Australia.

    For instance, you could host a citizenship-themed morning tea at your workplace.

    If you want to take it to the next level, a lot of people actually become citizens on Australian Citizenship Day.

    The DIAC reveals that in 2011, more than 4,000 people became citizens across a massive 120 ceremonies on September 17.

    Migration Alliance

  • Indian travellers expected to contribute $2.3 billion to economy by 2020

    Tourism Australia has been conducting research in India to determine the travelling habits of its residents.

    This research will be used to fine-tune Tourism Australia's India 2020 Strategic Plan, which should help our nation attract more tourists from this fast-growing market.

    The organisation's plan was launched approximately 12 months ago, and is already working wonders according to Tourism Australia's Managing Director Andrew McEvoy.

    Over the past year, the number of Indian travellers landing in Australia has increased by 7.8 per cent, up to approximately 159,000 people.

    While Mr McEvoy is pleased with this number, he is more excited about the fact that the number of "leisure visitors" arriving in Australia over that time has almost doubled.

    This could be because leisure spending has reportedly risen in India by an alluring 25 per cent in the last year.

    So, why is India getting all of the attention? Because in 2012, Indian travellers spent about $0.8 billion while visiting Australia for work or pleasure.

    By the end of the decade, Tourism Australia predicts Indian travellers will be contributing between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion to our economy.

    "India is one of the world's fastest growing outbound travel markets," explained Mr McEvoy in an August 26 statement.

    Apparently the United Nations World Tourism Organisation has projected that India will be offering up 50 million outbound travellers by 2020.

    This is an influx of outbound travellers that Australia cannot afford to miss out on!

    If Tourism Australia's India 2020 Strategic Plan continue to work its magic, migration agents in Australia could be organising a lot more immigration visas for Indian clients in the near future!

    Down Under is already well placed to attract Indian travellers. According to research conducted by Tourism Australia, our "natural landscapes and wildlife" make us a highly desirable destination.

    Indian travellers also believe that Australia offers unique sights and sounds for all types of tourists, including families and those travelling on their own.

    In addition to this, Australian migration agents might be interested to learn that Indian travellers predominantly use the internet to learn about potential destinations and plan their holidays.

    Tourism Australia reveals that they also look for holidays that offer "comfort, happiness, relaxation and adventure".

    All migration agents know that Australia has these qualities in spades, and is a fantastic place for Indian travellers - and, indeed, people from all over the world - to live and work.

    Tourism Australia