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Ruslan-Ahmadzai

Ruslan-Ahmadzai

Solicitor specialising in corporate immigration.Registered Migration AgentSpecialities: Migration Law, Employer Compliance in Immigration, Business Stream Visas, Family and Partner Visas, CPD Training.

Posted by on in General

Home Affairs was kept busy with several skilled visa updates over the weekend.  Migration Alliance brings you the latest updates:

Skill Select Invitations:

Home Affairs released invitation rounds on Sunday 10 March, a day earlier than anticipated.  Applicants and agents should check their emails or Skill Select portal for any messages relating to their EOI status.  The statistics in relation to which occupations have been selected as part of March 2019 intake are expected to be published later this month.

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The report published on Monday 11 February by ANAO indicates alarming inefficiency levels when it comes to processing citizenship applications.  The report originated as a result of the Office of the Commonwealth, the Refugee Council as well as several Members of Parliament expressing their interest in time it is taking to process citizenship applications.

The time to process citizenship application has prior to announcement of the proposed changes in April 2017 was 4 to 6 weeks.  As many may recall, the Department of Home Affairs placed processing of Citizenship applications on hold following this announcement and resumed processing the applications upon defeat of the draconian legislation which included proposal to increase English language efficiency for migrants, increase residency requirement as a permanent resident to four years as well as other character and security provisions.

Several complaints were also received from the general public expressing their concerns in relation to current processing times which is in excess of 12 months.

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The Bill aims to provide that, when an unlawful non-citizen is in the process of being removed to another country and the removal is aborted, or is completed but the person is not permitted entry into the receiving country, and as a direct result the person is returned to Australia, then that person has a lawful basis to return to Australia without a visa; provide that, when such a person does return to Australia without a visa, the person will be taken to have been continuously in the migration zone for the purposes of certain sections of the Act which bar the person from making a valid application for certain visas; and allow the department to use an online account to provide clients with certain legally required communications; Customs Act 1901 to: allow the department to make a recoverable payment to a person who is entitled to it; and make technical amendments; and Passenger Movement Charge Collection Act 1978 to insert a new head of power so that regulations can prescribe the charging and recovery of fees for, and in relation to, the payment of passenger movement charge or an amount equal to the charge.

The bill was first introduced into parliament on 28 March 2018 and is now awaiting Royal Assent.

The purpose of Schedule 1 to the Bill is to provide that when a non-citizen is removed from Australia under section 198 to another country (the destination country), or an unsuccessful attempt is made to remove that non-citizen under section 198, that non‑citizen can be returned to Australia without needing to hold a visa. Further, the amendments in this Schedule are intended to provide that when the non-citizen is returned to Australia, then despite their temporary absence from Australia, if the non‑citizen was barred from making certain visa applications under section 48 or 48A prior to their departure, they will continue to be barred on their return.

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Department of Home Affairs conducted public consultation “Australia’s 2019-2020 Migration Program".  The purpose of the discussion paper is to seek public and stakeholder views on Australia’s current immigration program to ensure that immigration continues to serve the national interest and the interests of all Australians in the coming year. The rate, composition and distribution of immigration has significant impact on Australia's current population and distribution of the population (especially regional areas). Australia’s immigration programs are continuously reviewed to ensure that settings maximise the benefits migration brings to Australia.

Specifically, the paper focuses on the following permanent streams:

  • Skill stream – improves the productive capacity of the economy and fills skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional Australia. 
  • Family stream – allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with close family members, including partners, and certain dependent relatives. 
  • Special Eligibility stream - provides visas for those in special circumstances that do not fit into other streams, including former residents. The Special Eligibility stream is a very small component of the overall permanent Migration Program.

At current planning levels, the government anticipates to allocate approximately 190,000 places to permanent residency.  The government fell short of the target last year granting approximately 165 000 permanent residency visas.

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This week marks ten years of since I entered the immigration profession and naturally many things have changed since 2009.  Introduction of immi account, abolition of subclass 457 visa, introduction of several new visa subclasses to cater for the ever-changing landscape we know as Australian Immigration.  Considering this anniversary, it got me wondering, if I had to pick just one major change in immigration landscape, what that would be, my answer, Department's approach to PIC 4020.

What is PIC 4020

In summary, Public interest criterion (PIC) 4020 is intended to significantly increase the level of integrity in visa applications by providing a strong disincentive to those considering giving, or causing to be given, a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular. It also requires applicants to satisfy the delegate as to their identity.

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