“‘They’re not flipping burgers’: Universities cry foul over axing of 457 visas”

(c) Michael Koziol smh.com.au

It’s the key question for universities grappling with the Turnbull government’s abolition of 457 visas: can they still bring in the big brains they often need from overseas?

As part of the changes ushered in by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday, applicants will be required to show they have at least two years of work experience in their field to be eligible for a temporary work visa.

But confusion reigns in the higher education sector over whether university qualifications such as a doctorate (PhD) or high-level research will count as work experience.

The powerful Group of Eight universities wrote to Mr Turnbull on Wednesday complaining the new rules could be “extremely damaging” to academic recruitment.

University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence said he had “huge concerns” about the changes and warned they could have “unintended consequences”.

The research-focused university has more than 300 staff on 457 visas – about 5 per cent of its total – with more in the pipeline.

“They’re really not people flipping burgers,” Dr Spence told Fairfax Media. “If you are building world-class expertise in a cutting-edge area of science, you’re probably going to need to draw from a gene pool larger than 23 million.”

He pointed to Sydney University’s quantum computing unit, led in part by quantum physicist Michael Biercuk, who came to Australia on a 457 visa from the US in 2010.

Professor Biercuk estimated about a fifth of his fellow researchers were on 457s, and were hired straight out of their PhD program without any commercial “work experience”.

“Right now, on a strict interpretation [of the new law], we are not able to hire people who are coming out of their PhDs internationally,” he said. “We really need to sort out this issue.”

Without specialist hires from overseas, the capacity of the much-admired Sydney Nanoscience Hub would be kneecapped, Professor Biercuk said.

“Much of the strategic investment that Australia has made will be kind of wasted. We won’t have the technical staff to drive the work forward,” he said.

Fairfax Media put questions to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Wednesday but did not receive a response by deadline.

Astronomer and physicist Alan Duffy of Melbourne’s Swinburne University, who arrived on a 457 visa eight years ago to work on a flagship astronomical facility in Perth, said he hoped the matter was a bureaucratic oversight.

“We’re all a little alarmed but still hopeful this can be clarified,” he said. “We want the world’s best for this country, and that means it is a global search.”

The Group of Eight was also concerned about the message the move sent to the academic community worldwide.

In his letter to Mr Turnbull, Go8 chairman Peter Hoj said “the mere suggestion of Australia clamping down on academic mobility into Australia would be extremely damaging to academic recruitment in Australia”.

Dr Spence reminded the Prime Minister that recruitment of world-class talent was crucial to the government’s oft-touted innovation agenda.

“At one point [that] was very important to Malcolm Turnbull,” Dr Spence said. “I’d like to believe that it’s still important to Malcolm Turnbull.”

 

“HR, coders and manufacturing: The occupations most affected by 457 visa changes”

(c) Catherine Hanrahan abc.net.au/news

The Federal Government’s changes to temporary migration visas would have affected less than 10 per cent of the visas granted in the second half of 2016, official data shows.

The list of occupations eligible for temporary visa status has been cut from 651 to 435 job types.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the move is designed to put Australian workers first, though key industries have expressed fears about the difficulty they may face hiring top talent.

ABC News has crunched the numbers to see how many visas and which occupations are affected

Removed occupations account for less than 10pc of visas

Data from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection shows that 24,270 primary 457 visas were granted between June and December 2016.

Of those, 2,083 were granted to workers in the 216 occupations that have now been removed from the visa list.

This represents 8.6 per cent of primary 457 visas.

That means nine out of 10 workers who were granted 457 visas in that timeframe would still be eligible for temporary work status under the new scheme.

Which occupations on the removed list were most commonly used?

Of the 216 occupations removed from the visa list, human resource advisers, production managers in manufacturing and web developers will be most affected, based on the number of 457 visas granted in 2015-16.

The chart below shows the top 10 removed occupations granted visas in 2015-16.

Top 10 number of visas granted for removed occupations

Data are from Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification occupations; number of 457 visas granted in 2015-16

  • Human Resource Adviser
  • Production Manager (Manufacturing)
  • Web Developer
  • Training and Development Professional
  • Sales Representative (Industrial Products)
  • Market Research Analyst
  • ICT Support Technicians nec
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Retail Buyer
  • Procurement Manager
  • Ship’s Officer

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Australian Immigration Visas Health Insurance Information – Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) or Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457)

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Stud/More/Health-Insurance

“We encourage all prospective visitors and residents, whether temporary or permanent, to have adequate health insurance cover to meet their particular health needs while staying in Australia. Your health insurer can be in your home country or Australia, but if you are a student visa holder you must obtain health insurance from an Australian health insurance provider. The government’s Private Health website compares a range of insurance products so you can make an informed choice on which health cover works for you.”

“You must have adequate health insurance while in Australia. This is done by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance in Australia. You must not arrive in Australia before your health insurance starts. If you are in Australia and do not have adequate health insurance, you are in breach of your visa conditions.”

“If you apply for certain temporary visa subclasses, for example a Temporary Work (skilled) subclass 457 or a Student visa you will be asked to provide evidence of adequate health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia. More information on the health insurance requirement for temporary visa subclasses is available on the relevant visa page.”

For further information about Policies, Fees and to obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) or Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457) click on this website link:-

https://migrationalliance.bupa.com.au/?txtUsername=AustralianTrades&txtCorpID=OVChealth

New Australian Student Visas information – Student Visa Financial Capacity Requirements

(c) border.gov.au

Student visa financial capacity requirements

You need to have enough money that is genuinely available to you to pay for your course fees, travel and living costs for you and your accompanying family members while you are in Australia.

You may need to provide specified documentary evidence of your financial capacity with your visa application. You can find out if you are likely to need to provide this evidence by using the Document Checklist Tool.

Documentary evidence of financial capacity
Where you need to provide evidence of financial capacity, you will be able to demonstrate this by providing one of the following:
evidence of funds to cover travel to Australia and 12 months’ living, course and (for school aged dependants) schooling costs for the student and accompanying family members
evidence that you meet the annual income requirement
an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Students (AASES) form (secondary exchange students only).
a letter of support from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence.
The type of evidence, where required, includes money deposit or loan with an approved financial institution, government loan, scholarship or sponsorship.

The annual income option requires students to provide evidence of personal annual income of at least AUD 60,000. For students accompanied by family members the amount is AUD 70,000. The income demonstrated must be the personal income of your spouse (who is not travelling with you) or parents. In circumstances where both of your parents are working, their combined income can be considered for this requirement. In all cases, the evidence of annual income must be provided in the form of official government documentation, such as a tax assessment.

Where our online application system indicates that documentary evidence of financial capacity is required, it is important that you attach these documents to your visa application prior to lodgement. Failure to do so may result in visa refusal.
Living cost amounts
From 1 July 2016, the 12 month living cost is:
student/guardian AUD 19,830
partner/spouse AUD 6,940
child AUD 2,970.
School aged dependants
Where school aged children are included in your student visa application, schooling costs of AUD 8,000 per year for each child will need to be added to the amount of funds that is required. This amount is the minimum required for a visa application only and you are responsible for researching schooling costs, which may vary widely between states, territories and schools in Australia.
Dependent children of PhD students are not required to demonstrate evidence of schooling costs if they provide evidence of enrolment in an Australian government school with exemption of school fees.
Dependent children of Australian Commonwealth Government scholarship recipients, including children of Foreign Affairs and Defence sponsored students, are not required to demonstrate evidence of schooling costs if they provide evidence of enrolment in a government school where the fees have been waived and the student is enrolled in a course as an Australian Government Commonwealth scholarship recipient.
Genuine access to funds
You and your accompanying family members must have enough money genuinely available to you for your use while you are in Australia.

When considering whether the funds shown will be genuinely available, we will take into account factors including:
the nature of the relationship between you and the person who is providing the funds, where applicable
your income, assets and employment or those of the other person who is providing the funds
your previous visa history and that of the person providing the funds.
Family members of students
Family members of existing student visa holders will need to apply for a subclass 500 visa if they do not currently hold a student visa and wish to join you in Australia.

Generally, the same level of evidentiary requirements of financial capacity applied to primary applicants (students) would apply to your family members, including subsequent dependants.

In all circumstances, our officers have discretion to ask for further evidence of funds, if required.

New Australian Student Visas information – Genuine Temporary Entrant

(c) border.gov.au
Genuine temporary entrant
The genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement is an integrity measure to ensure that the student visa programme is used as intended and not as a way for international students to maintain ongoing residency in Australia.
The GTE requirement applies to all student visa applicants. The officer assessing the visa application considers whether the individual circumstances of the student indicates that their intention is for a temporary stay in Australia.
You must satisfy us that you have a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily.
When assessing the GTE requirement, we will consider the requirements set out in Ministerial Direction 69 (700KB PDF). To assess this, we will consider:
your circumstances
your immigration history
if you are under 18 years of age, the intention of your parent, legal guardian or spouse of the applicant
any other relevant matter.
The GTE requirement provides a useful way to help identify those applicants who are using the student visa programme for motives other than gaining a quality education. The GTE requirement is not designed to exclude those students who, after studying in Australia, go on to develop the skills required by the Australian labour market and apply to obtain permanent residency.

New Australian Immigration Department Visa Fees 1st July 2016

New Australian Immigration Department Visa Fees 1st July 2016

Applicant outside Australia

All charges shown below are in Australian Dollars.
Visa subclass Note Base application charge Non-internet application charge Additional applicant charge
18 and over Additional applicant charge under 18
Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity)
(Subclass 400) – all streams 9a $175 N/A $90 $45
Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity)
(Subclass 401) – All streams – $380 N/A $380 $95
Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity)
(Subclass 401) – Sport stream, Group Discount 9b $3800 N/A $380 $95
Temporary Work (International Relations)
(Subclass 403) – Government Agreement stream 9c $380 N/A nil nil
Temporary Work (International Relations)
(Subclass 403) – Foreign Government Agency stream 9c $380 N/A nil nil
Temporary Work (International Relations)
(Subclass 403) – Domestic Worker stream 9c $380 N/A N/A* N/A*
Temporary Work (International Relations)
(Subclass 403) – Privileges and Immunities stream – nil N/A nil nil
Special Program (Subclass 416)
Seasonal Worker Program – $365 N/A N/A* N/A*
Temporary Work (Entertainment) (Subclass 420) 9d $380 N/A $380 $95
Temporary Work (Entertainment) (Subclass 420)
Group Discount visa 9e $3800 N/A $380 $95
Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) – $1060 N/A $1060 $265

Applicant in Australia
All charges shown below are in Australian Dollars.
Visa subclass Note Base application charge Non-internet application charge Additional applicant charge
18 and over Additional applicant charge under 18 Subsequent temporary application charge
Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity)
(Subclass 401) – All streams 9f $380 N/A $380 $95 $700
Temporary Work (International Relations)
(Subclass 403) – Government Agreement stream 9g $380 N/A nil nil N/A
Temporary Work (International Relations)
(Subclass 403) – Foreign Government Agency stream 9g $380 N/A nil nil N/A
Temporary Work (International Relations)
(Subclass 403) – Domestic Worker stream 9g $380 N/A N/A* N/A* N/A
Temporary Work (International Relations)
(Subclass 403) – Privileges and Immunities stream – nil N/A nil nil N/A
Temporary Work (Entertain-
ment) (Subclass 420) 9f $380 N/A $380 $95 $700
Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) 9f $1060 N/A $1060 $265 $700

Temporary work sponsorship and nomination fees
Sponsorship

All charges shown below are in Australian Dollars.
Type of application Fee
Long Stay Activity sponsorship (Subclass 401) $420
Entertainment sponsorship (Subclass 420) $420
Special Program sponsorship (Subclass 416) $420
Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) $420

Nomination
All charges shown below are in Australian Dollars.
Visa subclass Lodgement of applications Fee
Nomination for Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa (Subclass 401) Where 1–20 nominations are lodged
(per nominated position) $170
Where 21 or more nominations are lodged together $3400
Nomination for Temporary Work (Entertainment) visa (Subclass 420) Where 1–20 nominations are lodged (per nominated position) $170
Where 21 or more nominations are lodged together $3400
Where the nominated position relates to an entertainer, or a person supporting an entertainer, who is performing in one or more engagements that are for non-profit purposes nil
Where the organisation identified in the nomination is funded wholly or in part by the Australian Government and has the approval of the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection nil
Nomination for Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (Subclass 457) $330

“New policy changes to sponsoring 457 workers”

(c) Lisa Qiu Coleman Greig Lawyers

New policy changes under the current Coalition government in relation to sponsoring skilled workers, took effect on 1 July 2016. The uncertainty over the outcome of the recent election leaves us with little comfort of what’s to come in the area of employment and migration, and whether there will be further changes.

In recent times, the focus on immigrants has shifted (slightly) away from Australia’s treatment of its asylum seekers, to exposing the vast numbers of immigrants employed in Australia on subclass 457 visas and other skilled working visas. A recent ABC headline phrased the issue as “corruption and widespread rorting ‘undermining Australia’s immigration programs’.”

The article states that while the government has been focused on asylum seekers and “stopping the boats,” many immigrants have taken advantage of this and have been able to obtain skilled 457 visas on the basis of fraudulent and misleading information supplied to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and that this has been made possible as a result of unethical and dishonest practices by the migrating employee, sponsoring employer and migration agents.

The Labor Party has promised if elected, to crack down on the exploitation of the skilled workers migration program and on the exploitation of migrant workers themselves, by, amongst other things, establishing an enhanced Advisory Council on Skilled Migration as an independent statutory body tasked to monitor skilled visa programmes and compliance with the program by migrants and sponsoring employers. A Shorten Labor Government will also introduce more rigorous evidentiary requirements for labour market testing, a requirement aimed at ensuring that employers have tested the Australian market for suitable employees, before making the decision to employ a skilled worker from overseas.

Under the current government, the Coalition has also taken steps to strengthen the skilled migrant program by the Department releasing new policies that apply to the 457 program on 1 July, 2016.

The 1 July changes

The changes come in the form of more stringent requirements that apply to employers wishing to sponsor and nominate skilled migrants. The new policies have an increased focus on the “genuineness” requirement. The genuineness requirement requires employers to be able to demonstrate to the Department that there is a position that exists within the business, that requires the skills of the migrating employee, and that the Australian labour market has been adequately tested to ensure that there are no suitably qualified Australian employees. The increased focus on the genuineness requirement aims to tackle situations whereby a nominated position may have been created to secure a migration outcome, in circumstances where the need for a skilled migrant is not genuine.

The new guidelines also assist Department officials in being able to pick out which nomination applications might not be genuine by providing certain “flags” that may suggest a fraudulent nomination. These flags include:

There is information to suggest the nominated position was created in order to assist a family member to come to Australia
There is information to suggest the tasks of the position don’t align with the tasks of the nominated position described in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (which describes all occupations in the Australian and NZ work forces)
The nominated position is inconsistent with the nature or size of the business.
Alongside new measures to prevent exploitation of the 457 program, there were also new measures introduced on 1 July to speed up the process for employers who have a history of good dealings with the Department. Such employers are classified as “Accredited Sponsors.”

Accredited Sponsors have satisfied certain requirements, such as having at least $4 million annual turnover for the last three years, having been an active 457 sponsor for at least three years and having at least 75% of their workforce in Australia comprising of Australian workers. Once a sponsor becomes an Accredited Sponsor, the sponsorship is valid for six years (as opposed to five years for a standard business sponsor) and they receive priority processing for visa and nomination applications.

“Changes to Accredited Status for Subclass 457 Standard Business Sponsors”

(c) Baker & McKenzie
Changes to Accredited Status for Subclass 457 Standard Business Sponsors

Employers who have a positive history of dealings with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (‘DIBP’) may be eligible to become ‘Accredited Sponsors’.

Accredited Sponsors benefit from an extended sponsorship period of six years as well as priority processing for visa and nomination applications. As of 1 July 2016, Accredited Sponsors will also benefit from streamlined processing of applications, if:

The nominated base salary is either equal to or greater than the Fair Work High Income Threshold (currently AUD138,900) and the nominated occupation is classified as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO; or
The base salary is at least AUD75,000 and the occupation is classified as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO. Exceptions apply to certain occupations in these skill levels.
An employer must meet the following criteria in addition to the requirements for standard business sponsorship to be eligible for accreditation:

Be a government agency, a public-listed company or private company with an annual turnover of at least AUD four million for the last three years;
Have been an active subclass 457 sponsor for at least three years with no adverse information;
Have sponsored at least ten subclass 457 visa holders in the two years prior to applying for accreditation;
Have lodged an agreed level of decision-ready applications over the previous two years;
Have a non-approval rate of less than 3% for the previous three years;
Have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their work force in Australia;
Engage all subclass 457 holders as employees under a contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt) and provide a copy of a template contract used for this purpose (if applicable);
Pay all Australian employees in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects current market salary rates for all occupations in their business (if applicable);
Provide to the DIBP details and evidence of all business activities undertaken by their business; and;
Provide to the DIBP details of all Principals and Directors of their business.
The DIBP will be reviewing existing Accredited Sponsors to ensure they meet the above criteria for accreditation under the new scheme. The DIBP may revoke a sponsor’s accreditation if they no longer meet the new accreditation criteria.

Existing standard business sponsors who meet the new criteria for accreditation (but previously did not) may now lodge a sponsorship variation application and request to be considered for sponsorship accreditation under the new scheme resulting in quicker processing.

“Skilled migration: business groups reignite push to for 457 visa reform”

Business is reigniting its ­campaign for reform of 457 visas, declaring it time to dispel “misinformation” about the scheme for skilled foreign workers.

In a move likely to inflame tensions with unions over the 457 visa for temporary skilled ­migrants, business groups are ­lining up to say the government should abolish Labor-era labour market testing arrangements in the scheme.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has written to the Productivity Commission saying that labour market testing should be abolished, while the Australian Mines and Metals Association warns the requirements will add red tape.

This comes as employer groups gear up for a separate ­review of the salary threshold for jobs that can be filled by workers on 457 visas, in the latest inquiry likely to fuel controversy over the scheme.

ACCI has foreshadowed arguing against increasing the income threshold for 457 skilled worker visas beyond inflation and argues that employers in regional areas should be able to hire skilled ­foreigners on salaries at a ­discount to the threshold, so long as this was in line with Australian market rates for people in that ­regional area.

ACCI’s employ­­ment, education and training director Jenny Lambert said there was “misinformation” that foreign workers took jobs from Australians.

“That’s the wrong basis to move forward,” she said yesterday.

The report from the review of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold is expected by the end of April.

The government agreed to bring forward the review of the threshold —— currently set at $53,900 — under a deal with Labor to end wrangling over the China-Australia free trade pact known as ChAFTA.

As well as looking at the ­appropriate level for the threshold, the review will look at the roles of indexation and regional concessions for the threshold.

During debate over ChAFTA, Labor had insisted that the threshold be increased to $57,000, but then dropped this push after it was revealed this would price some rural areas out of the scheme.

Ms Lambert said the threshold should stay at its current level, though there were good arguments for indexation to inflation.

But, for regional areas, there was an argument for a discount because of the difference in the metropolitan and regional labour markets.

“The higher you lift the threshold the less businesses and positions would be eligible to have someone come in on a 457. And that creates real economic problems not just for the business who can’t find a skilled worker, but for the regional community who may not have the services available to them because the skilled worker is not available at the price that the region can ­afford”.

She stressed that employers should not be able to pay foreign staff less than what equivalent Australian workers would be paid in that region.

At the moment, areas hit by skills shortages — such as in the Northern Territory — can seek a “designated area migration agreement”.

Under these agreements, ­employers can seek concessions of up to 10 per cent below the threshold, so long as the cost of living there is lower than the ­national average and foreign workers are paid the same as Australians.

But Ms Lambert said that businesses were not guaranteed there would be such agreements covering their some areas.

Meanwhile, ACCI has made a submission to a Productivity Commission review into migration, saying that it disagrees with a draft finding in support of labour market testing because the testing is “akin to asking employers to walk through wet cement”.

AMMA’s executive director, policy and public affairs, Scott Barklamb said that while some highly skilled occupations were exempt from the testing, “resource employers support the abolition of this needless and burdensome requirement”.

A spokesman for the Business Council of Australia said it had “consistently called for labour market testing to be abolished”.

(c) theaustralian.com.au


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