Partner Visa Changes

Big Partner Visa Changes start 1 November 2021

ALERT: Changes delayed… START DATE NOW UNKNOWN

Seismic changes to the Australian Partner Visa process begin from November 1st 2021.

Australian citizens and permanent residents who want to sponsor their Partners to Australia must first apply for approval to Sponsor.

The partner cannot lodge their visa application until after the Sponsor gets approval.

If this is you, it could mean you could be forced to separate until the Sponsors application is decided.

Careful Planning Required

Partners in Australia holding visas that expire soon need to plan early to get their Partner Visa application lodged while onshore.

We won’t know the processing times for the Sponsors application approvals until the system starts up and settles down.

The new Sponsor approval system has been trialled with Temporary Parent Visitor (subclass 870) visas for several years. Approvals under that system are taking months.

The plan is to protect Partners and Parents from family violence and make sure that Sponsors have money & stability to meet their obligations to their sponsored family members.

English Language Requirements

Partners who apply for visas will need to have “Functional English” before grant of the second stage partner visa. There are exemptions if the Partner can show they made “reasonable efforts” to study English but cannot reach the standard.

Australian citizen Sponsors do not have to give evidence of their English language ability.

Permanent resident Sponsors will,need to show Functional English as part of their Sponsor approval application.

Act now if you plan a Partner visa application

Are you almost ready to lodge your Partner Visa applications?

There is still a short window open to get your application in before November first.

If that is you, contact Career Up urgently to get your application prepared and lodged on time.

Careful Planning needed for Future Partner Visa Applications

If you are still not ready to apply, careful planning of the application process is absolutely necessary to apply successfully.

Contact Career Up for an appointment to learn what options are available to you, so we can get your application in and get it right.

Contact us today to book an appointment.

George Pearse MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Read our disclaimer for further details;  https://careerup.com.au/visa/disclaimer/

Visa Options for New Zealand Citizens in Australia

Options for New Zealand Citizens

New Zealand and Australia are close neighbours and have many things in common including language, British colonial history, liberal democracies, and more.

In recent decades both Australia and New Zealand have experienced significant population growth through immigration.

Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement

Under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens can travel freely between the two countries to live and work as often and as long as they please. The only limitations are health and character requirements.

Under the Arrangement New Zealanders arriving in Australia are most commonly granted a Special Category Visa (subclass 444 visa) on arrival, and each 444 visa extinguishes on departure from Australia. New Zealand citizens are not granted 444 visas on arrival if they hold a permanent resident visa for Australia or they are a dual citizen.

Immediate Family Members who are not New Zealand Citizens

Immediate family members of New Zealand citizens with a third citizenship can also apply for visas to live and work unrestricted in Australia under the subclass 461 visa category. The 461 visas are granted for 5 year periods.

However, if a New Zealand citizen is a permanent resident of Australia or a dual citizen, he/she is required to sponsor their non-New Zealand citizen family members to the same visas Australians do, such as Partner visas or Child visas.

Second Class Citizens?

New Zealand citizens in Australia on 444 visas do not have the same rights as Australian permanent residents or Australian citizens, for example; limited social security entitlements, limited Medicare benefits, and lack of access to subsidised university courses.

For these reasons, many New Zealanders who are long-term resident in Australia seek to become permanent residents, and may eventually become dual Australian-New Zealand citizens.

There are several pathways available to New Zealanders to become Australian permanent residents.

Subclass 189 New Zealand citizen stream visa

New Zealand citizens who were already “usually resident” in Australia on 19 February 2016 and have continued to be usually resident in Australia can apply for the concessional New Zealand citizen stream of subclass 189 permanent residence visa.

Requirements include minimum taxable income in each of the 5 years before applying, as well as health and character.

The main applicant can include their immediate family in the application even if the family members do not meet the income and residence rules or if they are not New Zealand citizens.

Employer Sponsored visas

New Zealand citizens or their family members holding subclass 461 visas can be sponsored on a concessional basis by their employer to subclass 186 or 187 permanent resident visas, or the subclass 494 PR pathway visa.

Eligible New Zealand Citizens

New Zealand citizens who were in Australia on 26 February 2001 are considered “protected Special Category Visa holders” and have the same rights as permanent residents.

There are special exemptions for New Zealanders who were absent from Australia on that exact day but had already established residence in Australia before that date.

Exempt non-citizens

New Zealand citizens who entered Australia before 1 September 1994 were considered to be “exempt non-citizens” under the old Migration regulations.

New Zealanders who were in Australia before 1 September 1994 may be considered Australian permanent residents depending on their exact circumstances and can make an application to confirm their permanent resident status.

Children born to New Zealand citizens while in Australia

Most people born in Australia before 20 August 1986 are Australian citizens by birth. There are exceptions which include children of diplomats.

From 20 August 1986, any child born in Australia with at least one parent who was an Australian permanent resident or Australian citizen at the time of birth, is an Australian citizen by birth. Children in these circumstances can apply for evidence of Australian citizenship to confirm their status and access their birthrights.

It is possible that some New Zealand citizen parents who had children in Australia may not realise they were Australian permanent residents at the time their child was born.

Also, a child born in Australia and who then is “ordinarily resident” in Australia up until their 10th birthday becomes an Australian citizen by action of law (no application required) on their 10th birthday. Exceptions include children of Diplomats.

Children who do become Australian citizens by action of law on their 10th birthdays can apply for evidence of Australian citizenship to confirm their status.

Citizenship by Conferral

Australian permanent residents who meet residence and character requirements are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship. Passing a multiple choice test is required in most cases.

Australian citizens have rights and privileges greater than Australian permanent residents, but also accept the obligations of citizenship.

Career Up can help

Career Up has extensive experience assisting New Zealand citizens and their families with all of the visas and issues mentioned above, and more. Contact us today to book an appointment.

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Read our disclaimer for further details;  https://careerup.com.au/visa/disclaimer/

International Travel Restrictions

International travel changed dramatically with the pandemic. We see different countries manage the virus very differently and take completely different approaches to allowing people to travel in and out.

In Australia, the Federal Health Minister set up Travel Restrictions that control who can leave Australia, who can enter, and for what reasons.

People who want to Enter Australia or Depart Australia must get an exemption to the Travel Restrictions before travel unless;

– they are in an exempt category, or

– inside a “Travel Bubble” like the recent one with New Zealand. The New Zealand Travel Bubble is currently suspended.

Recent uncontrolled DELTA outbreaks, brought even tougher restrictions.

Some Features of Current Travel Restrictions

Citizens and Permanent Residents (PR)

At time of writing, Australian citizens and PR do not need to apply for a travel exemption to Enter Australia.

However, almost all Australian citizens and PR must apply for exemptions to Depart and from early September, that will even include Australian citizens and PR who live long-term outside Australia.

This could mean, for example, that an Australian Expat living in the UK could travel back to Australia for urgent family business, but then be stopped from leaving Australia to go back to their overseas home and work.

Temporary Residents

Temporary residents (everybody who is not a Citizen or PR) can Depart Australia anytime they can book a seat, but may not get back in.

Temporary Residents must apply for exemptions to Enter Australia or prove they are in an exempt category (for example, spouse or dependent child of an Australian citizen or PR, do certain types of work, or other exempt categories).

Temporary residents who want to Depart for a short trip overseas, then Re-Enter Australia, should get an exemption to Re-Enter before leaving Australia or they may be prevented from coming back.

This is true for first stage Partner visa holders (subclasses 309 and 820) who were previously exempt.

These rules are highly complex and constantly changing.

Career Up can Lodge Travel Exemption Applications on your behalf

Career Up can help you plan your travel to avoid problems and lodge Travel Exemption requests on your behalf.

We can save you time and money, and save you the frustration of unnecessary repeated exemption applications.

CONSULTATIONS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Call 07 3118 5700 for an appointment or contact us by email at visa@careerup.com.au

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Visa Service in Sandgate on the Brisbane North Bayside

During the pandemic Career Up closed our office in the Brisbane CBD but now we are open in Sandgate.

Opposite Senior Citizens Centre

Career Up is a full service migration agency with more than 17 years experience, offering visa advice and immigration assistance in most areas of Australian Migration Law.

..and, now we are open in Sandgate.

SERVICES

Our services include advice, assistance and representation in the following areas;

  • Migration process strategy and planning,
  • Family based visas, including Partner, Parent and Child visas and other visas to re-unite your family in Australia,
  • Skilled visas, including Independent, State or Employer Nominated visas including Temporary Skills Shortage (482) visas, 491 and 494 visas, and a range of other temporary and permanent visas,
  • Options for New Zealand citizens,
  • Citizenship,
  • Employer / Employee Sponsorship and Nomination approvals,
  • Respond to Refusal or Cancellation notices,
  • Representation at the Administrative Appeals Tribunals (AAT) for Visa related matters or Citizenship matters,
  • Skills Assessments,
  • Travel Restriction Exemption applications, both inbound and outbound,
  • COVID related visa assistance and advice to stay lawful and identify / create pathways to temporary or permanent residence visas,
  • Temporary visas including Visitor visas, Student and Training visas, 485 Graduate visas, and many more,
  • Bridging visas,
  • Onshore Protection visas.

CONSULTATIONS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Call 07 3118 5700 for an appointment or contact us by email at visa@careerup.com.au

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

PIC 4020 Update – Immigration Tightens the Screws

PIC 4020 Update – Immigration Tightens The Screws

The following trends are increasingly evident in the cases that clients are bringing to Career Up.

Their experience shows that visa applicants are well advised to seek experienced professional assistance from Career Up before lodging visa related applications, such as; skills assessment applications, applying for police clearances, preparing visa applications, and appealing visa refusals or cancellations.

1.
The wave of visa application refusals under PIC 4020 is proliferating and affecting almost every area of Immigration practice.

2.
PIC 4020 was recently extended to almost all sub-classes with rare exceptions.

The exceptions currently include bridging visas, refugee and protection visas, and a small number of other visa sub-classes.

3.
PIC 4020 is apparently becoming the refusal mechanism of choice.

Where there is more than one reason to refuse a visa, for example;
– a student cannot demonstrate adequate funds (potential refusal reason #1), and
– a bogus document was provided, even if it does not affect the criteria for the visa (potential refusal reason #2),

then increasingly, Immigration is choosing to refuse the visa using PIC 4020, thus imposing bans on future applications if no waiver is available.

4.
Time periods for response are getting shorter.

Immigration policy says that in most cases, “Natural Justice” notifications must be given.

“Natural Justice” means applicants have an opportunity to comment on, or respond to a suspicion that information supplied is false or misleading, or that a document provided is bogus.

An invitation to respond is given by email or letter, but is occasionally being given by telephone. When given by telephone, the applicant might have as little as a few minutes to respond to the adverse information (accusations).

Time periods to respond to written notices are increasingly as short as 7 days, but in most cases longer periods are allowed.

5.
Official Documents too.

Career Up has heard reports of refusals of visas where official documents provided by authorities show errors such as misspellings of names and wrong dates resulting in refusals under PIC 4020.

6.
Errors by Local Staff at Embassies.

Career Up has assisted several clients where case officers have accepted inaccurate or plain wrong reports by local embassy staff that documents are bogus, but where the documents are not, in fact, bogus.

How can I avoid getting caught by PIC 4020 ?

Careful planning and preparation from the start of the application process.

Contact Career Up to help you plan and avoid problems with PIC 4020.

What if I already have a Natural Justice letter?

Contact Career Up immediately to organise the best response possible in your circumstances within the time allowed.

What if my visa application is already refused?

Contact Career Up immediately to assess your options.

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Read our disclaimer for further details;  https://careerup.com.au/visa/disclaimer/

PIC 4013 & PIC 4014 Exclusion Periods

PIC 4013 & PIC 4014 Exclusion Periods

PIC 4013 & PIC 4014 are Public Interest Criteria that must be met for grant of most temporary visas for Australia.

When listed as criteria for a visa, PIC 4013 and PIC 4014 can prevent the grant of the visa for up to three years after a cancellation of a visa (PIC 4013) or after leaving Australia while holding a BVC, BVD, or a BVE (Bridging visa C, D or E) or holding no visa at all.

The purpose of PIC 4013 and PIC 4014 is to identify people who are a risk to Australia because of negative Immigration histories and exclude them from re-entering Australia for a period.

Similar and sometimes related criteria are found in parts of the Migration Act and Regulations relating to “behaviour concern non-citizens”, the Schedule 5 Special Return Criteria, the Character Test, & PIC 4020. The last two are discussed in other blog entries on this website.

PIC 4013

When a visa is cancelled for a Prescribed Reason, then an application for a new visa that requires meeting PIC 4013 cannot be granted during the exclusion period.

The standard exclusion period is for three years from the date of the cancellation decision.

Not all visa cancellations will lead to problems under PIC 4013, however, the list of Prescribed Reasons is incredibly complex and arcane, so if your most recent visa was cancelled for any reason, you should assume you will have trouble with PIC 4013 until you learn otherwise.

If you are applying for a new temporary visa that requires PIC 4013 to be met, you should have this issue checked by an experienced migration agent like Career Up before you submit the application.

PIC 4014

If you leave Australia as an unlawful citizen (with no visa at all) or while holding a BVC, BVD, or BVE, then you may or may not be affected by PIC 4014.

Any application for a new visa that requires meeting PIC 4014 cannot be granted during the exclusion period.

The standard exclusion period is for three years from the date you leave Australia while holding no visa or holding a BVC, BVD, or BVE.

Again, the details of whether you will or will not be affected by PIC 4014 are incredibly complex and arcane, so if you left Australia after the grant of any BVC, BVD, or BVE or while you held no visa at all, you should check with an experienced migration agent like Career Up to find out if you are affected.

If you are applying for a new temporary visa that requires PIC 4014 to be met, you should have this issue checked by an experienced migration agent like Career Up before you submit the application.

How to avoid exclusions under PIC 4013 & PIC 4014

Careful planning of ongoing visa applications can help you avoid being caught by PIC 4013 & PIC 4014.

Contact Career Up immediately if you are sent a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC) of your visa and well in advance of the end of your current visa if planning to apply for further visas inside Australia.

Career Up will assist you to avoid an exclusion under PIC 4013 & PIC 4014 if possible.

Is a waiver possible?

In some circumstances, YES.

If you apply for a visa that requires PIC 4013 & PIC 4014 to be met and you are affected, then you can still apply for a waiver if there are compelling or compassionate circumstances that affect the interests of Australia or of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Next Steps

Contact Career Up to assist you with preparing the visa application and waiver application.

The visa application and the waiver application are best prepared and submitted together.

An experienced and qualified advisor like Career Up can help you achieve the best result in your circumstances.

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Read our disclaimer for further details;  https://careerup.com.au/visa/disclaimer/

Visa Application Refusal or Visa Cancellation

Visa Application Refusal or Visa Cancellation

There are few things more personal than the right to be in a country with a right to live there or to do certain things there, such as to study, to work, to live, or just to be safe.

If you suffer a visa application refusal or visa cancellation, then it is a personal loss with sometimes deep implications for you, your family, and other people that you live and work with.

How to prevent visa application refusal or visa cancellation

In all things, prevention is the best cure, so before applying for a visa take time to know what is required for grant of the visa, and for most people this means seeking competent advice and assistance.

For Australian visas, you can get this valuable advice and assistance from registered migration agents, like Career Up.

Early preparation and knowledge will help you avoid visa cancellation too.

How can you know that Immigration is considering visa application refusal or visa cancellation?

Often the first hint of trouble is that Immigration contacts you or your representative and asks for further information or clarification.

It is more serious if the Immigration officer is telling you that they are considering refusing your application or cancelling your visa, and they are asking for your comments before they complete their decision process.

What to do

The first simple step is to make sure that Immigration (and education provider for student visas) have your correct current address and telephone number.

They will write to you or attempt to contact you at your “last known address”, and if you are not there then your application can be refused or visa cancelled before you know anything about it and even after your appeal rights (if any) have expired.

The second important step is to not delay. There are strict time limits for responding or appealing and if you miss out, that may well be the end of the process without any further consideration possible.

The third important step is to read all of the information that has been sent to you and understand it to the best of your ability.

Finally, seek qualified advice. Problems that appear enormous and impossible to solve can sometimes be solved more easily than you first think.

Unfortunately, some problems are so enormous that they are impossible to solve.

A qualified advisor like Career Up can tell you what can be done and what cannot be done.

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Read our disclaimer for further details;  https://careerup.com.au/visa/disclaimer/

Money Saving Options for Some Partner Visas

Money Saving Options for Some Partner Visas

Immigration raised the visa application charges for partner visas by around 50% from 1 January.

The new charges mean that to sponsor a partner with one dependent child to Australia, the application charges have gone up from $6,865 to $8,585 (onshore) and from $3,855 to $5,785 (offshore).

For an application for only a partner with no dependents, the application charges have gone up from $4,575 to $6,865 (onshore) and from $3,085 to $4,630 (offshore).

In the case of Fiancée visas, the initial application charge for the Fiancée visa is the same as the offshore partner visa, and then later, an onshore partner visa application, brings the total application charges up to around the full cost of an onshore partner visa.

Happily, in some cases it is possible to convert a Fiancée application into an offshore partner visa, thus saving around $3,000 in application charges (for a partner with one dependent child) and saving around 3 years in processing time through to permanent residence.

If you are applying for a Fiancée visa and your initial visa has not yet been granted, contact Career Up for an assessment to see if you can make these substantial savings in time and money.

If you are not able to access these savings, contact Career Up to assess your options and prepare, submit, and manage your application process with safety and surety.

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Read our disclaimer for further details;  https://careerup.com.au/visa/disclaimer/

New Character Test

In November 2014, the current government successfully passed a Bill through parliament to effect a new character test. The Bill also introduced some additional cancellation powers under the Migration Act.

When Did the New Character Test Commence?

The new character test became law and came into force on 11 December 2014.

How and When is the New Character Test Applied?

The new character test can be applied when deciding whether to refuse a visa application, or it can be used to cancel an existing visa.

The new character test significant tightens the previous character test and even requires MANDATORY cancellations of visas in some cases – that is the Minister or the Immigration Department MUST cancel visas in certain situations. If your visa is mandatorily cancelled while you are in prison, you may be able to apply to have the cancellation revoked.

The Minister issues special instructions about how Immigration must deal with character cases.

The special instructions have not been updated for several years and considering the recent changes to the legislation and the early press releases of the new Minister, we expect that new stricter instructions will be issued early in the new year.

Effect of Visa Cancellation or Refusal on Character Grounds

If your visa is refused or cancelled because you fail the new character test then you are banned from Australia for life and you cannot enter Australia again, unless you successfully appeal or have the cancellation decision revoked.

Who Should Take Notice or Prepare to Take Action?

The issue is more than interesting reading, but of vital importance to anyone who has any level of police history or other anti-social history. If this applies to you, you should understand the changes and take appropriate action if necessary.

Extended Powers

The new character test gives the Minister greatly extended powers to refuse or cancel visas and the Minister has the further ability to remove appeal rights by acting personally to refuse or cancel visas. Refusal or cancellation of visas by the Minister acting personally cannot be appealed.

New Minister’s Tough Stance

On the day he was sworn in, the new Minister for Immigration announced his intention to target certain groups in the community, starting with motorcycle gangs. There is every reason to believe that the Minister will continue to target other groups that are of interest to the government.

See the link below for Minister Dutton’s first major announcement as the new Immigration Minister.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/immigration-minister-peter-dutton-targets-bikie-gang-members-as-top-of-my-list-for-deporting-20141223-12cp0c.html

Overview of Changes in the New Character Test

In overview, the main changes (additional criteria) in the new character test are these;

A person also fails the character test if;

The person is convicted to prison for any offences and the total period of all jail terms sentenced exceeds 12 months (previously 24 months in some cases) or if the person was ruled “not fit to plead” but was sentenced to stay in an institution (mental health facility or even drug rehabilitation facility) for any period.

The Minister suspects (Note: not “reasonably suspects”) that the person is associated with or is a member of a group involved in criminal activity. The activities include people smuggling or trafficking, genocide, war crimes, torture or slavery or (a new category) crimes that are otherwise of serious international concern. This new category is not yet defined, but the new Minister has only barely started work in his role.

Having regard to the person’s past and present conduct, there is a risk (Note: not “significant risk”) that the person will engage in conduct described in the paragraph above.

The person has been convicted in a court anywhere of any sexually based offence involving a child even if the person was discharged without conviction.

The person has been charged or indicted (Note: not convicted) in any country of activities which include people smuggling or trafficking, genocide, war crimes, torture or slavery or (a new category) crimes that are otherwise of serious international concern.

The person has a negative ASIO assessment or an Interpol notice has been issued on the person, and from which the Minister can infer that the person represents a risk to the Australian community.

Please note: The above is a summary of the recent changes to the character test. It is not a full explanation of the character test.
Other Changes

Several other minor changes affect how the “12 months of imprisonment” limit is calculated and makes the new character test even stricter.

The changes also introduced new cancellation powers under the Migration Act that reflect some of the character cancellation powers above, example: where someone is a “risk to the Australian community”, and there are other cancellation powers relating to identity, incorrect information, and changing circumstances of visa holders.

Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation of a visa (NOICC)

In cases where an appeal right exists, Immigration issues a NOICC which tells the visa applicant or visa holder that a cancellation decision is being considered and offers an opportunity to provide a response including documents and information before the decision is made.

If you receive a NOICC or a letter discussing refusing your visa application on character grounds, contact an experienced migration agent like Career Up immediately to consider how to respond to the NOICC or other notice on time.

Automatic Cancellation of Visas

The Minister MUST cancel a visa without any right to “natural justice” provisions if the visa holder has a criminal history involving sentences of 12 months or more or is convicted of a sexually based offence against a child and is in prison in Australia for conviction for any offence in Australia.

No NOICC is sent and there is no right of appeal of the decision.

However, Immigration can be asked to revoke the decision, and a decision not to revoke the cancellation can be appealed in many cases.

Direct Intervention by the Minister

The Minister can, and the previous Minister increasingly had been intervening personally in character based visa refusals and visa cancellations. It appears that the new Minister will also intervene more in character cases compared to previous Ministers.

Where the Minister intervenes and exercises his or her power personally, there is no right to appeal the decision.

In practise, there is only a limited ability to challenge whether the Minister correctly exercise the personal powers in the Federal Circuit Court or in the High Court. These options are extremely limited.

Appeals

Decisions to refuse visa applications and cancel visas based on character can be appealed in many cases, but not all.

What Action Should I Take?

If you plan to apply for a visa for Australia, or if you are a visa holder and you might be affected by the new rules, contact Career Up as soon as you can to discuss your situation and prepare and plan your future actions.

If you have been issued with a NOICC, or a notice that Immigration plans to refuse your visa application, or you have had your visa cancelled, then contact Career Up urgently for advice and information about your options and about how to respond.

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Read our disclaimer for further details;  https://careerup.com.au/visa/disclaimer/

 

Partner Visa Charges to rise by 50% on 1 January 2015

Partner Visa Application Charges to rise by 50% on 1 January 2015!

Increases of over $2,000 in many cases.

Hurry if you can!!

If you are almost ready to lodge an application, contact Career Up ASAP for an assessment.

We have capacity to take on a small number of new clients this week.

We will do what we can to get your application lodged on or before 31 December 2014.

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

Contact us here

Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

Read our disclaimer for further details;  https://careerup.com.au/visa/disclaimer/