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Immigration Blog


Posts in category: Australia lifestyle

Immigration Blog

Migrating is more than just filling in forms and submitting paperwork; its a complex process that will test even the most resilient of people. Understanding Australia & New Zealand at a grass-roots level is paramount to your immigration survival, and to give you a realistic view of both countries, its people and how we see the world, as well as updates about any current or imminent policy changes, subscribe to our regular blog posts by entering your details below.

When is the right time to apply?

Posted by Myer on Feb. 26, 2017, 4:30 p.m. in Australia lifestyle

I had a recent consultation with someone in Singapore who wanted to immigrate to Australia for the purposes of educating his children at University but didn’t necessarily want to immigrate during the initial five-year period that an independent visa would allow (the children were quite young).

It’s not always not up to you to choose the time when you can apply for permanent residence because of the amount of change that occurs in the immigration process. It’s more likely that the time chooses you.

I’m never able to “time-the-market” when I buy a house or buy or sell equities but I can tell you that the perfect time to apply for permanent residence is the time at which you meet the eligibility requirements and if that time is now then as inconvenient is the time may be, you need to act. Often the only difference between eligibility and and missing the opportunity completely is timing.

Most applicants aren’t aware of the amount of change that occurs in the course of a relatively short period of time. Not only do applicants get older (and one’s chances of securing a visa never improves with age) but there is also a significant amount of change occurring within immigration policy.

Perhaps one of the most significant changes - certainly in terms of general skilled migration visas - is the publication of the Skilled Occupations List which occurs on 1 July of each year. This list determines which occupations will be eligible for obtaining independent permanent residence without requiring state sponsorship and represent those skills that are in medium to long-term demand in Australia.

Certain occupations have been “flagged” for possible removal in the future. Generally, occupations are flagged when there is emerging evidence of excess supply in the labour market.

The list of flagged occupations for the list to be published on one July 2017 is as follows:

  • Production Manager (Mining)
  • Accountant (General)
  • Management Accountant
  • Taxation Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Land Economist
  • Valuer
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Ship’s Officer
  • Surveyor
  • Cartographer
  • Other Spatial Scientist
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Structural Engineer
  • Transport Engineer
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Production or Plant Engineer
  • Aeronautical Engineer
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Engineering Technologist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Naval Architect
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • Veterinarian
  • Medical Diagnostic Radiographer
  • Medical Radiation Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • General Practitioner
  • Anaesthetist
  • Cardiologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Intensive Care Specialist
  • Paediatrician
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Medical Practitioners nec
  • Barrister
  • Solicitor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Psychologists nec
  • Chef*
  • Boat Builder and Repairer
  • Shipwright

Not only does the Skilled Occupations List change, but so do the quotas of each particular occupation sought by the Australian Government under its skilled migration visas.

These quotas are also announced on 1 July and determine the pass marks of independent visas. Several years ago it was possible to obtain permanent residence for an Accountant scoring 60 points with no previous work experience as an accountant, however a cut in the quota of accountants have meant that these days accountants need to score 70 points. 

Some applicants might need State sponsorship if their occupation appears on the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List and whilst these state sponsorship lists are reflective of the skills needed by the 8 states or Territory’s in Australia, they too change depending upon the quota of a particular occupation required in a State or Territory.

Australia is, however, quite generous as to when applicants have to commence residing in Australia.

After the visa is granted, as long as you visit within 12 months specified by the Department, you have 5 years in which to immigrate. If you cannot immigrate within the first 5 years, as long as you visit Australia once every 5 year period you can always apply for a Resident Return Visa.

So whilst one has less choice about when to apply for permanent residence one has a greater degree of choice about the date that you ultimately choose to settle in Australia.

Tags: visas

A week in Melbourne

Posted by Iain on May 22, 2015, 4:55 p.m. in Australia lifestyle

I’m in Melbourne this week and working out of our office here.

Let me bust a few myths for you about this place.

Before I do let me say if I was to move to any city in Australia this would be it – it is like a really big Auckland (about three times as many people) with the vibe, cultural mix and attitude to life that is at once quite familiar if not the same. These people seem to enjoy things and are a pretty laid back bunch. Melbourne offers a glimpse into what Auckland might be like if we trebled our population.

Myth 1 – Australia is all sun, sand, surf, BBQs and prawns. Yeah right. Melbourne, most people perhaps don’t realise, lies about 500km further south (as in toward Antarctica) on the globe than Auckland. It is late autumn but feels like the depths of an Auckland winter. Like Durban, it apparently only ever rains when I am in town – as it has done on three of my five days here…..I haven’t seen a lot of sun.

Winter here is a biting cold, seep through to your bones cold. Where I come from we have a lot of humidity all year round meaning it never feels as cold as Melbourne even though the temperature might be similar. Equally in summer Auckland never gets really hot because the same warm ocean that keeps us warmer in winter, keeps us cooler in summer.

Now I know that in summer it can get sizzling hot here but it doesn’t last for long. This place fries in summer because when the wind comes from the north it is coming straight out of the desert interior.

I have been to Melbourne many times and I can tell you I have never been hot here. I am sure it happens, just not when I check in – that is to say any time from about April to November. Today I have on four layers of clothes. We are not talking snow but we are talking Wellington in late May. A high yesterday of 14 degrees and today 15 degrees. Certainly not BBQ weather.

Myth 2 – the Aussies are all arrogant S.O.B.s.  I too was part of this camp, perhaps because I watch too much sport on the Telly and listen to their commentators. I can say however, with hand on heart that a week in, multiple drinking establishments and restaurants under my belt, that all I have experienced is professional and friendly service. As yet not a single dismissive snort, raised eyebrows (as in, not another one of you Kiwi people, you are like a plague) or harumph at my strange (they can talk!) accent.

Myth 3 – Things costs less in Australia than New Zealand. Wish someone would tell me where ‘cos it ain’t Melbourne. With the Aussie dollar and the NZ dollar virtually at parity it is still not cheap. Perhaps in Alice Springs or some far flung corner of this rather large island but not in Melbourne. Here I have found the food, the coffee, the liquor (consumed in reasonable abundance) and transport (taxis etc) all to be on par with Auckland – that is to say, not cheap. Real estate prices boggle the mind here and the cost of red tape in terms of doing business here far outstrips New Zealand (in our business anyway).

BUT it is still a very cool city. We are staying ‘downtown’ and seemingly not appreciating the pretentiousness of the claim, Victorians like to call where we are staying the ‘Paris’ end. I take it not too many of them have ever been to Paris. I have and the only thing it has in common is pools of dried vomit and alleyways smelling of human wees. A few boutiques down narrow alleys doesn’t make you into a City of Light! And having a bit of refinement would go a long way.

You are spoiled for choice in terms of restaurants and night life here and no doubt has far more to offer than Auckland. With close to 5 million people in the greater Melbourne area the population supports more cafes, bars and restaurants than you could visit in a life time.

Whilst, like in most cities many are of dubious quality, most of the better places don’t take bookings and people start queuing at 5.30pm to get tables for 7.30pm (thankfully and/or cunningly most restaurants come with sumptuous bars attached…..). You Singaporeans and Hong Kongese would love it for its queuing. You could queue all weekend here for a bite to eat!

We Kiwis (well this one at least) would prefer to move on. My wife however keeps me firmly in the queue and as has been the case all my married life, she is always right. No, really, she is……

A friend of mine works for Cricket Victoria so I enjoyed a full on tour of the MCG today – from bowels to roof top. Quite incredible. No wonder those Aussies are so good at cricket with those facilities and I don’t just mean the field, I mean the support infrastructure underneath the stadium. Sport here isn’t a business, it is an industry.

Been a fun week with my colleagues in Melbourne and continuing my learnings on Australian immigration policy.

Heading home to a smaller and more manageable city on Sunday but this time I leave looking forward to my return.


Until next week


Iain MacLeod

Southern Man

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