Migration Agents Forum at Australia House, August 2017: DIBP reform & Family Visa Updates

The quarterly Migration Agents forum took place again earlier this month at the prestigious Australia House. This informative event, exclusive to those MARA agents and caseworkers in the London industry, was attended by Genevieve Katyar and Sammy Naghi from our office.  Various topics and issues were raised and we now provide a short summary for our readers.

Expected changes to the DIBP and the immigration process: Department of Home Affairs, Australia

As announced by Malcolm Turnbull earlier this summer, the Australian government has plans to create a department that integrates immigration, border control, national security and policing. The new department, dubbed Australia’s Home Office, will be led by incumbent minister for immigration Peter Dutton.

In addition, the Australian visa system is due to be reformed, which should see unified, broader visa categories in place of the plethora of visas currently available to prospective immigrants.

Family Migration Updates

During the Migration Agent Forum in February, it was announced that the waiting period for partner visas had significantly increased. Unfortunately, 6 months on there has been little change to these periods in London post who processes visa applications lodged in the United Kingdom and various other European countries as the current 10-14 months processing time continues as at current date. It is worth noting however that globally the current processing times are far longer, with a global average of 90% of visas being processed within 16-35 months (depending on visa subclass). You can find the latest processing times here.



MSL Solicitors, 2017


This article demonstrates some of the complexities that surround Australian migration law and policy, and highlights some benefits of having representation from a MARA Agent or immigration Lawyer who can help you navigate your way through these obstacles and keep you updated about important changes.


Please contact us +44 (0)2078326400, or email enquiries@mslsolicitors.com if you are interested in finding out more about our legal services.

Changes to Skilled Occupations Lists

Attention all skilled migrants: the Commonwealth Government has made significant changes to the visa eligibility criteria.

The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has been replaced by the Medium and Long term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). This can be found on our website, by clicking here.

The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) has been replaced by the Short term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). There has been a huge change in the replacement of this list, with a removal of 200 occupations. This can be found on our website, by clicking here.


DIBP Holiday Closure Dates

Please note the following closure dates of the DIBP.

Departmental offices will be closed on the following dates:

  • 26 December 2016 Boxing Day
  • 27 December 2016 Christmas Day
  • 28 December 2016 Additional (APS) Holiday
  • 2 January 2017 New Years Day

For more information, please visit the Migration Institute of Australia website.

Temporary Closure in skilled Applications for ICT

The Victoria State Government has received a large volume of skilled visa nomination applications, and so will temporarily not be accepting applications for ICT (Information and Communications Technology) occupations.

This temporary period is anticipated to last for four months, though this may be subject to change. The period is currently set to be between November 11th 2016 and March 6th 2017.

The occupations affected by the closure are as follows:

135112   ICT Project Manager
261111   ICT Business Analyst
261112   Systems Analyst
261311   Analyst Programmer
261312   Developer Programmer
261313   Software Engineer
261314   Software Tester
261399   Software and Applications Programmers Nec
262111   Database Administrator
262112   ICT Security Specialist
263111   Computer Network and Systems Engineer

This period will allow current applications to be processed, thereby reducing delays to future applicants. Applications for all other occupations eligible for Victorian Government visa nomination remain open.


Click here to see the Skilled Occupations list.




Changes to Australian Working Visas

MSL Solicitors has formally begun to offer Australia Working Visa services and assistance, including visas such as the Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417).  We already have experience with these types of visa; if you wish to make an enquiry about these subclasses, please contact us.

The Australian Government has announced changes to Australian Working Visas, specifically the Working Holiday visa, under the Working Holiday Maker program.

These proposed changes will benefit those who are looking to emigrate to Australia with this visa. These benefits include:

  • Increased Age Range: Increase in the maximum age of 30 to 35
  • Reduced Application Fees: A decrease in cost from $440 to $390
  • Expansion of work rights: Currently, workers on this visa may only work for up to 6 months with a given employer. The change allows the individual to work for the same employer for a second term of six months, provided that the employer relocates the employee to a different location and has the condition of multiple premises in other regions to do so.
  • Changes to tax: The Government will set the tax rate applying to working holiday makers at 19% on earnings up to $37,000, down from 32.5%. Ordinary marginal tax rates will apply to earnings over this figure.

These proposed changes are currently being reviewed, and it is anticipated that they will come into effect on the 1st January 2017.


Further Resources






australia Visa services

Notice for Australian visa allocations to subclass 190

Our Australian Immigration Solicitor and MARA Registered Migration Agent Sammy Naghi has confirmed that the Australian Government has used up all visas allocated to subclass 190 visa applicants under the skilled nominated category for the 2014-15 program year.

Our clients who were due to receive their subclass 190 visa grants received the following notice from individual case officers at the Department if Immigration and Border Protection below:

Thank you for providing the checks as requested. All health results have been received.Please note the following:

The visa for which you have applied is part of the Skilled Nominated category. The Migration Programme determines the maximum number of visas that can be granted in each visa category. Applications for this visa are processed in line with Migration Programme planning levels. These planning levels have precedence over indicative client service standard timeframes.

The Migration Programme planning level for the Skilled Nominated category now has limited number of places left for the 2014-15 program year. This means processing times will be longer and that once the remaining places are used, the Department cannot grant further visas in this category during this programme year.

As planning levels affect all applications, including those in the final stages of processing, I cannot give you an indication as to the likely timeframe for finalisation of your application.

In the meantime, I encourage you to continue checking the department’s website (www.immi.gov.au) for any updates regarding application processing or changes to the Skilled Migration Programme which may affect you.

I appreciate your patience in this matter.”

This basically means these people affected will receive their visa after 1 July 2015 when the 2015-16 program year begins and the numbers (visa grants) are reset.

business migrating

DIBP working to expand WHV program

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is looking to expand our country’s Working Holiday Visa (WHV) program to include more partner countries.

As it stands, 19 countries are on the WHV list. These include Canada, France, Germany, China and the United Kingdom, to name just a few. The full list can be found here.

Now, the DIBP is looking to add Greece, Mexico, Spain, Poland and Israel into the mix, along with a number of other countries.
In order to apply for a WHV – either a subclass 417 or subclass 462 – you need to meet a number of requirements. For instance, you must:

– be aged between 18 and 30 when you submit your application for these migration visas
– hold a current passport for one of the WHV programs’ partner countries
– meet health, character and financial requirements
– not bring dependent children with you to Australia

The subclass 462 visa has a few additional requirements attached to it. These include having “functional” English, completing at least two years of tertiary study at an undergraduate level and possessing a “letter of home government support”, states the DIBP.

If you would like to know more about our WHV program, get in touch with migration agents in Australia today.

Family Visa Australia

DIBP launches campaign to celebrate Australian citizenship

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has launched a social media campaign to celebrate 65 years of Australian citizenship.

If you’re interested in submitting citizenship application yourself, make sure you get in touch with us we will be able to explain the process and help you become a part of history!
Since the concept of Australian citizenship was introduced in 1949, a whopping 4.5 million people have become citizens. During its first year in existence, Australian citizenship was granted to 2,493 people from over 35 different countries.
That may seem like a lot, but when these statistics are compared with the 123,438 people from over 190 different countries who were granted Australian citizenship in 2012-13, it’s evident how far we’ve come.

In fact, Australia Day (January 26) alone saw nearly 18,000 people become citizens!
It’s not just the number of people vying for citizenship that’s changed over the years, either. In 1949, our country’s largest suppliers of new citizens were Italy, Poland, Greece, Germany and Yugoslavia, respectively.

In the present day, the United Kingdom, India, Philippines, China and South Africa have taken the top five spots.
It’s changes such as these and the stories of those who have made the journey to Australia over the past six decades that will be the focus of the DIBP’s year-long social media campaign.
A spokesman announced that, throughout 2014, the DIBP will be publishing a web series titled “The Pledge” as part of the social media campaign.
This will provide readers with “an insight into the citizenship journeys of Australians from different walks of life,” he said in a January 28 statement.

The DIBP is also asking people at all stages of the immigration process – from those who have just been granted immigration visas to those who have already taken the final step and become full-fledged Australian citizens – to share their experiences on various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“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” concluded the spokesman.

If you would like to become a part of this patchwork, get in touch with us we can help you organize a citizenship or permanent residency visa or simply offer you advice on the immigration process.

Australian Visa Services

Ai Group calls for larger migration program

The Australian Industry Group has announced that our country’s migrant intake should be increased to help alleviate skills shortages cropping up in various sectors.

Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, said the number of people arriving in our country on migration visas needs to rise from 190,000 (the current intake) to at least 220,000 by the 2014-15 financial year.

She added that emphasis needs to be on skilled migration through channels such as the 457 visa program “in order to meet current and future skills shortages”.

These comments were all part and parcel of a submission the Australian Industry Group made to the federal government in the hope it would encourage Tony Abbott to spare a thought for the size of our country’s migration program before it’s set in stone as part of the May budget.

Ms Willox explained, the Australian Industry Group’s proposed increase of the migration program “takes into account the proven benefits to the economy” of such a program.

“An increase in migrant numbers supports positive growth in our population and especially in our adult workforce, which is important due to relatively low rates of natural population growth,” she said in a January 13 statement.

In addition to this, Australia’s unemployment rates are currently at an all-time low, and our workforce is ageing. A whopping 9 per cent of all employees are now 60 years old or more, and 17 per cent are 55 years old or more.

There are also “persistent skill shortages” in a number of our country’s most important sectors, such as mining, infrastructure, engineering and health care.

Ms Willox said that on top of all this, a recovering property market, as evidenced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) latest report on dwelling approvals, could lead to “further skilled trade shortages” as we head toward the end of the decade.

“This will be exacerbated by the flow of construction workers into the mining sector and reduced trades apprenticeship numbers in recent years,” she said.

australian passport

Australian Visa Newsflash


Effective from 23 November 2014, temporary workers in Australia can now apply for a Subclass 400 visa with a six month period of stay. Previously regulations only allowed a maximum three months.

In addition, the visa validity has been extended to allow entry within 6 months of grant. The changes make these visas much more flexible for businesses, so will be welcomed by those businesses who need specialists at short notice for discreet short term periods.

The Subclass 400 visa is a short term, temporary work visa for highly specialised assignments in Australia where the individual is urgently required at short notice. The visa does not require employer sponsorship and has far less requirements than the longer term Subclass 457 Temporary skilled work visa.

In order to access the six month visa period, applicant needs to put forward a strong business case detailing the reason for the extended stay in Australia.

The Department of Immigration will consider any of the following:

  • The number of Australians being employed on the project, or within the business;
  • The employment conditions of the applicant, including their salary and whether they are in accordance with local labour market requirements;
  • The size, nature, duration of the project to be carried out and its impact to the local community and potential;
  • Evidence that specialist advice from overseas is required – this may include evidence from an employment agency of a shortage of similarly qualified persons in Australia;
  • Whether there is time available for an Australian worker to be trained to carry out the proposed work.