“I could not have asked for better customer service,”

To Mege, Colin & all the Immigration Agency Team,

I would like to say a big “THANK YOU”, for all your hard work.
You provided a very supportive and helpful service that enabled me to obtain my Permanent Residency.
Without your guidance and continued support it would have been a very time consuming and stressful process.
I could not have asked for better customer service, any query was answered promptly and I was kept informed at every step of the journey.
I would recommend your team to anyone interested in obtaining a visa.

 

I am now enjoying life as a Territorian in the red centre.

Kind regards

Sharon Cassidy

Visa Subclass: Skilled Independent Visa  (Subclass 189)
Visa Lodged: 30 May 2013
Visa Granted: 29 August 2013

“…so helpful and supportive and made the whole process easy and stress free.”

 

 

Thank you so much for all your help and advice over the last few months with our visa application.
You have been so helpful and supportive and made the whole process easy and stress free.  I would highly recommend anyone considering applying for a visa to contact Mege and her team.
Kind regards,
Ronan and Laura

 

Visa Subclass: State Sponsored Skilled Migration Visa (Subclass 190)
Visa Lodged: 23 April 2013
Visa Granted: 21 June 2013

“….you made our dream come true”

A well trusted personnel to be with!

First of all a big thank you for helping us get our Australian Skilled Independent 186 visa.  My family and myself are so greatful to you for all your help throughout the visa process and you made our dream come true.  Well done Mege and Colin!
Kind regards,
Nimmi Mathew and Jose Paul

Visa Subclass: ENS Visa subclass 186
Visa Lodged: 21 May 2013
Visa Granted: 10 July 2013

DIAC Places Increases on Visa Application Charge

 The Australian Government announced last week, that the Department of Immigration visa application fees will increase across the board by 15% from September 1st onwards. The only visa types exempt from these price increases are the Student visas and Tourist visas.

The Government made the announcement about the increases in the Visa Application Charges (VAC) in their Economic Statement for the 2013-2014 financial year. The further increases in Visa Application Charges have come as a surprise to many, including Western Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative James Pearson.

“Our members have been telling us that the government’s attack, because that’s what it’s been, on the 457 visa program has been costly and disturbing and made it harder for them to recruit people overseas,” he said.

The visa lodgement fee for Employer Sponsored Visa subclass 457 will increase from $900-$1,035, including additional fee increases for family members from $225 to $260 for children under 18 years and from $765 to $880 for dependants over the age of 18. 

The base visa application charge for both the subclass 186 and subclass 187 visas  will also increase from $3,060 to $3,520 September onwards. The additional dependent charge for these subclass visas for those aged 18 or over will increase from $1,530 to $1,760, and for those under 18, it will rise from $765 to $880.

The reasons given by the Australian government for the VAC increases, that the decision was “primarily revenue in nature.”  James Pearson says the  visas mentioned above allow employers to employ essential workers in mining, construction, health and nursing across the state.

“That just doesn’t make sense at a time when Australia needs talent wherever it can find it.”

The increases are set to raise $542 million for the Australian government over the next 4 years. However, the new price increase has also come on top of other recently announced increase of visa fees announced on 1 July and an introduction of a education charge for 457 Visa families in Western Australia introduced only last week.

Mr. Pearson said the 457 program has kept businesses open, construction sites working and provided essential health services across the country. He also mentioned that  large number of people who came in as temporary workers often settle in Australia permanently and the new charges could have a massive affect on those living in remote areas of Australia.

“The government should think very carefully about making it harder for Australian employers, large and small, to bring in temporary workers from overseas when locals aren’t available to do the job,” he said.

Here is a table below to keep track of some of the latest price increases which will be implemented on September 1st:

Visa TypeCurrent FeeFrom 1 SepIncrease
457 Temporary Worker (Skilled)$900$1,035$135
Partner (Onshore)$3,975$4,575$600
Partner (Offshore)$2,680$3,085$405
General Skilled Migration$3,060$3,520$460
Temporary Graduate 485$1,250$1,440$190
Working Holiday$365$420$55
Contributory Parent 2nd VAC$42,220$48,550$6,330

457 Visa Education Charge introduced to keep up with demand on WA Schools

The Western Australia state government announced last week that they will be introducing new education charges for families on 457 visas, from next year onwards.

The new fees are based on a individual charge for the children of 457 visa holders to attend Western Australia state schools and will in turn cost parents each year, $4000 per child.

The state decision has shocked many families that are already residing in Western Australia under the 457 visa scheme.

Dublin born, MP Stephen Dawson said he has been speaking to many families who feared they would not be able to remain, if the charges were introduced. He spoke of one family who are on an annual income of $77,000 and have five children.

“Three are school age, next year they will have four. They will be slugged $16,000 to send their kids to school.”

The Australian parliament said that there are 8,600 children of 457 visa holders already enrolled in Western Australian schools and that it costs the Australian government up to $15,000 to educate a child.The government has already estimated that the new charge will bring in $17 million between 2013 -2014 and $120 billion over the next four years between 2016 -2017.

Western Australia Premier, Colin Barnett defended the measure, stating that no charge had been introduced before to support children who were temporally attending state schools. He also highlighted that many schools have had to bring in specialist language and English teachers to keep up with the increase of influx of students on temporary visas.

“However the numbers have now created a problem in our school system and its starting to be a real cost on the State government. So we believe until such time as they become permanent Australian citizens, they should pay some part of the cost of their child being educated. We’ve yet to determine the criteria and that will be done in coming weeks.”

Western Australia is not the first state to introduce such charges with New South Wales introducing similar fees for the children of 457 visa holders in 2011. Their fees ranged from $4000-$6,000 per child per year and in the Capital Territories fees ranged between $9,000-$14,000 for each child.

While the introduction of these fees are far from desirable, I can understand the reasoning behind it. It costs the Western Australia government thousands of dollars to educate children so temporary residents who have only paid tax for a short time, are getting the full benefit of the education system subsidised by the full time Australian tax payer.

It is the reality of immigrating to Australia, but it also insures the expansion of the Western Australia education system, as well as better education and future for the children of many families moving to but also already living in Western Australia.

Australian Election Candidates Campaign for Economic Growth

Prime minister, Kevin Rudd finally announced last week that the Australian election will be taking place on September 7th.

Campaigning has gotten well underway in Australia with main candidates, Australian prime minister and Labor leader Kevin Rudd and Coalition party leader Tony Abbott both vying for the parliamentary win in September.

Since former prime minister Julia Gillard was voted out from the Labor party as a result of flailing popularity with voters it has caused a closer race between her replacement Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott. As recent polls have revealed that the Coalition party still looks the favourite to win, but Kevin Rudd is more likeable as a leader.

The first television debate took place last Sunday in which both candidates revealed their policies surrounding the economic future, taxes and the resource boom.

Coalition party leader, Tony Abbott revealed last week how he planned to support business growth through tax and reiterated this point at Sunday’s electoral debate.

“You will see before polling day how much exactly we will spend, exactly how much we are going to save and exactly how much better the Budget balance is going to be, under the Coalition party.”

Tony Abbott has also stated how he planned to scrap mining and carbon taxes, which have become increasingly unpopular since Rudd’s announcement in June over carbon taxes increases for 2014.

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd is focusing more on Labor’s current policies regarding the economy and tax cuts, saying it has the policy that has sustained economic growth for Australia during the Global Financial Crisis.

“The Budget will return to surplus over time without engaging in massive slashes or cuts. There will be revenue for the future and a boost in productivity for our future, including free trade agreement with the Chinese.”

It still seems to close to call who will win the election but despite their different policies, both electoral leaders promise economic growth that will enable more creation of jobs which will bode well for those considering immigrating to Australia also.

Visa Changes Introduced to Keep Up with Growth in Applications

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has implemented changes today, as part of their year-long review of the Australian visa application process.

The main changes that visa applicants need to be aware of are the increase of nomination fees and the restructuring of requirements for the temporary employer sponsored visa (subclass 457), but there is also good news….read more