Thank you ever so much…

” First and foremost, you are in the hands of the most professional immigration lawyer I have ever dealt with. Mege made our journey of getting the permanent residency back smooth and fast. We absolutely delighted to get our dream life back and to be moving to Australia in early 2021.

Given the COVID-19 situation and freeze on every immigration matter. Mege was able to get a permanent residency for our darling baby too. The times for processing were up to 24 months. We received it within 9 months which enables us to go back on time!

Mege is not only a professional in everything she does but also a very strong and kind person who understands every personal circumstance and genuinely helps the best she can.

As immigration can change lives, I would not advise anyone better than Mege – to make your dream come true.

Thank you ever so much, Mege for everything you have done, for your professionalism, confidence, and positivity – we would not be there without you. Given COVID-19 extraordinary circumstances, I want to particularly emphasize how grateful we are for your professional persistence, help, and care we never forget..”

N.K. & Family
Limerick
1 December 2020

Excellent help & guidance for visa information

Mege has answered all my questions and did so in a very professional way. Visa process is daunting but Mege has the whole process a lot easier and is always there to help with information.

I can highly recommend Mege for visa advice to anybody looking to travel to Australia.

Trevor M.
Dublin
Employer Sponsored Visa
1 November 2020

Australian Working Holiday Visa – Age limit increased to 35

australian working holiday visa

New Age Limit of 35 

For Irish citizens, the new age limit is set to be increased from 30 to 35 years for the Australian working holiday visa.

Australian working holiday visa
AFP PHOTO / Peter Muhly (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Patrick O’Donovan made the announcement during an official visit to Melbourne this month with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney and his Australian counterpart, David Coleman.

The new age limit will apply to new applications for the Working Holiday visa lodged from 1 November 2018 by Irish citizens.

This is good news for the over 30s in Ireland who for a long time have been excluded from participating in the Australian working holiday visa programme solely based on age.  Now Irish citizens between the ages of 30 and 35 will have the opportunity to apply for the Australian working holiday visa.

What is the Australian working holiday visa?

It is a visa which allows the holder to live and work in Australia for up to 12 months. Easy as that! It’s primary purpose is for travel and work experience of Australia. For many people, this visa is a “try before you buy” opportunity. A way to experience living and working in Australia to see if the may want to stay permanently. There may also be an opportunity to be sponsored long term by your Australian employer thereby extending your stay in Australia.

Work rights on this visa?

Working is definitely permitted on this visa, of course, the clue is in the name of the visa. Australian working holiday visa.  But,  while work rights are definite on this visa, there is a limitation that you need to be aware of.

Australian working holiday visa

You can only work for 1 employer for a maximum of 6 months. This means you can work for a number of employers short term. If you want to work up to 6 months for an employer, you would be limited to 2 employers for the length of the visa.  If you are working for an employer and you want to continue working for them past the 6 months limit, you will need to apply for another visa which can permit this. If you have relevant qualifications in a skilled or trade occupation on the Australian government’s combined list of occupations, you may be eligible for a sponsored work visa or a permanent migration visa that would extend your stay in Australia.

How to apply for an Australian working holiday visa

If you are an Irish person looking to apply for this visa, it’s simple. All you need to do is to go the Australian immigration website. Create an account for yourself using the ImmiAccount portal.  Nearly all applications are now made online using this online portal. It’s very simple to use.

The applicant is relatively inexpensive, you need to prove your identity (your passport will be sufficient), demonstrate you have at least 3,000 Australian dollars in savings (bank statements usually) and a return flight to Ireland (e-ticket).

You must be outside of Australia when you apply and are granted this visa.

On average it takes the Australian government 18 days to process the Australian working holiday vsia application and make a final decision to approve you for the visa.

The visa application fee is 450 Australian dollars.

If you have questions or need help making your application for an Australian working holiday visa, get in touch and we can help

Can you still apply for the visa if you have children?

Yes.  The likelihood of an applicant having a child or children will actually increase given the new age limit of 35. To apply for the Australian working holiday visa, you will need to prove that your child(ren) will not be accompanying you to Australia for any time during your stay and that they will be the care of another parent or legal guardian.

The second Australian working holiday visa – Regional work requirement

Many people will only use their Australian working holiday visa for 12 months and then return to their home countries to continue their lives. However, many others love their Australian experience and want to extend their stay. There is an option to apply for a second Australian working holiday visa. The main requirement is that while you were on your first visa, you spent 3 months working in a regional area. doing “seasonal work”. For example, you worked as a fruit picker, or on a dairy, beef, pig farm. Working on a fish farm or fishing boat, packing and sorting seafood would also count. The majority work in the fruit picking industry. There are designated regional areas in Australia where this seasonal work takes place.

You can apply for a second visa either in or outside of Australia. You will need to prove that you have completed 3 months of regional work by providing references and payslips from your employer.

australian working holiday visa

Navigate the Australian skilled migration points test successfully

Australian skilled migration visa

How to calculate your pass mark if you want to apply for an Australian skilled migration visa

If you want to apply for an Australian skilled migration visa, you will have to know how to calculate your pass mark under the points.  To be eligible to apply for an Australian skilled migration visa like the subclass 189, 190 or 489 means you must have a minimum pass mark of at least 65 points.

Under the points test, points are awarded on the basis of the factors. All factors are assessed as they are at the time you are invited to apply for this visa after you have submitted an Expression of Interest to the Skillselect system.

Age

There is an age limit of 45. This means if you are 45 and older, you are ineligible to apply for an Australian skilled migration visa. Under the points test, the following range of ages will attract the respective points.  Be careful when you allocate the points when you are lodging an expression of interest for your Australian skilled migration visa.  If you are on the verge of a birthday that will take you over the threshold of one category and into the next, consider carefully how that will affect you in the points test overall.

  • 18–24 years – 25 points
  • 25–32 years – 30 points
  • 33–39 years – 25 points
  • 40–44 years – 15 points

English language ability

Please note that english test results must be no older than three years immediately before the day on which the Australian skilled migration visa application was made. Under the points test, the following applies:

  • Competent English: score of at least 6 on each of the four components of speaking, reading, listening and writing in an IELTS test, or B on each of the four components of an OET test, or
  • provide evidence that you are a citizen of and hold a passport from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America – 0 points
  • Proficient English: score of at least 7 on each of the four components of speaking, reading, listening and writing in an IELTS test, or B on each of the four components of an OET test – 10 points
  • Superior English: score of at least 8 on each of the four components of speaking, reading, listening and writing in an IELTS test, or A on each of the four components of an OET test – 20 points

The PTE Academic test is now another option for verifying English language ability.  Note that PTE General test is not accepted for visa applicants.  It is becoming popular due to fast turnaround in test results as well flexible dates for test takers.

A score of 65-78 in PTE Academic test is considered be proficient score.  A score of 79-90 in the PTE Academic test is considered to be a superior score.  All this for the purposes of claiming either 10 or 20 bonus points for English language ability under the points test.

Skilled employment

Below is the allocation of points under the points test for skilled employment.  Recognize there are 2 separate categories for experience inside and outside of Australia.

Outside Australia: skilled employment in your nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation

  • Skilled employment for at least 3 out of the past 10 years – 5 points
  • Skilled employment for at least 5 out of the past 10 years – 10 points
  • Skilled employment for at least 8 out of the past 10 years – 15 points

In Australia: skilled employment in your nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation

  • Skilled employment of 1-2 years in the past 10 years – 5 points
  • Skilled employment of 3-4 years in the past 10 years – 10 points
  • Skilled employment of 5-7 years in  the past 10 years – 15 points
  • Skilled employment of 8-10 years in the past 10 years – 20 points

Qualifications

  • Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or other doctorate of a recognized standard – 20 points
  • At least a bachelor degree from an Australian educational institution or other degree of a recognized standard – 15 points
  • Diploma or trade qualification completed in Australia – 10 points
  • An award or qualification recognized by the assessing authority in the assessment of the skilled occupation – 10 points

Australian study requirement

  • One or more degrees, diplomas or trade qualifications awarded by an Australian educational institution and meet the Australian study requirement – 5 points

Other factors

  • Credentialed community language qualifications – 5 points
  • Study in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan area (excluding distance education) – 5 points
  • Partner skill qualifications – 5 points
  • Professional year in Australia for at least 12 months in the four years before the day you were invited to apply – 5 points

Nomination or Sponsorship (subclass 190 or 489 state/regional sponsored Australian skilled migration visa)

The word nomination and sponsorship are used interchangeably so don’t be confused.  They mean the same thing.  If you are nominated by a state government for the purposes of an Australian skilled migration visa subclass (State sponsored) subclass 190 visa this is the same as being sponsored by that government body.

  • Nomination by state or territory government (visa subclass 190 only) – 5 points
  • Nomination by state or territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member to reside and work in a specified/designated area (Australian skilled migration visa subclass (Regional sponsored) subclass 489 only) – 10 points

Here is a link to a list of the type of documents that will support a skilled migration visa application.

Get in touch if you want to learn how to successfully apply for an Australia skilled migration visa.

How to get in contact?
Call us: (021) 234 8112 – Mon to Fri 10am to 4pm

Email: [email protected]

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Applying for a Resident Return visa? – Why it’s important to live in Australia for 2 years once you are a permanent resident

Woman scratching head - Resident return visa
Resident return visa – Helping an old client

Recently, I had a client who I helped apply for and obtain a skilled migration visa contact me about renewing their permanent residency status. They wanted to apply for a resident return visa.

They had spent a couple of years on a work visa in Australia and I assisted them to obtain their permanent visas. However, they didn’t stay in Australia long after becoming permanent residents. They came home to Ireland to start their family. When they emailed me last week, I found out they had since added two children to their family unit.

Their permanent visas are going to expire in June 2019. They wanted to know how they could renew their permanent visas.

This is what I told them and it wasn’t good news. If you want to automatically renew your permanent visa you have to live in Australia for at least 2 years as a permanent resident. If you don’t do that, it gets complicated. You then have to prove that you have strong ties to Australia despite not living there and explain with good reasons why you don’t live and live in Ireland (if your this client I’m referring to).

Strong ties to Australia – Do you have them?

If you don’t have strong ties than you can pretty much forget about Australia. That’s the bottom line. I know my client wants the option of returning to Australia one day. However, Immigration are not interested in giving people the option of keeping their permanent residency on the table and continuing to live outside Australia. If you applied for a migrant visa then they want to emigrate to Australia and live there as a migrant – the intended purpose of the migration visa you applied and paid for and which they granted to you.

I’ve received so many messages over the years from desperate people wanting to apply for a Resident Return Visa (subclass 155 and 157 ).   They share a common issue that they had not lived in Australia for a minimum of 2 years as permanent residents,  They had a range of reasons why they couldn’t live in Australia and had to return to their country of origin.

Most applicants for an RRV have initially hold their first permanent residence visa. When the validity of this visa is going to expire, they must renew this residency status.  An application for an RRV once approved by Immigration effectively renews the permanent residence status.

You could be a permanent resident forever

When you are a permanent resident, you can go on living in Australia as a permanent resident for many years using consecutive RRVs.  If you never choose to become an Australian citizen that is perfectly fine.

There was a variety of reasons why a person couldn’t live in Australia even though they have the permanent residence. There may be health issues of parents to deal with, changing job commitments, or getting married for example. All valid reasons, that’s life.

However, when dealing with Immigration, the fact is if you don’t live in Australia for 2 years they want to you to know why and see proof that you have strong ties to Australia and had compelling reasons to live outside of Australia whilst holding permanent residency status.  They won’t just accept your word, these reasons and strong ties will need to proven with evidence.

Residency of 2 years or Strong ties – No other choice

You must demonstrate that you have strong ties to the country show you are serious about living in Australia. Just your words that this time you are definitely going to live in Australia will not persuade Immigration.

Strong ties include having a job or evidence of a job, a mortgage/property in Australia.  It can include family members in Australia such as a spouse, children.  It must be close family ties.  If you have children in Australia, their lives are going to be significantly impacted if Immigration doesn’t give you a resident return visa.  On the other hand, your second cousin by marriage who lives in Darwin, will be ok if you don’t live in Australia anymore.

Perhaps Immigration has cause to be strict.  You applied for your initial migration visa. It was expensive, time-consuming and quite an application process to go through.  You succeeded, they granted you the visa with the full expectation that in the 5 years of your visa, you would be living in Australia.  Now you are to applying for a resident return visa without meeting the minimum residency requirement.  And you have no real ties to Australia just a promise that this time you will live in Australia in the future.

So in conclusion

Now I might sound harsh particularly for those people who are in this situation described above.  My article here is really for new migrants or people in the process of applying for their first migration visa.  It’s actually important to live in Australia after you get your first migration visa.  You must be familiar with what the resident return visa application involves.  Prepare early for applying for a resident return visa, When the time comes you will give yourself the best chance of success.

Application Requirements – How do you apply for an RRV

Applications for a Resident Return Visa are lodged online through the Department of Home Affairs, ImmiAccount system. If you meet the residency requirement, the visa processing time could be a matter of days.   If you have to prove your strong ties to Australia the processing time may be several weeks to months.

Get in touch if you want to learn how to successfully apply for an Australia visa.

 

Top 8 changes to the Australian visa system in 2018 you should know about if you want to live and work in Australia

If you want to live and work in Australia, and depending on your circumstances, you should know about these changes.

Workers
There is a new work visa in town.  It’s called the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482). For anyone over 30, who wants to live and work in Australia for between 2-4 years, the TSS visa is the most likely option.  I say over 30, because if you are under 30, the Working Holiday visa might be an option you should look into (unless you’re ineligible or already used it).

The TSS visa replaces the 457 work visa which had been around for years. But the TSS visa is not a given by any means even if you think you are the right candidate for the job. In fact, eligibility for this visa is very complicated. You have to be suitably qualified but your hiring employer also needs to jump through a few challenging obstacles as well.

The application for a TSS visa is best navigated with the help of a professional immigration advisor.

Employers
Yes, employers are also affected. They still have to worry about labour market testing the Australian jobs they want to hire foreigners to fill, that requirement hasn’t changed.

They now have to satisfy a new requirement called the SAF levy or Skilling Australian Funds levy. Boiled down, its a tax on employers who want to hire foreign workers. How much they pay, depends on how much they make in yearly turnover. If a prospective employer has a turnover of $10 million or less, they pay $1200 per year of the visa. If the employer is sponsoring a foreign worker for a permanent visa like the Employer Nominated Scheme, the cost would be A$3000.

So when you think about your options to live and work in Australia, be aware of what an employer will have to do to get you that work visa.

Foreign partners of Australians
This year, the Australian partner visa application fee was increased again and now stands at a lofty, $7,160. The rise and rise of the Partner visa application fees have occurred over a number of years. Let’s see how long it will take to break the $8,000. If you are one of those foreign-born applicants who is unlucky enough to fall in love (joking!) with an Australian person, take comfort in knowing you are not alone. According to DHA migration statistics, 47, 825 were granted between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017. As of 30 June 2017, there are a whopping 71, 523 applications in the processing pipeline.

Skilled Migrants
The Australian upped the ante and increased the minimum pass mark for the General Skilled Migration points test to 65. It has been 60 for a number of years and this year, applicants who want to apply for a skilled migration visa will have to find 5 additional points to qualify. Not easy, considering, they also reduced the age limit from 50 to 45. It seems even if you are a qualified and experienced skilled professional it will still be very difficult to qualify for a migrant visa.  In addition, no longer can partners of skilled migrants claim bonus spouse points if they are over 45. Previously, a partner who was between 45 and 50 could earn spouse points.

Tech professionals
The Global Talent Visa Scheme is a peace offering scheme offered by the Australian government to the tech industry. Given the controversy surrounding the closure of the 457 work visa. Tech employers can recruit highly skilled professionals from overseas so long as they can prove they have a good record of hiring and training Australians.

Business Visa Application Fees
Speaking of expensive application fees, well this fee increase takes first prize. Anyone interested and eligible to apply for a Business Innovation Investment Visa will have to cough up a whopping $8,770 in application fees to the Australian government. Previously, the fee was $8,580 before it was increased last July.

Australian Citizenship
The previous Turnball government failed to convince Parliament that the eligibility requirements for applying for Australian citizenship should be overhauled. They wanted to introduce an English test, increase the permanent residency to 4 years rather than 2, and make applicants swear an Oath of Allegiance to Australia. Well the craziness has passed but it is a possibility that the Bill to make these changes might be introduced into Parliament again. Given the recent leadership tussle, with Malcolm Turnball being ousted and the new Prime Minister, Scott Morrisson perhaps it won’t be a priority for now. However Peter Dutton remains the head honcho of the Department of Home Affairs, and he was the main push behind changing the Australian citizenship eligibility requirements.  In any case, there is likely to be fierce opposition again to the changes by the Independents, immigration industry represents and the general migrant public.

Parents
Temporary Parent Visa soon could be an option for Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens in Australia who want their parent(s) based overseas to join them in Australia.

This visa has not started yet. Firstly it needs to be approved by the Australian parliament before it can come into effect.

The DHA websites states, that up to 2 parents can be sponsored, the visa period can be for 3 years or 5 years. Application fees will be either be $5,000 or $10,000 depending on which visa period you select. Presumably, it will be per parent which will make it quite expensive for most migrants living in Australia and want to reunite with their parents.

The visa must be sponsored by a child of the parent(s), the sponsoring child would have to meet financial and residency requirements. When this visa will come into effect is unknown, we’ll just have to watch this space.

Have a question about your Australian visa application or how you can live and work in Australia, send me a message and we can discuss further.

For more information, visit the Department of Home Affairs.

 

What can you do if you have a re-entry ban applied against you by Immigration?

Does a 3-year re-entry ban mean I can’t get a visa to go back to Australia?

Many feel like the route back to Australia has been cut off to them forever but in fact, they still have options to apply for a visa for Australia.

Unfortunately, there’s no getting rid of them once they are applied by the Australian government, so simple first step, please, please don’t overstay your temporary visa in Australia.

If you can help it and most times you can by being aware of when your visa is going to expire and taking steps to submit an application for a new visa if you want to stay before the expiry date.

Also, don’t leave it until the last minute to do something. At the last minute, the universe can plot against you. Your internet connection will break down, your credit card will be declined and so on. Prepare and submit a new application early if its possible.

If not, make plans to get out of Australia. If you get out of Australia after your visa expires, the re-entry ban will be applied automatically.

Now here’s the good news . . .

You still have Australian visa options if you are interested in pursuing a permanent residency visa and of course, you are eligible. Skilled migration visas are the category to look at.

Check out my new video where I talk about what you can and can’t do when you have a re-entry ban in place.

Hope you find the video helpful, if so, please like it and share it with your friends. I would really appreciate.

I would love to hear from you. Have you been on the receiving end of a re-entry ban? Did it spoil your experience of Australia, would you go back?

Please share your thoughts, stories, and ideas in the comment section.

Thanks for watching the video!

 

New changes to Australian citizenship

New citizenship changes
As of 20 April 2017, the Australian government has introduced new changes to its requirements for applying Australian citizenship.

Residency requirement
Previously, you were required to have lived in Australia for 4 years as a resident and at least 12 months as a permanent resident.
Now, you must have lived in Australian for at least 4 years as a permanent resident before you apply.

English test
Previously, whether you could understand English, including reading and writing in the language, wasn’t actually tested as part of the citizenship application process. The fact you had completed the application form (in English), presented yourself at an interview with your immigration officer to take the Citizenship test was the extent of it. Really an indirect way of testing your English-speaking skills were up to standard.

Now, you will have to take an independent English test. Probably a test administered by an official bodies like IELTS and Pearson Academic who test and provide a grade for a person’s English language ability.

Integration to Australia
Previously, you lived in Australia for at least 4 years as part of the general residency requirements and this was proof enough of integration into Australia.

Now, you will have to prove you have integrated by providing evidence that convinces the Australian government that you have integrated. What ways can you show you have integrated:

  • Pay your taxes so you can produce your tax summaries
  • Join a social club
  • Join a sporting club
  • Volunteer for good causes
  • Volunteer for school activities – coaching your child’s footy team, fundraiser, parent supervisors for school excursions etc

Basically, go out and do what you see Australians doing at the weekend and that should keep you on track.

Be of good character
Previously, you were required to provide an Australian police clearance and an overseas police clearance for any country you have lived in before moving to Australia.

Now, the same will apply but your character will be subject to a high level of scrutiny. From minor to major offences it seems any mark on someone’s criminal record could raise issues. Essentially, don’t have any problems with the law while you are residing in Australia if you want to give your citizenship application the best chance of success.

Citizenship test

More questions are going to be added to the test focusing on the these of Australian values. You will only be allowed to attempt the test 3 times. After this an exclusion period (not yet defined) will apply before you can attempt to apply for citizenship again.

Pledge of allegiance
This will be extended to include more declarations around the theme of Australian values.

Australian values statement
This will be extended to include declarations around your allegiance to Australia and promises that you are going to integrate and contribute to Australia.

The Australian parliament has not yet passed the legislation underlining citizenship changes but the current government seems confident that it will. These changes came into effect on 20 April 2017. This means any applications lodged on or after 20 April are subject to the new changes regardless of whether legislation has been passed or not.

If you lodged your application before 20 April, you are not affected by the new changes.

Move to Australia from America

Trump

Move To Australia From the USA

There’s been a spike in the google searches for emigration out of America in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory in the US. Canada’s immigration website crashed and the media is having a field day with twitterable, is that a word? Trump is certainly igniting debate on immigration, migrants rights, refugees, the undocumented workers and a lot more.

Trump and Australia

Media hype aside, Americans have favored living in Australia for years – before Trump ever took office.  Australia is the only country in the world to have received more American migrants than the US has accepted from it. Think about that for a second!

Short term, it’s relatively easy for Americans to come to Australia. Trump has visited Australia number times and his fiery phone conversation with then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball about taking refugees from Australia to the US is now well known.  If you want to visit Australia, you can apply online for a holiday visa or Electronic Travel Authority as it is more officially called, and this allows you multiple entries to Australia over 12 months. You can stay for three months at a time but this visa has NO work rights.

If you’re a youngling, that is a word, aged between 18 and 30, you can apply for a Working Holiday visa. This lasts for a year, has limited work rights, involves a period of work in regional Australia and can be extended to 2 years in some cases. The US is one of the countries that Australia has a reciprocal agreement with for the working holiday visa.

If you’re serious about making a permanent move to Australia get in touch and we can help you discover what your Australian visa options are.

How to get in contact?
Call us: (021) 234 8112 – Mon to Fri 10am to 4pm

Email: [email protected]

Send us a message

Book a consultation

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Skilled migration visa for Australia

4 steps for a skilled migration visa for Australia

So you are going for it.  A move to Australia is the plan for the future.  Now begins the hard work of applying for the skilled migration visa for Australia.

There are 4 steps to lodging a skilled migration visa application you should be aware of:

1. Skill assessment

You would firstly confirm your occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) or the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL) set by the Australian government.

SOL CSOL

Once you have confirmed your occupation is on either the SOL or CSOL you can then apply for a skill assessment of your occupation for the relevant assessing body.  This is listed next to your occupation in the lists.

Assessing authorities
2. English test score

Most people need bonus points acquired by producing either a proficient or superior score in an English test (IELTS or PTE Academic Test) as part of scoring the minimum passmark of 60 set by the Australian government, migration points skills test.

The PTE Academic test is preferred by most of my clients for ease of booking and undertaking.

pte
3. Expression of Interest

Once you have your positive skill assessment outcome and relevant English test result you can proceed to the stage of lodging an Expression of Interest through the Skillselect system for the particular migration visa you are wish to apply for.

The various types of migration visas:

skillselect

4. Lodging a skilled migration visa application

Once an invitation to apply is received from the Expression of Interest, skilled visa applications are lodged via the ImmiAccount system of the Australian government

The application fee is currently AU$3,600 for the main applicant, AU$1,800 for spouse applicant, AU$900 for each dependent child.

Immiaccount

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