Someone on a student visa in need of help.

Kangaroo Ayers Rock


This week I received an email desperately seeking advice from a woman in Australia who was in danger of having her student visa cancelled because she was aiming to be included her partner’s 457 visa application but the employer wasn’t cooperating.  Here is the email and my response.  I’ve changed names for privacy reasons of course.

Her email:

From: Sheryl
Subject: Defacto Visa

Message Body: Hi, I’m currently on a student visa. Me and my boyfriend whose on a 457 sponsorship were in the process of applying for a defacto visa therefore I didn’t pay last months college fees and were told by the college that my enrolment has been cancelled. My boyfriends boss is now saying he won’t approve the defacto application and its implications. Where do I go from here? Really need help!

— This e-mail was sent from a contact form on Learn about Australian Visa Applications (

My response:

Hello Sheryl,

hanks for your visa inquiry via my website.

What a horrible situation you are in!

Is there no way to get your boyfriend’s boss to change his mind?  I find that when employer’s have a change of heart like this its usually a result of them not understanding visa requirements that scares them off and makes them not want to commit.

You don’t want to endanger your student visa so worse case scenario perhaps go back to your college and ask for your enrolment to be re-instated.

I’m not your migration agent so my limited knowledge of your case won’t be able to give you all the answers you need.  Are you based in Sydney, Melbourne? There are migration agents in Australia who would be happy to give you some one to one advice.  I’m in Dublin so all I can do is send you an encouraging email with some information but perhaps you need to speak to someone.

Your number one priority is not to endanger your student visa status.

All the best!

Tradesmen, does Australia need any more of them?


This is a difficult question to answer. Tradesmen are still migrating to Australia. I have clients who are bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers in their 20s, 30 and even 40s going through the general skilled migration visa application process right now. These men, I can say that because it really is a male dominated field, are aspiring to work and live in Australia and truth be told I don’t think would really care what the answer was to this question.

I know job opportunity is a factor when considering the notion of migrating to Australia but some people are driven by more than that. It’s a question I regularly get asked. It’s a also fact that the economy in Ireland is not great, and things don’t seem to be improving for the everyday person. This is definitely a motivating factor to get out if you can.

But, even though a lot of people have left, Ireland is far from being empty. There are people still here. If we all made decisions based simply on market economics like job opportunities, tax rates and incentives, there would be a lot less people here in Ireland and I think I would count myself one of the people to up and leave.

For all the data that underpins the programme of migration to Australia set by its Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the names for visas, from subclasses to categories, the system exists primarily because human beings want to better their situation. It is a fundamental part of who we are. If it’s getting harder to better your situation in one place then instinctively you look to do it in another place. That’s migration, plain and simple.

My clients differ from one person to the next. Yet that’s what they have in common. They believe if they relocate to Australia one part or many parts of their lives will improve. For many this actually happens, for others it’s a mostly positive experience but they do experience issues and challenges in adapting to a new life in Australia.
Qualified tradesmen looking to make the move over to Australia have a harder time than most applicants wanting to get an Australian skilled migration visa. The application process is more onerous sometimes including travelling to UK for practical assessments through a body called Vetassess. The cost can also be 2-3 times more than other applicants who have different occupations, try $2,100 on for size.

So my take on the question, tradesmen does Australia need any more of them would be a resounding yes. The Australian government includes many trade occupations in its list of occupations for migration to Australia. If there wasn’t a demand anymore, these occupations would be cut from the list. Perhaps the research and data that underpins this list might be a few months, maybe a year off, after all it is a huge government body not prone to responding efficiently to variable factors like the job market, economy etc, does it matter? Who can say. It shouldn’t put anyone off, at the end of the day, the majority of migrants by nature are risk takers, many of them land of their feet once they arrive and settle in Australia. I’ve seen it with many of my own clients. At the end of the day, it’s that intrinsic human quality of wanting to better your situation that dominates, it’s that quality that gets a person through getting their Australian visa in the first place to then adapting to life there as a migrant.

Halloween and Make Up Artists

Halloween pumpkin Jack O'Lantern

So one of my favourite things to do at Halloween is dressing up.  Yep I’m one of those people.

Halloween is great fun for some people (like me) and for others (like my husband) the idea of getting dressed up and going crazy with costumes, unusual make up techniques makes them want to run for the hills.

Anyway coming back to visas, recently I received a question from a woman based here in Ireland wanting to know if she would be eligible under the skilled migration visa system if she was a make up artist with 6 years of experience – hence the introductory paragraph about Halloween as soon as I read make up artist I thought of the big H.  Can’t wait!!

Ok I digress, so here a bit of info for someone like her, a qualified make up artist with 6 years of experience or actually any amount of work experience and sorry its not really positive.

The Australian government really doesn’t favour migrants who are make up artists, doesn’t matter how well qualified or how much work experience you have.  For the skilled migration programme the Australian government (Department of Immigration and Border Protection) put this occupation on the list of occupations which needs state sponsorship as part of the requirements – this means there has to be a state government who wants to sponsor make up artists to their state because their job market has a demand for it.

So and for example, in theory you could be a make up artist with say a minimum of at least 12 month experience and be eligible to apply for the state sponsored skilled migration visa subclass 190..did I say “in theory”, well I’ll say it again because it sounds promising but it isn’t.  The trouble is even though make up artists are on the government’s list of occupations for skilled migration to Australia, most state governments don’t offer sponsorship for make up artists so applying for this skilled migration visa isn’t actually an option.

Just by way of an explanation a state government is like the New South Wales state government or Queensland state government.  They are in charge of their own state affairs.

I know make up artists who have been sponsored to work in Australia but I’ve never know one to have emigrated under their own steam through the skilled migration visa programme.  Its a shame, make up artists are a really talented profession.  On Halloween as part of my transformation into whatever scary thing I’m going to dress up as, I love having a go at being my own make up artist.

Written by Mege Dalton, Australian Visa Expert, Ireland

Why you should take up meditation if you are going to emigrate

Beautiful woman in meditation

Stress is a major factor for anyone who knows about or has been through the process of emigrating to Australia (or any other country for that matter).  Why?  Visas.  Yes, visas those annoying things you have to put yourself through the ringer for before you can realise the dream of new  life somewhere else than the place you are right now.

Lots of people are so business like with their attitudes towards visa applications and with good grounds, the high cost, the pressure of making such a big decision, fear of not getting the visa, dealing with Immigration departments, its a long list.

Meditation probably doesn’t factor into the checklist of things to get done in the plan to emigrate but it really should.  If someone is eligible for a visa then its a matter of properly arranging the evidence to prove the visa requirements, execute the application process like making sure the right application forms are lodged, communications with Immigration case officers are clear and timely etc.  Strip away the fear factor and its just a process. Okay a scary process but not insurmountable, thousands of migrants make it to Australia each year.  Lots of Irish people make it to Australia each year and the trend continues.

Fear and stress are factors that can really affect your headspace taking a toll on your work performance, relationships, health and general well being.  You won’t find any information on the Australian immigration website on how to manage your stress and worry when going through the process of applying for a significant visa like a skilled migration visa because you want to be an Australian permanent resident.  No wise words of wisdom about taking care of your mental health so that you put yourself in the best position to arrive in Australia, clear and present, ready to take on a new life.  Its easy to get consumed by the logistics of emigrating like visa applications and the costs, shipping your belongings, giving notice to an employer etc but what about taking care of your greatest asset, you and how you feel.

Seriously, people who are in the process of emigrating should be meditating regularly, even if its just 10 minutes a day.  Take care of your inner well being and health, while you are trying to improve your external circumstances through emigration.  Here are some great websites that provide guided meditation for all levels.

Irish Nurses, forget Australia, West Africa needs you!

Nurse in a mask with syringe

An article by Deborah Condon today on the Irish Health website today was a very interesting read.  Apparently, GOAL, the Irish aid agency has started a recruitment drive for Irish nurses as well as doctors to consider working in West Africa to help the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.   GOAL wants Irish nurses and doctors to consider a 6 month stint in countries like Liberia which have been hard hit by the virus which has infected and killed thousands of people.

GOAL’s CEO Barry Andrews relied on a recent report by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention that if the virus continues on its current trajectory that by 20 January 1.4 million people in Sierra Leone and Liberia will be affected.

Such a terrible and tragic situation for these West African countries who have enough to deal with without disease outbreak to add to their problems.

Any young Irish nurses out there, perhaps consider shelving the plans for a move to work and live in Sydney or Melbourne for a 6 month stint in West Africa.  Its a big ask but Australia isn’t going anywhere and Irish nurses will always be in demand if you were planning on emigrating.




“Wholeheartedly recommend the services”

My husband and I obtained our 190 visa’s this year and plan to move to Australia as soon as possible.  Both of us would wholeheartedly recommend the services that Mege provides because, simply, our dream and vision would have being impossible without Mege’s professionalism, experience and ability to turn matters around.  We did not have time on our side and only had one crack at the application.  Mege’s calm, positive and “can do” attitude kept the process moving and we are both over the moon that we have achieved permanent residency in Australia…. Thankyou Mege.

Ciara McCormick

Visa – State Sponsored Skilled migration visa subclass 190
Lodged – 25 April 2014
Granted – 1 August 2014
Moving to Canberra, ACT from Dublin

Mick Rogers way to go!


Mick Rogers

Photo: AFP

I’ve been following the Tour de France 2014 and loving it. Michael Rogers, one of the riders for Team Tinkoff Saxo is one of my favourite riders to watch, and he’s an Aussie. I also followed him in the Giro D’Italia this year where he won 2 stages of this amazing bike rice as well.

But yesterday when he won stage 16, a 237.5 kilometre-long ride from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon in the Pyrenees in a time of 6 hours, 7 minutes, 10 seconds, his performance was just brilliant. A great culmination of brains, experience and sheer Aussie determination. I particularly like how when he was interviewed afterwards by a reporter after the race, he was commenting on the 2 French riders from Team Eurosport who were in the breakaway with him and who were playing the 1-2 game with him he said, “Don’t mess with me, I wasn’t going to take that sh%t..” He also said he’d been been in this position too many times not to win.

Just love it when Australians shine on the international stage.

Well done Mick!


No recent work experience, am I still eligible?



This week I received a question from someone who is an ACCA qualified accountant here in Dublin asking me if he was still eligible even it he hadn’t worked as an accountant in the last 6 years.

I wrote back stating in theory it was possible.  Accountant is an occupation that is still on the SOL so it means applying for a skilled independent migration visa subclass 189 is an option if you can meet other basic requirements and have the minimum passmark of 60 points.

If you are aged between 25 and 39, have a degree in Accounting or a professional member of an accounting body like the ACCA, and (this is essential) have a superior IELTS score (8 in each band of reading, writing. listening and speaking) you should be eligible to apply for the skilled independent migration visa subclass 189.

Your points calculation would look something like this:

Age – 30/25*

Degree – 15

IELTS superior – 20

Total: 65/60

*30 points if you are between 25-32 years of age.  25 points if you are between 33-39 years of age.

I wish all my clients could be eligible to apply for the skilled independent visa, its like the gold medal of all the migration visas.  No sponsorship conditions, no work limitations, you can go relocate to where ever you like in Australia.  For the most part may of them are so its takes the added stage of state sponsorship out of the equation which simplifies the process.

NSW State sponsorship programme



NSW state government is set to reopen its state migration programme on 14 July 2014.

Its good news for all of you both in Australia and outside who would like to apply for state sponsorship to facilitate the state sponsored migration categories like the subclass 190.
The new programme brings in some significant changes to the way NSW will now administer its state sponsorship scheme.

Notable changes include:-

  • New applications will now be lodged electronically (..finally NSW updates to online system for applications, lagging behind other state governments such such as Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia who have had online application systems for some time).

  • There will be four (4) intakes per year for the programme.   The first intake will be 14 July.

  • The intakes are open for 4-6 weeks only.   The first intake on 14 July 2014 will close 11-25 August 2014.

  • A maximum of 1000 applications per intake is the limit.

On the NSW website, it states;

NSW runs the Skilled Nominated program in order to attract highly skilled people in a range of occupations to contribute to NSW future skills needs.”

So to be clear, by that statement, NSW is  only looking to sponsored a maximum of 4,000 of these “highly skilled people” each year.  

Moral of the story here, if you want to apply for NSW state sponsorship at some point during the 2014/2015 year, be prepared.

To prepare – get cracking on your skill assessment if you haven’t already done so, get your proficient or superior IELTS test results sorted.  Don’t even ask is the IELTS test necessary if you are from a native English speaking country.  Those days are gone, its the most competition migration system(s) I’ve seen at both a state government and federal government level.  You need to have all your ducks lined up so you can be one of those 1,000 applicants to be chosen so be in a position to lodge a NSW state sponsorship application at the beginning of each intake period.

The proposed intake periods are:-

  • 14 July 2014 (closes 11-25 August)

  • 14 October 2014 (closes 11-25 November)

  • 7 January 2015 (closes 16 February -2 March)

  • 1 April 2015 (closes 12-26 May)

Good luck y’all!

State sponsorship options are limited right now…

colleagues arguing

At this stage in the year, its becoming apparent that state sponsorship options for anyone looking to apply for a state sponsored skilled migration visa subclass 190  is limited and some of the state’s requirements for sponsorship are becoming unbelievable in their scope for potential visa application/migrants.

NSW has closed its application system for the subclass 190 state sponsorship so that’s too bad for anyone aiming to head out to Sydney.

QLD’s state sponsorship financial requirements ($30,000 in assets), a large part of which has to be in cash and verified is laughable.

WA requirement for you to have a signed 12 month employment contract in place is fantastical.  Only SA and Victoria state sponsorship requirement seem to exist in the realm of reality as you and I know it.  So Adelaide and Melbourne are attractive cities to consider, both have a lot of offer.  Adelaide with its affordable cost of living.  Melbourne with its strong IT industry is a good option for IT professionals and it really is a cultural hub.

Recently, I had a very positive experience with ACT state sponsorship, they allowed a high level of flexibility in the application process in relation to lodgement and efficiency timing that I am full of praise for their ACT migration manager, Julianne O’Brien and their migration team of assessing officers.  Its good to come across a state sponsorship body who’s actions actually illustrate they care about potential migrants to their states and appreciates particular nuances of an individual case.   Unfortunately ACT has reached its occupation ceiling for the subclass 190 and is currently closed but like NSW they should be oopen for business again from July.

The easy answer on how to deal with these limitations and demanding requirements would be avoid state sponsorship altogether and aim for a superior IELTS score if your occupation is on the SOL.

If your occupation is on CSOL, then don’t lose heart, waiting until the new Australian financial year begins 1 July 2014 might be the key.  NSW advises on its website that it will be opening up its applications system from July which alot of my own clients will be welcoming as Sydney is still the place to go if you work in the legal, financial or IT industry.