How I’m going to save the Australian economy.



So the sun was finally shining here in Ireland up until a few days ago and now we’ve reverted to the usual cold and wet conditions we are all to familiar with and I’m totally over it.

I am starting to think waiting for the summer in Ireland is a bit like waiting for the Australian government to lighten up about its immigration programme.

I had been working on this article for a few weeks but I came across an article today which spurred me and I know the title of this article is a big statement but I have a few good ideas on how to save the Australian economy that I wanted to share.

The article  I read was talking about a proposal that would overhaul the current migration visas for Australia.  The gist of it being “Immigration is not intended to help poor people”.  Essentially migrants would be selected by the Australian government on how much they could pay and not their skills or even family connections to Australia.

The new proposal comes out of the the Productivity Commission, the Australian government’s independent advisory body reviewing the main criteria that migrants are assessed against.  This review was requested by Treasurer, Joe Hockey.  Yes the Treasurer asked for the review and the finding is that they should focus on rich migrants.  Go figure.  I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

The mining boom bust in 2012 has left a big hole in the Australian national purse

Since the mining boom bust in 2012 the effect has left a big hole in the Australian national purse perhaps that is why Mr Hockey might be feeling a bit of pressure in his current role.

China doesn’t want all that iron ore anymore.  What iron ore it did acquire in stupendous amounts has resulted in wasteful construction.  An example of this would the disturbing existence of “ghost cities”.  Essentially cities built for 1 million people but only housing say 20,000 people.  Cities like Ordos, one of these such cities located in Inner Mongolia.  Hmm Ordos it doesn’t sound very Chinese, more like one of those crazy clubs in Malaga we read about where Irish youngsters going to work off some of their crazy sexual energy.

With rising unemployment and lower than expected revenues from taxes, Australia is struggling to retain its flag as the beacon economy which managed to avoid going into recession during the global financial crisis.  The treasurer must be looking for extra funds for the national purse and a good way to get this income is to gear the migration policy to focus on the goal of moneyed migrants.

At this stage is just a proposal so rather than foucs on on the negative, here are my 5 tips to help the Australian economy improve without becoming a crazy money hungry branch of the government machinery and mix in a bit of social responsibility as well:-

1. Make it easier

Make it easier for professionally and trade educated migrants to get in and let more of them in.  If someone can put themselves through the process of applying, paying large application fees then moving themselves and their families across the world to a new country and life to boot, naturally they are either crazy or brilliant.  Let’s go with the latter.  Migrants are naturally an enterprising, go getting type of a group set so make it easier for them, it has to be better for the economy.  If each migrant comes with an average of AU$20,000 to settle that’s also a monetary infusion in to the economy.

2. Favour families

Let’s face it this bust will eventually pass and another boom cycle will begin.  So have a bit more foresight.  An aging population and the economic challenges that accompanying this growing trend is something that needs to be addressed now.  Migration could be the answer.  Change migration policy to favour families.   Children are the key to the future.  On that note get rid of visa application fees for children altogether.  Yes its important what mum and dad have been up to so they need to be the qualifying applicants but its the children that Australia accept who are coming with mum and dad that could be one of the keys to solving the social and economic challenges Australia is going to be facing in the not so distant future when this global trend is in full swing.  The kids are migration “gold” for flip’s sake.  Let the Kids in Australia! That’s my mantra, say it with me now!

3.  Give asylum seekers a break

Give the poor asylum seeker/refugee a break visa wise.  Seriously, how much effort translated into dollars goes into dealing with this issue.  From detention centres to work time of politicians, social commentators, media, really how much energy is going into this.

The reality is only about 2,000 get these types of visas get given out anyway.  Detention centres are repugnant and probably very costly.  The whole entire framework that goes toward keeping people in what is essentially a jail for “processing” is horrible.

4.  Millenial input

Ask young Australians what migration policy they want for their country since these policies will also affect their futures. The Einstellung effect is a term I came across in wonderful Coursera course I recently completed called Learning how to learn.  It is the negative effect of previous experience when solving new problems.  That’s why scientific break through for example have occurred when the old scientists have died off.  Its a fresh way of looking at problems that can resolve them.  I think you see Einstellung effect in play with the Australian government’s approach to how to create a better migration programme.

5.  Reduced fees

Stop putting up the application fees FFS!  Yes I swore, well actually is swearing in abbreviation really swearing?  Visa application fees have increased over 40% in the time I’ve been working in immigration.  When I was working in migration in Brisbane back in 2004, I recall the main visa application fee was AU$1920.  Guess what it is today AU$3,520!  Who wishes they could buy shares in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.  Of course the government will give all kinds of reasons that warrant the price hike and maybe some of that money has really helped the Australian economy and people but the cynical part of me just thinks that all government bodies are full of over paid senior public servants not doing much to be efficient and forward thinking and that the political climate which public servants are very susceptible to for their job security usually influences the types of policy that gets made.  Find some other way to raise revenue from migrants.

This is my opinion as it’s my blog.  Feel free to leave your own suggestions for the Australian government on how to improve the economy without becoming so greedy.



“Thank you..!”

The Australian Permanent Residency visa application process is one of the most daunting and at times frustrating things I have ever done. Mege was there every step of the way to advise on what documents to submit and in what way. I think it definitely makes sense to have expert knowledge on this complicated process. Thank you for ensuring that everything got filed in the correct way!

Joseph Smith

Visa – Skilled Independent migration visa subclass 189
Lodged – 28 August 2015
Granted – 12 February 2016
Moving to Melbourne from South Korea (originally from Ireland)

What type of evidence do you need to apply for an Australian Partner visa

Here is a video I made a while back about the types of evidence you should include in your Australian partner visa application.

Don’t mind the funny face, the joy of video editing!

What type of evidence should you include in your Australia visa application?

This is a common question for anyone intending to apply for an Australian partner visa. This visa is a very popular visa among all those loved-up couples living overseas or in Australia. Why is that? Well, eventually lots of couples want to return to Australia or continue to live together in Australia on a permanent basis. Where one person is an Australian citizen or permanent resident then they can sponsor their other half (who is not Australian) to join them permanently in Australia.

My suggestions on what type of evidence you need for your Australian partner visa are pretty straight forward but it’s good sometimes to hear them set out simply.

Types of evidence to provide

Major evidence types you could include in an Australian partner visa application are “official” documents that show you are living together such as:

  • a joint lease agreement
  • rental receipts
  • letter from the landlord to confirm your living situation
  • if you own your house, a sale of contract or mortgage statement

An Australian partner visa based on a de facto spousal relationship means that you must prove you have been in a de facto spousal relationship for at least 12 months before making your application.  That means the evidence you arrange for the Australian partner visa application should cover the 12 month period. This means if you fall short of this period of time with your evidence, you need to be cautious because this means you will not meet the requirement and your Australian partner visa application is likely to be refused.

Other types of evidence to provide

Other evidence you can provide in your Australian partner visa application can include:

  • joint bank statements
  • joint utility bills, and
  • other correspondence that shows you and your partner share the same address.

Immigration aren’t really interested in the warm and fuzzy evidence like photos and cards, you can include them but don’t go over the top.  I use the rule of “six” when it comes to this.  Only include 6 items of the love stuff and not more. With photos be sure to include a short description of who is the photo, what was the date it was taken, and where is the setting of the photo.

This is would be an example of a photo description to help the case officer appreciate the image and what it relates: Say the applicant is Kate and her Australian partner is David. The short description would read “Kate and David with Kate’s parents Miriam and Joe at a friend’s wedding reception at Portmarnock Links Hotel, 25 April 2018”.

Well, I hope you enjoy and find the video useful.  If you did, please leave a comment and let me know and please share the video as well.

Book a consultation with Mege 


The decision to emigrate to Australia

3 tips to making the right decision to migrate to Australia

Countless hours spent on google searches have been done on this question here in Ireland.  Since the recession hit Ireland back in 2007 Irish people continue to move between Ireland and Australia on a frequent basis.

The topic of immigration, emigration, Australian visas galore, the Irish leave for better jobs, career prospects, better life in general so on and so forth was something that appears in the news on a weekly basis after the financial crisis hit.  The tale has been told to death and the media hype about the Irish leaving in droves for Australia is well and truly over but quietly in the background, the Irish are still moving to Australia. Maybe not in the thousands like before but there are still significant numbers leaving. For a lot of people, the main motivating factor is better job prospects and career progression.  In particular, female professionals who are accountants, teachers, social workers and nurses in the mid 20s to late 30s, a lot have concerns about their professional future in Ireland if they were to stay.  Some despite being highly qualified with bachelor and masters degree qualifications can’t secure permanent roles for themselves.

Ask yourself the following questions when you are considering making the move to Australia.

  • Tip 1- How’s your work situation right now? – There is a common assumption that migrants are people who don’t have jobs or about to be let go etc but in fact most migrants are people who are steady long term employment.  Being in employment means that they are earning an income and increasing their work experience whilst they wait for the visa application to be processed.  This is the best position to be in.  For anyone who is unemployed and looking to emigrate, unfortunately the fact is that they’ve left it too late.  Most permanent residency visas for Australia like the skilled migration visa for example can take 6 months to acquire and costs for a single applicant AU$3,520, more if there are family members included.
  • Tip 2 – What’s will emigrating mean for your finances? – Emigrating to Australia is expensive, there’s no other way to put it. A family of 4 will cost AU$7,060 in visa application fees payable to the Australian government.  Very nice for the Australian government’s coffers not so great for your own finances.  For most single applicants without the spouse and kids, all up emigrating can cost in the vicinity of €5,000 as an approximate figure if you factor in relevant application fees, medical checks, IELTS test and migration agent fees if you choose to engage one.
  •  Tip 3 – How are your relationships with your loved ones? – Deciding to emigrate to Australia will have a big impact on your family and close friends.  If you know you are going move forward with an Australian visa application process best to address any family issues or matters that might need your attention now.  Once a visa comes through and there is a deadline to head over to Australia to activate visas or start a new job, family relationships can suffer.  Its difficult to address, manage or spend time with your loved ones when you are thousands of miles away in Australia.  For most migrants, a trip home to Ireland to visit family and friends may not occur for at least 24 months.

I want to go back to Australia!

 Sydney Harbour Bridge


In the last month or so I’ve received a number of emails from people who have been living and working in Australia and who have recently returned to Australia after their first or most times second working holiday visas have come to an end.

The emails tend to carry the same message, I loved living in Australia, I tried to get sponsored to stay or I came home because of family illness’ and now I want to go back.  Please help!

Sydney, Perth and Melbourne tend to be the cities where most people spent their time living and working with a bit of travelling chucked in as well and the main question is am I eligible to migrate back.

I would love to say “yes” to everyone that asks me that question but sometimes its not straight forward.  I love it when I have a client who is meets all the criteria for a skilled independent visa subclass 189.  They have an occupation on the SOL, they are between the age of 25 – 39, and can get a superior IELTS test score.  This is a brilliant situation because there’s no need for state sponsorship.

Recently on 14 July, NSW reopened its state sponsorship application system.  It had updated to an online system and I guess no matter how many millions they through into their IT system, it was carnage.  Read this little excerpt from Migration Alliance a representative body for migration agents to the NSW trade and investment migration policy section (RMA is abbreviation for “Registered Migration Agents”:

RMAs are not satisfied with the response provided by NSW Government.

Is the NSW Government  (Skilled) going to fix the botched application process that cost so many applicants the opportunity to apply?  By this I refer to the unannounced application window, huge technical problems resulting in many people getting half way through applications and then being blown out of the system by crashing servers, etc and then having no opportunity to start their failed application again, etc etc.

Anyone wanting to stay on or return to Sydney and needing NSW state sponsorship for their skilled migration visa application (namely the State sponsored skilled migration visa subclass 190) its looking like it will be a bit of a lottery to get through the NSW online application system successfully.

So some key points about getting back to Australia

    • There’s no turning back the clock – if you are currently in Australia, trying to sort out a visa for yourself to keep you there.  I have helped clients who were already in Australia on working holiday visas or sometimes the subclass 457 work visa, lodge a skilled migration visa application.  Most then went on to a bridging visa which kept them working in Australia while they waited for a decision on their permanent residency.  Once you get back to Ireland, things become more challenging.  Emotionally, it takes a toll, so many are desperate to return the long distance between Ireland to Australia starts making it feel impossible.  One thing I know is immigration is stressful on a good day so if you start feeling negative that your goal to get back is never going to pan out then it may just become a reality.

    • If you have to return to Ireland, like I mentioned earlier sometimes family illness or sometimes a death of a parent or sibling bring people back.  Of course its important to be with family in sad times.  When you are ready to return to Australia, get yourself a proper visa assessment of eligibility.  Don’t wonder about your visa options.  This will not only help you but also give your family peace of mind.  From my own point of view being an Australian citizen and passport holder, my Irish extended family do wonder if one day my husband and I are going to return to Australia after 8 years in Ireland.  We both have Australian passports so we could leave tomorrow if we wanted but thank goodness I don’t have to tell them we are working on getting visas to go and it may or may not work out depending on the Australian government.  This is the opposite for many of clients who have to and sometimes this can be an emotional roller coaster ride for their extended families.  If you can confidently tell family and friends that you’ve got a good chance of successfully obtaining the visa you’ve applied for and give them a general time line to your intended departure this can lessen general stress and anxiety that relatives feel when loved ones tell them to they are moving half way across the world to Australia.

    • Know your nomination occupation well – Look at the SOL and CSOL and find your occupation and then explore the ins and outs of getting a positive skill assessment from the relevant assessing body.  For example accountants, I would normally put a skill assessment application through the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.  You have to have a degree in accounting or be a professional member of an accounting body like the ACCA.

    • Consider taking the IELTS test as the first thing you do.  A superior IELTS test score could be the difference between applying for a skilled independent visa subclass 189 or a state sponsored skilled migration visa subclass 190.  The former being the best option as there is no need for sponsorship of any kind and you get to live and work anywhere in Australia you like.  I’ve had one client take the test 6 times, yes 6! She is an Irish nurse currently in Sydney.  She wants to apply for the skilled independent visa but she’s been unlucky with near perfect superior result just dropping half a mark for reading.  For others its been a smoother ride, with superior results obtained in the first attempt which of course is ideal.

    • Learn about the Expression of Interest (EOI)- the Skillselect system is creation of the Australian government from 2012/2013.  The EOI which is submitted to the Skillselect system made way for an invitation based system of migration applications.  Gone are the days when you discovered you were eligible to apply, got your pre-application stages done and then simply lodged a visa application.  Now you have to complete the pre-application stages, submit and EOI then wait to be invited to apply.  Each calendar month there are 2 rounds of invitations on the second and fourth Monday of the month.  This is for applicants who have submitted an EOI selecting the skilled independent visa category.  For state sponsored migration visa, after you have submitted and EOI, applied for your state sponsorship and been approved, the state government will inform the Australian government and an invitation will be generated immediately.

Hope this information helps anyone thinking of returning to Australia.  If there is something specific you want to know, pop a message through via the contact form.

All the best!

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!


Australian Mining Driving Growth in Perth

Western Australia’s capital city is reinventing itself as the shining face of a mining boom.

“Perth hasn’t seen this level of development for over 20 years,” Western Australia Property Council’s Damian Stone said.

“It’s dramatic, and reflects how the dynamic of the city itself has grown. We are now a world-class city and that has given us, for the first time in a long time, the confidence that we must play a decisive role in shaping our nation’s future.”

Perth’s Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi believes the city’s transformation, sparked by major resources companies massively expanding their presence in the city, had seen two decades of growth take place within four years.

“Perth is now a significant city globally,” she said.

It is more than a mining city. At the tip of the boom in 2007, a modern period of prosperity when the average wage hit 75,000 dollars, and 70 percent of all leases in the city were mining-related.

Four companies leased 20 percent of the office space. They were mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, and oil and gas producers Chevron and Woodside Petroleum, all major players in the vast state’s resources industry.

BHP’s new 46-storey centre for its Australian operations is the big fish. While it is still under construction in the middle of Perth’s business district, the confidence it inspired has already manifested itself in several major commercial and retail developments.

There has also been a surge of small bars and classy eateries in the streets in the past years.

Retail Traders’ Association executive director Wayne Spencer said, “It’s not just Perth. The boom’s flow-on impact has touched every business in every corner of the state.”

“West Australians are very conscious of the fact that the mining industry’s driving the state at the moment,” he said. “No matter what your job is, it’s affected in some way by the mining industry.”

In the past decade, Western Australia’s population increased by 400,000 people, about 2.27 million people. But still continuing to attract immigrants to the state will be a key part of filling the labor gap.

“In the last decade, WA’s (Western Australia’s) share of national exports increased to 45 percent,” he said. “WA is the economic epicenter of Australia, and it’s time for the decision-makers in Canberra to recognize that.”

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