Update on several points in Australian Immigration Portfolio
September 2018. New Immigration Minister David Coleman is the new Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs. In a significant reshuffle, Immigration portfolio which falls under the Department of Home Affairs was taken away from the previous Minister, Peter Dutton. Instead, it was amalgamated with Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.
Who is the new Minister, David Coleman?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the new immigration minister has a ‘keen understanding of many different backgrounds’ required, to give them a ‘fair go’.
“David has a keen understanding of the many different backgrounds and the many different issues that need to be managed to ensure that Australians who have come from so many backgrounds get that fair go I spoke of,” The PM said on David Coleman’s appointment.
The 44-year-old MP served as an assistant finance minister in the Turnbull Government and was first elected to the House of Representatives for Banks, New South Wales, in 2013.
He was re-elected in 2016 and represents a relatively diverse electorate, whose population is 44% overseas-born, with people of Chinese ancestry being the largest migrant group.
He studied law at University of New South Wales (UNSW), worked as a Business Analyst for McKinsey and Co and served in senior roles at media and internet companies before he plunged into politics.
Update on Immigration Department matters
We are seeing visa processing time blowouts in some visa classes. Permanent residence under the RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme is currently 22 – 25 months from lodgement and currently looking at a 45 % refusal rate.
The Department has been given instructions to reduce the number of residence visas being granted and this has led to indiscriminate refusals. To receive a refusal for a residence application can be heartbreaking for an applicant with going to appeal often their only option. As a consequence, the timeline to receive a hearing date at the Appeal Tribunal (the AAT) is currently 2 years. As an aside note, we at Visa Executive will always encourage clients who are applying for residence to hold a current visa and NOT to go on to a bridging visa if it can be helped.
The SAF levy
Since the introduction of the SAF there have been cases where the appropriate fees have been incorrectly applied to visa applications and there is still uncertainty about SAF refunds in the event of a TSS visa refusal or withdrawal so stay tuned for updates.
There are mutterings of encouraging potential migrants to live and work in regional Australia but no decisive plan or draft legislation has been put forward to detail the Governments plan.
Cessation of the priority processing service
The current service of priority processing requests for TSS and Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (Subclass 457) visa applications ceased on 5 September 2018. That is, any priority processing email requests which are received on, or after, this date will no longer be acknowledged.
This is because:
- The old Subclass 457 visa pipeline is expected to be finalised by the end of the calendar year, and
- TSS processing times are much faster than for the Subclass 457 visa.
As a side note, we are encouraging clients, where possible, to apply to be an accredited sponsor, as the time frames from lodgement of a 482 visa are currently 2 weeks for a decision from lodgement.
Automatic reminders now being sent to sponsors
As of 9 August 2018, the Immigration Department is sending automatic reminder messages to:
- Standard business sponsors to encourage them to renew their standard business sponsorship (SBS) before its expiry date, and
- Visa holders to remind them (if their sponsor has notified the Department that they have ceased employment) that they have 60 or 90 days of their employment cessation date (depending on when their visa was granted), to find themselves another current business sponsor who will nominate them or depart Australia.
HR Managers please note - The last item is a great initiative as this will now mean that your ex-staff members will now be contacted directly by Immigration to confirm when their visa will cease should they leave your employ.
Public disclosure of sanctions
As previously noted throughout the last year, the Department is moving towards publishing information, including personal information, about an approved sponsor or former sponsor who has failed to meet the applicable sponsorship obligations. It is interesting to note that there is no requirement for the Minister to observe natural justice rules in publishing this information and no civil liabilities can arise from the publication, in good faith, of such information.