Find more about me on:
  • googleplus
  • linkedin

Here are my most recent posts

NEWSLETTER No. 38 – March 2012

NEWSLETTER No. 38 – March 2012


At a recent seminar at the Australian High Commission, a detailed presentation was unveiled on the new selection model for skilled migration, which will be implemented on 1st July 2012.

The new system will be called “SkillSelect” and will be the standard process to apply for residence through all the General Skilled categories. This will not affect any applications currently in the system or those who apply by 30 June 2012.

SkillSelect will also be available for migrants who wish to be sponsored by an Australian employer on a work visa, such as subclass 457.

Before one can apply for permanent residence through SkillSelect, a migrant must have received a positive Skills Assessment and meet the basic entry requirements on age, English language, recent experience etc. The Skills Assessment still remains a vitally important and time consuming part of the process.

Prospective migrants must then submit an Expression Of Interest (EOI) and can then subsequently be invited by the department to make a skilled migration visa application. These invitations will be issued monthly.

Migrants can also be offered state sponsorship or employer sponsorship after lodging an EOI.

Only pre-approved employers will have the option to access SkillSelect —allowing them to locate and contact prospective migrants that have shown an interest in employer sponsorship through their EOI.

State governments will also be allowed to access SkillSelect – so it is in your interest to highlight the different states you are interested in, when applying for the EOI.

However, the new system will also allow immigration to impose occupation-specific Pass Marks instead of the current Pass Mark which applies to all occupations. So, where applications in a specific occupation are oversubscribed or undersubscribed, an occupation specific Pass Mark will be implemented.

Immigration can also impose a numerical cap on occupations. This would mean that only a set amount of migrants in a certain occupation would be permitted entry in that particular Program Year (for instance if too many Accountants apply, that occupation might be capped).

This is a radical change from the current system, where migrants are able to assess themselves against a fixed Pass Mark with no occupation capping.

However the main advantage to SkillSelect is that it serves as a “one stop shop”, allowing migrants to make their details available for selection by state governments and employers. Under the current system, a migrant would have to submit separate applications to every state government and every employer. This new approach is a real benefit and will assist many more migrants to have employment secured beforehand.

Most importantly – SkillSelect will still allow migrants to apply for and secure permanent residence as Independent Migrants without state or employer sponsorship.

To recap,

Independent migration will still be on offer under SkillSelect

Migrants who fall below the Pass Mark will have the options of state sponsorship or employer sponsorship

All migrants must have a valid Skills Assessment and meet the basic entry requirements to apply

If you are interested in applying for Australian residence, then please contact us so that we can check your eligibility. We can advise you on your ability to qualify through the new SkillSelect process.


In another change to the UK’s immigration policy, the Immigration Minister has announced that the right to “automatic settlement” after 5 years working in the UK will be abolished in 2016.

This follows on from a consultation completed last year.

At the moment, there is no general minimum income for migrants looking to settle in the UK after 5 years on a work permit or Tier 2 visa.

This will change in the future, when migrants will have to earn at least £35,000 or the minimum recommend salary for that occupation (whichever is higher). There will be exemptions for those in shortage occupations.

In order to ensure that the Tier 2 visa is seen as a temporary visa, the total amount of time allowed to stay in the UK will be 6 years. After this, the migrant will need to return to their home country for at least 1 year.

The minimum salary will not affect those who are in the UK on ancestry visas, HSMP, Tier 1 (General).

In summary, the government intends to:

* continue to provide a direct route to settlement for investors, entrepreneurs and exceptionally talented migrants under Tier 1.

* continue to provide a route to settlement for the best Tier 2 migrants, if they meet a minimum salary threshold of £35,000.

* allow those who enter as PhD-level scientists and researchers to qualify for settlement without having to meet the £35,000 minimum salary threshold.

* make all workers in shortage occupation jobs (currently including specialist nurses, teachers and social workers) exempt from the minimum settlement salary threshold of £35,000;

* allow Tier 2 migrants to extend their temporary permission to stay in the UK up to maximum of 6 years, and introduce a 12-month ‘cooling off’ period;

If you need assistance on any aspect of UK settlement, then please feel free to contact us.

– UK Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)


We have many years experience in assisting migrants to obtain UK Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visas, also known as settlement or permanent residence.

The normal qualifying period to obtain ILR is 5 years. However if one is married to a British citizen, then the qualifying period is 2 years. However, not every visa category is counted as “qualifying” for ILR. For instance, time spent in the UK on a Working Holiday visa or a student visa does not count.

The following visa categories DO count towards the 5 year qualifying period;

Tier 1 (General)

Tier 2 (General)

Work permit

Tier 1 (Investor)

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

Ancestral visa

Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)

You can obtain your qualifying 5 years by living in the UK on one of these visas or a combination of these visas. However, applicants need to note that EEA visas and residence cards cannot be used in combination with any of the above categories to apply for ILR.

EEA visas and residence cards can lead to permanent residence in their own right under EEA law but not ILR through UK immigration.

Absences in the 5 Years

The main residence requirement is that the applicant has been living in the UK throughout the qualifying period.

All absences from the UK need to be declared in the application. The UK Border Agency will of course disregard short absences for annual leave every year or for business trips.

New guidance has been issued to UK Border Agency case officers in April 2011 on calculating the continuous period in the UK and permitted absences.

The guidance states that discretion can be used where absences are for up to 3 months for a single absence or total absences of up to 6 months. The UK Border Agency can look at longer absences where these were for;

“compelling grounds either of a compassionate nature of for reasons related to the applicant’s employment or business in the UK”.

As detailed in their guidance, the case officer will want to see that;

“the applicant has clearly continued to be based in the UK“

Proof of employment, self-employment throughout the 5 years

The applicant needs to provide evidence to show that they were employed or self-employed in the UK or otherwise resident here in accordance with the terms of their visa.

So, for instance, Ancestral visa holders need to show that they have been working or self-employed in the UK throughout the qualifying 5 years – i.e. that the visa holder complied with the terms of their visa throughout the 5 years.

This previously was a very flexible requirement. However it is now being viewed much more strictly by the UK Border Agency.

Applicants need to be diligent in compiling as much material as possible throughout the 5 years. Many applicants may need assistance in this situation especially where a previous employer is no longer trading or in providing the correct proof of self-employment.

Applicants married to British citizens do not usually need to show employment or self-employment throughout the qualifying period.

Criminal convictions

In 2011, the government issued much more stringent rules relating to any criminal convictions when applying for ILR.

In short, an applicant cannot have any “unspent convictions” when applying for ILR. Most convictions become “spent” after a set period of time passes. This has proved a major hindrance for many applicants who may only have been convicted of a minor offence.

Please contact us, in strictest confidence, if you wish to see if a criminal conviction is seen as “unspent” and when it can be “spent”.

Life in the UK Test

Unless exempt through age or disability, applicants need to sit the Life in the UK Test. This is available at centres throughout the UK and is designed to test applicants’ knowledge of UK society, history, politics and government.

The test is not seen as particularly onerous – however applicants should take some time to prepare and read the recommended text book on “Life in the UK”

If you are applying for ILR on the basis of an initial application through the old HSMP visa category, then please contact us so we can see if you need to sit the Life in the UK Test.

Spouses, Partners, Children

Previously, applicants could include their spouse, partners or children on their ILR application. Once declared on the application they would be granted ILR with the main applicant regardless of how long they had lived together.

The rights of dependents changed in 2011, when the government removed the automatic rights of spouses and partners to apply at the same time.

We now have to prove that spouses or partners have been living at the same address as the main applicant for a minimum of 2 years before they can apply for ILR.

2011 changes and future developments

The following are some of the main changes to apply for ILR announced in 2011, and future proposals

Applicants applying for ILR whose current visa is Tier 1 (General) are now points tested. This is a major change from the previous position where applicants just needed to show they were economically active through employment or self-employment. The new system requires the applicants to pass a points test based on age, qualifications and most importantly – recent earnings.

Applicants applying for ILR whose current visa is Tier 2 (General) need to provide specific documents to show that they are being paid at the correct rate of pay for their occupation’s code of practice.

Revised guidance has been published on absences from the UK throughout the qualifying period for ILR.
A recent consultation on family migration has proposed increasing the residence period for ILR for spouses and partners from 2 to 5 years.

Retaining ILR

Once granted, ILR allows the holder to remain indefinitely or permanently in the UK. After living in the UK for another 1 year, the applicant may be eligible to obtain UK citizenship.

The main requirement to retain ILR is to continue living in the UK.

Any absences of more than 2 years at any one time outside of the UK, can result in one’s ILR being revoked.

Our ILR service

We have many years experience in securing ILR for our clients. The process can be complicated and is not granted easily by the UK government – it does, after all, allow permanent residence and is a very important step on the route to British citizenship.

We can handle the whole application from start to finish. The service includes everything from pre-application advice, document review, completing forms, covering letter, drafting your personal statement, submission to the authorities and bringing to a successful conclusion. This continues throughout the whole process until your visa is approved.

You will only deal with one dedicated immigration adviser to provide you with a focused one to one service.

Our success rate is second to none and we can provide numerous verifiable references from satisfied clients for you to review and inspect.

At this stage, we just need you to complete this quick registration form on our website;

* Online Assessment Form

This should give us all the information we need to give you the correct advice.

We can then review in full and get back to you.

* United Kingdom info page with the latest migration news

NEWSLETTER No. 37 – November 2011


In a major blow to the government’s immigration policy – the UK Supreme Court has struck down the restriction on spouses / partners aged less than 21 years being able to settle in the UK.

This was introduced in 2008 by the previous government in a bid to cut down on “forced marriages”. However, the rules also discriminated against legitimate couples aged over 18 but under 21 who wished to settle in the UK to join a spouse / partner.
The rules applied to married spouses, civil partners, fiancés and unmarried partners applying under UK immigration law.

This court case was an obvious result of such legislation – it just took some time for a test case to be decided by the courts. The court said that the rule was unjustified because it interfered with the human rights of couples. While the intention to cut down on “forced marriage” may have been a good idea, the implementation of this restriction was far too wide-ranging.

The Home Office has now agreed to change the relevant section of the Immigration Rules.

2012 is also likely to see major changes to the requirements on spouses / partners moving to the UK. This is following the recent consultation on family migration. Proposed changes may include; increasing the probationary period for spouses from 2 to 5 years, more rigorous assessment of relationships, introducing minimum income requirements.

If you need assistance on any aspect of UK spouse / partner migration, then please feel free to contact us through our website.


A senior Australian immigration official has outlined the framework of a new selection model, which they hope to implement by July 2012.

The idea that more radical changes are to be introduced will likely annoy migrants still getting used to the current system.

The new initiative to streamline skilled migration to the benefit of Australia is the introduction of “SkillSelect” – from 1 July 2012.

SkillSelect will be a new skilled migrant selection register which will still include the point tests system and will allow selection of skilled migrants from a pool of prospective migrants. It will be based on a two-stage process whereby prospective migrants first submit an expression of interest and may subsequently be invited by the department to make a skilled migration visa application.

Employers will also have the option to access SkillSelect —allowing them to locate and contact prospective migrants that have shown an interest in employer sponsorship.

However, the new system will also allow immigration to impose occupation-specific Pass Marks instead of the current Pass Mark which applies to all occupations. So, where applications in a specific occupation are oversubscribed or undersubscribed, an occupation specific Pass Mark will be implemented.

This is a radical change from the current system, where migrants are able to assess themselves against a fixed Pass Mark. It seems that these new proposals require a lot more thought to ensure Australia can still remain attractive to skilled migrants and that forward planning for potential applicants can still be undertaken.

These changes will not apply to anyone who has already applied or who will apply, to the Department of Immigration before July 2012.

If you are looking to apply for Australian residence before these changes may affect you, then please contact us so that we can check your eligibility.

If you are interested in moving to Australia, then please complete the Online Assessment form on our website so we can see if you qualify on the current system


While many British citizens rely on UK immigration law in sponsoring family members to join them in the UK, its needs to be remembered that EEA law can also be used by British citizens.

This is especially so, where the British citizen has been living in another EEA member state.

There are many advantages to applying under EEA law as opposed to UK immigration law. Firstly, the definition of a Family Member is wider (for instance including parents). There is no requirement for an EEA Family Member to complete an English language test. Also, the application process can be quicker.

If you are a British citizen having difficulty in sponsoring a Family Member under UK immigration law, then please contact us so we can see if an application under EEA law would be possible.

This includes children, spouses, unmarried partners, parents etc..

EEA law has specific criteria for “Family Members” and “Extended Family Members”. The definitions that cover these relationships do not necessarily follow the same definitions as under UK immigration law.

We have extensive experience in EEA applications, please visit our dedicated EEA webpage and obtain your free EEA guide;

* EEA info page with free Guide on EEA applications

NEWSLETTER No. 36 – September 2011


The UK government have now launched a consultation on reforming UK family migration, particularly partner migration (which includes married spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners).

The consultation is open until 6 Oct 2011. Some of the key proposals that the government is wishing to consult on include;

Requiring specific income / maintenance levels for British citizens / residents to sponsor partners

Increasing the probationary period for settlement from 2 to 5 years

Asking applicants to demonstrate why their combined attached to the UK is greater than to any other country

The overall tone of the proposals as detailed in the consultation seems to be one of restricting the rights of partners to move to the UK with their British citizen partner. Indeed, it is worrying when one sees references to Denmark’s immigration system in the documents, which has long been seen as one of the most restrictive and inflexible in Europe.


The UK Border Agency has revised the application forms for EEA applications.

These forms should be used by EEA and Swiss nationals who are exercising treaty rights in the UK and their family members who wish to apply for a document to confirm their right of residence in the UK. The forms now include additional details on the evidence required to demonstrate comprehensive sickness insurance.

The revised forms (version 06/2011) should be used for all applications made on or after 20 June 2011.

We have extensive experience in EEA applications, please visit our dedicated EEA webpage and obtain your free EEA guide (emailed directly to you) providing detailed information on making applications, supporting documents and specialist advice. See our EEA webpage at:

* EEA info page with free Guide on EEA applications


Now that the new Australian points system has been in place for a couple of months, we are starting to see how this is impacting on the pre-application skills assessment process.

Perhaps the most significant change is the new role taken on by many skills assessment bodies in relation to assessing work experience.

Previously, the main role of such skills assessment bodies was to review the entry requirements (i.e. qualifications) of the applicant to that particular occupation.

So, for instance, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) would assess the qualifications and professional registration of an overseas nurse to make sure he / she met the Australian standard to be a Nurse.
This role of the ANMC (and indeed of many other skills assessment bodies) has now been expanded to also review relevant work experience. This includes work experience for the purpose of claiming points in a residence visa application.

So, now it seems that the Department of Immigration will defer to the skills assessment bodies evaluation of the applicant’s work experience, when deciding whether to allocate points or not. This was previously a major function of the Department of Immigration during the residence visa application.

Consequently, applicants need to fully understand the importance of submitting a comprehensive application AT THE SKILLS ASSESSMENT STAGE, to be sure of claiming work experience points. This is now vital to a successful overall application.

If you are interested in moving to Australia, then please complete the Online Assessment form on our website so we can see if you qualify on the new system for skills assessment and work experience.


A new list of occupations for State Sponsored Migration has been placed on the website of Immigration South Australia.

This list is extensive and includes high availability occupations and those with special criteria. South Australia has always been a very pro-active state in trying to attract overseas migrants.

However, the application procedure is bureaucratic and time consuming. Very little flexibility is shown by case officers in assessing applications. If you are interested in moving to South Australia, then why not contact us through our website and we can see if we can help you


The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has moved to abolish the Diversity Visa Program (Green Card Lottery) by approving the Security and Fairness Enhancement (SAFE) for America Act in a 19-11 vote.

John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, is one of the bill’s opponents and says that scrapping the Green Card Lottery would make it nearly impossible for Africans to immigrate legally to the U.S., and it would make it harder for all prospective immigrants to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. Conyers says he wants to improve the Diversity Visa Program rather than abolishing it, and ads that the U.S. immigration system would look very different if it didn’t have the visa lottery, “and not in a good way.”

The bill now moves to the full U.S. House of Representatives. According to many politicians, the Green Card Lottery is open to fraud and gives opportunity to terrorists, thus compromising national U.S. security.

Bob Goodlatte, Republican from Virginia who introduced the bill, agrees that the visa program is a threat to national security, and says the U.S. Immigration system should be based on the county’s needs rather than on pure luck on behalf of a small number of applicants.

The first Diversity Visa green cards were issued in 1995, and since that time more than 785,000 visas have been awarded to applicants who won the lottery. The Diversity Visa Program was created in 1990 to make the immigrant population in the U.S. more diverse.

NEWSLETTER No. 35 – June 2011


Recently, major new changes to the Australian points system have been introduced and will be effective on 1st July 2011. The changes DO NOT affect those who have already applied.

These changes introduce a new method of calculating points, a new Pass Mark and other different criteria.

Perhaps the biggest change is that the previous system of awarding points according to your occupation (i.e. 60, 50 or 40 points) has now been removed. Now, all occupations on the Skilled Occupation List are on an equal footing with no points awarded for occupation. However, as a basic entry requirement – an applicant must have a skills assessment and relevant experience in an occupation on the list.

The points for age have been changed with different age brackets introduced. The upper age threshold has now been increased from 45 to 50 years.

More points are available for English language with a distinction between “Proficient” and “Superior” English language ability.

For the first time – points are awarded for qualifications – such as a degree, diploma or trade qualifications.

Work experience points are now more important than under the previous system. Points are awarded for Australian and overseas work experience of up to 8 years.

Points are still awarded for state sponsorship, partner skills, Australian study etc…

A new Pass Mark has been set at 65 points – but obviously no direct comparison can be made with the old Pass Mark of 120 points, as the new points system is completely different.

These changes reflect the most radical development in skilled migration to Australia for many years. The new system will obviously produce winners and losers.

It will be vital to undertake a proper eligibility assessment for each applicant. If you are interested in moving to Australia, then please complete the Online Assessment form on our website so we can see if you qualify on the new system.


A major new consultation has been launched by the Immigration Minister, the content of which makes disturbing reading for many migrants in the UK.

The main proposal is to break the link between temporary migration and permanent migration (i.e. settlement). Migrants in the UK on a work permit or Tier 2 visa can currently apply for UK settlement after 5 years. The government proposes that this shall be removed and that it shall allow only the “brightest and best workers to stay permanently”.

This would involve re-categorising work permits and Tier 2 visas as “temporary” visas. The proposals also suggest that high earners or those in shortage occupations would be able to retain a right to settlement.

This would involve a system where some Tier 2 visa holders could stay and others would not be able to do so. Tier 2 visa holders that do not have a right to settlement would only be allowed to stay for a maximum period of 5 years.

It is important to remember that these proposals are only part of a consultation at this stage. It is also likely that the government would not be able to introduce these changes to migrants who have already been in the UK accruing time towards settlement on a work permit / Tier 2 visa.

Nonetheless, the proposals are very specific and do reflect current government thinking – breaking the link between “temporary” and “permanent” migration was a key Conservative policy pledge in the last General Election. As we have seen since the General Election, Liberal Democrat influence on government immigration policy is minimal.

The consultation closes on 9 September 2011. We will of course keep you informed on any changes through our newsletter.


Please see our dedicated webpage on all EEA applications – EEA Family Permits, Residence Cards, Permanent Residence.

You can also obtain your FREE EEA GUIDE (emailed directly to you) providing detailed information on making applications, supporting documents and specialist advice.

See our EEA webpage at

* EEA info page with free Guide on EEA applications