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Australia visa & immigration news 2013

(as published in our newsletters in 2013)


October 2013 – With the new government elected recently in Australia, the new full name for the immigration department is the “Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).”

At the state level, new updated occupation lists have been introduced by several states recently. These include Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

For instance, Victoria updated its occupation list in October 2013 and has included the following occupations – Primary School Teachers, Metal Machinists, Child Care Centre Manager.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT, includes Canberra) has launched their state nomination occupation list with an extensive list of desired skills.

State sponsorship provides vital extra points in a migration application (5 or 10 points depending on visa subclass).

The SkillSelect system of inviting migrants to apply based on their points score is now issuing invitations twice a month. Applicants scoring 60 points are meeting the minimum score to be invited to apply.

On the SkillSelect system – Engineers are one of the most popular occupations for migration to Australia and are in demand in every state in Australia.

We assist Engineers to move to Australia and secure permanent residence visas. This includes all types of Engineers – Civil, Chemical, Structural, Electrical, Electronics, Mechanical, Industrial, Mining, Production, Aeronautical and more.

On our website we provide a Free Guide for Engineers containing detailed information on the requirements for having your skills assessed, finding employment in Australia as well as the requirements for migrating to Australia. It provides all the crucial information that you need to establish if moving to Australia is an option for you.

The Free Guide provides detailed information on the following;

Engineering Shortage
Engineering Occupations in Demand
Skills Assessment
Employment as an Engineer and Sample CV
Salary levels
Australian Visas
Relocation Advice for Moving to Australia
Guide to areas of Australia
List of websites and other information sources

You can obtain a Free Guide at

If you are interested in applying for migration to Australia, then please contact us so that we can check your eligibility.

Australia Immigration and ResidencyAUSTRALIA – SKILLED MIGRATION
June 2013 – With the new migration program year (2013-2014) starting on 1st July 2013 the Australian Department of Immigration has confirmed that there will be no major change in the planned migration intake.

The Immigration Minister has stated that Australia’s migration program would be maintained at 190,000 places “to help fill skills shortages and reunite Australian families”.

This is likely to see a continued focus on state sponsored migrants in the skilled migration categories

Since the launch of the SkillSelect application system 12 months ago, state sponsored migration has now become a very important component of the migration program.

Indeed from July 2012 to May 2013, nearly 8,000 nominations for permanent residence (visa subclass 190) were made by state / territory governments. The most popular states for nomination were New South Wales, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.

For the same period, over 18,000 applicants were invited to apply for Independent migration (visa subclass 189) by SkillSelect.

The Pass Marks for both Independent and State Sponsored migration has remained constant at 60 points. State Sponsored migrants can receive 5 or 10 points to reach the required 60 points.

The most popular occupations currently being processed include Accountants, ICT Professionals, Engineers, Nurses and Teachers.

The most popular countries of origin for skilled migrants are;
India, UK, China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Iran, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Ireland, Bangladesh, South Africa, USA.

The SkillSelect system has been able to impose “occupation ceilings” – i.e. to limit the number of invitations that can be issued from an occupation group.

In the migration year, 2012-2013 the following occupation groups reached their “occupation ceiling”;

Chemical and Materials Engineers
ICT Business & System Analysts
Electronic Engineers
Telecommunications Engineering Professionals
Other Engineering Professionals
Software and Application Programmers.

The new migration program on July 1st allows all these occupations to become eligible again.

Also, on July 1st all state / territory governments will release their updated occupation lists for state sponsorship. These lists are crucial for many applicants who do not qualify for Independent migration. State sponsorship is now a major route of entry and this trend is likely to continue.

Another development to take effect on July 1st is a change in the Federal Skilled Occupation list with some occupations now being removed. These are; Hospital Pharmacist, Retail Pharmacist, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics), Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical), and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Structures).

Would you like to migrate to Australia in 2013-2104? What visa subclass is best for you? How does the new migration program affect you?

If you are interested in applying for migration to Australia, then please contact us so that we can check your eligibility.

Australia spouse partner visas AUSTRALIA – PARTNER VISA PROCESSING
January 2013 – Over the last few months we are seeing lengthening processing times for Australian partner visa applications.

While applications have been usually taking 5- 6 months to be processed, the Australian Department of Immigration are now advising that 7 – 8 months could be the standard time for many new applications.

This is the result of the annual limit or “quota” assigned to family applicants in the overall migration programme.

Applicants need to prepare an application in plenty of time and plan ahead if thinking of relocating to Australia with their non-Australian partner. This includes married and defacto partners, same-sex partners and fiancé(e)s.

It is possible to apply for a partner visa while outside Australia and then enter Australia as a visitor temporarily. However, in this instance it is important to ensure the correct procedures are followed to allow the partner visa to be successfully issued.

Please contact us in plenty of time if you are thinking of applying for a Partner visa. We can then plan ahead and work with you to ensure you can relocate to Australia in line with your desired timeframe.

January 2013 – Recently released data from the Department of Immigration has shown that demand for Engineers in Australia is continuing strongly. Engineers are among the most popular professions to be selected for Australian migration by the new “SkillSelect” system.

The following occupations are all in the top 15 most selected occupations;

Civil Engineer
Mechanical Engineer
Chemical Engineer
Electronics Engineer
Electrical Engineer

It seems Australia’s demand for Engineers is driven through state sponsorship and employer nomination. All states in Australia have Engineers on their demand lists.

Other Engineers on the main occupation list include;

Geotechnical Engineer
Structural Engineer
Industrial Engineer
Mining Engineer
Petroleum Engineer
Production Engineer
Agricultural Engineer
Biomedical Engineer
Transport Engineer
Materials Engineer

The main assessment process for Engineers involves showing completion of a minimum Bachelors degree education with some associated experience. There is a quicker assessment process for applicants from certain countries such as the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Turkey and Russia. However the assessment process is open to Engineers from all countries.

Engineering Technologists and Technicians are also in strong demand and applicants in these occupations are also able to apply for permanent residence.

If you are looking to move to Australia then please complete the online assessment form on our website.


January 2013 – From 1 January 2013, some additional requirements have been introduced around English language testing for Teachers looking to migrate to Australia.

Teachers can show they completed their studies through English – i.e. 4 years of Degree / Diploma level studies in Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States of America. Alternatively, they need to pass a designated English language test.

Demand for Teachers in Australia remains strong. For example, the Australian state government of New South Wales (NSW) has recently launched a new occupation list for state migration with Teachers included.

This includes sponsorship for all areas of NSW including regional areas and major cities such as Sydney. State sponsorship can help an applicant receive vital extra points in applying for Australian residence.


January 2013 – Effective January 2013, the state government of South Australia has introduced a new occupation list for state sponsorship.

33 new occupations have been added to the list and some other occupations have been removed from the list – and now require additional off-list criteria.

Some occupations now have additional requirements in terms of work experience.

Applications submitted prior to January 2013 are not affected.

South Australia has brought these changes in after analysing their local labour market and skills shortages. State sponsored migration has always been a priority for South Australia, where successive governments have been keen to attract workers in a variety of occupations.

Unemployment is low and there is a strong demand for workers in nearly all sectors. The cost of living and house prices in particular are much more affordable in South Australia.

If you are interested in applying for South Australia state sponsorship, then please contact us so that we can check your eligibility. We can advise you on your ability to qualify.

Tim McMahon
Commonwealth Immigration

UPDATE – British citizens using EEA law – the Surinder Singh Judgement

New Regulations – January 2014

Effective January 2014, the UK government has published new EEA regulations on the “Surinder Singh route”.

The legal basis of the new regulations seem to be dubious – in introducing a new test that requires the British citizen to have “transferred the centre of his or her life” to the other EU member state.

While we await to see if this will affect future applications, this is certainly not a requirement of the Surinder Singh judgement as detailed by the ECJ.

Applicants are of course best advised to provide as much evidence as possible that they are genuinely living and working in the other EU member state. This would help to avoid any doubt but that they are genuinely and effectively exercising their EU Treaty Rights. This is the real test as outlined by the ECJ in the Surinder Singh case.

See our Free EEA Guide


British citizens using EEA law – the Surinder Singh Judgement

EEA immigration to the UK through the Surinder Singh Judgement



Recent UK immigration changes have now made it extremely difficult for the spouses, partners, children and other family members of British citizens to move to the UK.

However, one often overlooked route to legally move to the UK is through what is widely referred to as the “Judgement in the Surinder Singh case”.

This route is entirely legal and backed up by EEA regulations and judgements. It cannot be changed at will by the UK government. Little wonder, that the UK Border Agency do not provide much information on this route to the UK as it allows family members in effect to bypass UK immigration.


The Legal Background

Surinder Singh was an Indian citizen who moved with his wife (a British citizen) to live and work in Germany. Upon his return to the UK he then argued that he had entered under EU law – i.e. on the basis that he and his wife were already exercising EU Treaty Rights in Germany. In a landmark court ruling in 1992, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) agreed with him and thereby opened up a whole new world of immigration possibilities.

The basic principle from the case is that if a British citizen is living in another EU member state then he / she is entitled to return to the UK under EU Free Movement Rights and his / her family members are also entitled to enter under the same Free Movement Rights.

In effect, by living in another EU member state the British citizen becomes “European” and has the same rights as say, a German citizen moving to the UK with a non EU family member.

In a further case, the ECJ reaffirmed the Surinder Singh judgement and also clearly stated that it made no difference if the British citizen moved to another EU member state solely to facilitate a Surinder Singh type return. As long as one follows the correct process, one’s motive is irrelevant and cannot be questioned by the UK government.

The most recent set of EEA Regulations (published by the UK government) give legal standing to the Surinder Singh judgement.

The regulations state expressly that if the qualifying conditions are met;


“these Regulations apply to a person who is the family member of a United Kingdom national as if the United Kingdom national were an EEA national.”


In order words, the British citizen is treated as an EEA national.



The Advantages

This route of entry allows the family member to bypass all the requirements imposed on family members of British citizens living in the UK.

To keep re-iterating the point – the family member is now treated as the family member of an EEA national.

So, the restrictions of UK immigration law simply do not apply. This means;

  • No requirement to meet the new financial maintenance criteria introduced in July 2012


  • No requirement to meet the English language requirement.


  • There is very little room for the UK Border Agency to question the legitimacy of relationships.


  • A wider definition of family members under EEA law than UK immigration (it can include partners, children up to the age of 21 and other dependents such as parents)


  • No hefty immigration fees to be paid to the UK Border Agency


  • Faster processing times as required under EU law.


  • A much more secure legal framework to move to the UK rather than being subject to whimsical changes imposed by UK politicians.


  • EEA nationals and their family members are not subject to the “no recourse to public funds” rule under UK immigration.


  • No requirement to have a UK employment offer.



The Key Requirements

Step 1

The British citizen must move to another EU member state. This includes the 28 member states of the EU itself (not including the UK of course!) and the additional EEA members (Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland) and also Switzerland.

The full list is;

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.


In order to qualify under Surinder Singh, the British citizen must then “exercise Treaty Rights” in that member state. This means being a worker or self-employed. It does not include studying or retirement or being self-sufficient.

There is no requirement to earn a certain amount or even to work full-time. The requirement is to be a genuine worker so part-time, temporary work would suffice.

The ECJ in the Surinder Singh case stated a minimum period of 6 months is required to be exercising Treaty Rights in another EU member state. The regulations themselves do not specify a minimum period but 3 – 6 months is still seen as the general “rule of thumb”.

Most applications we have processed have been where the British citizen has exercised Treaty Rights for 6 months. There have been cases where 3 or 4 months have worked but we still recommend 6 months.

The British citizen should retain sufficient records of working and of their residence in the EU member state.

The spouse or partner of the British citizen should then move to that same EU member state and live with the British citizen.

However, the spouse or partner does not have to obtain a full residence visa to live in that EU member state (although often it is good to do so). However, it is perfectly possible to enter as a visitor, live with their British citizen spouse / partner and then apply for entry to the UK.


Step 2

The family member now needs to apply for a UK visa – or termed an “EEA Family Permit”. This is the most important part of the whole process – i.e. to ensure the applicant is categorised as the family member of an EEA national as defined in the Surinder Singh case.

It is vital to produce all the right evidence and to specifically address the Surinder Singh case in your application.

Normally, family members of British citizen cannot apply under EEA law. So, make sure the application is very specific in highlighting the Surinder Singh case and this is the category that one is applying under.

The application is usually made to the British Embassy in the EU member state that one lives in. Processing times vary but 3 weeks is the normal maximum time it takes. Some applications can be approved in a few days, if prepared properly.

If approved, the EEA Family Permit will be issued for 6 months and state that the applicant “MRS NAME” is the EEA Family Member of “MR NAME”.

Congratulations – you have now successfully used the Surinder Singh case and you are categorised as the family member of an EEA national. This now defines your immigration status on entering the UK and how you stay in the UK.

Step 3

After moving to the UK, an application is then made for an EEA residence card for the family member. Much of the key material submitted in the EEA Family Permit application is still required, together with more evidence after moving to the UK.

An EEA residence card is then issued for 5 years.




© Tim McMahon 2013



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Visas for engineers moving to Australia

Did you know that there is a shortage of Engineers in Australia?

That’s why there’s never been a better time to find employment and secure a permanent residence visa.

This Free Guide contains detailed information on the requirements for having your skills assessed, finding employment in Australia as well as the requirements for migrating to Australia. It provides all the crucial information that you need to establish if moving to Australia is an option for you.

We assist Engineers of all types to move to Australia and secure permanent residence visas for them and their family.

We deal with all types of Engineers – Civil, Chemical, Structural, Electrical, Electronics, Mechanical, Industrial, Mining, Production, Aeronautical and more.

The Free Guide provides detailed information on the following;

  • Engineering Shortage
  • Engineering Occupations in Demand
  • Skills Assessment
  • Employment as an Engineer and Sample CV
  • Salary levels
  • Australian Visas
  • Relocation Advice for Moving to Australia
  • Guide to areas of Australia
  • List of websites and other information sources

The Free guide will then be emailed to you with detailed information on everything you need to know.
Obtain your Free Guide now from