NEWSLETTER No. 39 – May 2012

AUSTRALIA – NEW VISA SUBCLASSES

In preparation for the launch of the new system on 1 July 2012, the new visa subclasses that will be available under the SkillSelect Expression of Interest (EOI) have been announced. These are;

Subclass 189 Skilled – Independent (Permanent) (Class SI)

Subclass 190 Skilled – Sponsored (Permanent) (Class SK)

Subclass 489 – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) (Class SP)
Business Skills visa program
You can also express interest in the following visa programs on your EOI to be selected by an employer;
Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Class EN)
Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Scheme (RSMS) (Class RN)
Subclass 457 – Temporary Business (Long Stay) (Class UC)

You can express interest in a range of skilled migration programs in one EOI.

The old visa subclasses of 175, 176 and 475 will be closed for all new applications on 1 July 2012.

SkillSelect is a radical new selection model for skilled migrants. 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.

Australia info page;

www.commonwealthimmigration.com/australia.htm

UK – TIER 2 VISA CHANGES

The annual limit on the Tier 2 (General) sponsorship certificates was renewed on 6 April 2012 and will remain at the previous level of 20,700 sponsorship certificates per year.

In the previous year, this annual quota was not reached, so we anticipate that employers will still be able to sponsor overseas workers by requesting additional sponsorship certificates if needed.

20,700 will also be the annual limit for the year, starting in April 2013. In April 2014, the UK Home Office plans to introduce a new annual limit.

However, the government plans to increase the skills threshold from 14 June 2012 for Tier 2 (General) visas.

This will result in a reduced number of occupations eligible for Tier 2 sponsorship. In summary, the skills threshold is to be increased from National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 4 to level 6.

A new shorter list of occupations available for Tier 2 is effective from 14 June 2012.

UK – MAINTENANCE FUNDS CHANGES

Applicant should be aware of a change in maintenance funds for Tier 1 (General) and Tier 2 (General) visa categories from 14 June 2012.

The amount of maintenance funds for applicants and dependents will increase after that date. The following are the new amounts that UK based applicants will need to show in maintenance funds

Tier 1 (General) applicant £900

Tier 1 (General) dependant £600

Tier 2 (General) applicant £900

Tier 2 (General) dependant £600
Remember, this new amount needs to held in a bank account for 3 months, if applying anytime after 14 June 2012. This applies to new applications and extension applications.

Please make sure that you are meeting this maintenance funds requirement well in advance of your application.

UK – BORDER DELAYS AND COMPUTER SYSTEMS CRASHES

The last few weeks have seen much media coverage of lengthy queues at airports as the UK Border Force struggles to handle the numbers of passengers passing through immigration.

The situation has been particularly bad at London Heathrow airport with reports of some passengers taking up to 3 hours to pass through immigration.

The Immigration Minister, Damian Green was forced to make an emergency statement to parliament to explain the delays and reassure the public that the delays would be rectified. Apparently a new rota system will begin in May and the Minister stated that all border control desks would be fully manned during the London Olympic Games, which start on 27 July.

Equally worrying are the major issues the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is experiencing in processing visa applications. Repeated IT problems have been reported through the UKBA website in the last few weeks. Everything came to a head on the first week of May when the foreign national ID card computer system crashed.

This is the key computer system which is used for issuing biometric residence permits to foreign nationals.

This is likely to lead to delays in processing for all applicants as the shutdown and backlog are addressed.

UK info page;

http://www.commonwealthimmigration.com/united_kingdom_uk.htm

 

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