NEWSLETTER No. 8 - August 2007


We are still awaiting clarification from the Australian government on how the English language requirements from September 1st will be assessed.

Some recent reports in the UK media have criticised the Australian government for the new system, which requires English-speaking applicants to “prove that they can speak English”!

Under the new system, the points awarded for English language ability will be 15 or 25 points, rather than the current breakdown of 15 and 20 points. 

Applicants who are passport holders from an English speaking country should automatically be granted 15 points. However the main point of controversy is that under the new system to score 25 points, applicants will need to sit an English language test, even if born and educated in an English speaking country. 

It still remains to be seen if this will be the case and many groups are asking the Australian government to waive the English language test for those who can show that English is their native language.

Once we have any more news on how this will be implemented, we’ll update you.


In our previous newsletters we announced some significant changes in relation to the selection criteria for Skilled Migrants to Australia. These changes have now taken place and one of the most important changes is in relation to the points for English language.

This means that maximum English language points can only be awarded to those applicants who sit an English language test (IELTS).

Passports holders from English speaking countries such as the UK, Ireland, Canada etc… will now only be automatically awarded 15 points. To score the maximum points of 25, a score of 7 will be needed in the IELTS test.

We did hope that the Australian government would make an exception for applicants born and educated in an English speaking country, but this has not happened. It is therefore vital that every applicant has their points eligibility full reviewed to see if their application will require the additional English language points and therefore require the test to be undertaken. 


We now have some indication of the new process affecting applications for Trades Assessment for many tradespersons from September 1st. From that date, applicants from the UK, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the Philippines who work in the list of trades below, will need to undertake a much more detailed Trades Assessment before applying for Australian residency.

The new process will be overseen by an Australian organisation named VETASSESS and will involve 2 main stages. The first will be a paperwork-based assessment of the applicant’s qualifications and work experience. The applicant will need to be able to show competency in all main duties of the occupation. If the applicant successfully passes this stage, he / she will be set a date for a practical assessment. This will examine the applicant’s practical skills in the trade and also include a detailed technical interview. 

Overall the application process will take longer and the proposed application fees are to increase. However the new process is expected to make it easier and quicker for applicants to register in their occupation when they arrive in Australia. 

The full list of Trades subject to the new assessment process include:
 - General Electrician
 - General Plumber 
 - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic 
 - Motor Mechanic 
 - Bricklayer 
 - Carpenter and Joiner 
 - Electrical Powerline Tradesperson 
 - Cable Jointer

Please note that this does not affect applicants who have already passed a Trades Assessment.

If you work in any of these trades and wish to migrate to Australia, then please contact us so that we can fully check your eligibility against the new criteria.

Newsletter 1 - January 2007
er 2 - March 2007
  Newsletter 3 - April 2007
  Newsletter 4 - May 2007
  Newsletter 5 - May 2007 - Australia
  Newsletter 6 - June 2007
  Newsletter 7 - July 2007
  Newsletter 8 - August 2007

Contact us

Commonwealth Immigration Consultants Ltd.
59 Cambridge Gardens
London, N10 2LN
United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)20 8365 3380

We wish to remind all our UK visa clients about the “Life in the UK test”. This is now a mandatory requirement for all applicants for UK indefinite leave to remain and UK citizenship.

The test must be passed before we can submit your application. There are over 90 test centres in the UK, where the test can be undertaken. All applicants will need to prepare for the test by reading the “Life in the United Kingdom” handbook.

If you have any queries on the test, then please feel free to contact us.


Some new occupations have been added on to the Migration Occupations Demand List. These include:
- Architect
- External Auditor
- Quantity Surveyor
- Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
- Locksmith, Optical Mechanic
- Painter & Decorator
- Furniture Finisher

Occupations on this list are awarded more points when applying for Australian residency. If you work in any of these occupations, your chances of migrating to Australia just got much better! Contact us now for a full assessment. 


U.S. technology giant Microsoft Corp. recently announced that it will be setting up shop in Vancouver, British Columbia. The location of the new Microsoft Canada Development Centre was chosen because the city is both “a global gateway with a diverse population,” and “is close to Microsoft corporate offices in Redmond, Washington.” 

However, the most significant reason, and the one that has stimulated much debate, centres on immigration and temporary foreign workers. 

With a high demand for foreign information technology (IT) workers, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has long lobbied the American government to ease restrictions on temporary work visas (H1-B visas). Recognizing that American immigration policy is not likely to change in the near future, Canada’s more open immigration system for foreign skilled workers has become a more attractive option for Microsoft. The Canadian software development centre will allow “the company to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.” 

In Canada there is no annual limit on the number of work permits issued; Canadian companies in labour-tight industries eagerly use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to recruit foreign talent. Attracting information technology workers has been deemed a priority in Canada, and special immigration provisions for IT workers have been implemented to facilitate their entry into the Canadian work force. 

There is a fundamental difference between the thinking behind temporary foreign workers in the United States and in Canada. A Canadian temporary work permit is seen as the first step to becoming a Permanent Resident and then a Canadian citizen, whereas American H1-B holders are aware that their stay in the U.S. is only temporary. Those Microsoft employees on H1- B visas, who would have to leave the United States when their visas expire, now, have the option to transfer to the Microsoft development centre in Canada.

If you have a potential offer of employment in Canada and you are looking for a temporary work visa, then please contact us. 

We hope that this newsletter has been informative for you.  However, remember everyone's circumstances are different so if you or a friend or family member want to check your eligibility to emigrate then either

1) complete the Online Assessment form on our website or
2) give us a call on (+44)  (0) 20 8365 3380

We would love to hear from you!

Tim McMahon
Commonwealth Immigration

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