NEWSLETTER No. 39 - May 2012

Immigration consultants UKUK – 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.

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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.


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.

* United Kingdom info page with the latest migration news

Immigration consultants AustraliaAUSTRALIA – 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.

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Previous Newsletters on migration issues:
Newsletter 1 - January 2007
  Newsletter 2 - March 2007
  Newsletter 3 - April 2007
  Newsletter 4 - May 2007
  Newsletter 5 - May 2007 - In Focus: Australia
  Newsletter 6 - June 2007
  Newsletter 7 - July 2007
  Newsletter 8 - August 2007
  Newsletter 9 - October 2007
  Newsletter 10 - November 2007
  Newsletter 11 - December 2007
  Newsletter 12 - February 2008
  Newsletter 13 - March 2008
  Newsletter 14 - June 2008

  Newsletter 15 - July 2008
  Newsletter 16 - September 2008
  Newsletter 17 - November 2008
  Newsletter 18 - December 2008
  Newsletter 19 - January 2009

  Newsletter 20 - February 2009
  Newsletter 21 - April 2009
  Newsletter 22 - June 2009
  Newsletter 23 - August 2009
  Newsletter 24 - October 2009
  Newsletter 25 - December 2009
  Newsletter 26 - February 2010
  Newsletter 27 - March 2010
  Newsletter 28 - June 2010
  Newsletter 29 - July 2010
  Newsletter 30 - September 2010
  Newsletter 31 - November 2010
  Newsletter 32 - December 2010
  Newsletter 33 - February 2011
  Newsletter 34 - April 2011
  Newsletter 35 - June 2011
  Newsletter 36 - September 2011
  Newsletter 37 - November 2011

  Newsletter 38 - March 2012


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

Contact us

Commonwealth Immigration Consultants Ltd.

based in London and Cambridge

Tel. +44 (0) 1223 830 916

Immigration consultants AustraliaAUSTRALIA – FOCUS ON SPOUSE AND PARTNER VISAS

There are several visa categories that can lead to Australian residence based on a relationship with a partner, married spouse, prospective spouse etc.. The following are some of the main categories of entry;

Partner Visa: Offshore Temporary and Permanent (Subclasses 309 and 100) 

Prospective Marriage visa (Subclass 300)

Partner temporary visa (subclass 820) and permanent visa (subclass 801)

What Relationships can be included ?

Australia permits many different types of relationships to apply under these categories, including;
Married spouses (same sex or opposite sex)

Defacto spouses (i.e. same sex or opposite sex spouses living together but not married)

Prospective spouses – those who intend to marry in Australia.

In all cases, applicants need to show that there is a genuine and continuing relationship. Many applications are delayed for want of sufficient evidence on this point. Regardless of the length of the relationship, this point is crucial.

Defacto spouses

In order to qualify as a Defacto Spouse (either through a same sex or opposite sex relationship), the applicant and sponsor must show the existence of such a relationship for the 12 months period immediately before the application.

Unfortunately, many applicants are rejected on this point by confusing a defacto relationship with cohabitation for 12 months. Applications are frequently submitted with evidence just showing cohabitation for 12 months and then expecting approval. This approach is not likely to receive approval without more evidence.

Cohabitation for 12 months is just one component of proving a defacto relationship. Unless, you can provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate all the components of a defacto relationship, then there is little point in applying.

Australia is generous compared to many other countries (such as the USA) that only recognise married spouses. However, the evidence required for defacto spouses is not something that is viewed lightly. Each application needs to be carefully assessed to ensure the key components are met. 
The content of statements from the sponsor and applicant are crucial, as are those from family and friends. We regularly assist applicants to show that all the key components of a defacto relationship are being met.

Who can sponsor ?
Your application must be sponsored by your partner who isan Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.

Your sponsor can live in Australia or outside Australia. If your sponsor lives outside Australia then he / she should be intending to return to live in Australia with you.

Evidence of employment or other sufficient financial resources is often required from the sponsor.

Criminal Convictions
Australia screens all applicants for spouse / partner residence visas as to whether or not they can meet the “character” requirement.

This requires a full declaration of all criminal convictions, regardless of whenever such convictions occurred.

Applicants also need to provide Police Record Checks for every country one has lived in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years since turning 16

Even if you have criminal convictions Australia can still determine that you meet the character requirement. This really depends on the dates of conviction (s) and most importantly the nature of the conviction.

Applicants need to provide detailed written statements and sometimes character references to support any application in which criminal convictions are declared.

In many cases, applicants with criminal convictions can still be referred to the specialist Visa Applicant Character Consideration Unit (VACCU) for more detailed scrutiny.

Annual quotas in these visa categories
Unlike other countries, Australia operates an annual migration programme, which places quotas on the number of visas that can be issued in any particular category (or subclass). Spouse / partner visa subclasses are subject to this annual quota or cap.

Therefore, every year there is a cap on the number of such visas that can be issued. Recently, the numbers of such visas have been reduced, leading to the situation where processing times are increasing for such applicants.

Also, remember the Australian visa year runs from 1 July to 30 June, so as the end of the year approaches the number of available visas can be reduced rapidly.

Typically, these applications can take 4 -6 months from submission for a decision to be made. This timeframe may well change in future months. It is crucial therefore to plan ahead if thinking of moving to Australia with your partner.

Including Dependents
Your partner (which can include opposite, same sex, married or unmarried partners) can include their dependent children on their application.

Children usually need to be living with you and dependent on you.

In cases where children have turned 16, it is often necessary to produce additional evidence to show that they are still dependent.

Our service in applying for Australian spouse and partner visas
We have many years experience in securing Australian residence visas, through the spouse and partner subclasses, for our clients.

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 statements, submission to the government and bringing to a successful conclusion. This continues throughout the whole process until your application 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. We are immigration consultants based in the UK, assisting applicants all over the world.

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

Our free 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

* Australia info page with the latest migration news

Teaching Australia Immigration and VisaFREE e-book  TEACHING IN AUSTRALIA 

Are you a Teacher looking to work or study in Australia?
Then you should visit 

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) 1223 830 916

We would love to hear from you!

Tim McMahon
Commonwealth Immigration

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