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Kia Ora Bro! Permanent Residency for New Zealanders working in Australia!


Recent figures show that there are currently over 670,000 New Zealanders living in Australia on Subclass 444 visas. Many have lived and worked here for much of their life and have made Australia their home, with no need to apply for Permanent Residence since they were able to earn a living here in Australia on a visa that did not expire – sweet as!

But when the COVID-19 crisis affected Australia, while our Kiwi friends who had jobs with employers who qualified could access the JobKeeper payment, only those who had arrived before 26 February 2001 had access to welfare payments and the JobSeeker payment, so many people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic found themselves in a difficult situation. If they had already held Permanent Residence status, this would have been a different story.

Of course, we all hope that we will never experience a situation like this again, but just in case, the good news is that holders of Subclass 444 visas who have been living and working in Australia actually have a pathway to Australian Permanent residency just for them. It is the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa – New Zealand stream.

The basic criteria to lodge an application for this visa is:

holding a New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa
have lived in Australia for at least the last five years
show that you have earned at least $53,900 per year for the past four financial years 
have a good history of health and character

As a bonus, the Department of Home Affairs allows for the visa application fees for this visa to be paid in stages, with just 20% charged when you lodge the application, and the remaining 80% to be paid just before the visa grant. (If you need a Migration Agent to assist you with your application, their professional fees will be in addition to the application fee.)

Give us a call on 02 9407 8788 or reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au if you would like to talk about whether this visa stream is for you, or to see if we can come up with any other options to suit your circumstances. 

Do you need outbound immigration support?


At Oz Migration Solutions, our Migration Agents aren’t only able to assist companies and applicants for Australian bound visas and permanent residence applications. We are able to provide support to multi-national corporations who sends their assignees to outbound countries for short-term or long-term assignments. As international immigration policies are constantly changing and becoming increasingly complex, we will be able to provide strategic analysis & pre-planning to facilitate the international transfer of your employees.

Some of the outbound countries which our Migration Agents have specialised expertise include: India, Singapore, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam & Malaysia. Our overseas network service partners are able to provide support to other regions such as Europe & the America as well. In addition to being a central point of contact, where consular services are needed such as organising documents to be authenticated/apostilled, our team will be able to assist with the legalisation process for the relevant jurisdiction. 

If your business requires any support for outbound matters, please don’t hesitate to reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au or call us on 02 9407 8788.

 ..................................................

Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586

Did COVID-19 make you wish you had applied for Australian PR or Citizenship sooner?


Since COVID19 changed all of our lives, many holders of temporary Australian visas have found themselves in a difficult situation. Financial rescue packages such as JobSeeker and stimulus payments have strict eligibility requirements which exclude anyone who is not an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident, JobKeeper is restricted mainly to citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens holding Subclass 444 visas, and strict border controls currently only allow Australian citizens and Permanent Residents to enter the country from overseas.

While of course we hope that we never experience a situation like COVID19 again, it is best to be prepared for the future and have the security that Permanent Residence and Citizenship can offer. While right now it may seem like closing the gate after the horse has bolted, if you think you may be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence or Citizenship, now would be a good time to contact us so we can assess your options. Even if you are not eligible now, we may be able to help you put a plan in place so that you could be eligible in the future.  It is important to understand that submitting an application now unfortunately won't change your eligibility for the current stimulus offerings that are part of this COVID19 event, however it will allow you to focus on a more certain and secure future. Contact us on (02) 9407 8788 or email us info@ozmigration.net.au

How can you safeguard yourself or your business from COVID-19? An immigration perspective…


In these turbulent times, based on the government’s treasury figures, Australia’s unemployment rate is expected to climb from 5.1% to reach 10%. Given there will be a significant rise in unemployment, there are some expectations that Australia’s visa list which outlines the occupations that are able to apply for an employment visa/Permanent Residence will be reviewed with certain occupations being removed from the list. 

If you work in one of the industries which has been affected by COVID-19 (e.g. Retail, Hospitality, Travel etc), you should be asking:

do I have a TSS/482 visa holder who I would like to safeguard before potential changes to the visa list occurs?
are there any TSS/482 visa holders who should apply for PR sooner rather than later, in case the visa list changes?

How can your business start planning?

At this stage, it might be a few months before the Australian government starts to reopen the doors for foreign nationals coming into Australia for work assignments. Governments have indicated that citizens from New Zealand may initially enter Australia, with other countries to eventually follow. 

Until this happens, companies who wish to sponsor employees for work purposes, will likely need to factor in additional costs such as the mandatory 14 days quarantine measures. For example, if an employee needs to stay in a hotel for 14 days at $250 (3 stars) to $400 (5 stars) per night, companies may need to budget for an additional $2,800 to $5,600 towards relocation costs.

At Oz Migration we would be more than happy to go through strategies; prepare cost estimates for your company’s internal mobility programs; explore options to companies/individuals; or just have a confidential chat about the current landscape.

For further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au or call us on 02 9407 8788

....................................................

Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586

Pathway To PR… TSS 482/457 TO Permanent Residency


If you are holding a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa and would like to apply for Australian Permanent Residence under the Employer Nomination Scheme (also known as ENS or company sponsored PR), you may qualify under the following two main pathways.


(1) Temporary Residence Transition stream pathway (most popular pathway)


If you held or applied for a TSS 482/457 visa on or before 18 April 2017, and you have worked for your sponsoring employer for at least 2 years full-time in Australia, you will qualify for PR under the ENS.


However, if you held or applied for a TSS visa after 18 April 2017, you need to wait until you have worked for your sponsoring employer for at least 3 years full-time (instead of 2), before you apply for PR.


(2) Direct Entry stream pathway


Applicants who don’t want to wait the 2 or 3 years needed under the TRT stream are able to apply earlier, however they will need to obtain a positive skills assessment with their nominated assessing authority. For example, an Accountant will need to obtain a positive skills assessment with Chartered Accountants (CA) Australia or Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) Australia. These assessing authorities are independent bodies which undertake a review of your qualifications and work experience, to determine whether it aligns with Australian standards.


In addition to obtaining the positive skills assessment, applicants will need to have at least 3 years of full-time work experience in total, however the 3 years doesn’t need to be with the sponsoring employer, and can be work experience from overseas.


If you would like our office to conduct an assessment to determine whether you or your employee qualifies for PR, please don’t hesitate to contact us or reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au

TSS 482 – Labour Market Testing Exemptions


Are you applying for a TSS visa, and would like to check if you are exempt from Labour Market Testing?

Most people are aware that Labour Market Testing (LMT) is mandatory when applying for the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa (Subclass 482), however did you know there are some exemptions? As Australia is a member of many international trade agreements, this article will explain the available exemptions available to date. LMT is therefore not mandatory in the following circumstances:

• the worker is a citizen of China, Japan, Mexico, Thailand or Vietnam, or is a citizen/permanent resident (PR) of Canada, Chile, South Korea, New Zealand or Singapore. As part of the application, you will simply need to provide a copy of their passport/PR status to apply for this exemption.

• the worker is a current employee of a business that is an associated entity of your business and the business is located in Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Mexico, South Korea or New Zealand. A copy of their passport and employment contracts would be provided as part of this exemption.

• the worker you nominate is a current employee of an associated entity of your business, that associated entity operates in a country that is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the nominated occupation is an Executive or Senior Manager occupation, and the nominee will be responsible for the entire or a substantial part of your company’s operations in Australia.

• the worker you nominate is a citizen or an eligible permanent resident of a WTO member country and has worked for you in the nominated position in Australia on a full-time basis for the last two years.

• the worker has an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in their field of sport, academia and research, or a top-talent chef. A detailed submission will be needed to outline how only a few candidates are able to fit the role on an international scale.

On a final note, it’s important to understand the above exemptions applies to workers applying for a TSS visa using a company which has a standard business sponsorship agreement. If you will be applying for a TSS visa using an approved On-Hire or Company specific Labour Agreement, these are customised agreements with Immigration, and you will need to check which exemptions may apply (if any).

For further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us or reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au

……………………………………….

Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586

Self-isolation... Our pets will save us!


With the current situation going on, most of us are self-isolated with some actually working remotely, we all need a little bit of happiness and a companionship at the moment, and those fortunate enough to have pets have a clear way to escape from loneliness.

National Pet Month is back and this time even better than ever, attracting thousands of animal lovers to celebrate the value of pet ownership. It brings together animal welfare charities, professional bodies, businesses and schools to promote good pet ownership, raise funds for a good cause and have fun.

We would love to shout about the rewards and benefits of owning a pet whilst encouraging responsibility, increasing awareness of pet care specialists, and promoting the value of assistance and companion animals.

So why not dedicate this month to our pets as appreciation and celebrate the benefits that they bring to our lives and vice versa.

To know more about such charities, visit here.

How are your pets helping you through these unusual times? Perhaps send us a picture of your pet(s) at info@ozmigration.net.au and show us how are they helping you cope…


TSS/482 VISA - Top 5 Questions Regarding Covid-19 & Work Rights


As the COVID-19 situation has evolved, many of us are now facing an uncertain future in relation to our employment, and being a temporary visa holder in Australia can add to this uncertainty. At Oz Migration, we have been inundated with questions from both the employers and visa holders. To assist, we have outlined below the top five questions we have been asked, along with the answers to help you through this uncertainty. 

1) Can the hours for a primary Temporary Skill Worker (TSS) visa holder be reduced, or they can be offered a part-time role? Has the Department relaxed the rules for TSS visa holders due to the COVID-19?

For most workers on TSS visas, their visa condition states they must remain in full-time employment and must continue to be paid at the level which was approved for the visa. Over the weekend, the Department has confirmed there will be some flexibility around relaxing the rules with full-time employment, and businesses will be able to reduce the hours of a TSS visa holder without the person being in breach of their visa condition.

If a TSS visa holder has been laid off due to COVID-19, however re-employed afterwards, their time already spent in Australia will still be counted towards their permanent residency skilled work experience requirements.

The Department has also confirmed that TSS visa holders will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year.

2)     2)  Can a TSS visa holder be placed on unpaid leave? If so, how long?

Given the unfortunate circumstances, businesses are able to place their TSS visa holders on unpaid leave for up to 3 months. Businesses are able to request for longer periods, however should seek permission from the Department and we can assist with this process.

In terms of assistance from the government, there hasn't been any confirmation yet that TSS visa holders will receive payments such as unemployment/social security benefits from Centrelink. However, the government has suggested, if a company has a downturn of 30% in trade, this may trigger a $1,500 fortnightly payment for all employees that are affected, which may (or may not) include TSS holder if they are on the company's payroll. It is therefore important to keep up-to-date, and we will provide further clarification once the legislation is actually enacted which will provide clearer guidance. 

3)     3)  What happens when a TSS visa holder loses their job?

If you have lost your job, please contact our team to discuss your options. We may be able to come up with an alternative solution based on your circumstances, such as transitioning you to a different visa type, or assisting you to transfer your sponsorship to another employer. Our sister company, Pendragon, has an approved On-Hire Labour Agreement, and so they may be able to act as your surrogate employer as well.

4)     4)  What happens if someone has a 8503 condition on their visa, however they are unable to leave the country?

The visa condition ‘8503 – No Further Stay’ prevents a visa holder from applying for another visa whilst in Australia to remain in the country. Home Affairs has advised that in the current circumstances, they will be flexible with lifting the restrictions. The process requires an application for a waiver of the condition, and they are advising processing timeframes will take approximately 2 to 3 days, instead of their standard processing timeframes of 4 weeks. We have already assisted many clients with these applications, all with successful outcomes, so please don’t hesitate to reach us if you would like assistance or advice.

5)     5) Can a TSS visa holder with family overseas bring their family to join them in Australia?

Due to the recent strict travel restrictions which has been implemented by Australia and most overseas countries, only Australian citizens, Permanent Residents and selected New Zealand citizens are able to enter Australia at the moment. For this reason, even if the family members who are currently overseas are already approved and attached to the primary TSS visa holder as dependents, they are still currently unable to enter Australia, unless they have successfully applied for the waiver. If you or your family is affected, our office is able to assist with applying for this waiver.  

We are checking for updates daily, and any advice provided from the Department will be circulated as a priority. So please keep visiting our LinkedIn and website page to stay informed.

Alternatively, if you have any questions or want to know more about the above information please feel free to talk to us on 02 9407 8788 or reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au. We are here to help…!

……………………………………….

Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586



Remote working is happening now...Are you prepared?


With the massive spread of COVID-19 cases in Australia, it now seems unavoidable that in the next few weeks many businesses will be affected by its spread and have been advised to let their employees work remotely.

We at Oz Migration are confident working remotely, and understand the challenges and fear that comes with it, for businesses who are not prepared. One of those challenges is keeping your back-office running smoothly, while you work from anywhere and everywhere in the world, or whilst you are forced to stay at home if a lock down occurs. Taking care of and keeping up with the invoicing, and chasing up the invoices to keep the cash flow going is a must, plus getting the knowledge around what could be claimed from the Australian government at this time.

We understand as circumstances changes, managing a remote working team is one thing but managing your back-office is another. Hence, we would like you to know we are all in this together, and we are here to help you adjust to these new business conditions. You could consider discussing with our sister company, Pendragon, how they might be able to assist or advise you regarding your back-office responsibilities, freeing up your precious time to allow you to focus more on your core offerings, and spend some time with your loved ones.

Should you need assistance or free advice moving forward with outsourcing your back-office needs, please don’t hesitate to talk to Pendragon on 02 9407 8700 or reach them at info@pendragon.net.au

We wish you well in these unusual times...


Applying for a TSS 482 visa... Make sure you know the Rules!


Do you completely understand all the visa conditions listed on your Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa? No? Not to worry! This article has been prepared to ensure you understand the rules. It’s also important to mention, if you breach any of your visa conditions, your TSS visa may actually be cancelled and may affect future Australian visa applications such as permanent residence.

Health Insurance

As part of your visa grant, you will be financially responsible for any health debts you incur in Australia. You and any included dependent family members will therefore need to hold the appropriate level of health insurance to mitigate your financial risks. Are there any expectations to this rule? If you are eligible and have successfully applied for Medicare coverage, you won’t need to hold health insurance. However, it’s important to understand the pros and cons for obtaining private health insurance versus Medicare. Also, Medicare coverage is only available to nationals from Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

To compare the benefits and for further information regarding the level of coverage needed for private health insurance & Medicare, please refer to the following weblinks:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements/when-you-visit-australia

Nominated occupation work requirements

You are generally only allowed to work for your sponsoring employer or an associated entity in your approved nominated occupation. It is therefore important to review the occupation which is listed on your visa approval letter under the title "Position details - Nominated occupation". If your sponsoring company is looking to change your role or if you are going to be promoted, you will need to check with your Migration Agent/Lawyer to ensure it doesn't breach any rules. More importantly, the Migration Agent/Lawyer is able to check whether the change in role will affect your eligibility for Australian permanent residence at a later date. Where the change of duties is only temporary and will not exceed 60 consecutive days, the Department may allow the arrangement, however it's always advisable to check with your assigned Migration Agent/Lawyer.

Temporary layoffs available

If a TSS visa holder is temporarily laid off due to a downturn in the industry in which they are employed, they may be considered to have ceased employment and the visa holder may be in breach of their visa condition if:

  • The Department has not been advised accordingly; and
  • If more than 60 consecutive days has elapsed since layoff.

To avoid unintended consequences of premature cancellation due to a temporarily layoff due to seasonal downturn, your Migration Agent/Lawyer should be consulting with the Department to explain the circumstances of the case.

Is unpaid leave allowed?

TSS visa holders on unpaid leave (e.g. study or sabbatical leave; holiday leave without pay; sick leave without pay; maternity or paternity leave; parental/carer/personal leave) or not considered to be in breach of their visa condition solely on the basis of this unpaid leave. This is because the TSS visa holders may be considered to continue to be in the employment of the sponsor (although not working or receiving a salary). Under migration policy, this period should not, however, generally exceed 3 months unless:

  • The sponsor is obliged to provide the leave under Australian workplace laws (e.g. in connection with maternity leave); or
  • Exceptional circumstances apply (e.g. family illness). Your Migration Agent/Lawyer would need to consult with the relevant section at the Department to assess whether your particular circumstances would be accepted.

It’s also important to understand, if you are employed under a Company Specific or On-Hire Labour Agreement (LAs), you will need to review the specific terms which was agreed with the Department in relation to unpaid leave provisions, as LAs generally does not permit unpaid leave.

Are you allowed to work overseas?

In certain circumstances, a TSS visa applicant may be able to undertake work outside of Australia where it is considered in the usual course of their business and the applicant remains an employee of the Australian firm. For instance, in the resources and mining fields, it is common practice to have ‘fly in/fly out’ arrangements. However, if there are significant periods of employment spent overseas, the Department may have concerns that the position being nominated is not a genuine position as the applicant may not be primarily working in the nominated position. The immigration officer will have grounds to cancel the TSS visa if they are satisfied that the TSS visa holder:

  • Did not have a genuine intention to perform the occupation for which they were nominated
  • Has ceased to have a genuine intention to perform that occupation

What happens if you or your employer wants to end employment?

If you or your sponsoring employer wishes to terminate your employment, the Department of Immigration will give you 60 to 90 days (depending when your visa was approved) to:

  • Find another employer to take over the sponsorship (also known as a nomination transfer application)
  • Apply and be granted another visa (e.g. this could be a Visitor Visa to simply remain in Australia as a tourist)
  • Make appropriate arrangements to depart Australia.

Can I undertake a second job or volunteer work?

In general, the primary TSS visa holder is not allowed to undertake a second job, however there are certain occupations which are exempted from this rule such as General Medical Practitioners or CEOs/General Managers. In terms of voluntary unpaid work, this may be approved on a case-by-case basis. The work would usually need to be undertaken with a charity or not-to-profit based organisations.

Work related conditions:

On a final note, it's important to understand the following key deadlines:

  • If you are in Australia, you must commence work within 90 days of your visa being granted.
  • If you are overseas, you must commence work within 90 days from when you first arrive in Australia. There is no particular requirement for the visa holder to arrive in Australia within a specific time frame, other than before their visa expires. However, where the arrival of a visa holder is significantly delayed, they and their sponsor should be counselled in regard to the continued need for the TSS visa and whenever it is the appropriate visa for their circumstances.
  • You must not cease employment for more than 60 consecutive days.
  • If required, you must hold any important work-related licenses, registration and memberships.

……………………………………….

Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586




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Oz Migration Blogs

Kia Ora Bro! Permanent Residency for New Zealanders working in Australia!


Recent figures show that there are currently over 670,000 New Zealanders living in Australia on Subclass 444 visas. Many have lived and worked here for much of their life and have made Australia their home, with no need to apply for Permanent Residence since they were able to earn a living here in Australia on a visa that did not expire – sweet as!

But when the COVID-19 crisis affected Australia, while our Kiwi friends who had jobs with employers who qualified could access the JobKeeper payment, only those who had arrived before 26 February 2001 had access to welfare payments and the JobSeeker payment, so many people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic found themselves in a difficult situation. If they had already held Permanent Residence status, this would have been a different story.

Of course, we all hope that we will never experience a situation like this again, but just in case, the good news is that holders of Subclass 444 visas who have been living and working in Australia actually have a pathway to Australian Permanent residency just for them. It is the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa – New Zealand stream.

The basic criteria to lodge an application for this visa is:

holding a New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa
have lived in Australia for at least the last five years
show that you have earned at least $53,900 per year for the past four financial years 
have a good history of health and character

As a bonus, the Department of Home Affairs allows for the visa application fees for this visa to be paid in stages, with just 20% charged when you lodge the application, and the remaining 80% to be paid just before the visa grant. (If you need a Migration Agent to assist you with your application, their professional fees will be in addition to the application fee.)

Give us a call on 02 9407 8788 or reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au if you would like to talk about whether this visa stream is for you, or to see if we can come up with any other options to suit your circumstances. 

Do you need outbound immigration support?


At Oz Migration Solutions, our Migration Agents aren’t only able to assist companies and applicants for Australian bound visas and permanent residence applications. We are able to provide support to multi-national corporations who sends their assignees to outbound countries for short-term or long-term assignments. As international immigration policies are constantly changing and becoming increasingly complex, we will be able to provide strategic analysis & pre-planning to facilitate the international transfer of your employees.

Some of the outbound countries which our Migration Agents have specialised expertise include: India, Singapore, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam & Malaysia. Our overseas network service partners are able to provide support to other regions such as Europe & the America as well. In addition to being a central point of contact, where consular services are needed such as organising documents to be authenticated/apostilled, our team will be able to assist with the legalisation process for the relevant jurisdiction. 

If your business requires any support for outbound matters, please don’t hesitate to reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au or call us on 02 9407 8788.

 ..................................................

Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586

Did COVID-19 make you wish you had applied for Australian PR or Citizenship sooner?


Since COVID19 changed all of our lives, many holders of temporary Australian visas have found themselves in a difficult situation. Financial rescue packages such as JobSeeker and stimulus payments have strict eligibility requirements which exclude anyone who is not an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident, JobKeeper is restricted mainly to citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens holding Subclass 444 visas, and strict border controls currently only allow Australian citizens and Permanent Residents to enter the country from overseas.

While of course we hope that we never experience a situation like COVID19 again, it is best to be prepared for the future and have the security that Permanent Residence and Citizenship can offer. While right now it may seem like closing the gate after the horse has bolted, if you think you may be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence or Citizenship, now would be a good time to contact us so we can assess your options. Even if you are not eligible now, we may be able to help you put a plan in place so that you could be eligible in the future.  It is important to understand that submitting an application now unfortunately won't change your eligibility for the current stimulus offerings that are part of this COVID19 event, however it will allow you to focus on a more certain and secure future. Contact us on (02) 9407 8788 or email us info@ozmigration.net.au

How can you safeguard yourself or your business from COVID-19? An immigration perspective…


In these turbulent times, based on the government’s treasury figures, Australia’s unemployment rate is expected to climb from 5.1% to reach 10%. Given there will be a significant rise in unemployment, there are some expectations that Australia’s visa list which outlines the occupations that are able to apply for an employment visa/Permanent Residence will be reviewed with certain occupations being removed from the list. 

If you work in one of the industries which has been affected by COVID-19 (e.g. Retail, Hospitality, Travel etc), you should be asking:

do I have a TSS/482 visa holder who I would like to safeguard before potential changes to the visa list occurs?
are there any TSS/482 visa holders who should apply for PR sooner rather than later, in case the visa list changes?

How can your business start planning?

At this stage, it might be a few months before the Australian government starts to reopen the doors for foreign nationals coming into Australia for work assignments. Governments have indicated that citizens from New Zealand may initially enter Australia, with other countries to eventually follow. 

Until this happens, companies who wish to sponsor employees for work purposes, will likely need to factor in additional costs such as the mandatory 14 days quarantine measures. For example, if an employee needs to stay in a hotel for 14 days at $250 (3 stars) to $400 (5 stars) per night, companies may need to budget for an additional $2,800 to $5,600 towards relocation costs.

At Oz Migration we would be more than happy to go through strategies; prepare cost estimates for your company’s internal mobility programs; explore options to companies/individuals; or just have a confidential chat about the current landscape.

For further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au or call us on 02 9407 8788

....................................................

Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586

Pathway To PR… TSS 482/457 TO Permanent Residency


If you are holding a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa and would like to apply for Australian Permanent Residence under the Employer Nomination Scheme (also known as ENS or company sponsored PR), you may qualify under the following two main pathways.


(1) Temporary Residence Transition stream pathway (most popular pathway)


If you held or applied for a TSS 482/457 visa on or before 18 April 2017, and you have worked for your sponsoring employer for at least 2 years full-time in Australia, you will qualify for PR under the ENS.


However, if you held or applied for a TSS visa after 18 April 2017, you need to wait until you have worked for your sponsoring employer for at least 3 years full-time (instead of 2), before you apply for PR.


(2) Direct Entry stream pathway


Applicants who don’t want to wait the 2 or 3 years needed under the TRT stream are able to apply earlier, however they will need to obtain a positive skills assessment with their nominated assessing authority. For example, an Accountant will need to obtain a positive skills assessment with Chartered Accountants (CA) Australia or Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) Australia. These assessing authorities are independent bodies which undertake a review of your qualifications and work experience, to determine whether it aligns with Australian standards.


In addition to obtaining the positive skills assessment, applicants will need to have at least 3 years of full-time work experience in total, however the 3 years doesn’t need to be with the sponsoring employer, and can be work experience from overseas.


If you would like our office to conduct an assessment to determine whether you or your employee qualifies for PR, please don’t hesitate to contact us or reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au

TSS 482 – Labour Market Testing Exemptions


Are you applying for a TSS visa, and would like to check if you are exempt from Labour Market Testing?

Most people are aware that Labour Market Testing (LMT) is mandatory when applying for the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa (Subclass 482), however did you know there are some exemptions? As Australia is a member of many international trade agreements, this article will explain the available exemptions available to date. LMT is therefore not mandatory in the following circumstances:

• the worker is a citizen of China, Japan, Mexico, Thailand or Vietnam, or is a citizen/permanent resident (PR) of Canada, Chile, South Korea, New Zealand or Singapore. As part of the application, you will simply need to provide a copy of their passport/PR status to apply for this exemption.

• the worker is a current employee of a business that is an associated entity of your business and the business is located in Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Mexico, South Korea or New Zealand. A copy of their passport and employment contracts would be provided as part of this exemption.

• the worker you nominate is a current employee of an associated entity of your business, that associated entity operates in a country that is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the nominated occupation is an Executive or Senior Manager occupation, and the nominee will be responsible for the entire or a substantial part of your company’s operations in Australia.

• the worker you nominate is a citizen or an eligible permanent resident of a WTO member country and has worked for you in the nominated position in Australia on a full-time basis for the last two years.

• the worker has an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in their field of sport, academia and research, or a top-talent chef. A detailed submission will be needed to outline how only a few candidates are able to fit the role on an international scale.

On a final note, it’s important to understand the above exemptions applies to workers applying for a TSS visa using a company which has a standard business sponsorship agreement. If you will be applying for a TSS visa using an approved On-Hire or Company specific Labour Agreement, these are customised agreements with Immigration, and you will need to check which exemptions may apply (if any).

For further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us or reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au

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Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586

Self-isolation... Our pets will save us!


With the current situation going on, most of us are self-isolated with some actually working remotely, we all need a little bit of happiness and a companionship at the moment, and those fortunate enough to have pets have a clear way to escape from loneliness.

National Pet Month is back and this time even better than ever, attracting thousands of animal lovers to celebrate the value of pet ownership. It brings together animal welfare charities, professional bodies, businesses and schools to promote good pet ownership, raise funds for a good cause and have fun.

We would love to shout about the rewards and benefits of owning a pet whilst encouraging responsibility, increasing awareness of pet care specialists, and promoting the value of assistance and companion animals.

So why not dedicate this month to our pets as appreciation and celebrate the benefits that they bring to our lives and vice versa.

To know more about such charities, visit here.

How are your pets helping you through these unusual times? Perhaps send us a picture of your pet(s) at info@ozmigration.net.au and show us how are they helping you cope…


TSS/482 VISA - Top 5 Questions Regarding Covid-19 & Work Rights


As the COVID-19 situation has evolved, many of us are now facing an uncertain future in relation to our employment, and being a temporary visa holder in Australia can add to this uncertainty. At Oz Migration, we have been inundated with questions from both the employers and visa holders. To assist, we have outlined below the top five questions we have been asked, along with the answers to help you through this uncertainty. 

1) Can the hours for a primary Temporary Skill Worker (TSS) visa holder be reduced, or they can be offered a part-time role? Has the Department relaxed the rules for TSS visa holders due to the COVID-19?

For most workers on TSS visas, their visa condition states they must remain in full-time employment and must continue to be paid at the level which was approved for the visa. Over the weekend, the Department has confirmed there will be some flexibility around relaxing the rules with full-time employment, and businesses will be able to reduce the hours of a TSS visa holder without the person being in breach of their visa condition.

If a TSS visa holder has been laid off due to COVID-19, however re-employed afterwards, their time already spent in Australia will still be counted towards their permanent residency skilled work experience requirements.

The Department has also confirmed that TSS visa holders will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year.

2)     2)  Can a TSS visa holder be placed on unpaid leave? If so, how long?

Given the unfortunate circumstances, businesses are able to place their TSS visa holders on unpaid leave for up to 3 months. Businesses are able to request for longer periods, however should seek permission from the Department and we can assist with this process.

In terms of assistance from the government, there hasn't been any confirmation yet that TSS visa holders will receive payments such as unemployment/social security benefits from Centrelink. However, the government has suggested, if a company has a downturn of 30% in trade, this may trigger a $1,500 fortnightly payment for all employees that are affected, which may (or may not) include TSS holder if they are on the company's payroll. It is therefore important to keep up-to-date, and we will provide further clarification once the legislation is actually enacted which will provide clearer guidance. 

3)     3)  What happens when a TSS visa holder loses their job?

If you have lost your job, please contact our team to discuss your options. We may be able to come up with an alternative solution based on your circumstances, such as transitioning you to a different visa type, or assisting you to transfer your sponsorship to another employer. Our sister company, Pendragon, has an approved On-Hire Labour Agreement, and so they may be able to act as your surrogate employer as well.

4)     4)  What happens if someone has a 8503 condition on their visa, however they are unable to leave the country?

The visa condition ‘8503 – No Further Stay’ prevents a visa holder from applying for another visa whilst in Australia to remain in the country. Home Affairs has advised that in the current circumstances, they will be flexible with lifting the restrictions. The process requires an application for a waiver of the condition, and they are advising processing timeframes will take approximately 2 to 3 days, instead of their standard processing timeframes of 4 weeks. We have already assisted many clients with these applications, all with successful outcomes, so please don’t hesitate to reach us if you would like assistance or advice.

5)     5) Can a TSS visa holder with family overseas bring their family to join them in Australia?

Due to the recent strict travel restrictions which has been implemented by Australia and most overseas countries, only Australian citizens, Permanent Residents and selected New Zealand citizens are able to enter Australia at the moment. For this reason, even if the family members who are currently overseas are already approved and attached to the primary TSS visa holder as dependents, they are still currently unable to enter Australia, unless they have successfully applied for the waiver. If you or your family is affected, our office is able to assist with applying for this waiver.  

We are checking for updates daily, and any advice provided from the Department will be circulated as a priority. So please keep visiting our LinkedIn and website page to stay informed.

Alternatively, if you have any questions or want to know more about the above information please feel free to talk to us on 02 9407 8788 or reach us at info@ozmigration.net.au. We are here to help…!

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Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586



Remote working is happening now...Are you prepared?


With the massive spread of COVID-19 cases in Australia, it now seems unavoidable that in the next few weeks many businesses will be affected by its spread and have been advised to let their employees work remotely.

We at Oz Migration are confident working remotely, and understand the challenges and fear that comes with it, for businesses who are not prepared. One of those challenges is keeping your back-office running smoothly, while you work from anywhere and everywhere in the world, or whilst you are forced to stay at home if a lock down occurs. Taking care of and keeping up with the invoicing, and chasing up the invoices to keep the cash flow going is a must, plus getting the knowledge around what could be claimed from the Australian government at this time.

We understand as circumstances changes, managing a remote working team is one thing but managing your back-office is another. Hence, we would like you to know we are all in this together, and we are here to help you adjust to these new business conditions. You could consider discussing with our sister company, Pendragon, how they might be able to assist or advise you regarding your back-office responsibilities, freeing up your precious time to allow you to focus more on your core offerings, and spend some time with your loved ones.

Should you need assistance or free advice moving forward with outsourcing your back-office needs, please don’t hesitate to talk to Pendragon on 02 9407 8700 or reach them at info@pendragon.net.au

We wish you well in these unusual times...


Applying for a TSS 482 visa... Make sure you know the Rules!


Do you completely understand all the visa conditions listed on your Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa? No? Not to worry! This article has been prepared to ensure you understand the rules. It’s also important to mention, if you breach any of your visa conditions, your TSS visa may actually be cancelled and may affect future Australian visa applications such as permanent residence.

Health Insurance

As part of your visa grant, you will be financially responsible for any health debts you incur in Australia. You and any included dependent family members will therefore need to hold the appropriate level of health insurance to mitigate your financial risks. Are there any expectations to this rule? If you are eligible and have successfully applied for Medicare coverage, you won’t need to hold health insurance. However, it’s important to understand the pros and cons for obtaining private health insurance versus Medicare. Also, Medicare coverage is only available to nationals from Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

To compare the benefits and for further information regarding the level of coverage needed for private health insurance & Medicare, please refer to the following weblinks:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements/when-you-visit-australia

Nominated occupation work requirements

You are generally only allowed to work for your sponsoring employer or an associated entity in your approved nominated occupation. It is therefore important to review the occupation which is listed on your visa approval letter under the title "Position details - Nominated occupation". If your sponsoring company is looking to change your role or if you are going to be promoted, you will need to check with your Migration Agent/Lawyer to ensure it doesn't breach any rules. More importantly, the Migration Agent/Lawyer is able to check whether the change in role will affect your eligibility for Australian permanent residence at a later date. Where the change of duties is only temporary and will not exceed 60 consecutive days, the Department may allow the arrangement, however it's always advisable to check with your assigned Migration Agent/Lawyer.

Temporary layoffs available

If a TSS visa holder is temporarily laid off due to a downturn in the industry in which they are employed, they may be considered to have ceased employment and the visa holder may be in breach of their visa condition if:

  • The Department has not been advised accordingly; and
  • If more than 60 consecutive days has elapsed since layoff.

To avoid unintended consequences of premature cancellation due to a temporarily layoff due to seasonal downturn, your Migration Agent/Lawyer should be consulting with the Department to explain the circumstances of the case.

Is unpaid leave allowed?

TSS visa holders on unpaid leave (e.g. study or sabbatical leave; holiday leave without pay; sick leave without pay; maternity or paternity leave; parental/carer/personal leave) or not considered to be in breach of their visa condition solely on the basis of this unpaid leave. This is because the TSS visa holders may be considered to continue to be in the employment of the sponsor (although not working or receiving a salary). Under migration policy, this period should not, however, generally exceed 3 months unless:

  • The sponsor is obliged to provide the leave under Australian workplace laws (e.g. in connection with maternity leave); or
  • Exceptional circumstances apply (e.g. family illness). Your Migration Agent/Lawyer would need to consult with the relevant section at the Department to assess whether your particular circumstances would be accepted.

It’s also important to understand, if you are employed under a Company Specific or On-Hire Labour Agreement (LAs), you will need to review the specific terms which was agreed with the Department in relation to unpaid leave provisions, as LAs generally does not permit unpaid leave.

Are you allowed to work overseas?

In certain circumstances, a TSS visa applicant may be able to undertake work outside of Australia where it is considered in the usual course of their business and the applicant remains an employee of the Australian firm. For instance, in the resources and mining fields, it is common practice to have ‘fly in/fly out’ arrangements. However, if there are significant periods of employment spent overseas, the Department may have concerns that the position being nominated is not a genuine position as the applicant may not be primarily working in the nominated position. The immigration officer will have grounds to cancel the TSS visa if they are satisfied that the TSS visa holder:

  • Did not have a genuine intention to perform the occupation for which they were nominated
  • Has ceased to have a genuine intention to perform that occupation

What happens if you or your employer wants to end employment?

If you or your sponsoring employer wishes to terminate your employment, the Department of Immigration will give you 60 to 90 days (depending when your visa was approved) to:

  • Find another employer to take over the sponsorship (also known as a nomination transfer application)
  • Apply and be granted another visa (e.g. this could be a Visitor Visa to simply remain in Australia as a tourist)
  • Make appropriate arrangements to depart Australia.

Can I undertake a second job or volunteer work?

In general, the primary TSS visa holder is not allowed to undertake a second job, however there are certain occupations which are exempted from this rule such as General Medical Practitioners or CEOs/General Managers. In terms of voluntary unpaid work, this may be approved on a case-by-case basis. The work would usually need to be undertaken with a charity or not-to-profit based organisations.

Work related conditions:

On a final note, it's important to understand the following key deadlines:

  • If you are in Australia, you must commence work within 90 days of your visa being granted.
  • If you are overseas, you must commence work within 90 days from when you first arrive in Australia. There is no particular requirement for the visa holder to arrive in Australia within a specific time frame, other than before their visa expires. However, where the arrival of a visa holder is significantly delayed, they and their sponsor should be counselled in regard to the continued need for the TSS visa and whenever it is the appropriate visa for their circumstances.
  • You must not cease employment for more than 60 consecutive days.
  • If required, you must hold any important work-related licenses, registration and memberships.

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Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586