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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who has the right to work in Australia ? Current migration legislation defines work as an activity that, in Australia, normally attracts remuneration. This means that any activity that normally attracts payment, irrespective of whether you are paid or given some other kind of reward is deemed to be work.

 

 As a general rule, only Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents - that is, migrants who are not yet Australian citizens - and New Zealand citizens who have entered Australia on a valid passport, have unrestricted rights to employment in Australia.

Any other foreign national who wants to work in Australia must have a temporary visa that allows employment.

What is a 'skilled occupation' ?under the General Skilled Migration program a skilled occupation is an occupation described in a Gazette Notice as a skilled occupation for which points can be awarded.

The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) lists all the skilled occupations and it changes periodically to reflect the needs of the Australian local market.How long does it take to process a visa?

Australia 's visa processing times vary by the type of visa being applied for. Factors which influence processing times include:the place where the visa application was madevisa processing workload at the relevant office at any given timewhether all the necessary documents have been provided the complexity of the visa application turnaround times for medicals and character checks

On average, an independent Australia skilled migration visa can take around 12-18 months to be processed. If your occupation is on the priority processing list, you can expect a quicker response.

Other Australian visas such as students, partner visas, employer sponsored visas, business skills visas and retirement visas will normally be processed fairly quickly. Another variable to consider is whether the application is made onshore or offshore.

 

How much do visa applications cost? The latest visa application fee schedule is available for download (http://www.immi.gov.au/) Note that visa application charges are subject to change. Therefore, please use this information as a guide only.

Please do not confuse lodgement fee with the professional fees that you will need to pay your migration agent for preparing your application and representing you at DIAC.

Health requirement for permanent visasThe health requirement is defined in Australia's Migration Regulations.

It is set by the Department of Immigration (DIAC) on advice from the Department of Health and Ageing. It is designed to:ensure risks to public health in the Australian community are minimized ensure public expenditure on health and community services is contained, and protect access by Australians to health and other community services In line with Australia's global non-discriminatory immigration policy, the health requirement applies equally to all applicants from all countries, although the extent of testing will vary with their personal circumstances.

All family members (spouse and children and any other dependant) of an applicant for a permanent visa, even if they do not intend to migrate with the principal applicant, must be assessed against the health requirement. If a person within the family of the principal applicant, cannot meet the health requirement, the visa application must be refused under the Migration Regulations.

Health requirements for some temporary visas: People applying for visas to stay temporarily for short periods may also be required to undergo a medical, and/or X-rays, if their health is of special significance to their work or lifestyle, or if there is a very high risk of tuberculosis rating in the country where they have been staying. A chest-x-ray and physical medical examination may also be required if a temporary entrant intends going into any health-care environments (such as hospitals, nursing homes, pre-school centers) or where there are indications that the temporary entrant may not meet the health requirement. Blood tests may also be required in certain occupations or circumstances, such as hospitality or nursing.

If you apply for a temporary stay in Australia, you are required to declare your health status on your visa application form. In certain circumstances you may be asked to provide a doctor's report or undertake a medical (including HIV/HEP B/HEP C) tests and/or radiological examination. This may depend whether you are:

-likely to enter a hospital or other health care environment, including nursing homes as either a patient, visitor, trainee or employee

-likely to enter a classroom environment, including preschool, creche and child care situations known or suspected of having a medical condition, regardless of your length of stay

-intending to stay in Australia for more than 12 months, or

-intending to stay in Australia for more than 3 months if you have recently visited or lived in a country with a very high-risk rate of tuberculosis (TB)

What is the 'one fails, all fail' test? All family unit members will be assessed against the public interest criteria, and will usually also be assessed against the health criterion, which is known as the 'one fails, all fail' criteria. This means that if any member of the family unit fails to meet any of these criteria, no one in the family unit, including the primary applicant, can be granted the visa. A refusal of the visa on medical grounds can be reviewed in certain cases.

What is the 'balance of family test'? To be eligible to apply for a parent visa (whether the ordinary one or the contributory parent visa), an applicant must pass the 'balance of family' test. This means that:

-at least half of the parent's children must live in Australia; or

-more children must live in Australia than in any other single country

Can parents who fail the 'balance of family test' migrate to Australia under other categories? Parents who fail the balance of the family test may apply for the following visas:

- aged dependent relative visa;

- skilled Australian-sponsored or skilled designated area sponsored visas (if they are aged under 45 and pass the points test); or

- business skills visas; or

- investor retirement visa.

What is a 'nominated skilled occupation'? A nominated skilled occupation is a skilled occupation named by a visa applicant as their skilled occupation for their visa application. 

What is the 'pass mark'? The pass mark is the total number of points you need to score on the points test in order to be eligible for a points-tested General Skilled Migration visa. You must score sufficient points on the points test to reach the pass mark applicable to your visa subclass on the day you make your application. As the pass mark changes from time to time, you should check the current pass mark immediately before making your application.

What is a Resident Return Visa (RRV)? The purpose of a Resident Return Visa (RRV) is to facilitate the re-entry into Australia of non-citizen permanent residents. An RRV allows Australian permanent residents to travel from, and return to Australia as often as they wish within the validity of the visa, whilst maintaining their status as permanent residents.

Do I need a Resident Return Visa (RRV)? Everybody, except Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens travelling on their New Zealand passport, must have a visa to travel to Australia. If you are a permanent resident of Australia and intend to travel away from Australia, you should ensure that you have a visa, which is valid for re-entry, on your return to Australia. This visa can be your original permanent resident visa, or a Resident Return visa, as long as it authorizes travel to Australia on the date you return.What happens if the passport where the RRV has expired?

If the RRV was stamped in your expired passport, you should also carry it with you while you travel. Permanent Residents should obtain their RRVs before leaving Australia, to avoid travel delays and the need to obtain an RRV through an Australian diplomatic office overseas.

What is a bridging visa? A bridging visa is a temporary permit that DIAC gives you if you apply for a visa while you are in Australia, to keep you lawful in this country. Please note that a bridging visa is not a substantive visa,

If you have a current -or substantive- visa, you will not need a bridging visa. However, if your current visa ceases before a decision is made on your application you will get a bridging visa. Finally, a bridging visa will also keep you lawful if your visa is refused and you seek review of the decision.

What is the meaning of condition 8503? Condition 8503 means 'no further stay'. If you have this condition stamped on your visa, you will not be able to apply for any further visa while you are in Australia. The exception to this rule is: you can lodge an application for a Protection Visa.

Waivers of 8503: If you have a 'no further stay condition' stamped on your visa and you still require a further stay, you should send a written request for the waiver of the 8503 condition. This request needs to be lodged at a any office of DIAC in Australia. A waiver of 8503 condition is not automatic and specific requirements need to be met. The Minister for Immigration -or his delegate- decides whether a waiver is applicable or not.

I need to visit Australia for a specific purpose. What visa do I apply for? Visas for specific purposes are intended for genuine business visitors seeking short-term entry to Australia for a stay of up to 3 months to undertake business activities such as official visits, meetings, training, conferences, exploratory business visits or negotiations for a possible job. There are a range of Business (Short Stay) visas (including the Business Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)).

Electronic visas Australia's Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is an electronic form of visa or rather, a modern-day replacement for a visa label or a stamp in a passport. The ETA is issued by computer links between the Department of Immigration, travel agents, and airlines around the world. They are a single slip of paper given to you by your travel agent. It is essential that the electronic visa is carried inside the passport.

ETA enables visitors from passport-approved countries to obtain authority to enter Australia at the same time as they book their travel arrangements. Tourists and business travellers intending to visit Australia for three months or less, may apply for an ETA at the same time as they make other online travel bookings.

ETAs are faster and simpler to access and are available to passport holders from over 30 countries and locations.

Passport holders from countries with whom Australia does not have an ETA arrangement should apply for a Business (Short Stay) visa subclass 456 or a Sponsored Business (Short Stay) visa subclass 459. Business visas do not permit applicants to engage in work that might otherwise be carried out by an Australian citizen or permanent residents.

ETA Eligibility Passports: You can only apply for an ETA while you are outside of Australia. You also must hold an ETA-eligible passport.

Can I work if I have a Business (Short Stay) visa? A Business (Short Stay) subclass 456 visa does not give you 'work rights'. This visa allows you to conduct business affairs, to attend a conference, to negotiate future employment, but not to have a job in Australia.

I want to visit Australia and perform as an entertainer or actor or film commercially. What visa do I need? The appropriate visa is either the Entertainment visa (subclass 420) or the Media & Film visa (subclass 423).

What is visa condition 8107? Overseas employees who hold a temporary business (long stay) subclass 457 visa usually have condition 8107 applied to their visa. This means that they cannot cease to work for their original employer. This includes changing employer, moving to a substantially different position with the same employer, certain types of leave, and situations where the visa holder has become unemployed.

If the visa holder fails to comply with condition 8107, their visa may be cancelled. It is very important for overseas employees, and their employers, to understand what this condition means.

Failure to comply with the conditions of a previous visa may lead to the visa holder being refused another visa in future.

When an employee ceases to work for their designated employer: Employers must advise DIAC within five days of termination of employment of a 457 visa holder, and provide DIAC with the employee's forwarding address.

My work with my employer has finished earlier, but I want to stay, what can I do? The work condition 8107 on your visa does not allow you to change employer or occupation. If your employment with your original employer has finished earlier than the life of your visa, you should make arrangements to leave Australia without delay.If you wish to continue to work in Australia, and you have another employer prepared to sponsor you, you -and your prospective employer- should lodge a new application immediately. If no offer of employment is forthcoming or the prospective employer is not approved as a sponsor, your visa may be cancelled and you may be required to leave Australia immediately.

Please remember: you should not start work for a new employer until you have your new visa, or until the Department advises you that you may do so.

Can visitors work? Visitors are not entitled to work in Australia. Penalties apply to holders of a visitor visa who do not abide by the 8101 'no work' condition and include cancellation of your visa and removal from Australia. An employer needs to check a visa holder's work rights to ensure that they employ people who have the right to work in Australia. People who hold Australian permanent visas are entitled to work. People who hold an Australian temporary Resident visa may or may not have the right to work.

What happens if I work without permission? If you work without having work rights you commit an offence against the Migration Act 1958. People working illegally may have their visas cancelled and be subject to immediate removal from Australia. They can also be excluded from returning to Australia for a period of up to three years, or fined up to $10,000.

What are the rights of a working holiday visa holder? Working holiday makers are permitted to do any kind of work of a temporary or casual nature. As the main purpose of the visit is for holiday and travel, work for longer than six months with any one employer is not allowed.

How many hours may international students work while in Australia? As an overseas/international student in Australia, you should have enough money to support yourself and your family for the entire time that you are studying. As a student you have the right to work 20 hours a week during sessions unless that work is a registered component of the course. You can work full time during holidays.

Dependants of student visa holders. Can they work? may generally work up to 20 hours a week while in Australia. Remember: students must provide evidence that they have money available for living expenses prior to the grant of their visa. Living expenses amounts change periodically, so please check with the relevant embassy prior to sending your application.

Confidentiality We are committed to protecting your privacy. The information that you give us is confidential and, unless you instruct us to act and represent you and sign a letter of engagement, we will not lodge any document or make any representation with any department on your behalf.

The personal information that we disclose to relevant organisations about clients, is done with our clients' consent. No attempt will be made to disclose your personal information to any other parties unless permitted or required by law.

Information collected Unless you specifically provide us with your details, we will not collect and/or keep any personal information, including your name, unless it is part of your email address.

© 2010 - Silvia P Levame & Associates and PROmigration Consultants are Registered Australian Migration Agents MARN 9791360 and MMIA 506