Friday, 17 November 2017

The "Yes" Vote

Newsletter  - November 2017


The "Yes" Vote on Same Sex marriage

A change of the Marriage Act will allow for full equality in Migration Law, and this will be a positive outcome for many migrants in same-sex relationships.

Australians have voted Yes to same-sex marriage after 61.6 per cent of almost 13 million respondents backed the proposal.

Whilst the plebiscite does not legally bind the government to make actual changes to the current legislation, the result from the survey will indicate to the government the path that most Australians want to follow.

Australian Immigration will be affected by the ‘yes’ vote, and a change in the law.

Migrants in same-sex relationships with Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents will have easier access to the Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa. As same-sex marriage has not legally been recognized here, this has not been an option as couples must be able to enter a legally-recognized marriage. 

Same-sex couples have had access the Subclass 309/100 and 820/801 Partner visas based on a De Facto relationship only. 

Same sex couples are required to demonstrate that they have lived together as a defacto couple for a period of at least 12 months immediately prior to the application, or alternatively to register their relationship as a Civil Union or Partnership. 

Each State and Territory of Australia has their own requirements to register a relationship.

New South Wales (NSW), The Australian Capital Territory (The ACT), Queensland (QLD), Tasmania and Victoria recognize a Registered Relationship. 
Relationship Registration is not available in South Australia and Northern Territory, but in the case of Western Australia you can register your defacto relationship provided you are a WA resident.

The lack of legal recognition of their relationship can be a significant disadvantage for same-sex couples, especially when they are unable to live together for whatever reason, most significantly the fact that they may not have a visa that will allow them to live in Australia with their partner.

Another impact will be for those who have married overseas, in that they can have their union recognized under Australian law, and be treated the same as married opposite-sex couples.

The recognition and acceptance of same sex marriage will allow a migrant to add or include their same-sex spouse, where the couple have been legally married overseas, in their visa application. 

A change of the Marriage Act will allow for full equality in Migration Law, and this will be a positive outcome for many migrants in same-sex relationships.

Please contact us by email at:  if you would like more information or assistance.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Same Sex partnerships and Australian Visas

Newsletter  - September 2017


Same Sex partnerships and Australian Visas

While Australia’s migration law does not currently recognize a same-sex marriage solemnized overseas, it is taken to be a defacto relationship which hence gives these couples the same entitlements as heterosexual married or defacto couples.

In 2009 changes to Commonwealth law removed discrimination against same-sex couples and their children. As part of these changes, new definitions of ‘spouse’ and ‘de facto’ partner were introduced into the Migration Act 1958 (the Migration Act) such that same-sex couples were given the same entitlements as heterosexual couples. This paved the way for all visa applicants to include their same-sex partners and allowed those partner...s the same work rights as ‘spouses’.

All couples -- married or defacto -- are required to demonstrate their relationship is genuine and continuing, that they have a mutual commitment to a shared life and that they live together on a permanent basis.

Permanent visas and some temporary visas generally require defacto couples to demonstrate their relationship has existed for at least 12 months before they lodge their visa application.

There is an exemption to this requirement for de acto couples who have registered their relationship under an Australian state or territory scheme, regardless of their sexual orientation.

It is true that a same-sex marriage that is legally solemnized overseas is not recognized for migration purposes. This is because the Migration Act mirrors the Marriage Act 1961 (the Marriage Act) which means that only marriages valid under the Marriage Act can be recognized when assessing visa applications. While their same-sex marriage is not recognized, couples can still be recognized and assessed under the defacto provisions. The fact that a marriage occurred overseas can be taken into account in this assessment.

While Australia’s migration law does not currently recognize a same-sex marriage solemnized overseas, it is taken to be a defacto relationship which hence gives these couples the same entitlements as heterosexual married or defacto couples.

Please contact us by email at: if you would like more information or assistance.

For more information please feel free to contact us via   

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Citizenship Residency Requirement - Newsletter

Newsletter  - November 2017

Citizenship Residency Requirement

On 20 April 2017 the Australian Government announced that it would be strengthening the requirements to become an Australian citizen.

This included increasing the general residence requirement, which means an applicant for Australian citizenship will need to demonstrate a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship. 

This was defeated in the Senate, and will not be in effect now, unless changes are made; however, it has also caused some uncertainty as to the direction the citizenship application will take in the future.

The current requirements for citizenship requires you to meet all the following:
  1. have lived in Australia on a valid Australian visa (this can be a temporary or permanent visa) for four years immediately before applying, and
  2. must have been a permanent resident for the 12 months immediately before making an application, and not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total, during the four year period, including no more than 90 days in the 12 months before applying.
Contact us if you require assistance with your citizenship application.

For more information please feel free to contact us via   

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Same Sex Partners - Newsletter

Newsletter Number 6 - September 2016

Australia Partner Visa

The Australia Partner visa is for applicants who are married or in defacto relationships with Australian citizens, permanent residents or qualifying New Zealand citizens.

What subclass is the Australia Partner visa? 
The Australia Partner visa is divided into two categories:
  • Partner Temporary visa – this is a temporary visa.
  • Partner Permanent visa – this is a permanent visa.
To apply for the Partner Visa on the basis of marriage, you must be legally married to your Australian partner and sponsor. To apply from outside Australia, you must be legally married to your partner at the time of application or intend to legally marry your partner before a decision is made on the temporary Partner Visa.

De facto partners must show they have been in a de facto relationship for 12 months immediately prior to lodging their application. They must also show in their application proof their relationship is genuine and continuing, and that they live together and do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.

  • You will be required to provide proof of your legal marriage, or defacto relationship and evidence of a mutual commitment to a shared life; and
  • Meet the health and character requirements designated by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

What does the Partner visa allow me to do?

Temporary Partner visa

  • You are entitled to work in Australia and to study in Australia (you will not have access to government funding).
  • You may enroll in Australia’s medical benefits expenses and hospital care scheme, Medicare.
  • You are allowed to enter and stay in Australia until a decision is made on your permanent partner visa application.

Permanent Partner visa

  • Permission to enter or remain permanently in Australia with your partner and you may be eligible for Australian citizenship.
  • Entitled to work and study in Australia.
  • Able to enroll in Australia’s medical benefits expenses and hospital care scheme, Medicare, and may be eligible to receive certain social security payments.
Both of the above allow you to enter and work in Australia but the permanent visa allows you to also to remain in Australia, qualify for certain social security benefits and possibly receive Australian citizenship.

The temporary visa only entitles you stay in Australia until a decision is made about you permanent residency.

In addition:
If you lodge your temporary application outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the temporary visa is granted. If you lodge your temporary application in Australia, you must be in Australia when the temporary visa is granted.
In most cases, permanent residence cannot be granted less than 2 years from when you lodge your application. However, you may be granted a permanent visa without having to fulfill the usual 2 year waiting period if at the time you apply you meet certain criteria.
The waiting period (of 2 years) for permanent residence can be revoked if at the time you have applied:
  • You have been together (in a relationship) with your partner for 5 years or more (as a de facto partner or married ); or
  • You and your partner have been in married or in a defacto relationship for 2 years and have children.

Partner visa costs 

DIBP First Instalment Visa Charge                   A$ 6865.00
DIBP Second Instalment Visa Charge - Depends additional applicants 
Translations/Interpreters                                   A$ 55 per page if required.
Biometric Collection**                                             A$ 120.00*
Australian Federal Police check                       A$ 50.00*
Overseas Police check                                         A$ Not Known
Health examination                                              A$ 320.00*
*estimate only

Keystone Visa and Migration Services costs: A$ 3850.00
For more information please feel free to contact us at:   

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Applying for a Visa via Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

Applying For Visa via Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

Australia welcomes skilled professionals from all over the world to come and work in the country, and is the dream destination of thousands of people. The Skilled Independent Visa allows people to migrate to Australia to get employment.
In this newsletter, we are going to discuss what you need to do to migrate to Australia through the Skilled Independent Visa route (subclass 189).
The Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189)
This is a point based work visa recommended for people who are skilled professionals but have not been sponsored by their employers, the state or a member of their family living in Australia. Once you are granted this visa, you will be able enjoy the benefits of permanent residency in Australia, live and work anywhere in the country and include family members in your application. This permanent visa gives the applicant complete work rights.
What you need to do to apply for the Skilled Independent Visa
To apply for the skilled independent visa, you need to check if your occupation is listed in the skilled occupation list. If it is, then you need to do the following to be invited to submit an application:
  • Have your qualifications assessed by Skill Select
  • Submit an expression of interest through Skill Select
  • You need a minimum of 60 points in the points test. You will be awarded points on the basis of your age, skills and qualifications, work experience, language skills, and partner skills.
  • Give basic English language tests and score enough to meet the requirements
    Moreover, the age of the applicant should be between 18 and 50 years to be eligible to apply for the visa and you can apply for it regardless of whether you are in Australia or abroad.  Once you receive your invitation, you will have to submit your application online within 60 days. The details of what you need to include in your application and the process you need to follow will be explained in your invitation letter.
    The Benefits
    One of the main features of this permanent work visa is that you get to include eligible family members in your visa application. This is because the Australian government understands that living with family increases the contentment and therefore, the productivity of skilled workers.
    The following family members can be included in your visa application:
  • Your partner
  • You or your partner’s children
  • You or your partner’s dependent parents or relatives
    Apart from living and working in Australia for an indefinite time period, the skilled independent visa gives you the following perks:
  • Enroll on Medicare
  • Study in Australia’s schools, colleges and universities
  • Social Security
  • Sponsor family members for permanent residency
    After you have fulfilled your residency criteria, permanent residents are also able to apply for Australian citizenship so they can enjoy all the rights granted by the country to its citizens.

    For more information please feel free to contact us.

    Reprinted from a Post by Migration Alliance on Thursday, 03 March 2016

Friday, 12 February 2016

IELTS English testing

We all know that the IELTS is not the easiest English test out there. It is used by governments and academic institutions to prove your English proficiency so you can be sure that the standards are high. Many people repeatedly fail at IELTS exams because they usually underestimate the test and many times overestimate their knowledge.

Use the following five signs for yourself to know if there is a need to take a preparation course before taking the IELTS test.

Sign # 1

Context: During the listening module, you’ll have to provide answers to 40 questions throughout four recordings. The recordings will be played only once, and you’ll be required to answer those questions on-the-fly. Typical questions include sentence completion, summary completion, form completion and multiple choice.

Sign: If you feel that you lack the necessary speed, accuracy and focus when multitasking in English, you need an IELTS preparation course.

It is not surprising to get lost during a conversation, but you need to recover fast or you will miss all the questions of that task afterwards. This would be a disaster.

In the course, you will be taught how to follow a conversation even if you miss something and how you can recover to continue answering the next questions.

Sign # 2

Context: The reading module consists of 40 questions (both academic and general training) spread across three sections. The purpose of this module is to test a wide range of reading skills such as reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.

Test takers have to provide short answers, match information, complete sentences, match headings or complete diagram labels.

Sign: If you are not familiar with these types of questions, or if you are trying to read these texts as you normally read a book, an IELTS course will definitely help you get a higher score in this band.

Additionally, in the course you will practice a lot the different types of questions and you will get used to them. This will save you a lot of time.

Sign # 3

Context: The writing module is perhaps the one that most people struggle with.

It has two tasks: in the first (academic training), you will be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process and how something works or describe an object or event. You need to do this in 150 words.

In the second task, you will be asked to write an essay (250 words) in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Both tasks in the academic training must be written in a formal style.

Sign: If you don’t know what a formal style is like, or if you feel like you know the answer but struggle to find appropriate and assertive English terms, you will benefit from taking an IELTS preparation course.

Truth must be told. Writing Task 2 is not easy at all. First, because the topic given can be hard to develop if you are not familiar with it. You might have an idea but remember, you need to develop it in 250 words and you only have 40 minutes. Second, because the essay must have a proper structure, you cannot write everything that comes to mind.

In an IELTS course, you will learn and practice the different types of essays that commonly come up on IELTS: Agree or Disagree, Discuss two Opposing Opinions, Advantages and Disadvantages, Problems and Solutions, Causes and Solutions, Causes and Effects.

Sign # 4

Context: The fourth and final module is there to assess your speaking skills. This test is less than 15 minutes long and is split into three parts. The first five minutes are reserved for introduction and general topics between the test taker and the examiner. The second part assesses the test taker’s ability to speak about a random topic given on a task card. The last part merely adds complexity to the second. At this stage, the examiner will also pay attention to pronunciation, lexical resource and fluency.

Sign: If you lack fluency or coherence in direct communication, you need some practice. This module is all about repetition. Repetition, repetition, repetition!

How the course can help: In an IELTS course, your pronunciation will be improved with assistance.

You will practice under the exam conditions and will get used to the pressure you will have during the test. You will learn how to write down the notes that will help you to talk for two minutes during the second part of the test.

You will practice answering questions when you don’t really know the answer. Remember that your knowledge is not assessed but your English language proficiency.

Sign # 5

Context:  The IELTS test has a time limit and you will only have the time given for each module. After that time, you need to leave your pencil on the table and you will not be able to continue. The IELTS examiners will proceed to collect the sheets before giving out the ones for the next module.

Sign: If you cannot finish each module due to the time limitation, or if you cannot concentrate accordingly due to the timing pressure, you need an IELTS course.

How courses can help: In an IELTS course, you will learn how to approach each section of the test to avoid problems with the time limit. If you are having problems with it, perhaps you are spending too much time in the reading section that can be reduced considerable by employing certain strategies. Perhaps, you are spending too much time thinking about what to write in task 2; but if you spend some time planning, you can reduce it.

Your IELTS teacher will help you identify all these problems and teach you how to overcome them.

Most common mistakes on IELTS exams include:

● Answering in more words than instructed
● Writing shorter essays than required
● Writing longer essays to score higher
● Spelling
● Not studying the questions
● Leaving blanks
● Overuse of transitions

If you struggle to refrain from these mistakes, you definitely need an expert by your side.

Technically, you can’t fail at IELTS because the results are reported on a 9-band scale (1 being the lowest, 9 being the highest).

However, this is not entirely true because you did fail, for example, if the University you wish to attend requires an IELTS band 7 and you scored 6.5.

For further information on IELTS Training courses go to:

Working while studying in Australia.

Working while studying in Australia

Did you know:
  • it is illegal for an employer to treat you any differently to other workers based on your gender, religion, culture or nationality?
  • you may be entitled to higher pay for working at night, on the weekend or during a public holiday?
  • your employer cannot dismiss you if you are away from work temporarily due to illness?
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman provides a free service to all people working in Australia. They have a range of information available on their website to help you understand your rights at work.

The Skilled Occupation List

What is the SOL and what does it do?
The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is a list of skilled occupations that deliver high value skills needed by the Australian economy. The SOL only applies to independent, that is non-employer sponsored or State/Territory government nominated skilled migration. It aims to meet medium- to long-term skills needs of high value occupations, rather than immediate short term shortages. This means your occupation must be on the SOL if you are applying for:
• points based skilled migration independently (not nominated by a State or Territory government);
• Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate visa in the graduate work stream); or
• family sponsored stream of the Subclass 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa.
Are there options available if my Nominated Occupation isn’t on the SOL?
If you don’t have an occupation on the SOL, you may be eligible for State and Territory nomination or employer sponsorship. Employers, as well as States and Territory governments, have access to a wider range of occupations on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). We’ll have a look at the CSOL in our future blogs.

International Students need to be aware of their rights.
Check if your skills are needed in Australia