Senator Cash addresses MIA WA State Conference

Global Enterprises Group had the pleasure of attending the MIA WA State Conference earlier this month. Speakers at the conference included the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Senator Michaelia Cash, Manager Business Migration Centre and Small Business Services Bruno Delfante, OMARA CEO Stephen Ingram, author (in part) of the PIC 4020 public interest criterion Lee Storey and a number of DIBP officials, including:

The day covered a number of news items, such as:

GSM Caseload

Colin Drysdale from the DIBP informed us that the GSM processing team (together with some business innovation case officers) currently account for around 100 visa processing officers. Since the minister (at the time Chris Bowen) announced ‘priority processing’ in 2012, the legacy caseload has been  have reduced significantly. This is great news for many applicants who were waiting in the queue, however those who have been placed in ‘priority group 5’ are still going to be waiting for an unknown period of time. Colin advised us that internal priority is that ‘everything is to be done before priority group 5’. Colin advised us that since the introduction of SkillSelect, over 90.5% of applicants are granted, with over 90% of these having a decision within 3 months. The largest group of occupational applicants are cooks, with 6,128 visas granted to cooks, comp 5,900 the year before (13/14 comp 12/13). Other major occupations availing the system included accountants, registered nurses, software engineers.

Business Innovation and Investment Programme

To date, over $1.7bn has come into the Australian economy through the significant investor visa (SIV) pathway. Over 93% of this caseload is processed in the offshore post of Hong Kong, herein signifying the sheer volume of applications coming from China. In total, there have been over 3,400 SIV applications lodged. According to the department, it is felt that there are issues with people trying to do their own applications, and they believe this is a key area that migration agents / consultants are in need. Bruno Delfante from the Business Migration Centre and Small Business Services (WA State Government) added that only half of the business investment programme was filled in the last migration year, dominated by Victoria, then NSW and WA. He went to add that we currently have two reviews underway with the minister, of which we still have no word. Bruno was of the opinion that there are two main reasons why such a hit to the programme was experience; the increase in the required investment, and that the ability to ‘swap’ between the primary and secondary applicant was changed. The primary effect of these changes were felt at the ‘lower end’ (i.e. 163, 132 etc – not the SIV). The joint standing committee have recommended that these decisions be reversed, to ‘get the best’ out of the programme again. Another key issue Mr Delfante addressed was the lack of packaged and ready opportunities as a target investment. He gave the key point that for other nations running such programmes, the government of the country often assists in this area. This is not so of Australia, and it is reliant on the private sector to present such opportunities. There have also been a change to State Nomination requirements in WA such as:

  1. subclass 405 changes in bonds / relocation allowances
  2. subclass 188 has seen the introduction of a ‘long term benefit to WA’ change. Mr Delfante’s department will now consider the ‘long term effect’ on the WA economy rather than purely considering where the $5m goes
  3. subclass 132 has seen some changes around home ownership. The previous requirements were that you used to have to have $1.5m in the business and provide 3 jobs to local Australian citizens or permanent residents(in a nutshell). Now, you may have $1.5m in the business, a residence and 2 jobs for local Australian citizens or permanent residents.

4020 Background There was a lot of great information given regarding the intention of the introduction of the PIC 4020 that is now giving so many visa applicants a hard time. Given the complexity of the PIC 4020, we encourage you to contact us about this issue. The conference covered other issues such as Australian Partner Visas, future directions in case officer visa processing and more. We encourage you to contact a Global Enterprises Group team member to discuss any questions you have related to the information in this post.

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