My new life as an Australian citizen

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blog by Beatrice Rosales (16), daughter of Gisela Rosales, Accountant at AMVL Migrations.

Starting fresh can be a very big decision to make let alone starting fresh in another country. But it is one of the most rewarding decisions that I (or my parents) have made in my life.  Life before Australia was relatively breezy living in Papua New Guinea. However, something was missing – sure living in Papua New Guinea offered us a stable lifestyle but over the years I began to want more in my life. Growing up I knew that I have always wanted to travel and see the world. I wanted to experience a new atmosphere, venture out in a place that I have never been before. So, being cooped up in this small place wasn’t really helping. 

As a child I knew Australia wasn’t far from Papua New Guinea – I remember the Australian news playing on the old box TV situated in the living room. I had from a young age seen Australia from just what I saw on the television and from close relatives living there. Time after time I would ask myself, “how great would it be to visit Australia?” In 2008, I was given the opportunity, with my family, to travel to Australia for vacation. During our stay I began to absorb the luxurious lifestyle Australia had to offer. I felt like this is where I wanted my life to be, where my journey needed to continue. 

Moving to Australia was like trying new food – you had no clue what you are in for but you know that it’ll be great. Over the last 6 years, living in Australia had changed many aspects in my life from the way I talked to the places I went. I began to adjust in school and grew new friendships with a very multicultural group of people. Just recently I had become an Australian citizen and I saw this as a very important opportunity.  

As an Australian citizen I call Australia my home with pride and entitle myself with vast responsibilities. Living in such a multicultural and economically stable society as an Australian citizen I hold the responsibility in shaping the bright future I aspire for Australia to have. Being a student who has been thinking so deeply about my future I take whole heartedly the benefits of being an Australian citizen. A perk would be from having the opportunity in going to university without being financially unstable to voting in who best helps in shaping our country. Aside from those a major perk is the divine landmarks for everyone – from Uluru to Bondi Beach and everything in-between all these things make me feel proud to call myself an Australian Citizen.  

(L-R: Gisela, Pete, Jaime (front), Patricia & Beatrice)

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457 Sponsorship Obligations - Taking on more than just an Applicant

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Blog by Hamish Martin, Registered Migration Agent (MARN) 1462173 at AMVL Migrations.

When an employer enquires about a 457 visa inevitably the first question I am always asked is “What am I required to do as a sponsor?” – The simple answer is treat them like you would an Australian employee, however the question is a lot more complex than you might expect. 

First of all the business needs to sign up to become an approved sponsor, usually by applying for a Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS), which involves the business showing that they are actively and lawfully operating in Australia, have no adverse information against the business and be able to meet the training benchmark. While most businesses are able to show that they are lawfully operating and have no adverse information, many businesses fall down on meeting the training benchmark. 

The training benchmark is a great way for the government to ensure that Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents in the business are being looked after. The training benchmark requires a business to meet one of the following benchmarks:

Benchmark A: At least 2% of the total payroll of the business is allocated to an industry training fund operating in the same industry as the business.

Benchmark B: At least 1% of the total payroll of the business is allocated to the internal or external training of Australian citizens or Permanent Resident employees.

If the business can satisfy this requirement they can generally apply for an SBS.
During the application process, the business makes a number of commitments to the Department of Immigration that are activated once the SBS is approved. Over the life of their sponsorship they are required to abide by nine primary obligations including:
  1. Cooperate with inspectors – including Department of Immigration agents and Fair Work agents.
  2. Ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment – ensure that the terms and conditions of the contract are no less favourable than those offered to an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  3. Pay travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia – If the applicant requests in writing then the sponsor is obliged to pay for an economy flight back to the applicants’ country of origin.
  4. Pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth to locate and remove unlawful non-citizen – the sponsoring business may be required to pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth in locating and removing sponsored applicants who have become unlawful. .
  5. Keep accurate records – Records must be kept showing your compliance with your sponsorship obligations .
  6. Provide information to Immigration when certain events occur – including when employment ceases, a change of work duties, change of sponsor contact details or complying with other sponsorship obligations.
  7. Ensure primary sponsored person works or participates in nominated occupation – The applicant must work in the nominated occupation. If you require the applicant to work in a different occupation then a new nomination must be done.
  8. Not to recover, transfer or take actions that result in another person paying for certain costs – The sponsoring business cannot seek to recover costs that relate to the recruitment or sponsorship of the primary sponsored person.
  9. Provide training to Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents – The sponsoring business must maintain either training benchmark ‘A’ or ‘B’ for every year that they sponsor an applicant under their SBS.
While most of the obligations are just good work practice, businesses should be aware of the commitments they are making signing up to be a sponsor. Recently we have become aware of several cases where sponsors have not met their obligations and have been subsequently fined and/or prosecuted, so it is therefore extremely important that you keep good records of your compliance with all your sponsorship obligations, because as we all know ignorance of the law is no excuse.

If you would like to discuss either becoming a Standard Business Sponsor or ensuring compliance with one of the above mentioned obligations, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or one of our other friendly Registered Migration Agents by emailing or call +61 7 3212 2200. 

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Living in Australia

Friday, August 15, 2014
Blog by Christel Dajcz, Registered Migration Agent (MARN) 1066568 at AMVL Migrations

Whether you’re thinking about applying to migrate to Australia or you have already started the process, the number one rule when moving your life overseas is; Research, research, research!

We recommend looking into 8 key areas before making the move.

1. Have you decided where in Australia to settle?
Will you live in or around major city, or will you live in a more regional area? Is there affordable rental accommodation readily available or are you looking to purchase a property? Remember, if you have been nominated by a State or Territory you will be expected to reside there for the first few years of your visa.

2. What is your annual cost of living? 
This can vary greatly between the states and capital cities and some cost more than others. Review your current living costs and compare these against your chosen place of residence in Australia. You may even want to plan a relocation budget well in advance of your move.

3. Are there employment opportunities are available? 
Competition for jobs can be strong in large metropolitan areas while there may be plenty of readily available jobs in more remote or regional areas. Certain industries can also be related to different areas of Australia, for example; mining and engineering in Western Australia and northern Queensland, the Arts in Victoria, or finance in New South Wales. 

4. What access is there to schools and colleges? 
Moving to a remote regional area may mean that your access to ongoing education is through distance and on-line learning, or that there is travel required to attend courses and seminars.

5. Do you need access to specialist health advisors and services? 
If so, you will need to consider the location of these service providers, as well as what services are covered by Medicare. It is also a good idea to look into private health insurance, particularly for any new migrants 30 years of age and over.

6. Will you be affected by Australia’s tax system? 
It is a good idea to review your assets and finances to check how you may be taxed, particularly if you have any foreign pensions, overseas properties you intend to maintain, or annuities. Once you have arrived, you will need to apply for a Tax File Number in order to start working, and enrol in a Superannuation fund.

7. How will you transfer your money to Australia? 
A number of Australian financial institutions have overseas branches you can visit for advice, or specialised Migrant banking teams here who can help you to set up an Australian bank account and transfer your funds quickly and securely.

8. Who is going to move your possessions? 
Will you organise shipping and freight or will you contract an international moving agency to handle this for you? There are customs requirements to consider as well as you may need to prove you have owned and/or used an item for a particular length of time. It is good to have an idea of the transport times to ensure you are not caught out while your goods are on their way to Australia. If you have pets, you will need to look up the quarantine requirements for bringing them with you, and check if your pet is allowed into Australia or the State or Territory you wish to settle in. 

We hope your move to Australia is an exciting (and organised) adventure! You can find more information on life in Australia here.

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