Australian Immigration – General Skills Migration Program

source: Flickr author: jεƒ saƒı

If you possess the work skills Australia requires to fill vacancies in their labor force then the GSM Program is for you.

If you wish to live, work and play in Australia but are not sponsored by an employer then GSM is the way to go. GSM stands for General Skilled Migration. It is an excellent program and a very successful one.

If your skills match those on Australia’s Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and you have a good command of English, then you have more chance of success.

Prerequisites for Australia’s GSM Program:

There are various prerequisites for applying the program. They are:

  • Age: you must be over 18 years of age and below 45 years of age.
  • Language: you must be able to speak English well. This is the main prerequisite for anyone applying for this program.
  • Skill-set: you must possess skills in the areas of shortage with qualifications and recent experience in the field in which you are applying.

The qualifications and experience needed for an occupation can be cross checked in the Australia’s Skilled Occupation List – SOL for short.

Recent Changes

Significant changes were made to the GSM program in September 2007. These include:

  • a greater proficiency in English will be required, with 25 points going to those who score well in the testing system
  • a greater emphasis is now put on skills experience, with bonus points only being awarded if you have 12 months experience in your nominated occupation
  • there will be a new temporary work visa for graduates to enable them to increase their work experience
  • the GSM visa structure was simplified, instead of 15 subclasses there are now only 9: 5 for Onshore applications and 4 for Offshore applications. This should make it easier to identify which visa subclass will work best for you

GSM Categories:

There are two basic categories for those applying through the GSM program: Onshore for those already on Australian territory with current visas, and Offshore for those applying from abroad.

There are four sub-catgories in each: sponsored, independent, Regional sponsored (provisional) and graduate, with the Onshore having the additional category of a permanent Regional sponsored visa.

Applicants can be sponsored by an Australian relation or an Australian state or territory government. Independent applications are from those with the right skills and experience required. A graduate visa is for those from recognised foreign universities whose skills are required by Australia. In each case there are certain requirements that must be met and you should check each carefully.

The evaluation of applications for Australia’s General Skilled Migration Program is generally done using a points based system. To qualify, you must score the appropriate level of points set by the system. If you score a little less than required, your application may, in some cases, be placed in a reserve pool and may be considered at some future point.


Housing In Australia

Are you moving to Australia? Have you thought about or made arrangements for accommodation there? Here are a few tips for you to finalize that.

 

When you land in Australia you will be astonished to see the wide range of housing there. The designs are based on American or European style. You will find terrace houses and “Queenslanders” which are based on the weather and lifestyle of the regions. Most of the houses will have large backyards, swimming pools, parks and shopping centers which provide a comfortable living for the people.

You will find on analysis that houses in country towns and regional cities are cheaper and more easily available than those in popular capital cities. Mostly people live in the suburbs of the state capital which are closer to the place of their work, and schools.

Renting a House

Usually when you want to rent a house, you will enter into lease or ‘residential tenancy agreement’. This is usually for a period of 6-12 months. It is always advised that you first understand the terms and conditions of this agreement since you will be bound by the terms once signed. You will be paying a rental advance of 4-6 weeks. You are expected to keep the accommodation clean and without any damage to the structure. Sometimes the Government also helps by offering Rent Assistance which helps you to rent a house in the private rental market.

Buying a House

If you are interested in buying a house, realtors will come to your help and if you are buying a home for the first time, you may get Commonwealth First Home Buyers grant. You may also borrow money from a bank or other financial institution. You will require a solicitor for checking the legal documents and other paperwork. It is a dream for Australians to buy a house for their own. Buying a house costs a lot and so they obtain a loan for the purpose. You can even buy land and get a house built according to your plans.

If you are not a permanent resident of Australia then you should get permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Public Housing

If you are a recipient of Centrelink payment, you will be eligible to apply for public housing. Various factors will be taken into consideration on allocating a house depending on where you are looking. These may include things like the size of your household as well as any other necessary requirements.

Government owned housing units are made available to low-income individuals at a nominal rent or no cost. You will find single houses, or flats in a high-rise block. A group of friends can make an application for public housing.

If you require a house urgently then you can apply with proof of the urgency and you will be allotted a house before others in the line. Recurring homelessness is given top priority here. You could be allotted a house anywhere within your chosen areas. If any medical problem is to be treated only at a specific hospital or doctor, you can apply for a house nearby. Waiting times depend on areas. The rent is decided by the authorities. You may have to get permission from the authorities to keep pets.

Australians usually want to own their own land or house. You will find advertisements in local dailies about availability of property for sale and rent. Because of the huge migration, there is a housing shortage in Australia and this makes rents high and availability difficult. Housing is usually more available for people who choose to work and live in towns than cities.

According to a state press release, a “Labor government would spend an extra $400 million to build 11,350 new homes over four years to ease Australia’s public housing shortage, Federal Opposition leader Mark Latham said today“. The Government is making every effort to meet the three main areas of housing in Australia, i.e., land supply and demand, infrastructure, and land taxes. Once these are met, then the demand for houses in Australia should come down. At the moment, if you are flexible about where you live, you should have no problem about getting a good house.


Transportation In Australia

 

Source: Flckr Author: MC MartinWhen you reach Australia, the first thing you will want to look for is transportation. There are all the usual options: train, air and bus services to get you around. The most economical ways are likely to be the train or bus services. If you are from Europe or America you may not find them very convenient but still they are good and economical.

Train

You will find train services like the Airport Link, which plies between Sydney Airport and the city centre in 13 minutes, is the most economical way to reach Sydney’s suburban stations. Metro Light Rail and Mono Rail provides city travel in Sydney.

The CountryLink network reaches 334 destinations in New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. QR (Queensland Rail) offers safe and economical transport services within Queensland and interstate. The Ghan offers travel from Sydney to Melbourne. The Overland makes your travel from Melbourne to Adelaide enjoyable while V/Line offers transportation throughout Victoria, and Western Australian Government Railways around Western Australia.

Indian Pacific offers the longest cross-country train journeys from Sydney to Perth.

One visitor to Australia says, “As a frequent traveler to Sydney, as well as other parts of the world, I would give the trains an above average score for entertainment value, but a bit below average for convenience, timeliness, and cleanliness…”

Bus

You will find services such as the Brisbane-based Brisbane Buslines has scheduled services within Queensland; Eastline Buses which operate in Melbourne; Firefly Express which offers luxury interstate express coaches, and many more services that ply in and around various states in Australia. Most of them have flexi travel options. Many buses leave every 10-15 minutes to the major destinations, so if you plan your travel, you could well save a few dollars using these buses. (Why not!!)

Ferry

There are ferry services to Tasmania.

And a ‘must-do’ when visiting Sydney is the ferry to Manly. Surprisingly many locals have missed this delight.

Air

The Australian airline, Qantas, flies to all major Australian cities. You can enjoy a wide range of discounts like random discounting and internet fares. Virgin Blue is another airline that flies all over the country at very competitive fares. As there is not much long-distance transportation, you may prefer to take the airlines to reach farther destinations.

Concession Travel

Students up to 16 years of age can often travel free on buses, however do check to confirm this in the areas you will be.

Concession cards are available for students in many areas – again, check if this applies to where you will be. If they are not, then the most economical way to buy tickets is usually a weekly or monthly ticket rather than by journey.

Other ways to travel

Taxis in Australia are probably not in a student’s budget as they are very expensive!!

The elderly and unemployed often get half fare cards to assist them in getting around.

Cars are the most commonly found mode of transportation in Australia. Remember to drive on the left side of the road and watch out closely for speed restrictions as fines are heavy and better avoided! Other rules like wearing a seatbelt are stictly enforced. And you must have a license to drive!

As you can see there are multiple options for transportation in Australia. Opting for public transportation may be the best option open to you. Find what suits your purse and make the most of the opportunities.


Major Staffing From UK In Australia

United Kingdom plays a major role in filling many job roles in Australia.

Big Ben - by Hari Menon

If you are a person with engineering skills, or skilled trades residing in United Kingdom and on the look out for a job in Australia, you are sure to land up with the best jobs available. This is because there are many vacant positions for these roles in Australia. Immigrants from the United Kingdom secure the majority of these positions. Other nationalities successful in securing jobs are Chinese and South Africans – in second and third positions respectively.

Australia is a major source of jobs for many countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and India in addition to United Kingdom, China and South Africa. There are many reasons which contribute to people in United Kingdom moving to Australia for employment.

One major reason everyone knows is that the cost of living in the United Kingdom, especially in London, has drastically increased. This has made people look for places to live with more affordable cost of living, and a good work environment. Australia stands first in line!

The other main reason that you can notice for people of United Kingdom occupying a major chunk of staffing positions in Australia is the lag in education and training in Australia. This results in Australian employers facing skill shortages and hence the need for importing labor.

Since people from United Kingdom are skilled and often interested in migrating to Australia, a high proportion of Australia’s skills shortfall is made up by United Kingdom immigrants.

TV series like ‘Neighbors’, and advertisements shown on Australian television, play a major role in creating interest among the British to migrate to Australia. This is easily confirmed by talking to directors of specialist overseas recruitment firms.

Last but not the least, another influence which plays a major factor is that we all prefer to move to a place where and friends and relatives have already migrated.

If you are a graduate from United Kingdom and working for an international company, you are permitted to work in the Australian branch for a period of time. Australia features a nourishing and competitive western-style, capitalist economy. This competes on a global level and attracts people from countries like United Kingdom for Australian jobs. The Australian government always extends a welcoming hand to people having outstanding skills and attributes from any country to fill its shortage of skilled workers.

If you submit all the relevant documents and details properly filed for visa processing, the visa processing system in Australia is fast and efficient.

There is also eVisitor service launched by the Australian Visa department which will further enhance the convenience and speed of online applications. This helps people migrate more quickly to Australia without any hindrance and take up their job faster. All these factors play an important role in United Kingdom’s contribution towards providing staffing solutions in the Australian job market.


Sydney Scored Highest For Best Quality Living In World

Sydney Opera House - by Vermin Inc.

In a recently conducted analysis on the best living city in world, Sydney marked the highest score. I read this in a recently published newspaper which stated that the above analysis was done by the Worldwide Quality of Living Index.

A range of factors for best Quality of Living were taken into account to arrive at the final result:

  • economic performance
  • environmental factors
  • education facilities available in the city
  • ease of access and class of transport
  • other public services
  • political and social conditions
  • medical and health facilities provided in the city

In fact, Sydney exceeded the score established as the international standard of quality of living, which made it rank as the best city to live in, in the world! Now, who wouldn’t want to live in Sidney after this?!

You’ll find world class housing facilities in Sydney – anyone residing in Sydney cannot deny this fact. Sydney scored highest for housing, and with climatic and weather conditions also superb pushed it to even greater hights. Other two important attributes – namely socio-cultural environment and economic environment – are also good and so the scoring in this was near perfect.

Sydney occupied the second place the previous year but could top the first place for best living in the world in 2008 with people and Australian government contributing for improvement in the city.

The result of analysis was achieved only after collecting data consistently for a period of three months covering the above mentioned factors for best living with final monitoring also made on the same.

The availability of goods and services without any difficulties marks the good position of consumer industry and the reduced personal risk with an efficient infrastructure also makes Sydney reach the highest score for world’s best living city.

You can realize that any city in Australia would generally have the best standards of living in the world as Australians prefer to enjoy the same! In fact, the analysis recorded four other Australian capitals in the top thirty five positions of best cities for living in world. Among this the top ranking was occupied by Sydney. This paves the way for many multi-national companies and job seekers to make their way to Australia to enjoy the same. Australia also benefits by attracting workers and companies by filling skilled workers in shortage job positions.

You are sure to enjoy the natural beauty at Sydney as it is abundant there with its perpetual blue sky, well maintained harbor with yachting, surfing, sail boarding, swimming and water-skiing available, stunning beaches, fantastic wildlife and much more.

Sydney is a friendly city offering visitors a variety of attractions and activities. There are many nature rich national parks with many natural bush lands, making Sydney full of greenery for a healthy living.

Australian government also contributes a lot in terms of investment in infrastructure, high-quality housing, low crime, strong media for making Sydney the best city for living in the world.

One more beneficial and attractive point which would make your living at Sydney comfortable is though Sydney is ranked as the best city in the world, the cost of living at Sydney is not much and is very affordable. So enjoy!


Australia – A Top Travel Destination?

Many people like me who live in Australia would surely rate New Zealand as the top ‘must-see’ destination. It is always true that many people would not want to go too far out of their cultural comfort zone.

Surf Australia - Michael Dawes

Like Australians preferring New Zealand as the top ‘must-see’ destination, many people living in New Zealand prefer Australia as their top ‘must-see’ destination. There are various reasons for this and the one that strikes my mind is that Australia is like New Zealand with the difference being only in bigger size, more diverse and with better weather.

However, in the whole Asia Pacific region Australia ranks top among travel destinations preferred by many people.

The above statement was confirmed by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). They survey reported that about 2.7 million people already visited Australia in 2007 and also this number is confidently forecast to increase in future.

The above statistics are based on door-to-door interviews conducted among various people of nine countries and territories. The survey asked people to list their top five ‘must-visit’ travel destinations in Asia Pacific region in order of priority and among this, a majority responded with Australia as their top ‘must-see’ destination.

There are various reasons for majority of people preferring Australia. Before residing in Australia, I had visited Australia about seven to eight times… What drew me back, time and again?

  • amazing scenery
  • fascinating Aboriginal history
  • an land of contrasts
  • remarkable variety in nature
  • dramatic night skies

There are various places in Australia – like Kimberley – which bear testimony to the above beauty and features. One more vital reason is these factors remain unaltered for years and are sure to be there for keeps!

Though I have lived in Australia for so many years there are yet a lot of great places for me to see. Australia is a diverse country which contains lots and lots of cities, towns, rock formations, beaches, forests, deserts and islands to be explored which cannot be finished in just one travel visit.

I liked Sydney in Australia which has a moderate climate with warm summers, mild winters and rainfall that is spread throughout the year. The climatic conditions in Australia also make people prefer it as a top destination.

There are many nature lovers like me for whom the best place would be Gold Coast in Queensland. This area is a perfect blend of man made and natural attractions which is an eye-catching treat for nature lovers and is sure to make them prefer it as their top ‘must-see’ destination – even the next time round!

During my travels to Australia, I stayed in Melbourne where I found cost of living is cheap and less crowded than other places.

My visit to Tiwi islands is surely an unforgettable cultural experience and anyone would definitely have this in the top of their travel list each time. All these above factors like amazing scenic beauty, excellent climatic conditions, options for cheaper cost of living, great cultural experience, and abandon natural beauty contribute towards majority of people preferring Australia as their top ‘must-see’ destination.

Being such a cornucopia of natural beauty and such a melting pot of cultures, its no wonder that Australia is fast emerging as the dream destination – not only to travel to, but also to live in!


Impact On HIA Due To Booming Immigration

I have been living in Australia for the past 7 years and I now find that the boom in immigration has a greater impact on some industries and sectors than on others. One such sector is represented by the Housing Industry Association, or HIA, for short.

Property bubble about to burst? - Gianni D.

1,000,000 New Homes!

Economic forecasters’ projections indicate that demand for new houses is sure to outstrip supply, largely due to increases in the number of immigrants. They estimate that more than one million new homes will be needed in the next five years to meet the demand due to current booming immigration.

Along with mushrooming immigration, additional factors which drive the growth in housing needs are:

  • rising population – needs more houses
  • rate of construction is below demand
  • current interest rates

I read the latest news from the Housing Industry Association is that although there is sudden increase in the immigration numbers, the housing numbers ishows no sign of catching up.

With current social trends, many people – especially immigrants – prefer to live alone or at least with fewer people sharing a house. Nowadays people don’t like to be crowded in the same house and I feel that this decline in the number of people per house could also be a reason driving the need for housing – to meet the demand of a flood of immigrants.

Other factors that contribute towards the shortage in supply of housing are:

  • release of land for housing is very limited
  • investment funds available for housing is declining

Though demand for housing continues to rise, the supply of new houses is falling behind. There are various factors contributing to this but the primary reason is high interest rates in the property market.

Due to the recent record interest rates, there has been a greater slow down in the building of new houses. I have a house because I built it 7 years ago. Now in this current financial climate, its getting more and more difficult to think of owing even a small house.

My friend recently brought land for about $200K, then found that the estimated cost of building the house had jumped to about 300K. Since he could not afford to pay the higher prices of both land and house, the result is that the land is now vacant, without housing, and he still has high rents for accommodation, as well as paying mortgage costs.

We live in a major city in Australia and find that house prices grow rapidly day by day. Same with house rents which are on the increase. I feel it is vital that major steps must be taken towards meeting the housing demands due to increasing immigration – aimed at cutting these high prices – and would prevent people from facing a homeless future.

This also would increase the need for skilled construction workers and engineers to construct homes for meeting the needs of immigrants.


All About Applications for Australian Student Visas

Student to go; by orangeacidAs with any other country, institution and courses, Australia too, requires that prospective student apply for the course at the institution of their choice and fill out the necessary applications. Each institution has its own qualifying requirements and their own rules and regulations regarding the course available and the application procedures.

There is help available for filling in enrolment applications as well as the required student visas. If you log on the internet, look for the AA Education Network. This will give you all the information required for applications and admissions. There are counselors online who will guide you through the entire process. The application is best begun about a year prior to when you wish to enroll. You may have appeared for other exams in the mean time and keeping this in mind, a large number of institutions grant provisional admission which includes exams results for English Language proficiency.

When you make out your application to any institution, ensure that you provide:

  • Education background up to date of application with supporting documents
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency, IELT score or other exam results as required by the institution in question
  • Financial documents that indicate you are able to pay for your education and stay

Once all your documents are in place forward to the AA education Network which will then start the processing. Confirmation of enrolment is issued once the application is accepted; a part of the tuition fees and health insurance is paid as required by the course you have selected.

Remember your Confirmation of Enrolment is the only evidence that will be accepted when you apply for your student visa.

Visas

Application for student visas require that…

  • You have been admitted in a registered CRICOS course
  • You meet medical requirements pertaining to overall health condition
  • Have your Overseas Student Health Cover in place
  • Budget for minimum AUD $ 12,000 per annum to cover all costs
  • Clear English Language Proficiency exams
  • Minors must have suitable accommodation arrangements
  • Clear character checks

On your student visa, you are eligible to apply for packaged programs. If you are a citizen of assessment level 1 & 2 countries, you are allowed to convert a business or tourist visa in to a student visa. But citizens from country levels 3 & 4 can do so only under special circumstances.

In case there is need for a change of address then a notification has to be made with DIMA or the Dept. of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs two days prior to actual shift for visa labels 8506 and the university need seven days prior notice for visa labels 8533.

In case of a change in program, if the new course selected is longer in duration than the old then a new student visa will be required. The change requires the approval of the School Head or nominee. Switching institutions within the first year of your selected program is dependent on the stipulations in your visa and transfers are generally approved by DIMA in special cases.

Extension of student visa is possible only if your current visa does not show “further stay” conditions. If you complete your course sooner than expected you are not allowed to stay longer even if your visa has the required time on it. If you plan to travel around the country once your course is over, check with the immigration department for conversion of student visa to tourist visa.

Local administration is always helpful so any problems you face regarding applications and student visas can be dealt with easily and effectively.


Why Study In Australia?

cramming - source:In today’s competitive education milieu, students look for courses and career options with a difference. They are willing to move out, live in a new country and work their way through college just to get that extra edge over others. Of all the options available in the world today, Australia is fast gaining in popularity. Australian education standards are high and the education system by itself is par excellence and ranks very high in the ratings.

Other than its standing in the world of education, a student graduating form any course from Australia gets instant recognition. World over students qualified form Australia are getting accepted sans problems whether it is for more studies or then for a job.

Studying in Australia is not as difficult as one would imagine it to be. The system is very flexible as in many cases, there is more than one institution which conducts the course you are looking for, and delivery methods are fairly flexible too. So you can pick an institution that suits you the best.

The government recognizes the concerns of foreign students and keeping this in mind, there is a legislation and code of conduct which ensures that foreign students don’t get hood-winked. There is care and special protection for them. This makes Australia a reasonably safe and just country to further your education. You know you will not be discriminated against. Foreign students are welcomed in Australia’s multi-cultural society. Applying for students visas is not a problem.

Financially, Australia gives its international student community various work and travel options. You can fund your stay and education, basically you can learn and earn at the same time. Other than that, Australia is easy on the pocket. Its low cost living and competitive course fees etc make it a very viable and affordable option. Australia is not an expensive city so it is possible to live frugally but comfortably.

Along with all these benefits, how can we forget Australian hospitality? The people are friendly, the climate very amiable, the overall environment promotes of feeling of security and stability. Nature played favorites with Australia giving it some of the most beautiful beaches, the famous outback etc. since overall cost of living is quite affordable, you can even go exploring the country during course breaks. What better way to see this beautiful country, right?

Often, we find foreign students having trouble settling down and adjusting to the new way of life. In Australia there are support groups that help students deal with any problems they may face. The support network is far spread and always willing to help students in distress or then students with questions that need answers.

Australia welcomes its international student community and they will provide all the support required for you to successfully complete your course with flying colors. So whatever your choice of course, you will be far richer for your experience of studying, working and traveling in the Land Down Under.

With so many positives going for students, why think of any other place for furthering your education?!


Prepare For Your Trip To Australia – Some Do’s And Don’ts

Traveling always requires plenty of planning, making lists, packing and repacking, before you feel you are ready to move. This is more so if you are relocating to another country – Australia – for further education. A new city or town does not bring up the same anxiety or apprehension as a shift to a completely new country. A shift to a new country can be as exciting as you want it to be. Here’s some travel tips to make it go smoother…

Australian sunset

A new country means new people, new traditions, new ways of doing things, and new practically everything else. For some this newness is a challenge. To be able to blend in to the crowd without stepping on toes and being able to live comfortably is an achievement. You do your country’s values and principles proud by being able to adapt smoothly. One way of ensuring that you are prepared for most eventualities is to learn about the country in question and find out all there is to know about daily living.

Heading out to Australia… remember there are many things that are not permitted in the country. If you are carrying something that you feel may not be permitted then you must declare it at the customs. Ensure you are not carrying parcels packed by others as you cannot be sure of what is there in it. It may land you in trouble.

There are severe penalties for prohibited items. In Australia, prohibited items include:

  • meat products
  • packaged meals
  • dairy products
  • fresh fruits and vegetables

Surf the net and find out all you an about the climate of the place you are going to be residing in, for example if you are headed out to the Gold coast, Brisbane, Rockhampton or the Fiji campus then pack clothes for a tropical climate. Keep formal wear handy as there are sure to be dress-code official events. Winter wear is very essential if your destination is Melbourne or Sidney.

If you are a first time overseas traveler then here is a mini checklist to guide you through the packing process for things you are likely to need while traveling. You don’t want to carry extra things given the baggage constraints.

Start with your personal effects…

  • prescribed medication
  • your contact lenses or reading/ vision glasses if any
  • a camera
  • your laptop
  • etc.

Next, check all your documents. These should include…

  • your valid passport
  • the required student visa
  • your offer letter
  • information pack
  • money, travelers checks to cater to at least a weeks worth of expenses
  • airline ticket and travel details
  • an international-enabled mobile phone
  • passport size photographs in case of any unforeseen requirement
  • international drivers license if you intend driving in Australia.

These are just some of the things you would need. If possible check with the embassy for any details that you feel you should know.

Well informed is the key to any journey, so be fully prepared. Use the internet to get your entire information and you really can’t go wrong. All the best mate!