Global Migration Digest

May 2013 (Vol. 1, No. 6)

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The Global Migration Section (GMS) boasts a diverse membership of AILA attorneys and International Associates from across the globe. Apply Join this burgeoning community of global migration practitioners and enjoy benefits such as global networking opportunities, targeted Today! education and publications, information sharing teleconferences, a quarterly digest, and more. Apply Today! Membership is free! Government Policy and Visas—Where Do We Stand? by Owen Small, Ferguson Cannon A re we getting any certainty in Australia's immigration program, particularly on topics such as visa quotas and processing times? It is clear that the priorities of the government of the day dictate immigration policies and can have huge impacts on all visa programs. With the expected change of government in September this year, there has been a lot of speculation about changes to immigration policies and how this will impact our current system. In the last year, there have been major changes to a number of the visa programs to close perceived loopholes and to open visa options for preferred immigrants, to align with the Australian Labor Party's focus. The changes made as of July last year include: 1.Requirements to Employer Sponsored Visas being altered; 2.Processing procedures for General Skilled Migration were changed to allow the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to invite applicants, rather than processing a huge amount of applications; and 3.Changes to Business visas to provide migration opportunities for 'entrepreneurial and innovative' migrants. The policies of the government in power also determine the quotas allocated to certain visa programs, which can increase processing times for the visas and create huge backlogs of applications. Here are some of the facts from the previous year— • 190,000 places were allocated to the Migration Program for 2012–2013, which includes Skilled, Family and Special Eligibility visas; • There was a cap of 60,185 places allocated for family migrants. The large numbers of partner visa applications received in the last year have meant processing times have increased to 12 months or longer; • Last year, there was a cap of 2,150 MISS AN ISSUE? No Sweat. Check out AILA's archive. places for non-contributory parent visas. For these visas, there is approximately a 15 year wait; • A cap of 2,185 for 2012–2013 was given to 'other family' visas including Carer, Remaining Relative and Aged Dependent Relative visas. Carer visas are generally taking 2 years to process; while Remaining Relative visas are taking up to 14 years; • A cap of 129, 250 places was granted for Skilled Migration, which has been processed according to 'priorities' of certain visas—for those in a higher priority group such as the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, this takes only a matter of months, but for those in the lower groups it can take a number of years. This is despite the fact that politicians such as Scott Morrison MP have confirmed the importance of Skilled Migration for our community. In a media release, Morrison stated that 'skilled migration has been a key driver of Australia's economic performance. GLOBAL MIGRATION STEERING COMMITTEE Chair Maria Çelebi Members Conference Chair Roland Lechner Jane Carroll Lara Baharlo Matthew Amoils New Members Chair Board Liaison Comm. Chair Heather Segal Poorvi Chothani Claire Nilson Daniel Parisi Review the 2012 DIAC budget. It is clear that quotas are being filled too quickly leaving extended processing times. This can be extremely frustrating and emotionally debilitating to visa applicants, some of whom are separated from friends and families for years waiting for a decision on their visa. Australia's immigration policies are particularly fluid. In unstable political times such as these, it is extremely important for visa applicants to seek advice from experts in order to work out the best strategy for their situation. FOLLOW AILA FOR THE LATEST ON IMMIGRATION! YOUTUBE, TWITTER, FACEBOOK, and LINKEDIN COPYRIGHT © 2013 AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PART OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE REPRINTED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE PUBLISHER. SEND REPRINT REQUESTS TO PUBS@AILA.ORG www.aila.org 6

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