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Australian Immigration Law Update - No. 154 Edited By: ADRIAN BITEL and MICHAEL JONES

In this issue


Dear Client/s,

Please be informed that Parish Patience Bitel Immigration Lawyers are moving to new modern premises.

From 1st December 2016 our address will be:

Level 3, 83 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

This is in York Street near the corner of King Street, half way between WYNYARD and TOWNHALL stations.

The building is a Heritage Building with a sandstone façade.

We welcome you to new, enlarged working premises from 1st December 2016. Our level of service will be expert and friendly in keeping with our office.

Parish Patience Bitel Immigration Lawyers.


Mr Michael Jones’ successful cases on refugee law

SZVJE & Ors v Minister for Immigration & Anor [2016] FCCA 594 (18 April 2016)

Mr Michael Jones, Accredited Specialist Immigration Lawyer and the Legal Practice Manager of Parish Patience Bitel Immigration Lawyers successfully argued in the above case that the Tribunal committed a legal error by assessing the risk of harm in Lahore relative to other places in Pakistan. Judge Driver of the Federal Circuit Court remitted the case back to the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT) to re-determine the review application according to law.

Read More>>

SZUDH v Minister for Immigration & Anor [2016] FCCA 413 (4 March 2016)

Judicial review applications are crucial for asylum seekers because finding an error and then successfully arguing that the Tribunal committed a legal error would provide an opportunity to the asylum seekers to present their cases again at the Tribunal stage.

Our Legal Practice Manager Mr Michael Jones, an Accredited Specialist Immigration Lawyer has a reputation within the legal fraternity handling judicial review matters. In the above case, Mr Jones successfully argued that the Tribunal had failed to consider the applicant's claim as against the complementary protection criteria. On the basis, Judge Nicholls of the Federal Circuit Court quashed the decision of the Tribunal and remitted the case back to the Tribunal to consider the application according to law.

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Our recent success on Section 417 Ministerial Application

A client from Burundi sought our immigration legal assistance in relation to his 417 application when his initial s417 application was refused by the minister for Immigration and Border protection. At the time, he came to our office, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection advised him to take steps to depart Australia. We assisted him in his repeat Ministerial application and have done in-depth research on country information and provided a very detailed submission establishing compassionate and compelling grounds existed in the case. We also advised the applicant to provide relevant supporting documents in support of his case. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection granted the applicant a permanent visa last week. It is one of the rare cases where the Minister decided to intervene in repeat Ministerial application.

-Mr Mahalingam (Shan) Sutharshan  (Email: shan@ppilaw.com.au).

University diversifies from Chinese student bias

Australia’s top-ranked global university is moving to lower its proportion of Chinese international students, a group it describes as “dominating” international students numbers.

Documents unearthed in a freedom of information request reveal the Australian National University has since 2015 quietly implemented a “diversification strategy” in an attempt to lower its share of Chinese enrolments.

ANU has the largest proportion of Chinese students in the group of eight universities. Over 60 percent of its commencing international undergraduate enrolments were from China in 2016.

The documents, obtained by ANU student newspaper Woroni, reveal that university has been concerned about the financial risk of heavy dependence on the Chinese market. There was a need to “mitigate potential risk exposure in the event of the market downturn,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington is recorded as saying in the minutes of a February 2016 ANU Council meeting.

The diversification strategy aims to recruit students from other nations such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.

But the documents reveal mixed success, with enrolment from only Singapore and India growing since the implementation of the plan in early 2015. Enrolments from those countries grew by 8 per cent and 24.7 per cent respectively.

However, in the past five years, enrolments from Chinese students have grown from 42.1 per cent of the international student intake to 59.1 per cent 2016.

“The University remains exposed to the Chinese international market,” a report dated May 2015 said. “Diversification strategies at college and central level are addressing this issue, but will take time to make a meaningful impact,” it said.

Anne Baly, Director International for ANU, told Fairfax Media the university was motivated mainly by creating a diverse, internationalised student body.

“I suspect ANU is not totally alone in this,” she said. “We welcome and actively recruit the best and brightest students from around the world. For us, having a student body that is reflective of the global community at large is great for all students.”

Ms Baly said over-reliance on any one country for international students “in itself is not a great business model, but I think that the driver behind this is about diversity. It’s not like we’re moving away from recruiting students from China. They are overwhelmingly great students to have.”

The university was pursuing its diversification strategy through marketing in other countries and pursuing student exchanges through partnership agreement, she said.

ANU International Students’ department president Harry Feng said he was unaware of the diversification strategy, but said “I am not concerned as long as all the applicants… are treated fairly with the same set of standards.”

Andrew Norton from the Grattan institute said universities were exposed when overly dependent on international students from a single market. ANU is Australia’s top ranked global university.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Dated 06/10/2016.

Supporting innovation through visas: Entrepreneur Visa and points test changes go live

A new category of visa to attract and retain the best and brightest entrepreneurial talent is now open to new applications.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said the Government was driving economic growth through innovation, including through our Business Innovation and Investment visa programme.

"The new Entrepreneur visa provides a pathway to permanent residence and allows entrepreneurs with $200,000 in funding from a specified third party to develop and commercialise their innovative ideas in Australia," Mr Dutton said.

In addition, changes to the points test for skilled migration have been made to encourage international students who have completed Australian postgraduate research qualifications in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field to remain in Australia.

These graduates will be granted additional points under the skilled migration programme, enhancing their pathway to permanent residence in Australia.

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Greg Hunt, said these new initiatives will complement the Government's wider National Innovation and Science Agenda.

"These initiatives will continue to encourage innovation in Australia by ensuring that ideas from research are converted into commercial reality, and by encouraging the best and the brightest postgraduate students with a science or technology focused qualification to remain in Australia " Mr Hunt said.

Rear More>>

Partner and family visa checks to address family violence

The Turnbull Government has reconfirmed its unwavering commitment to addressing violence against women and children with the introduction of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016.

The Bill will mandate character checks of sponsors of family visa applications.

Currently police checks are required for sponsors in applications where children are involved and specifically focus on the protection of children.

The legislative changes will expand checks to all sponsors to allow better consideration of the potential for family violence.

They will enable the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to refuse sponsorship applications in circumstances where the sponsor has convictions for paedophilia, other offences against children or offences relating to violence.

In refusing an application, the Department will have to consider a range of factors including the length of the relationship, the type of offence and how recently it occurred, the relevance of the offence to the family relationship and any other mitigating circumstances. 

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said the changes to the Migration Act will significantly strengthen the integrity and protections within the family visa programme.

"Newly arrived migrants are among the more vulnerable people in our community. They are less likely to have an established support network, may not have an English speaking background and are less likely to know how to seek assistance," Mr. Dutton said.

"These changes add an important safeguard to the family visa programme and will ensure sponsors are aware of their obligations under Australian law and are appropriately assessed before being approved as a family sponsor.

"Strengthened information sharing provisions will also ensure that both applicants and sponsors can make fully informed decisions before committing to the visa application process."

In 2015-16, 529 partner visa applicants claimed they were victims of family violence, compared to 458 claims made the previous year.

"While applicants for a partner visa who seek to remain in Australia on grounds of family violence make up less than two per cent of the partner visa caseload, we are committed to implementing policies to keep women arriving in Australia safe from violence," Minister Cash said.

The changes support the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children by implementing sections of Action Item 11 from the Second Action Plan: requiring additional information disclosure by the Australian husband or fiancé applying for an overseas spouse visa.

Read More>>

Working Holiday Maker Visa – VAC reduction and tax rates announced

The government has today announced that it will reduce the VAC for working holiday maker visa applications by $50 to $390 on 1 January 2017.

It was also announced that the proposed significant increases to WHM tax rates would not go ahead. The tax rate on earnings up to $37,000 will be 19% of would not go ahead. The tax rate on earnings above that amount.

Employers will be required to undertake a one-off registration with the ATO, designed to prevent exploitation of WHM and to improve the integrity for the scheme.

Source: MIA Notice No 77 – 27 September 2016.

New temporary visa for sponsored parents

Media release issued by the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Hon. Alex Hawke MP

The Turnbull Coalition Government confirmed it will implement its election commitment to introduce a new temporary sponsored parent visa. The temporary sponsored parent visa will allow Australians to sponsor their parents to stay in Australia for up to five years.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke announced a series of community consultations and called for public submissions to assist the Government with the final design of the new temporary visa and the legislative changes required to implement it.

“The Turnbull Government recognises that many Australian migrant communities face particular pressures through the separation of children from parents and grandchildren from grandparents,” Mr Hawke said.

“We want to help families reunite and spend time together, while ensuring that we do so in a way that does not burdens Australia’s health care system.” Mr Hawke said.

“Improving arrangements for parents of Australians to spend time with their family in Australia, whilst mitigating costs to the Australian taxpayer, was a key objective of both major parties at the recent election. It is now important we get this balance right in the design if the temporary sponsored parent visa. 

The introduction of such visa is a significant shift from current visa options for parents. “I encourage migrant communities to get involved in the consultation process and provide feedback to assist in the design of the visa” Assistant Minister Hawke said.

It is envisaged this important election commitment to migrant families will be implemented by the Turnbull Government in 2017.

Read More>>

Obama on immigration tears down the walls

US President Barack Obama has hit back at rising anti-immigration sentiment across America, Europe and Australia, as a new poll found half of all Australians want to ban Muslim immigration.

Declaring rich countries must do more, and that refugees are victims rather than the causes of violence, Mr Obama said governments proposing to build walls and close doors inevitably imprisoned their own citizens while ensuring they would be harshly judged by history.

“This crisis is a test of our common humanity – weather we give in to suspicion and fear and build walls, or whether we see ourselves in another,” he said.

Fairfax Media. “If you look at the movements in the States, in Britain, the economic disenfranchisement drives a set of conversations around culture and difference that manifest at the moment in these sorts of positions.”

In a strident call for more decisive action to help the world’s 65 million asylum seekers and internally displaced persons, the US President used his opening address to an invitation-only summit on refugees in New York to pour scorn on the moral abandon propelling right-wing populists, such as US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, former UK Independence party leader Nigel Farage and others in Europe, and Australian senator Pauline Hanson.

“It’s a test of our international system where all nations ought to share in our collective responsibilities, because the vast majority of refugees are hosted by just 10 countries who are bearing a very heavy burden – among Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia. Countries that often have fewer resources who are doing little or nothing,” he said.

Mr Obama cited the treatment of Jews by Nazi Germany, and refusal of third countries to take in those fleeing the genocidal regime, to declare that failure to help people escaping current conflicts would leave a similar stain on our collective conscience.

Thanking Germany, Canada, and Australia, among other nations for their leadership in addressing the refugee crisis, Mr Obama nonetheless criticized the international community for doing too little to fix the root causes of displacement – singling out the faux co-operation over achieving a peaceful resolution to the Syrian civil war.

And in a direct repudiation of the Trump/Hansonite philosophy of ending Muslim immigration and refusing refugees from countries suffering from extremist problem, Mr Obama pledged the opposite response.

“In the coming fiscal year, starting next week, the United States will welcome and resettle 110,000 refugees from around the world – which is nearly 60 percent increase over 2015. We intend to do it right, and we will do it safely,” he said.

The Obama comments came as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed his government would dial up its refugee intake but was also ratcheting up the pressure on Iran to take back persons deemed not to have legitimate refugee claims, in a bid to clear out the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

‘It’s very important that nations accept back, whether on a voluntary or involuntary basis, their citizens who have been denied refugees status,” Mr Turnbull said at a United Nations news conference.

“This is a keen issue with a number of countries who will not do that and of course it is important that if there is going to be the co-operative action to end the scourge of people smuggling – and there is a global commitment, I believe, to do that – then there are a number of measures that have to be undertaken.”

Reluctant to name individual countries, he eventually yielded, declaring: “I am certainly in contact with my Iranian counterpart over the issues … The simple fact is, they are Iranians who have been found not to be refugees, they must go back to Iran.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Dated 22/09/2016.

Backpacker tax: Federal Government backs down on plan

The Federal Government has responded to backbench and industry pressure and dumped the budget plan to impose a 32.5 per cent tax on backpacker workers.

Under a compromise deal, working holidaymakers will be taxed at 19 per cent from their first dollar earned instead.

Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the deal after it was signed off by Cabinet, saying the backbench committee pushing for the changes was also satisfied.

Queensland Coalition backbencher George Christensen was one of the main protagonists in pushing for both policy changes, but is not claiming total responsibility.

"I'm one of many, we all have a say, I'm having my say all the time, and other people are having their say too."

"This is not something that I'm going to go out saying that I scored a win on, it was a collective win."

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Mr Christensen’s influence was broader than he was letting on.

“We've just seen this latest backflip from the government on this backpacker tax, there's no doubt that George Christensen and the right wing of that party are spelling out the song that Mr Turnbull has to sing,” Mr Shorten said.

It is a significant back down for the Government, which first proposed the change in the 2015 budget, after the tax commission ruled backpackers should not be eligible for the tax-free threshold.

The issue split the Government, with National and Liberal backbenchers calling for a rethink, while Mr Morrison and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said any unintended negative consequences would be dealt with if and when they arose.

Increasingly dismayed farmers, tourism operators and regional communities said a 32.5 per cent tax on backpacker labour would be a "disaster" at harvest time.

Backpackers make up 25 per cent of the farm workforce each year.

In the Northern Territory, they represent 85 per cent of farm labourers.

Read More>>

Australia and Luxembourg sign work and holiday arrangement

Media release issued by The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, The Hon. Alex Hawke MP

Luxembourg has become the latest country to sign a reciprocal arrangement with Australia, allowing young people from both countries to visit each other's nations under the Australian Government's work and holiday arrangements.

The arrangement was signed at Parliament House between the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Alex Hawke MP and the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Asylum of Luxembourg, His Excellency Jean Asselborn.

Mr Hawke said this was a great development as it would encourage young people to add Australia or Luxembourg as another holiday destination when going abroad to travel, work and study.

"Under the arrangement, people aged 18 to 30 years will be able to travel to each other's country for one year and undertake short-term work and study under the Work and Holiday subclass 462 visa," Mr Hawke said.

"We will be working closely with our Luxembourger counterparts to establish a mutually agreed start date for this arrangement as soon as possible.

"Once the arrangement has commenced, eligible young people from Luxembourg and Australia will be able to apply for this visa programme."

The arrangement will be capped at 100 places each year.

Read More>>

A.P.B. Education

Specialist IELTS Test Training and Coaching

Passing an IELTS test is now an essential requirement for all applicant for General Skilled Migration, student visas, and for many employer sponsored applicants. Adrian Bitel provides individual lessons to assist applicants achieve proficiency to the required levels in:

  • Reading          

  • Speaking

  • Writing

  • Listening

 He gives comprehensive ONE to ONE Personalised Coaching in any or all of the above areas at very competitive rates.

Contact: Adrian Bitel on (02) 9286 8700 or Mobile: 0412 656 026                                                                        

Parish Patience Bitel Immigration Lawyers

Level 1, 338 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW  2000
Tel:  +61 2 9286 8700
Fax: +61 2 9283 3323
Email: ppmail@ppilaw.com.au






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