Part 2: Australian innovation and visas – a new visa pathway for start ups

Further Disrupt(ion)

There is an interesting follow up to my post last week stating that Australia needs a new business visa pathway for start ups.

The business detailed in my post, Disrupt, has now already been offered homes in a number of countries. Reportedly the UK, US and China. Whilst Disrupt will no doubt use these offers as currency – in either trying to obtain the best conditions for a move, or to potentially pull off an (unlikely) reprise for their deported COO – the lessons need to be heard.

Start ups

Australia & Entrepreneurs – Head down or head up?

Australia can’t afford to put their head down and avoid the message. Countries are willing to fight for the best young, innovative business talent out there.

Whilst Australia is full of talented people – it doesn’t have all the skills it needs within it’s population to deliver the change the business environment needs – neither can it afford to lose entrepreneurial talent such as those in Disrupt.

Significant Investor Visa (SIV) statistics – an increase in interest

The Department of Immigration & Border Patrol (DIBP) have recently released some updated statistics about the Significant Investor visa (SIV) programme for the programme year 1 July, 2015 to January 31, 2016.

The SIV programme is a pathway to provide for significant migrant investment into Australia under the Business Innovation and Investment visa programme.

Business Innovation & Investment programme statistics

Business Innovation & Investment programme statistics

As of 31 January 2016:

· 1228 SIV visas have been granted from the commencement of the programme on 24 November 2012.

· AUD 6.140 billion has been invested in Complying Investments.

The statistics indicate there has been an increase in SIV applications lodged in recent months. Looking forward interest is expected to grow globally, including applicants from the UK and Europe.

If you would like some assistance, have a general query or would like an introduction to advisers that can assist with planning, preparing and lodging a SIV then please get in touch with us.

Part 1: Australian innovation and visas – a new visa pathway is needed for overseas start ups

Digital Disrupt(ion) and visas

An interesting story appeared today in the Australian press.

The details are in this press article, however the story focuses on Chris Bailey, who along with an Australian business partner set up a successful and fast growing start up buisness called Disrupt in Sydney. This was before he was deported from Australia for lying about completing his mandatory three month fruit picking stint in order to extend his working holiday visa.

It, again, reinforces the problem that Australia has with innovation and visas. In particular how does the Australian visa program support innovation and start ups. In an increasingly competitive international, innovative and digital world, it forces us to consider:

  • What can help Australia drive young entrepreneurial international talent to the country?
  • Why doesn’t the current visa system support the people we need to accomplish this – be it through skilled visas, employer sponsored visas or the business innovation and investment programs?
business innovation & investment

business innovation & investment

Compliance v vision

Whilst most people are of the view that visa compliance is important to the integrity of the visa system, there comes a time when common sense and vision must prevail. There needs to be a solution for someone willing to put their hand in their pocket – figuratively and/or literally – with what appears to be a track record of starting and managing small innovative businesses.

At present there is no such option available to individuals with this talent. They need to either meet relatively stringent criteria in the business innovation and investment program, usually beyond the means of innovative young business people, or they are lost to Australia before they get there. Alternately they need to be sponsored by a business and be paid a market rate salary for the position that is held. A not insignificant cost for any business, let alone one at the start of their journey.

A new visa pathway is needed

So what’s the solution? At this point in time it is difficult to outline a complete visa solution. However a temporary residency visa that encourages people with a combination of the below could be considered.

  • proven entrepreneurial skills or start up activity (as manager or director)
  • college or university training in a technology/digital/computer science/design/engineering course
  • proficient english language skills
  • evidence of sufficient assets or nomination by an Australian resident/citizen business owner/director or support from a federal or state/territory authority
  • adequate health cover

As a follow up to this visa there should be a clear pathway to permanent residency, or a visa extension if the start up is tracking well. This should not be done at the expense of those business people and investors who meet the current criteria, however it should be incorporated into the overall program.

Unfortunatley it would not help Chris, but it could provide a catalyst for the next Chris to find a way to get to Australia and either stay, or leave a legacy for locals to continue with.

Disrupt have also commented on it as well via Linkedin.

Skilled IT shortages in Australia – where do you fit?

Every week that goes by we see article after article confirming the IT skills shortages that exist, and will continue to increase in Australia.

Late last year the Australia & New Zealand president and managing director of SAP, John Ruthven, expressed his concerns for Australia’s critical skills shortage in IT. He was quoted as saying “Society is marching to the tune of technology, yet Australia’s IT skills shortage is becoming critical”. Full article.

This is further enhanced by a recent – March, 2016 – joint report by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and Deloitte Access Economics. The report looked at how digital disruption is changing business  and its effect on the workplace in Australia. It’s findings were that Australia will require more ICT workers. With demand for a further 100,000 workers over the next 6 years. Full report.

The reasons behind the disparity between what is available and what is needed is recognised as being due to many reasons. Some of these include the DOCTOM bust of the 2000’s and the Australian resources boom that distracted students from taking up Computer Science study over the last decade. In addition the lack of women taking on computer science course has also had a marked effect on the skilled IT human resources available to employers in Australia.

This shortage is evident by the number of IT places that are available for nomination under the 2015-16 skilled occupation list for the Subclass 189 visa. To date over 80% of the IT occupation have been filled as below

ICT Skilled Migration

SkillSelect IT occupation ceilings

If you are an IT Professional and would like to discuss your visa eligibility please get in touch with us.

In addition to the above there are opportunities for state nomination in additional IT occupations. Recruiters are also often in touch to ask us about clients who are going through the skilled process as an IT professional or have recently had their visa approved.

Closed occupations on the Western Australian skilled migration occupation list

The Western Australian government have advised that as of March 16th, 2016 the following occupation on the Western Australian skilled migration occupation list is now closed:

ANZSCO 234514 Biotechnologist.

If your occupation is closed, you will not receive an invitation to apply for State nomination. If you have already received an invitation, your application will not be affected.

This follows some recent announcements about other occupations on the Western Australia skilled migration occupation list.

  • ANZSCO 312114 Construction estimator occupation on the Western Australian skilled migration occupation list is now restricted.Invitations to apply for State nomination (for this occupation) will be limited whilst under review.
  • ANZSCO 272412 Interpreter and ANZSCO 272413 Translator are closed occupations.

If you would like to discuss your options please get in touch with us.

March 2016 – Revised ACT skilled occupation list & nomination news

As of Friday March 18th, 2016 the ACT announced changes to the ACT skilled occupation list and program. They will  now not sponsor any overseas applicants for the Subclass 190 visa until 1st July, 2016.

Skilled Migration

Skilled Migration

This follows some recent changes made to the ACT skills list, which included the addition of some occupations including the management and business professions detailed below:

  • 131112 – Sales and Marketing Manager
  • 131113 – Advertising Manager
  • 131114 – Public Relations Manager
  • 133111 – Construction Project Manager
  • 133112 – Project Builder
  • 133211 – Engineering Manager
  • 212411 – Copywriter
  • 212412 – Newspaper or Periodical Editor
  • 212413 – Print Journalist
  • 212414 – Radio Journalist
  • 212415 – Technical Writer
  • 212416 – Television Journalist
  • 224412 – Policy Analyst
  • 224711 – Management Consultant
  • 224712 – Organisation and Methods Analyst
  • 225311 – Public Relations Professional

If you would like to discuss your options, how you fit into the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program and how to prepare for an application, please get in touch. The updated skilled occupation list is below.

March 2016: Skilled Occupations 2015-16


2015-2016: Skilled occupations and Australian immigration

As the 2015-16 financial year hits the home straight, and we head towards 1st July, it may now be a good time to check what opportunities exist for you and your family to apply for a GSM visa for Australia.


In considering your options for a GSM visa there is a range of criteria that needs to be met, however the key is often having an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL) or having an an occupation deemed in demand in a state or territory of Australia.

If you want to check your options please have a look at the skilled occupation list below and get in touch!

Australian immigration 2015-2016 skilled occupations

We looked forward to discussing your options for one of the visas below.

  • Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa
  • Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) Visa
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 489) Visa

A Family Affair – Australian Partner and Family migration


Partner visas & Parent visas

Australian Partner & Family Migration

The great focus of Australian immigration is the ever-changing skilled migration. What is not commented on as much though, even though it is such an important of the Australian immigration program, is the Partner & Family Migration programs.

The Partner and Family migration programs in brief allows for spouses, de facto partners, fiancees or certain family members to be sponsored by an eligible individual  – known as a sponsor – to migrate to Australia. The Sponsor must be an Australian Citizen, Permanent Resident or an eligible NZ citizen and either the partner or an appropriate relation to the applicant/s for the visa class they apply for.

Whilst these Partner & Family Migration visas have remained pretty much the same at their core over the past decade or so, much like skilled migration there have been some significant changes and they are worth taking note of. Especially if they may effect a potential application. In this piece I have considered some, but not all the visa subclasses, that fall in these programs and provided some comments on the visa itself as well as changes that have taken place. The visas I have considered included the Partner visa, Prospective Spouse visa. the Child visa, the Parent visa, the Contributory Parent visa and the Remaining Relative visa.


Starting with Partner visas, as per the name of the visa these are for applicants who have an Australian partner. Applicants can apply for these visas whether they are married or in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months (although there are some limited exceptions to the 12 months) with their Australian partner.
The applicant must provide evidence that their relationship with their Australian partner is ‘genuine and continuing’ and they must meet the public interest criteria of being of good health and character.
Whilst this general criteria has not changed in the last decade or so there have been some notable changes. This starts with with the definition of ‘spouse’ and ‘de facto’ partner. Prior to 2009 these referred to a man and a woman, but since then it now includes same-sex relationships.
It has not changed to the extent that same sex-marriages are recognised for this visa – although no doubt his will change in time – but to the extent that prior to 2009 same-sex couples had a different visa subclass to apply under. This visa was known as the Interdependent visa.
In addition to the above Partner migration now recognises the growing influence of formally recognised relationships outside marriage – be they opposite sex or same-sex.
Partner visas now recognise that if an applicant has their relationship registered with an Australian state then the 12 month de facto requirement can be waived. You will note that this is a state requirement, so the requirements do differ from state to state.

From a more practical perspective the processing times for Partner visas have generally increased over the years. Only a few years ago there was a program for “decision ready applications” that saw some visas approved in a matter of days, where as current processing times can vary from 8 to 18 months depending upon where you are and your circumstances.
The final significant trend has been the increase in application fees over the last 10 years – resulting in a tripling or quadrupling of the application fee in the last 10 years.
Whilst this has not been warmly received by applicants nor migration agents, it has resulted in applicants being more considered and thorough in the initial lodgement of their application than has been the case in the past. Mistakes and delays, when you spend a significant amount of money, aren’t appreciated.
If it is any solace all Partner visa application fees are now the same. This was not always the case, with offshore and onshore application fees differing by a significant amount.


The fees for a Prospective Spouse, a visa that you can only apply for outside Australia, are also consistent with the all these partner visas.
For Prospective spouse visas the key change, again, is the processing times. So again while the core requirements have not changed, applicants still need to marry their fiance within 9 months of having their visa granted. These lengthier processing times though have resulted in applicants being more considered in how they plan for their wedding and ultimately their move to Australia. Flexibility, and openness to accept changes may need to be made to your plans is important.

Partner, Parent & Family visas


For applicants that apply for Child visas, these have remained relatively stable over recent years. The applicant must be the child of an Australian as well as be either be under 18 years of age, or under 25 and a full-time student or is unable to work due to a disability and is dependent on their parent.
With regards to changes, like most visa subclasses, fees and processing times have generally increased, so applicants, or parents of applicants need to be aware of this. If you are considering a Child visa application, you need to first consider whether a Citizenship by Descent application may be more relevant. Australian Citizenship is generally a quicker, less expensive and ultimately and ultimately significantly better outcome than the permanent residency that you obtain as a Child visa holder.


Partner visas, Parent visas

Partner visas, Parent visas


For applicants who have children in Australia they can consider one of the Parent visa options. The simpler, more straight forward option is to apply for a Parent visa.
To apply for this, the applicant/s must be sponsored by a child that is settled in Australia and they must be able to meet the “balance of family test”.
To satisfy this test the applicant/s must be able to show that at least half of their children or more of their children, reside in Australia than anywhere else. Along with meeting health & character requirements it seems like it is too good to be true, which it is unfortunately. The drawback is that it has a lengthy waiting time, approximately 30 years at present.


The quicker visa option for a parent who meets the above is the Parent Contributory visa. The significant difference is that the applicant/s
must be willing to pay a higher application fee that that of a Parent visa application to cover future medical costs.
The fee at present is a minimum (there are a couple of different visa options) of $43,600 AUD each applicant. This fee, in addition to a 10 year assurance of support bond of $10,000 AUD, or $14,000 if there are 2 applicants, makes it a costly exercise.
However, as the vis processing can be reduced to between 12 and 24 months, the reality is that this is the only practical and definitive visa option used by applicants form this par too the world, especially when there is the added hurdle of capped visa numbers for the Parent Contributory visa each year.


The final visa that I will discuss is the Remaining Relative visa. This visa is for an applicant (and their partner/spouse) that has no other near relatives – parents, siblings, children – residing outside Australia.
Your application must be sponsored by an eligible near relative and you must meet health & character requirements. Based on the criteria it can be a difficult visa to be eligible for and for those that are, there are further issues as the this visa is also capped in numbers.
In fact in in 2011 there was a reduction in the number of places available of 70 per cent. Since this time the number of places has dropped again, including the current financial year of 2015-16. This is exacerbated by the fact it also competed for places with other visas, not detailed here, such as Carer Visas and Aged Dependent visas.

Considering some of the information outlined above there are a few key takeaways. Firstly, the level of difficulty in applying for one of these visas doesn’t always depend on your personal circumstances and your ability to provide the evidence and documentation required to meet the criteria.
Secondly, you need to be patient and organised. Delays will likely occur in some circumstances and you need to be wary of these.
Finally, planning your visa application and for the visa process itself, is more important than ever. This may mean that you bring forward the timing of the visas, or it may mean that you consider where you are when you apply, be it in Australia or outside Australia.
Then there are the associated matters of moving – schools, housing, employment…. The list goes on. At the very least, keeping on eye on what is happening, or appointing a qualified person to do that for you is more important than ever.

Mark Welch is a registered migration agent and director of Cargil Migration, which provide Australian immigration services to Australia from the UK. For more information visit .

What our clients say about us …..

We love receiving feedback about our Australian immigration services. Below is a selection of some of these.

Mark, Skilled Migration, Cambridge

I just wanted to mention we used Mark and he was fantastic. He guided us through the processes very efficiently, via email and phone and reassured us every step of the way. We started on 26th December and we delayed it on purpose for a few months during spring as we thought we may need to give ourselves more time, he happily helped us with when to delay, then when things changed and we wanted to get everything done ASAP he immediately helped us get everything in immediately.

If anyone is looking for an agent, do get in touch with him. I was very happy with his service.

Jaclyn, Skilled Migration, Edinburgh

I would like to have the opportunity to say how impressed I am with the service you have provided. As I said, I have no doubt that the whole process ran smoothly and that my application was able to progress as efficiently as it did because of all the work that you put into it.

I would also like to thank you for your ongoing, very prompt communication which led to me feeling really well informed of what was happening and what would happen next, as well as being provided with very clear guidance and support from you. I found that it reduced a level of stress from the whole process, for which I am especially thankful and I know Justin would also pass on his thanks – as it also helped him to know that I wasn’t struggling through it all on my own.

I am sure that I will end up contacting you again in the future and I would not hesitate to recommend your company – I found your professionalism and genuine helpfulness a great assistance throughout it all. It is definitely an exciting new chapter!

Paul, Skilled Migration, Glasgow

Mark was invaluable during my successful visa application. He provided clear guidance throughout the process, which I’m sure would have taken me much longer on my own.

Sean, Partner Migration, Brisbane

When faced with the challenge of my British partner and unborn child having to leave Australia, and uncertainty over visa eligibility Mark came to the rescue, explaining, simplifying and guiding us through each step, making a daunting process stressless. Mark made sure our application had the best chance possible and our visa was approved without any delays. We couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome and would not hesitate to recommend Mark, for any immigration services. Thank-you Mark for helping keep our family together.

Barry, Business Migration, Edinburgh & Melbourne

For more information.. click here

Professor John Shields, The University of Sydney Business School

“Re: Appreciation for your support for the Business School’s educational mission…International Dimensions of Human Resource Management”

University of Sydney acknowledgement letter

To discuss how we can assist you, please Contact Us.

Where your Australian journey starts…

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Cargil Migration Services

Cargil Migration services

Australian immigration services


With over a decade of experience, providing Australian immigration services from both within Australia and in the UK and Europe, we have your bases covered.

We specialise in assisting individuals, families, investors, and businesses obtain visas for Australia. Please get in touch if you want to discuss:

  • Studying in Australia
  • Business & Investor Migration
  • Partner & Family Migration
  • Skilled Migration
  • Employer Sponsored Migration
  • Parent Migration
  • Your long term pathway to Australia


Mark Welch, Director

Email:, Phone: 07710 649 194


Migration Agents Registration Number

Mark Welch – Australian Registered Migration Agent