Newsletter 163

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Australia bans commission for onshore switching and targets cross-ownership 

A prohibition on agent commissions from student transfers between Australian providers is about to take effect as part of Australia’s introduction of more decisive steps to combat student poaching and an abuse of its educational system by operators motivated by financial gain.

Education providers will have better access to agent performance data, such as student completion rates and visa denial rates, and a set of “risk indicators” will serve as a foundation for monitoring.

This framework will also make it possible to more effectively track student attendance, which will help allay worries that some students are switching to “ghost colleges” as well as cheaper institutions that are owned by offshore companies.

Increased Student and Student Guardian financial capacity requirements  

The purpose of this change is to increase the amount of financial capacity documentation needed by applicants for visa subclasses 500 and 590.

the principal applicant $24,505

+ Spouse or cohabitant AUD 8,574

+ AUD 3,670 for each dependent child

+ AUD 9,661 in annual education expenses for each dependent student.

AUD 72,465 is the primary applicant’s personal annual income if there is no secondary application.

The primary applicant’s personal annual income in cases where there is a secondary applicant is AUD 84,543.

Additionally, this fixes a few small drafting mistakes as well.

This started on October 1st, 2023.

Rapid Review into the Exploitation in Australia’s Visa System 

This week, amid substantial media interest, the Nixon Rapid Review into Exploitation in Australia’s Visa System was formally released.

The use of phrases like “dubious fraudulent migration agents” in media stories and by Minister O’Neil has drawn criticism from many, and the use of these phrases is still being discussed with ministers, lawmakers, and the media. However, the majority of professionals will not be surprised by the review’s findings, and many of Ms. Nixon’s recommendations are ones that the organisation has been promoting in its submissions, meetings with ministers and other lawmakers, and public hearings to address these issues.  The research also examined areas where migration fraud is pervasive outside of the migration industry, which has led to increased crackdowns in the international education sector and high level ABF/AFP investigations. 

Trades Recognition Australia – Processing update 

The following guidance has been sent to applicants by Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) in relation to the processing of the large number of applications that have been submitted for the MSA, OSAP, and TSS Assessment Programmes.

Applicants are aware that due to a high workload, VETASSESS has suspended the assessment of some occupations. The TRA advises that from time to time, the caseload for particular TRA-approved RTOs can fluctuate substantially and occasionally result in a heavy influx, which can cause delays in the processing of all assessments. To better manage workloads, TRA will stop the registration of new applications for certain occupations at certain TRA-approved RTOs.

Home Affairs – On Demand Web Translation service – call for testers 

The Department’s Immigration Operations Group contacted the MIA earlier this year in search of MIA members with particular language proficiency to test the Department’s On Demand Translation Service programme.  The Department is now getting in touch with those members who donated their skills for that testing because at the time, only a small number of other languages were scheduled to be evaluated.

The Group is expanding the testing to the following languages thanks to additional financing.  Any members who are proficient in these languages are encouraged to join the group in order to help with the system’s testing and the calibre of the translations into languages other than English:

Bengali, Croatian, Dari, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Serbian, Swahili, Tagalog, Turkish, and Indonesian

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with this important work should get in touch with the Department at

Best Practice Principles and Standards for Skilled Migration Assessing Authorities 

In order to improve the integrity, quality, and speed of migration skills assessments, the Australian Government is revising the procedure for evaluating applicants’ talents. New standards will be created for skilled migration assessing agencies.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) is looking for feedback on establishing best practise principles and criteria to give assessing authorities an aspirational yet quantifiable framework upon which to undertake skills assessments.

Anyone can submit individual feedback through the Consultation Hub.

Jobs and Skills Report 2023 

The first Jobs and Skills Report 2023, Towards a National Jobs and Skills Roadmap, offers a preliminary evaluation of the national skills system and Australia’s present, emerging, and future skill requirements.

The report’s analysis offers a solid empirical basis for the creation of a national employment and skills roadmap over the course of the ensuing year and beyond. Industry, Jobs and Skills Councils, the education and training sectors, states and territories, and Australian Government agencies will work together on this.

NT’s bid to overturn grant of land to traditional owners fails

A suggestion that a number of land concessions be handed to the Aboriginal traditional owners was not overturned by the Northern Territory.

The proposal to transfer land in the north-west, close to the West Australian boundary, to persons the Aboriginal Land Commissioner (ALC) determined were traditional owners, was challenged in court by the territory’s government with support from the Commonwealth.

The NT’s request for review was denied on Thursday, October 5 in the late afternoon by Justice Mordy Bromberg of the Federal Court, who added that the case had “fascinating issues” presented.

Where does the sea end and the land begin is a crucial question. The Australian Northern Territory’s request for judicial review raises this intriguing dilemma, according to Justice Bromberg. 

The Northern Territory Land Council, the third respondent, argued that the coastal low-water mark serves as the “boundary of the sea” for the purposes of the statute and marks the beginning of the land.

Justice Bromberg found the reasoning to be “consistent” with the ALC’s concentration “upon the line of the coast constituting the demarcation between land and sea” in reference to an argument in Risk v. Northern Territory of Australia, which considered whether the seabed of bays and gulfs in the NT can be the subject of a traditional land claim.

‘Extremely serious claims question Federal Court judge’s career history’

A man made “extremely serious” allegations that a Federal Court judge’s early career affected her judgement during the course of his racial discrimination complaint against the Fair Work Commission.

Loi Toma’s request for leave to appeal a judgement rendered by Justice Elizabeth Raper was denied by Justice Robert Bromwich of the Federal Court on the grounds of perceived bias resulting from Raper’s former professional and social connections.

Mr. Toma attempted to bring a claim of racial discrimination against the Fair Work Commission to the Federal Court after filing a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

As there was “no articulation or evidence of how the conduct constituted racial discrimination in the requisite sense and it sought to reagitate matters that had already been reviewed in court,” Justice Raper denied his motion in October of last year.

Mr. Toma cited Justice Raper’s swearing-in ceremony, which took place after the first return date of the case and was attended by the Fair Work Commission’s current president, in his attempt to obtain permission to appeal Justice Raper’s ruling. He said that no one informed the parties of this.

The president, Adam Hatcher, who was vice president at the time, was not the “guest of honour,” as Mr. Toma suggested, but it “almost certainly would not matter” if he were, according to Justice Bromwich.

“None of these circumstances have been shown to amount to any basis for a fair-minded lay observer to reasonably apprehend that the primary judge might not bring an impartial mind to the resolution of what Her Honour was required to decide,” said Justice Bromwich.

Furthering his arguments, Mr. Toma claimed that Justice Raper’s conduct “confirms that her conflicts affected her judgement” and that the rejection of his appeal had demonstrated real bias.

“Such an allegation is extremely serious and should never be made upon the basis of nothing more than a party’s failing case, which is all that is in substance proffered,” Justice Bromwich stated.

“A merely negative outcome, which is all that is left, will not do.

“This aspect advanced for the grant of leave to appeal has no chance whatsoever of success, and to refuse leave to appeal on this basis could not possibly occasion any injustice,” the statement reads.

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