News

No further negative COVID test required to travel to Australia, effective 17 April 2022

The Australian Minister of Health and Aged Care has announced further relaxations effective April 17th, 2022. Now that Australia will also start living with COVID-19, a number of emergency measures will cease to apply, including the requirement to test before travelling to Australia.

However, the requirement for proof of vaccination for international travellers will remain in force. This means that international travellers entering or leaving Australia will be required to provide proof of double vaccination against COVID-19. Also, based on medical advice, travellers must continue to wear a mask during international flights.

Source:
https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/australias-biosecurity-emergency-pandemic-measures-to-end

Canada removes testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers from 1 April

Planning to travel to Canada? As of April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to take a covid-19 test prior to departure.  If you are travelling before 1 April, you will still be required to test prior to departure.

As a reminder, you may be randomly selected to undergo molecular covid-19 testing upon arrival in Canada. If this is the case, you do not have to undergo quarantine while awaiting the result.

For partially or unvaccinated travellers, the testing requirements for entry do not change. Unless otherwise specified, all travellers aged 5 years or older who are considered not fully vaccinated must provide proof of an accepted and negative covid-19 test before departure.

Lastly, all travellers must still submit their compulsory information via ArriveCAN. Failure to do so may result in a mandatory covid testing upon arrival and 14 days in quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. Travellers arriving in Canada by plane or cruise must submit information in ArriveCAN within 72 hours before boarding.

Source:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2022/03/government-of-canada-will-remove-pre-entry-test-requirement-for-fully-vaccinated-travellers-on-april-1.html

Australia extends Temporary Graduate and Skilled Regional Provisional Visas by three years

Good news for Temporary Graduate and Skilled Regional Provisional visa holders affected by the covid pandemic. For applicants who meet the requirements, the Australian visa has been extended effective today, 18 February 2022.

Development of regional Australia

The large Australian metropolitan areas such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are extremely popular, but also very densely populated. And yet the areas surrounding these cities (regional Australia) are struggling with labour shortages. With a tailored migration policy, the Australian government strives for the sustainable development of regional areas. Through arrangements, these regional communities are enabled to address skills and labour shortages. In this way, they also benefit from the substantial economic advantages that migration brings to Australia.

The Skilled Regional Provisional visas are an important part of the strategy to support regional Australia. If candidates and their family members live, work and study in regional Australia for the first period of their stay (which varies by visa category), they are eligible for permanent residence.

The impact of covid-19 on visa holders

Many visa holders have faced international travel restrictions due to covid-19 since February 2020. This has severely restricted their ability to travel to Australia. This also includes Skilled Regional Provisional visa holders. The travel restrictions have prevented many visa holders from moving to regional Australia to live and work there. Others had to leave (regional) Australia and could not return to resume their work or find other suitable employment. As a result, a large number of visa holders encountered difficulties, jeopardising their right of residence and their application for a permanent visa.

Measures for affected holders of Skilled Regional Provisional visas

On 25 November 2021, the Australian Government announced the first of a series of measures to assist affected visa holders and visa applicants. For example, (former) Skilled Regional Provisional visa holders would be given additional time to meet the residency and work requirements to apply for permanent residence. Last month, on 18 January, it was further clarified that these visas would be extended for a period of three years. Specifically, this means:

  • Visa subclass 489, 491 and 494 will be extended for a period of three years from the original visa expiry date, if;
  • The primary visa holder was outside Australia for any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 and held a valid visa within the above visa categories during that time;
  • In the case of visa holders within subclass 491 and 494, it is important that the visa is in force on 18 February;
  • The extension also applies to secondary visa holders including partners and children.

Measures for affected Temporary Graduate visa holders

On 25 November 2021, it was announced that the government intended to introduce a substitute subclass 485 visa. This visa applies to visa holders who have lost time in Australia due to international travel restrictions. The visa is available to applicants who were outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 15 December 2021. However, it is important that they were in possession of a valid subclass 485 visa during that period.

As the replacement visa is expected to be available from mid-2022, the validity of certain visas will be extended to 30 September 2022. This will allow affected visa holders to return to Australia. During this period, they can stay, live, work or study in Australia until the replacement visa can be applied for.

This extension applies to all subclass 485 visa holders where the primary visa holder was outside of AustraIia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021. It is important that the applicant was in possession of a valid subclass 485 visa which expired or was due to expire before 1 October 2022 but has not been cancelled. It is also important that the holder has not obtained another visa. The extension also applies to secondary visa holders such as a partner and child(ren).

Has my visa been extended?

Are you unsure if your visa has been extended, or do you want to double check? In that case we recommend you to check your visa conditions in VEVO. You can do this by using your visa and passport details. Therefore keep your passport and grant notification at hand. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you have trouble finding a solution.

Source: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2022L00151/Explanatory%20Statement/Text

Australia reopens to all visa holders as of 21 February 2022

After the World Health Organisation declared the COVID outbreak a pandemic in March 2020, Australia closed its borders. After a long wait, the Australian government finally began to reopen the country in phases in November 2021. Now, as of 21 February, international tourists are welcome in Australia again.

All fully vaccinated visa holders welcome again

As of 21 February, fully vaccinated visa holders within all categories are welcome again. This means that tourists, international business travellers and other visitors are now welcome again.

What if you are not fully vaccinated

Applicants who want to come to Australia, but are not fully vaccinated, must apply for a travel exemption in advance. This application will be assessed by a case officer. They will determine to what extent the visit is necessary and whether the travel exemption can be granted. If it is decided that travel to Australia is allowed, (hotel) quarantine in the states and territories is mandatory.

How to proceed

Would you like to travel to Australia? Then first of all you need a visa. If you have not yet applied for a visa, it is important to do so as soon as possible. You also need to determine whether you need a Travel Exemption.

Can’t work it out? Then feel free to contact us.

Source:
https://www.pm.gov.au/media/reopening-tourists-and-other-international-travellers-secure-our-economic-recovery

More flexible rules for various Australian visa categories and option to refund fees already paid

The Australian government has announced changes for applicants within various visa categories. The changes range from extending the validity of visas to refunding fees already paid to immigration authorities. The changes are all intended to support the recovery of the Australian economy. The most important changes are listed below:

Working Holiday candidates

  • From 19 January 2022, Working Holiday candidates, employed in any sector, may continue to work for the same employer (for longer than 6 months) without having to apply for permission from immigration;
  • Applicants who arrive in Australia between 19 January and 19 April 2022 on a Working Holiday visa can apply for a refund of the $495 fee paid to immigration. This applies to people who have already applied for a visa as well as candidates who have not yet done so;
  • Former Working Holiday visa holders, affected by COVID-19, can apply for a new visa and are exempt from paying the fee.

Students

  • Student visa holders who currently reside outside Australia, but travel to Australia within the next 8 weeks (from 19 January 2022) will be eligible for a refund of the $630 fee paid to immigration;
  • Students may work more hours in critical sectors.

Temporary Graduates

  • Due to changes in the government, as of 18 February 2022, re-entry will be granted to (former) Temporary Graduate visa holders and they will be able to apply for a ‘further stay’;
  • Temporary Graduate Visas will be extended as of 18 February 2022 for graduates who resided outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021. Applicants will be notified directly by the Department of Home Affairs.

Skilled Regional Provisional visas

The Australian Government will extend the validity of these visas (subclass 489, 491 and 494) for a period of three years, if the visa holder has been affected by the travel restrictions due to COVID-19. This change will allow all current and former holders of this visa sufficient time to make travel plans and meet the visa requirements for renewal or application for a permanent visa.

Bron:
https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/AlexHawke/Pages/further-flexibility-for-temporary-migrants.aspx
https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/what-we-do/whm-program/latest-newshttps://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/archive/article?itemId=813

Office closure between Christmas and New Year

The year 2021 was another year full of challenges. Both on a professional level and for many also on a personal level. We, therefore, had to look for new opportunities and be flexible in dealing with complex and challenging situations.

Despite the fact that we faced difficulties, we were able to assist many relations with advice and in obtaining visas, and we are proud of that!

This year has once again highlighted how valuable our network is. And so, we would like to thank you very much for your trust in our colleagues and organisation.

The new year is just around the corner. And although there are still uncertainties, there is also potential for easing restrictions. We are therefore hopeful that in 2022 there will be more room for new plans and successful initiatives in Australia and Canada. In that case, we will be pleased to be of service again with advice and support on the immigration laws and regulations for Australia and Canada.

We wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year.

Warm regards,
Team Visa4you

New restrictions for travelling to Canada

After a period of eased measures for travel to Canada, new restrictions will come into force in the coming weeks to reduce the number of COVID-19 infections in Canada.

Omicron variant also a reason for concern in Canada

The latest news from Canada in response to the new omicron variant announces that all vaccinated travellers will be tested for corona on arrival at a Canadian airport by means of an arrival test. In the past, travellers were selected on a random basis, but this will now apply to everyone again. Fully vaccinated travellers will have to remain in quarantine pending the results of their arrival test.

Non-vaccinated travellers who fall under an exception to Canada’s travel restrictions will be required to undergo multiple corona testing in all cases and will also be subject to a 14-day quarantine period.

Restrictions on domestic travel and use of public transport

Transport Canada has updated its domestic travel restrictions effective November 30. Anyone wishing to use public transport or Canadian airports (including flights departing from Canada to other countries) are required to be fully vaccinated. Persons with temporary status in Canada (e.g. work, study or tourist status) who entered Canada as unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons may leave the country without being fully vaccinated until February 28, 2022. After that date, they must be fully vaccinated to board a plane or train in Canada.

Vaccination obligation for all travellers as of 15 January 2022

As of January 15, 2022, all travellers to Canada will need to be fully vaccinated. This includes groups that are currently exempt from these restrictions, such as:

  • Persons travelling to reunite with family
  • International students
  • Professional athletes and their support staff
  • Persons with a valid work permit or work permit approval (some exceptions for the food industry and agricultural sector apply)
  • Most essential service providers (including truck drivers, emergency responders and marine researchers)

After January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated agricultural and food workers, new permanent residents and some children under the age of 18 will still be allowed to travel to Canada tomorrow and travel within Canada to settle, but must comply with testing and quarantine measures.

Have any questions? Then get in touch with us.

Source:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/11/government-of-canada-introduces-additional-measures-to-address-covid-19-omicron-variant-of-concern.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/11/adjustments-to-canadas-border-and-travel-measures.html

Australian occupational list (ANZSCO) updated

On 23 November 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published changes to the Australian Occupational List (ANZSCO). As a result, a number of jobs and job categories have been changed or removed.

What is New

The new edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), or the occupational list, is limited to a number of targeted updates of occupations. This relates mainly to the following sectors:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing;
  • Cybersecurity;
  • Naval ship building;
  • And emerging occupations identified by the National Skill Commission.

The above areas are based on priority sectors for the Australian labour market. They have been chosen primarily to test a new approach to updating the occupations list (ANZSCO). This update is therefore a first step towards a larger programme of updating the occupational list. It is expected that other sectors will be addressed as a priority in future updates.

This update relates only to the Australian labour market. Changes in the labour market in New Zealand have therefore not been taken into account.

Various types of changes

Various types of changes are implemented, and combinations of these are also possible. Below you find an overview:

Alternative title(s) revised
Alternative Title(s) revised refers to the situation where new Alternative titles are added, or existing ones are deleted. An example is the addition (deletion) of “Urban Forester” as an Alternative Title for 362212 – Arborist.

Lead statement revised
Lead Statement revised refers to the situation where the lead statement of an occupation is modified. An example is the addition of “for forestry conservation and production purposes” to the lead statement of 721112 – Logging Plant Operator to provide additional precision regarding this occupation.

Tasks revised
Tasks revised refers to the situation where the task list (at the Unit group level) has been amended. An example of this is the addition of “installing, testing and commissioning solar photo voltaic (PV) power generation systems” in the task list for Unit group 3111, Electricians.

Moved to another Unit Group, code retired
Moved to another Unit Group; code retired refers to the situation where the occupation’s Unit Group has changed. An example is the reclassification of 361211 – Shearers from ANZSCO Version 1.3 Unit Group 3611 to 2021 Australian Update Unit Group 3633.

Moved from old Unit Group, code created
Moved from another Unit Group; code created refers to the same situation as point 5 above, and appears next to the new occupation code. For the example of Shearers, it will appear next to the new code 363311.

Category addedd
Category added refers to a newly created occupation code in the 2021 Australian Update. These codes are not present in previous versions of ANZSCO.

Category deleted and code retired
Category deleted and code retired Refers to occupations that are no longer included in the classification. In many cases this is due to the creation of two or more new occupations from an existing occupation. In this instance, the original occupation is deleted and the code retired.

NEC occupation list revised
NEC occupation list revised refers to the situation where the set of occupations contained with a nec occupation are revised. An example is the removal of “Aerospace Draftsperson” from 312999 – Building and Engineering Technicians nec.

Category title revised
Category Title revised refers to the situation where the occupation’s title has been modified to clarify its definition. An example is the change for 311111 – Quarantine Officer to Biosecurity Officer.

Specialisation(s)
Specialisation(s) revised refers to the situation where new Specialisations have been included or deleted. Examples are the addition of “Solar Installer” and the removal of Heavy Coil Winder as specialisations from 341111 – Electrician (General).

For a complete overview of all changes, click on the button below.

Occupations not yet available for skilled migration

The previous ANZSCO catalogue is still current. This means that the Department of Home Affairs has not yet accepted any of these changes for Skilled Migration purposes. But since the update was broadly requested by professional bodies, industries and other parties, a new occupation list for migration purposes and the Legislative Instruments may come up.

Source:
https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/classifications/anzsco-australian-and-new-zealand-standard-classification-occupations/2021

Canada faces huge backlog of immigration applications

The backlog at the Canadian Immigration Service is enormous. Currently, the counter stands at nearly 1.8 million immigration applications waiting to be processed. The backlog has increased by nearly 350,000 applications since July alone.

Dramatic figures

CIC News has received data from the ICCRC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) showing how many applications are in the pile for each visa category. These figures are applicable as of October 27 and rounded up:

Applications for permanent residency
(economic visas, family visas, refugee and humanitarian visa applications)
548.000
Temporary visa applications
(student visas, work visas, temporary resident visas and tourist visa extensions)
776.000
Applications for Canadian citizenship
(as of 26 October)
468.000
Total number of visas in backlog 1.792.000

The cause of this backlog

An ICCRC spokesperson explained that the ongoing international travel restrictions and border closures are causes for these shocking figures. But also the limited operational capacity and the difficulties for clients to obtain documentation from abroad due to COVID-19 have caused problems in the processing of applications. This has allegedly hampered the ICCRC’s ability to complete applications, causing delays that are said to be beyond ICCRC’s control.

The ICCRC has also published data on the number of applications processed during the pandemic. The figures are from January to September 2021.

2021 2020
Applications for permanent residency 337.000 214.000
Temporary visa applications   1.500.000 1.700.000
Applications for Canadian citizenship 134.000 80.000

Source:
https://www.cicnews.com/2021/11/canada-has-a-backlog-of-nearly-1-8-million-immigration-applications-1119651.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter-20211119#gs.hgqeel

ICCRC becomes ‘the College’

For many years we assist individuals and business relations with visa applications for Canada and Australia. In order to assist applicants to Canada, visa consultants are required to be registered. The ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council) was the party responsible for granting and regulating these registrations. Effective 23 November 2021, a change has been made. The ICCRC has now become the CICC: College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. Abbreviated to ‘the College’.

What will change?

In addition to the name change, a new logo is used. Otherwise, the register has remained the same. The same applies to the membership numbers. Our visa consultants can therefore still be found under the numbers below.

Christiane Kühn
#532359

Gwenda van Veldhuizen-Helmig
#R420775