Q and A with Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Sydney/19 August, 201

Q and A with Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.jpg

Join us for

Q and A with the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border protection

The Hon Alex Hawke MP

on Visa and Immigration matters

WHEN: Wednesday, 20 September 2017, 6.30-8.30pm

Where: Madison Function Centre, 632 Old Northern Rd, Dural NSW 2158

Free event, but RSVP essential

RSVP: fianinc1@gmail.com

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

 

457 Visa class terminated

Sydney, April 18, 2017

457 class Visa

Malcolm Turnbull TwitterAustralian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration and Border Protection Minister, Peter Dutton, announced today that they have abolished Temporary Worker (Skilled) Visa (subclass 457),  effective immediately.

457 Visa will be replaced by two new temporary Visa classes, which will allow employers and businesses to hire a skilled person from overseas provided they can’t find a suitably skilled local person.

People who will get these visas must have relevant work experience of at least 2 years, have better English proficiency and pass criminal check. This is to ensure that only the best people get this visa.

One of these new classes will be for a shorter period of 2 years. After the conclusion of 2 years, the employees will not be able to apply for PR visa.

Another of the new visa will be able for 4 years, if they have a minimum relevant work experience of 2 years, fulfil tougher English proficiency test and clear the criminal and background check, the criteria which are not applicable for current 457 visa presently.

Fees for both these new visa ($1,150  for 2 years Visa and $2,400 for 4 years Visa) will be higher than what is the case presently. Special concessions in a variety of ways and manners will continue to be available for regional Australia.

Out of about 600 categories of occupations in the list for 457 visa, about 200 categories will be removed.

A minimum wage will be fixed to stop unfair advantage to overseas employees when it comes to wages.

Employers will have to do a mandatory labour testing of the job market and offer the job to a suitably skilled Australian (or a PR visa holder), before such job can go to an overseas person.

Employers and businesses, who employ overseas workers would be required to contribute some funds for training of local people.

As of September, 2016, there are about 95,000 primary 457 visa holders and about 76,000 secondary 457 visa holders (family members of primary 457 visa holders).

Indians constitute about 25% of the total 457 visas, followed by the British at 20% and people from People’s Republic of China (PRC) at about 5%.

Total 457 visa holders are less than 1% of total workers in Australia.

Peter Dutton TwitterMinister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, confirmed that these changes will not affect those who are already holding 457 visa, and current 457 visa holders will be able to apply for the PR visa at the end of their 4 years employment.

The new visa category will be finalised in March 2018, and will be implemented immediately.

It is expected that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will release more details in days to weeks from now.

More details: http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/prime-minister-malcolm-turnbull-has-banned-457-visas/news-story/7064434e051073a0882a3e11dd8bc87f

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/457-visas-to-be-scrapped-new-visa-rules-explained/news-story/0c83d69f94d61c7d81c4dbcccbb56050

http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-457-visa-changes/news-story/3894724396a5c7f99491c961ae9b8088

Rob Harris, journalist from the Herald Sun newspaper has posted following information about which categories are excluded from sponsored visa categories.

List of removed occupations: https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists/removed-skilled-occupations

It is well-known that 457 Visa system was scammed by many employers and businesses. Many times, employers were not testing the market for the availability of suitably skilled local people. Even worse, many employers and businesses were taking money for sponsoring people on 457 visa. Market rates for such bribe ranged from $40,000 to 70,000. I personally know an example of a so-called businessman, who also masquerades as community leader, who took $150,000 from 3 people to sponsor them for 457 visa. Despite this, he didn’t do the proper job, before selling his business to someone else. The new owner demanded money again. Victims contacted a few of us (4 people), seeking assistance. You should not be surprised to know that this particular “businessman” has been given an “Excellence in community service” award by an association. Another example is that of a “businessman” who is known as a “Go to” man in the community for arranging the “match making” for this type of visa. Obviously, he makes his money from not only the “sponsoted” employee, but also from the one who “sponsors” the “employee”. Many of this type of “businesspeople” are often awarded “role model of the community” titles and are listed in Who is Who columns in the communities, because of variety of reasons, none of which can be called genuine or clean. Some foolish Government ministers include them in their delegations and these people are often seen around political leaders to create an impression of their high connections to scare the victims and stop them from complaining to authorities.

There is no doubt that quite a lot of employers, likely to be the majority, sponsor right type of people on 457 visa for the right reasons and act ethically, but it’s undeniable that corruption and rorting are rampant. Exploitation for some of these visa holders is not uncommon. There  is always a sword of the threat of cancelling the sponsorship hanging over 457 visa holders, if they did not do and pay what employers wanted. Once this sponsorship gets cancelled, the employee must find a new  sponsor within 60 days, which is very difficult, if not impossible in many cases.

This behavior not only harms the Australian job seekers, because they miss out on a job, but it also promotes corruption and creates exploitation-based employment industry. This also contributes to cash economy, because the money exchange involved in this, by necessity, is in cash form.

There are already comments from the opposition and Unions that these changes are not enough and are just window dressing.  Looking at the changes, one thing becomes obvious that the shorter term visa  (2 years variety) is likely to be used only for genuine employees.  Nobody is going to pay for a sponsorship which doesn’t lead to PR visa at the end of the sponsored job. Let us see what outcome these changes deliver. Their efficacy in tackling 457 visa rorts will become clear in due course.

I am of the firm opinion that Labour market testing to see if an Australian worker is available before hiring someone from overseas should be done independently, as recommended by the John Azarius inquiry. It is hard to rely on such testing by the employers themselves.

In my view any action to control and eradicate the corruption is welcome. In fact, I believe that Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) should do everything including strengthening the resources for surveillance, investigation and prosecution against those who are involved in the rorting of sponsored visa programmes, They will have a better chance to catch the scammers if DIBP gives protection, including offering Justice visa, to the victims, to encourage them to testify and provide the necessary evidence against the visa scammers.

I hope that these changes make the sponsored jobs programme good and fair for Australia and Australians, as well as those who apply for this visa. Anything which cleans this visa programme is certainly going to be better than what we have today.

The programme for the obvious reasons will need regular reviewing and fine tuning to make it effective and to be meeting the needs of Australia

Dr Yadu Singh

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http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Community consultation for new proposed temporary visa for parents

Sydney, 14 November, 2016

It was a privilege and an honour to be invited by Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for a community round table consultation held at Holiday Inn Parramatta on Thursday, 27 October, 2016.

After receiving the invitation, I consulted a few Migration professionals including Thiru Arumugam and several community members, besides reviewing relevant information, to have a full perspective and understanding of this matter.

The round table consultation was chaired by Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, The Hon Alex Hawke MP.

The consultation had about 15 people from various communities which included Indian Australian, Chinese Australian communities and broader Australian community as well as representatives of local MPs and aged care providers.

As we know, the Coalition and Australian Labor Party gave commitments for a new and improved temporary visa for parents during the campaign for 2nd July Federal election.

After the Coalition Government was re-elected, a discussion paper was released by Assistant minister on 23 September, 2016. This was followed by consultations with the broader Australian community.

This consultation had two formats;

  1. Written submission: Closed on 31 October, 2016
  2. Community consultations: DIBP invited key members of the Australian community to participate in closed-door forum discussions for the inputs for final settings of this Visa. Such consultations took place in Sydney CBD, Parramatta, Melbourne and Brisbane in October and November. Sessions were chaired by Minister Hawke and also had participations from key DIBP officials.

Final particulars and details of this Visa will be announced by the end of 2016 and the new temporary parent visa will be implemented from 1 July 2017.

Australian Migration Programme has 3 components;

  1.  Temporary Visa programmes,
  2.  Humanitarian Programme: 13,750 places available in 2016-17.
  3.  Permanent Migration programme: 190,000 places available in 2016-17. It has Skill stream and Family stream.  Skill stream (128,500)  is 2/3 of the programme. Skill stream can be either points tested or employer sponsored. Family stream has 57,400 places. Preference is given to spouses, partners and children.  Extended family members including parents had 8675 places in 2016-17.

As you know, there are basically three types of visa available for parents.

A. Temporary visitor visa: This visa is generally valid for 3 months of stay but can be for a period of 12 months. It requires parents to leave Australia for 6 months after staying here for 12 months. There are further and longer options of Visa duration of 5 or 3 years depending on whether they have lodged a permanent Parent Visa application or not. A security bond may be needed.

B. Parent Visa: Also called Parent non-contributory Visa. Parents can apply for this visa in usual way if they qualify for balance of family test. Lodgement of “Assurance of Support” (AoS) is required from eligible sponsors (Children). Very few places are available. Only about 1500 such Visa were issued in 2015-16. Waiting period is about 30 years.

C. Contributory Parent Visa: This has a waiting period of about 2 years but sponsors are required to pay Visa Application Charge (VAC) of about $47,295 for the primary applicant and $44,845 for the spouse, and AoS of  about $20,000 before this Visa can be issued. Balance of Family test must still be passed.

You can see that B and C type of Visa are not a realistic option for many parents and families.

Considering the benefits from the stay of parents with their children’s families in Australia (cultural, psychological, help in child care, their children’s earlier resumption of work after maternity/paternity leave), there has been a growing demand from migrants (Australian citizens and permanent residents) to have the facility for a better and more practical system for parent visa.

Both major parties announced their decision to work for such new temporary visa for parents during recent Federal election campaign.  Both parties also  said that such Visa must not cause undue financial burden on Australian community and affect the Budget adversely.

Consultation process is part of this work. The Turnbull Government has also been in close consultations with the Federal Opposition. This proposed Visa is basically a bi-partisan endeavour.

Salient features of proposed temporary parent Visa:

  1. It will be for up to 5 year duration.
  2. It will have multi-entry provisions
  3. It will not require parents to leave Australia after 12 months’ stay. They can live here for full 5 years.
  4. They can reapply for another up to 5 years long Visa.
  5.  Balance of family test not needed.
  6. Some sort of Assurance of support (AoS) in the form of a Bond from the sponsoring children will be a part of this Visa to take care of any contingency
  7. Parents must hold a valid Health Cover from an Australian Health Cover provider.
  8. There will be a Visa Application Charge (VAC).
  9. The sponsor must have been living and contributing to Australia for a number of years. A longer period will give them a higher priority in eligibility.
  10. The sponsor will go through income and asset assessments.
  11. The sponsor will be required to undergo a criminal history check and agree to a range of enforceable obligations.
  12. Re-application of this Visa can occur onshore.

I took part in the discussion actively and contributed to it, I believe, meaningfully.

My suggestions included following besides many others;

  1. There should not be any age restrictions as long as parents pass the health check ie physiological age preferred over chronological age.
  2. Depending on relevant factors, they should also be given limited rights to work for a small numbers of hours. Such jobs should be those which a local is not prepared to do.
  3. Government should explore the possibility to have a more affordable Health cover through Medicare, if possible, because the cost of adequate Health care for one person is about $250/month which is $3000 a year for one person and $6000 for the couple. This is not a small cost. If Medicare could come up with a Health Cover scheme, without having profit as a goal, it is likely the premium may be upto 30% cheaper.
  4. Government should talk with Private Health Cover providers to develop an insurance cover for the total health care cost including “Gap” payments which can be substantial if parents require hospitalisation or need to consult specialists.
  5. There should not be any waiting period for re-application after end of the duration of the Visa and onshore re-application should be allowed.
  6. There should not be any English language requirement as such requirement will defeat the very purpose of this Visa.
  7. VAC should not be higher than what it is for temporary parent Visa presently.
  8. Income and asset assessments for sponsors should not be onerous and mechanisms for AoS (how AoS can be delivered by the sponsor) should be made easier and practical.
  9. Full refunds should be made if an application for Contributory Parent Visa is withdrawn and application for this new Visa is made.

At present, many things about and details of this proposed Visa are not clear or confirmed. After taking notes of submissions and consultations, the policy will be finalized and announced at the end of 2016. The visa will be implemented from 1 July, 2017.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

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Plans to repeal Section 18C of Racial Discrimination Act dumped!

Tony Abbott

Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced today that he has dumped plans to repeal Section 18C of Racial Discrimination Act.

He said that he wants to work with communities as part of “Team Australia”.

This is very sensible and very welcome!

Of the 4100 submissions in regards to Sec 18C, 76% were against the repeal or any tempering of Section 18C.

Ethnic communities were overwhelmingly against the repeal. These included Chinese, Arabic, Jewish, Indians and many others.

ALP leaders, especially NSW Leader of Opposition,  John Robertson, and most Liberal Party leaders, especially Premiers of NSW (Mike Baird) and Victoria (Denis Napthine), Craig Lundy (Reid MP), Matt Kean (Hornsby MP), Geoff Lee (Parramatta MP) and Alex Hawke (Mitchell MP) were opposed to the proposal to repeal Sec 18C.

NSW Community Relations Commission (CRC) too took a stand against this repeal proposal. CRC chief, Vic Alhadeff, took a prominent leadership role in opposing this repeal proposal.

From our side, my friends and I ran a campaign via Social media and Blog post.

My post (http://tinyurl.com/pqfv8ct) was forwarded to more than 15000 people of Indian Australian Community, with overwhelming support to oppose the repeal. I encouraged my fellow community members to forward the Blog post to their network and send their submissions to the Attorney General, Senator George Brandis.

My Blog post was also published in many Australian newspapers. Hills News, Penrith City Gazette and Blacktown Sun were the most prominent among them.

http://www.hillsnews.com.au/story/2246552/dr-yadu-singh-why-section-18c-of-racial-discrimination-act-should-not-be-repealed/

http://www.theindiantelegraph.com.au/the-growing-presence-of-a-leader-dr-yadu-singh-takes-the-fight-where-it-matters/

http://www.veooz.com/news/2H8dFMX.html

http://www.penrithcitygazette.com.au/story/2246552/dr-yadu-singh-why-section-18c-of-racial-discrimination-act-should-not-be-repealed/

http://www.blacktownsun.com.au/story/2246552/dr-yadu-singh-why-section-18c-of-racial-discrimination-act-should-not-be-repealed/

I am pleased that repeal proposal has been dumped.

Prime Minister deserves a thank you and people who campaigned against the repeal deserve a special “thank you and well done”.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/5th Aug, 2014

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in favour

 

Why Western Sydney needs an Airport at Badgerys Creek?

Image

(Pic courtesy Daily Telegraph Newspaper)

Does Sydney need a second airport, and if yes, where?

This debate has been going on for decades. It is about time that Govt starts a real action.

Kingsford Smith Airport (KSA) will not be able to provide new slots for any airline beyond 2027, while number of passengers will keep growing. 87 million passengers are expected to use KSA by 2035, and these numbers will double by 2060. The capacity deficit in landing slots beyond 2027 will adversely impact NSW/Australian economy. $60 billion is the cost by 2060 due to capacity constraints at KSA.

Capacity constraints can be ameliorated to some extent if landing/taking off curfew at KSA between 11PM to 6AM can be relaxed or removed. This is not practical because this curfew is part of an Act, and it will not be allowed by people living near KSA.

This is thus clear that Sydney needs a second airport. There is no further capacity at 900 ha KSA to build new runways or extend its operation.

Badgerys Creek, a 1700 ha land in South West Sydney, can be a good site for second airport. The land is owned by Commonwealth, and has been meant to be used for 2nd airport. It was acquired wayback in 1986-91. Wilton near Campbelltown is not as good a site as Badgerys Creek is, because it will require much bigger cost in building an airport and the associated infrastructure. Badgerys Creek can be built and be in operation in 10 years, while Wilton will take 17 years.

Badgerys Creek is therefore the only realistic site at present for Sydney’s second airport.

Studies have shown that an airport in Western Sydney will generate 28000 jobs by 2050, and add billions to the economy. It will supercharge the economy in Western Sydney.

Western Sydney has higher unemployment rates, and there are pockets where upto 30% are unemployed.

It is expected that here will be 500,000 job deficit in Western Sydney by 2050.

Western Sydney needs major infrastructure projects to turbo-charge economy and create jobs.

An airport in Badgerys Creek is definitely one such infrastructure. An airport alone somewhere in the middle of paddock in Western Sydney will not be enough. The region needs road and rail network, linking it with South West Rail link and possibly NW Rail Link. Roads in the region will need to upgraded and linked with M4, M5 and M7. It will cost money, which needs to come from Federal and State funding. That is where it becomes necessary for Commonwealth and NSW Govt to work co-operatively for the sake of Western Sydney region and its residents.

Western Sydney can’t be ignored because its people are not second class, and it is the engine-head of NSW economy. Recent survey has suggested its economic growth to be far superior to North Sydney and Sydney CBD. Some area within Western Sydney had economic growth rate above 6%, while CBD grew by about 1% only.

NSW economy needs Western Sydney!

Recent surveys have found that majority of people in Western Sydney support an airport in Western Sydney. Many councils including Liverpool Council and Holroyd Council are sympathetic to Badgerys Creek Airport.

NSW ALP and its leader, John Robertson, and federal ALP Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, are in support. Deputy PM, Warren Truss, Treasurer, Joe Hockey, and PM, Tony Abbott, are in support for the second airport. There appears to be a bipartisan support federally. Mulgoa MP, Mrs Tanya Davies, is in support. Penrith Council Mayor is sympathetic. Many federal MPs like Craig Lundy and Alex Hawke are supporting it, but others like Fiona Scott, Chris Bowen and Ed Husic are apparently opposed to it.

People living in Western Sydney will need to lobby their State and Federal MPs, and local Councils to get them behind an airport in Western Sydney.

Initially, NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell was against such airport, and was in favour of extension/upgrade of Canberra airport  for this purpose, but this proposition is not being favoured by anyone, because of distance and $8-10 billion cost in providing a high-speed rail between Canberra and Sydney.

It is about time that leaders from all persuasions and all tiers of Govt start working co-operatively for the interest of Western Sydney region and its residents!

I see merit in the demands of Western Sydney Airport Alliance, asking for a definitive announcement of Badgerys Creek Airport soon (if we want aeroplanes to start Flying from Badgerys Creek Airport by 2027), establishing a dedicated “Western Sydney Airport Authority” and starting community awareness/consultation about technical aspects of the airport, not the site per se.

Badgerys Creek is practically and realistically the only site for an airport in Western Sydney.

To avoid any political implication for any Party, let there be a bipartisan announcement from leaders which should include Prime Minister, NSW Premier, Leader of Federal Opposition, and Leader of NSW Opposition.

Dr Yadu Singh/5th March, 2014

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