Free Help Moving to Australia is a social network for people moving to Australia.

We have over 50,000 members (including many migration agents) who are available to offer free help and advice on all aspects of the migration journey and subsequent life in Australia.

Online for over 13 years, we have helped make thousands of members dreams a reality. If Australia if you you, then join us today.

Changes to Occupation lists in 2018

Changes to Occupation lists in 2018

A number of changes were made to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) in April and July 2017.


The Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skill List (MLTSSL) is likely to remain the same

The STSOL which is a list of occupations nominated for temporary and short-term visas is likely to see some changes.

Some of the occupations flagged for removal from the Short-term Skilled Occupation List are:

  • Accommodation and Hospitality manager
  • Hair or Beauty Salon Manager
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Building Associate

The following occupations MAY be added to the list:

  • University Tutor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Property Manager
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Real Estate Representative

It is also likely that Skilled Occupations List will include Airline Pilots in 2018 to address the shortage of pilots in Australia.

Following lobbying from the peak body for regional airlines, it’s been reported that the Skilled Occupations List will be revised to allow foreign pilots to come to the country on a 2 year work visa.

small-chat.pngDiscuss Skilled Visas on our forum

Parent Visas for Australia

Are your children / grand-children in Australia and you’d like to join them?

Our Parent Visa topic for Australia now has over 15,000 posts. Join the discussion today, get your parent visa questions answered and network with other parents/grandparents who are moving to Australia.

There are some important changes to Parent Visas which are due to be implemented this year.

In the 2017-18 federal budget, a new temporary sponsored parent visa was announced – to be available from November 2017. However, the new visa which will allow migrants’ parents to stay in the country for extended periods has been delayed.

The Bill enabling the new visa to come into effect has not yet been approved by the Senate.

Here are the six must know facts about the new long stay visa for parents:

  1. 3-year-visa will cost $5000, a 5-year-visa will cost $10,000 and a 10-year-visa will cost $20,000, with the opportunity of a single renewal for another five years at the same price.
  2. 15,000 people each year will be granted this long stay parent visa.
  3. Children/Sponsors will be required to pay for their parents’ private health insurance. The children will also need to act as financial guarantor on any extra healthcare costs their parents rack up in Australia.
  4. Those on the new visa will not be allowed to work, however, the government hopes they will take on family roles which would see “reduced pressure on childcare facilities.”
  5. Those sponsoring their parents for the new visa need to be Australian citizens or permanent residents, or “eligible New Zealand citizens”.
  6. The visa-holders would not be allowed to reapply beyond the 10 years and would have no pathway to permanent residency.
Moving Money To or From Australia?

Benefits of using a foreign exchange specialist

Local bank vs currency specialist 

If you’re sending money overseas, you may think using your local bank is the most convenient and efficient option, but working with a currency exchange specialist can give you access to great value rates and services that your bank may not be willing to provide.

In addition, a specialist can offer expert guidance to help you navigate the fluctuating currency market.

As an ex-pat, you could have a number of reasons why you need to convert currency, and accessing great rates and avoiding high fees could have a significant impact on the money you receive for any of the following:

• Buying a home in Australia;
• Converting UK rental income into Australian dollars;
• Repatriating Australian dollars back to the UK;
• Receiving your pension payments;
• Transferring money to friends and family overseas.

As well as great rates and lower fees than most high street banks, a specialist can also offer a range of product solutions to help you manage all your foreign exchange requirements

• Spot contracts for urgent payments which allow for same-day exchange and transfer;
• Stop-loss orders to prevent against precipitous drops in the exchange rate;
• Rate targeting and tracking to help you make the most of your money ;
• Regular payment plans to fix rates and collect funds from a UK account by direct debit for overseas payments;
• Easy-access online account management, supported by an expert team available on the phone.

Get started with moneycorp

moneycorp offers all our clients a professional service that helps you transfer money across borders and let you get on with enjoying your new life in Australia.

It’s free to register for a moneycorp account.

You can read more information on the Poms in Oz currency page –

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Medical Criteria for Australian Visa Applications

Medical Criteria for Visa Applications to Australia

By Richard Gregan, Registered Migration Agent 9905168

Owner and proprietor;

OE Visas Ltd

Ian Harrop & Associates Ltd


All visas, whether temporary or permanent carry health conditions. 

As a practising migration agent, I’m often asked whether it is even worthwhile applying for a visa if one of the applicants has a medical condition.    I can only answer these questions based on my past 21 years’ experience in dealing with these applications.  This is a difficult and complex area of migration law.  Answers are not always black and white.  There are often subtle shades of grey.

Part of my work will sometimes involve reviewing the potential visa applicant’s medical file with a doctor with a view to being able to say whether it is reasonable to proceed with an application.  This usually involves getting an idea of “costs to the Australian Community” before weighing these against policy and law.

I also often suggest the potential migrant consults their own GP and asks the question: Am I being unrealistic to even consider migrating to Australia with my medical condition?  A green light from your own primary health care giver is a good start and confidence booster.

Migrants who are permanent residents will be treated under the same health care arrangements as Australians who have paid into the Medicare scheme all their working lives.  The Migration Act and Regulations are designed to ensure that Australians are not disadvantaged by an incoming migrant taking up resources from their health care funds.

The most common conditions I come across where I would expect the applicant to eventually proceed with a visa grant are those with the following diagnoses:

Asthma, eczema, minor high blood pressure, well controlled epilepsy, type 1 diabetes, amputated limbs, applicants on long term thyroxine.  These conditions are relatively inexpensive to treat.

I am frank with any enquirer that the following conditions which will likely cause a visa refusal would include the following medical conditions:

active cancer, out of control type 2 diabetes, morbid obesity, waiting on or having received a transplanted organ, cardiac disease, history of strokes, dialysis patients and major psychiatric history.

Neither of these lists of examples are definitive red or green lights for a likely successful application. There are other conditions, too numerous to mention here that will result in both grants and refusals.   

It is important to understand that costs likely to be incurred by non-medical issues by people who have special needs such as major learning difficulties or require ongoing social care will also be considered by the case officer.

The criteria for deciding whether to grant a visa to an applicant with significant medical or social issues is “how much will it cost to treat or care for this new migrant”?  If the amount is $40,000 AUD per year the case will almost certainly fail.  These costs include such things as medication, hospital admissions, surgery etc.  They also include such things as special learning school needs, social or residential care.

There are exceptions for some visas where a “medical waiver” and a “health undertaking” is available.  Your application is way past the “DIY” stage if this applies to you.  You should speak to a professional MARA registered agent or specialist lawyer.

Further information can be found at;

Schedule 4, Criteria 4005

Procedure Advice Manual (PAM)

Public Interest Criteria (PIC) – Significant Costs and Prejudice access to healthcare and community services.

Medical Officer of The Commonwealth (MOC)

If you have concerns speak to a reputable MARA agent.


Richard Gregan

MARA 9905168




Australian Visa Timeline Immigration Tracker

How long does it take for my Australia Visa to be granted?

If you’re applying (or about to apply) for an Australian visa, you want to know how long it’s going to take to be granted.
This is understandable, as you’re eager to start your new life in Australia. Having such information will also allow you to get on with other crucial steps in the immigration process.

This can include knowing when to put your house up for sale – too early and you may have to move into temporary rental accommodation if your house sells and your visa hasn’t been granted.
Conversely, if you delay putting your house up for sale, you may end up with your visa being granted and not being able to move as your house hasn’t sold and your equity is tied up in the property.

Other things to consider are knowing when to organise international removals – shipping your goods to Australia takes several weeks.

Knowing when to start job hunting, arranging for your children to finish school etc.

As you can see, being able to accurately predict when your visa will be granted is very important.

There are several ways you can get information to help you determine approximate waiting times.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection publish approximate processing times on there website.

The information is not specific to your case however and goes along the lines of “75% of applications processed in x number of days” for example.

It’s also possible to send a blank email to DIBP for some visas and this will trigger an automated email response which contains approximate processing times.

Australia Visa Timelines Immigration Tracker

Another method is to visit groups and forums such as as many members post there visa timelines on the forums to compare with other members timelines.

A third way, and a method which is becoming more popular is to utilize an immigration tracker / visa timelines website such as

This allow you to enter key dates about your visa application and compare them in tabular format with lost of other members.

You can look at who’s applied for the same visa as you, the same dates as you, from the same country, occupation etc.

This will allow you obtain greater insight into the likely time is will take for your visa to be granted.

A good immi tracker website will cater for all visa types and some also allow you to track your citizenship application as well.

Australia Migration News August 2017 roundup

Lots of Australia Visas news to catch up on.


Reduction in Visa numbers

The Australian government is looking to reduce the number of different types of visas from just under 100 to 10. It argues that such streamlining will make the visa system more responsive to the countries socio-economic and security interests. The discussion paper is open until the 15th Sept.

Mandatory provisional visas before permanent residency

The Australian goverment is also looking at changes to the visas system so that migrants coming to Australia have to spend a certain period of time on mandatory provisional visas before they are granted/eligible for permanent residency (PR). The Immigration Department is exploring this possibility in a visa transformation discussion paper which is open until the 15th Sept.


Bad skilled visa sponsors to be named and shamed

Businesses that fail to meet their obligations as sponsors of skilled visa workers will be named and shamed under proposed new laws.

The immigration department is now only able to publish limited information regarding breaches.

But legislation introduced to parliament recently will allow them to publicly detail information about the company and any penalties issued.

Points required for SkillSelect appear to be dropping

Results for the 23 August round of SkillSelect have been released and the scores required for 189 invitations have started dropping.

Skilled Independent Subclass 189 – Non Pro Rata Occupations
For non-pro rata occupations, the minimum score for an invitation for a Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa has dropped from 70 to 65 in the latest round.

IT Professionals
Minimum score for ICT Business and Systems Analysts remain at 70, but the minimum score for Software and Applications Programmers and Computer Network Professionals has dropped to 65 points in the most recent round.

Most engineering specializations are not pro rata so the minimum score will be 65 for these occupations.
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers dropped to 65 in the most recent round.
It is expected Other Engineering Professionals will also likely drop from 70 to 65 within the next couple of rounds.


No transition period for changes to citizenship rules

Skilled migrants and students caught up in the Turnbull government’s citizenship changes won’t get any flexibility when it comes to the new laws, an inquiry has heard.

On April 20 the prime minister announced an overhaul of the citizenship law, proposing to introduce a stand-alone English language test and increasing the waiting time from one year to four years for permanent residents before they can apply for citizenship, among other measures.

The changes, if parliament passes the bill, will apply from the announcement date.

Liberal senator Ian Macdonald quizzed immigration department officials in Brisbane on Thursday on whether some of the 50,000 people, such as skilled workers and students, who had applied for citizenship since April 20 could be helped by giving them a transition period.

“A skilled migrant doing all the right things (is) about to apply for citizenship and then the 20th April comes along and throws the best laid plans…asunder,” Senator Macdonald said.

Senior department official David Wilden said there would be no “carve out” or transition phase.

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Higher Uni costs for Australian Permanent Residents

From January 1 2018 most permanent residents & New Zealanders will no longer be eligible for subsidised places at University, meaning they will pay about three or four times more for their degrees, on average.

To compensate, the government will now allow those groups to access the Higher Education Loan Program, meaning they can defer their fees and pay back the loan once they start earning regular income.

Universities, researchers and even New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English reacted negatively to the plan, with Mr English bluntly warning Canberra on Tuesday: “We’re pretty unhappy about it.”

But Education Minister Simon Birmingham argued the changes will encourage about 60,000 new students to study in Australia because they will no longer have to pay fees upfront.

“Access to student loans could attract some new students for whom upfront payment was a disincentive to study, leading to an estimated 60,000 additional [full-time students],” the government contended in a policy paper.

It did not stipulate the time period for the 60,000 extra students, nor how the number was modelled, and the minister’s office did not answer questions before deadline on Tuesday.

Recent visa changes also mean permanent residents must wait four years to become an Australian citizen, meaning they could be liable for full fees for the duration of their degree.

About 20,000 permanent residents and NZ citizens are currently enrolled in Australian universities, according to government estimates. They will be unaffected by the changes, which apply to people beginning their courses after January 1 next year.

Representatives from the tertiary sector attended urgent briefings on Tuesday and reserved judgment about the changes, although one observer noted “a few wry smiles” when government representatives suggested a potential deluge of New Zealanders.

Henry Sherrell, researcher at the Crawford School of Public Policy, was sceptical that potential students would flock to Australia the way the government anticipated.

While students did not typically react to big movements in degree fees, “that is not the case when you have very specific settings for certain groups of people”, he said.

Higher prices “will be a disincentive, even if it is an income-contingent loan, even if it does go through HECS,” Mr Sherrell said.

Category: Finance  Leave a Comment
Businesses to be charged yearly Foreign Worker Levy

As expected, the federal govt used yesterday’s budget to outline its plans to abolish the 457 visa and replace the scheme with short and medium-term streams.

Application fees for the short-term, two year visas will increase by $90 to $1150, while four-year visa applications will cost $2400 apiece.

In addition to this, companies will also be charged annual foreign worker levies.

Under the existing scheme, employers have contributed one of two per cent of their payroll to training if they employed foreign workers.

But as the requirements have proved almost impossible to police the govt is taking a different route.

From March 2018, businesses that employ foreign workers on certain skilled visas will be required to pay money into a “Skilling Australians” fund.

Companies turning over less than $10 million per year must make an upfront payment of $1200 (per visa, per year) for each employee on a temporary visa.

They must also make a one-off payment of $3000 for each staffer sponsored for a permanent skilled worker visas.

Businesses with turnovers above $10 million will be required to make up front payments of $1800 for each worker on temporary visas and $5000 one-off levies for those on permanent skilled visas.

The levy is expected to rake in $1.2 billion over the next four years, which will be funnelled into a new Commonwealth-State skills fund.

“States and territories will only be able to draw on this fund when they deliver on their commitments to train new apprentices,” Mr Morrison said in his budget speech.