Wednesday the 1st of October 2014
Volume 340

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Delay in NSW SMP releasing Oct round guidelines
The words Compliance, Rules, Regulations and Guidelines on colorful arrow road signs directing you

The guidelines for the October round of applications for the NSW State Migration Plan sponsorship were largely expected to be released this morning.The first intake for the program year under the new online processing took place on 14 July 2014 and has now closed. 


Unfortunately the only update so far has been that the proposed calender has been modified to say "To be Announced for the Occupation List update and Proposed applications open dates." The estimated date for the Occupation List update says mid-October and for the Application open dates says late-October.

We will be monitoring the NSW SMP website closely to bring updates to our anxious readers.

Update: ACT Occupation List and 190 nomination criteria, effective 1 October 2014

All occupations which were previously 'limited' are now closed. 

There are significant changes to the nomination guidelines, including:
  • Verification: you are no longer required to verify closed occupations.
  • Closed Occupations:

o   Canberra residents and Canberra graduates are not required to be working in the nominated occupation as long as they are working in a skilled occupation (with ANZSCO skill level 1 to 4). However, interstate graduates must still meet the six (6) months employment in the nominated occupation criteria.

o   Overseas residents require close ties before applying for a closed occupation. The definition of 'close family has been tightened to only include parents, brother, sister, grandparents, step parents, step siblings of the main applicant or spouse / partner.  

  • Assessment: The assessment of the application for ACT nomination will be based solely on the supporting documents provided at the time of application. Additional documents will not be accepted after submission The case officers will not be requesting further information. If the application is incomplete, or it does not meet the nomination criteria, the application will be refused.


Applications submitted and lodged prior to 1 October 2014  will be assessed against the August 2014 criteria. Limited occupations previously verified will also be honoured as long as the applications are lodged within 14 days of verification.


The updated ACT nomination criteria and occupation list are available at the Canberra your future  website

Sunny has questions of the fee level charged for an internship unit
The murky world of Unpaid student internships 

By: Mary Ward



In Semester One next year, Sunny Wang will complete a subject called MECO3671, as part of the final year of her Media and Communications degree at the University of Sydney.


There will be no lectures, no tutorials, and no exam at the end of term. In fact, for Sunny to complete the unit, she will not have to set foot on campus. MECO3671 is a unit called 'Media and Communications Internship'. It is a compulsory subject which Sunny - an international student from Shanghai - will pay $4,225 to take. Even though the sole course requirement is that she works at an external media organisation for free.


Unpaid internships have been a hot topic in workforce policy. While some view them as a great opportunity for generally unskilled uni students to get experience in their chosen field, the opportunity for exploitation is rife. While Fair Work Australia recommends that internships last for a short, pre-determined period, some media organisations keeping interns on staff in an unpaid capacity in excess of a year.


Speaking to Fairfax Media last month, Secretary of Unions NSW Mark Lennon described the trend as "abhorrent", advocating for a code of practice for unpaid internships.

Increasingly, universities are integrating unpaid internship programs into their courses. In Sydney alone, internship 'units of study' are offered at the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, and the University of NSW, either as an elective unit or as a course requirement. This presents a huge problem for international students, who are paying their unsubsidised university fees for a course in which they receive no actual tuition.


Sunny understands the merits of getting experience in the media before she finishes her degree, but thinks that forcing international students to pay full fees for the privilege of doing so is extortionate.


"Personally, I am okay with unpaid internships, but I don't think it's fair to pay the same fees as well as work for free," she says.


"I understand that university may have to pay money to the media companies and organizations for providing students with internship opportunities. But still, there are no lectures or tutorials for that unit and the fees for that internship unit should not be as high as a common unit."


Condition 8105 of the Australian student visa states that visa holders can only work 40 hours a fortnight while their course is in session.


While her degree's compulsory internship does not count towards this total (as it is a course requirement) Sunny worries about completing the additional unpaid internships she will need to get ahead in her field, while getting by financially.

"I will complete internships using my regular student visa because I have student visa till 2016 [when she graduates]," she says.


"But I will have to give up my part-time job when I do internships."


Alexander Enrico is studying the same degree as Sunny. Although he is yet to complete the degree's 'official' internship, he has undertaken two other internships during his time at university, at a community radio station and at the university's marketing department.


Like Sunny, he has accepted that, in the media industry at least, it is impossible to get anywhere without working for free.


"High supply and low demand will push down prices, in our case labour price, and to the point of it being free," he says.

"It sucks but, unfortunately, that's how it works."


As Alexander doesn't work while studying, he is happy to spend his spare time undertaking internships. He is careful to keep his hours below 40 hours a fortnight, to be sure not to violate his student visa requirements, although he was never been asked to work those sorts of hours at either of his internships.


While it is important for students to make sure that their internships are not too time consuming, the type of work they are completing should also be closely examined. Fair Work Australia recommends that the work completed while at an internship should not be "productive work", and that the placement should primarily benefit the intern, not their employer.


At Alexander's marketing internship, the work he was required to complete for free seemed to be the sort of work that one might expect to receive payment for.

"I was asked to interview 10 law school academics and to write a feature profile on each of them within about 6 weeks," he says. "The workload was quite demanding."


However, his initiative in looking for internships has paid off. He now hosts a show on the community radio station he previously interned at.


Alexander thinks that the biggest challenge for international students coming to Australia to study a degree in a creative industry like media is to look carefully at their chosen course's degree requirements and costs before accepting an offer to study.


"I've heard of other international students complaining about how expensive things are here and about the full fees and all, but honestly, they should've known that before making their choice to come here."

Mary Ward is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney. Her deep interest in journalism combined with her developing legal acumen helps her bring forth stories that are interesting on multiple levels.

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A warm welcome to Mary Ward as a contributing writer to IMMIGRATIONews.


When I first read this story I found it hard to believe that international students could be charged such a large sum of money for an internship program unit.


Sunny has good reason to question the amount of money she has to pay  whereby she receives zero tuition.


Is the University of Sydney making money as some job placement agency?


Of course the next obvious question is, how much is the university making from the number of international students taking this unit or similar internship units?


Is the University of Sydney alone on what it seems is just a money making exercise  whereby little is returned to the student?


I mean working for free is one issue but to have to fork out such a large sum of money to do so?


Come on, no sensible person would see that as being just.


At IMMIGRATIONews we have major concerns about people paying to be placed in internship programs.


This is a matter that we will pursue and we have asked Mary to dig a little deeper on this matter.

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