Wednesday the 17th of December 2014
Volume 355

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Dear subscribers

Today we bring to your attention the new changes on Partner Visa Application fees and to VETASSESS assessment applications from the 1st January 2015. 
 eMedical Changes
Starting from 1 January 2015 the Partner Visa Application Charge (VAC) is going to increase in price. This change will apply to permanent Partner visa subclasses (combined 309/100 and 820/801) and the prospective marriage visa (subclass 300). 


  • Provisional and permanent partner visas - currently $3085 increased to $4627.50
  • Prospective marriage visa - currently $3085 increased to $4627.50
  • Temporary and permanent partner visas - currently $4575 increased $6865.50

(Source: SBS)

This increase will not affect you if you have lodged a valid application prior to 1 January 2015.

VETASSESS set to revise its assessment results                                       
Resolving issues by asking the most important questions

On the 1st January 2015 the largest DIBP authorised skill assessment body in Australia, VETASSESS, will be changing the way it carries out skill assessments for general professional occupations.


The most significant part of this change may dramatically affect skilled migration applicants in their eligibility for the 187 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS), 489, 189 and 190 visas.


VETASSESS will be introducing a "Date Deemed Skilled" advice to the DIBP on the assessment letters


In the past VETASSESS skill assessments made no mention of a "Date Deemed Skilled" and applicants were considered skilled at the time they met the qualification requirements for their nominated occupation (see example here). For some time now for a full assessment (distinguished from the 'provisional assessment) of most general professional occupations required one year of highly relevant work experience in the nominated occupation. Many applicants using Australian work experience, have used this assessment to demonstrate that that have a positive skill assessment in their occupation plus claim for the 5 points for Australian work experience.


With these new changes by VETASSESS that may no longer be possible. This so called deeming date will mean that after the 1st January, the skill assessment result will have a date for example that eats up the 1st year of work experience and then you will only be considered skilled after that date. This will also have implications for those applying for ENS using the direct entry stream using a VETASSESS result.


The Direct Entry ENS requires the visa applicant to have three years experience after they reached the required skill level for their nominated occupation. These changes by VETASSESS will mean an applicant will need a minimum of 4 years of experience in total, one year to be deemed to be "skilled" and then the next three years are skilled work experience.


VEATASSESS provides this scenario to explain the changes;


"An applicant nominating the occupation of Chemist (ANZSCO Code: 234211) completes a relevant Bachelor degree in 2007 and has four years of relevant work experience from January 2010 to December 2013.

One year of work experience post the relevant qualification meets the skills assessment criteria and the date the applicant is deemed skilled will be January 2011. Therefore, all relevant/closely related employment from January 2011 will be considered skilled

employment and eligible for points test purposes."


You can read all of the advice sheet on the changes here.


What if I have already a VETASSESS result which is valid for 3 years for the DIBP purposes?


Well that is an interesting question. These old results have no deeming date so the DIBP would have to take the date of completion of the suitable qualification as when the applicant became skilled and therefore any work experience obtained after that qualification should be useful in a claim for points.


Any visa applicant or potential applicant who has an old result without a deeming date should be very cautious obtaining a work verification letter from them after the 1st of January for these letters will have a new deeming date on them. Our concerns arise from the following taken from the VETASSESS web site;


"Yes. Please use the SRG35 paper-based application form available on our website. The Points Test advice will include advice on the highest qualification held and date applicant is

deemed skilled based on evidence submitted for employment within the last ten years."


What this really means is that the work verification will include a deeming date of when you have become skilled. This may not to your advantage if you loose 12 months of work experience to use for the points test.


For example;


Jane obtained her VETASSESS result on the 20th December 2014. For the DIBP purpose it would be valid for three years. Jane obtained her result after demonstrating 12 months of Australian work experience which was highly relevant to her nominated occupation and she has the plan to ask the DIBP for 5 points for Australian work experience.


Jane thinks it is a good idea for VETASSESS to verify her work experience to make the process smoother with the DIBP. In January 2015 she pays for this service and receives a written reply from VETASSESS stating her deeming date is 12 months after she finished her degree and completed her work experience. As a result Jane cannot use her Australian work experience for 5 points under the GSM points system. Jane is devastated by this letter for without those 5 points she cannot lodge an Expression Of Interest (EOI).


It is disappointing that VETASSESS has not covered this obvious scenario in their media release.


Earlier this week IMMIGRATIONews spoke to VETASSESS's Manager of Skills Recognition General Occupations. We asked her why VETASSESS was different from the Australian Computer Society (ACS) in the treatment of recent Australian graduates. The ACS assess recent Australian graduates requiring 12 work experience but allow the applicants to use that 12 months towards the points system by giving a deeming date as the end of their qualification, not at the end of 12 months of work experience.  


VETASSESS told us they were not aware of the ACS requirement and would look into it. We asked if it was fair to people who studied Australian qualifications not to be deemed skilled after they complete their degrees. Again we were told we would get a reply but none have been forthcoming.     


Surprising isn't it that VETASSESS are not even aware  of what other skill assessment bodies are doing?  


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We asked VETASSES why is it when students finish  an Australian Bachelor Degree they are deemed "not qualified" from the 1st of January 2015 until they have completed one year experience in their fields?


Not surprisingly they couldn't answer  and their failure to provide  a written response makes it appear they  wish to dodge the issue.


If anyone told me after I completed my degree and I'm working in my field that I really wasn't qualified until one year work experience had been completed, I would laugh at them.


Unfortunately though, this is no laughing matter. 


What an insult. You complete your degree here and then get a job, take on all those responsibilities that such a role requires, then you told sorry your not qualified?


What arrogance VETASSESS is displaying.


Of course all of this doesn't really affect  those like me who are Australian citizens for VETASSESS has no relevancy in our lives.  


However they do have significant value to international students studying in Australia because depending upon your occupation you may be forced to use their assessment services.




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