Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs
Print this page Font size smaller Font size larger

Output 1.1 - Migration and temporary entry

Highlights

International education

The broad objectives of the student visa programme are to increase export revenue by promoting Australia's education services overseas, to develop trade and commercial links, and to promote goodwill and understanding of Australia. According to the Department of Education, Science and Training, education is Australia's second-largest service export after tourism, and the fourth-largest overall in terms of goods and services (after coal, iron ore, and tourism). It directly and indirectly contributes about 48 000 jobs for Australians.

We continue to develop policy and improve service delivery by engaging the peak bodies that represent Australia's international education sector. These bodies include other government agencies, education providers, student representative bodies, and the migration and education advice industries.

Against this background, from 2004-05 to 2005-06 there has been an increase in studentvisa approvals (offshore grants increased by 10.67 per cent), with an all-time record of 190 674 student visas approved in 2005-06. At the same time, we have maintained a high standard of integrity as demonstrated by improvements in non-compliance levels.

We continue to improve our client service through enhancements to the online student visa facilities. There has been a significant increase in uptake of eVisa by students from countries that represent a low immigration risk, signifying that clients are becoming increasingly confident with electronic service delivery options. The trial of an eVisa service for students from the People's Republic of China, India, Indonesia, and Thailand is also proving successful, with an uptake rate of 42.09 per cent across the four countries.

Further improvements in non-compliance levels and increasing approval rates have led to lower student visa risk ratings (assessment levels) assigned to 15 countries, effective from

1 November 2005. These reductions demonstrate the success of the risk assessment model for student visas, rewarding efforts by education providers and their agents to recruit genuine students, and improve the quality of visa applications. It also reflects improvements in students' performance and compliance with visa requirements. The adjustments on 1 November 2005 are expected to support growth in a number of emerging markets, and help the industry increase the diversity of the international student population in Australia.

Migration Programme outcomes

The government increased the Skill Stream visas by 20 000 places in 2005-06 programme year. Priority for these places was given to the employer-sponsored visas, state and territory-sponsored visas, and occupations in national shortage. The government also placed senior immigration officers in industry groups, conducted recruitment expos in Australia and overseas, and delivered employer awareness seminars and workshops.

Our Regional Outreach Officers continue to play an integral role in promoting and supporting regional migration initiatives. Working closely with state and territory governments and regional authorities, this network engages directly with regional employers to provide information about our programmes. Having a local contact point and the opportunity to meet personally with a departmental officer is a service highly valued by regional stakeholders.

The government continues to work closely with state, territory, and local governments to promote state-specific and regional migration initiatives through the Commonwealth State/Territory Working Party on Skilled Migration.

State-specific and regional migration

The number of migrants sponsored by employers and by state and territory governments continues to increase. There were 15 226 migrants in the employer-sponsored category, a 16.9 per cent increase over the 2004-05 outcome. Around 27 500 visas were granted under the state-specific and regional migration mechanisms compared to 18 700 visas in 2004-05. These migrants have helped to fill skill shortages in local communities across Australia. Figure 3 shows the growth of state-specific and regional migration initiatives.

Skilled-Independent Regional visa

The Skilled-Independent Regional (SIR) visa was introduced on 1 July 2004 as a three-year provisional visa. It is designed for people who do not meet the skilled-independent pass-mark and who want to live and work in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan centre. After living for two years and working full-time for a total of 12 months in regional Australia, SIR visa holders are eligible to apply for a permanent regional visa.

We issued 3919 SIR visas in 2005-06 compared with 1440 in 2004-05. We expect the first SIR visa holders will become eligible for permanent visas in the 2006-07 programme year.

We gathered preliminary SIR survey data six months after arrival from SIR visa holders who were granted SIR visa and were living in Australia between 1 July 2004 and 31 October 2005. This data indicates that South Australia is the largest sponsor of SIR visas (67 per cent), followed by Victoria (14 per cent) and Queensland (12 per cent). For this group, the employment rate (principal applicants) is 82 per cent, of whom, 72 per cent are working in skilled jobs. The vast majority (88 per cent) thought that it was the right decision to migrate and are settling well into life in Australia.

Figure 3: Australian total - State-specific and regional skilled migration
Figure 3.jpg

Research on migration

In 2005-06, an Evaluation of General Skilled Migration Categories was conducted by three of Australia's leading immigration experts, Dr Bob Birrell, Associate Professor Lesleyanne Hawthorne, and Professor Sue Richardson. The evaluation confirmed good results for Australia's methods for selecting skilled migrants but has also identified some areas where we can enhance the way we target the needs of the labour market.

To give migrants the best chance of success in the Australian labour market the government has decided to:

  • increase the base level of English language proficiency which must be demonstrated by applicants for general skilled migration visas
  • increase the allocation of bonus points to applicants who achieve English-language scores at above the base level
  • place greater emphasis on skilled work experience as a factor in the points test.

The first wave of the third Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA 3) was conducted in late 2005 and data from this survey has already been used in the Evaluation of General Skilled Migration Categories. With two more survey waves planned, the LSIA 3 will provide a comprehensive description of migrants' changing settlement patterns and labour market outcomes during their early years in Australia.

International engagement

We continued to pursue Australia's interests in 'trade in services' involving the movement of people through international engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and free trade agreement negotiations. Activities included:

  • providing secretariat and project management support to the APEC Business Mobility Group
  • representing Australia in APEC sub-forum meetings
  • managing the APEC Business Travel Card scheme
  • providing immigration expertise to Australian negotiators involved in negotiations for the World Trade Organisation General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO GATS) and to those negotiating free trade agreements to which Australia is a party.

APEC projects that we initiated and managed include the Advance Passenger Information APEC Pathfinder Initiative (API) and the Regional Movement Alert List (RMAL) system. Participating economies (currently Australia, the United States of America, and New Zealand) cooperate with a system that allows passports to be checked against lost and stolen passport data in real time. This system has the potential to expand to other APEC economies. We host the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) scheme in which 17 of the 21 APEC economies participate. There are now 12 000 card holders in the scheme.

1.1.1 Economic entry (permanent)


Objectives

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • maximise the economic and budgetary benefits from granting provisional and Permanent Resident visas to skilled and business migrants
  • address key and emerging skill shortages, particularly in regional Australia
  • expand business establishment and investment.
Table 4: Performance information - Economic entry (permanent)
2005-06 Measures

Results

2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
37 700 onshore applications (persons) finalised 22 859 28 360 33 188 37 044
73 000 offshore applications (persons) finalised 56 485 59 094 62 450 78 015
6910 nomination/sponsorship applications finalised 5166 5884 6711 7000
Performance against service standards See output component 1.1.1 on page 90

(1) Applications processed in Taipei are not reflected in the applications (persons) finalised quantities.

Description

Table 5 shows the broad categories of the Skill Stream and compares outcomes from 2005-06 with outcomes from 2004-05.

Table 5: Migration Programme outcome - Skill Stream
Category 2004-05 2005-06 Per cent change

Employer Sponsored

13 020 15 230 17.0

Skilled Independent

41 180 49 860 21.1

State/Territory Sponsored

4140 8020 93.7

Skilled Australian Sponsored(1)

14 530 19 060 31.2

Distinguished Talent

190 100 -47.4

Business Skills

4820 5060 5.0

1 November

0 10 -

Total

77 880 97 340 25.0

Note: Numbers have been rounded and totals may not be the exact sum of the components. (1) Includes State Territory Nominated Independent and Skilled Independent Regional.Source: DIMA, MPMS and ICSE data


Regional migration and skills shortages

State-specific and regional migration initiatives now account for 28 per cent of the Skill Stream of the Migration Programme. Figure 4 shows the growth of these initiatives over time.

State-specific and regional migration mechanisms offer a range of avenues through which employers and state and territory governments can fill skill shortages that cannot be filled locally. These mechanisms are highly targeted to address existing skill shortages and help in the development of local communities.

We issued 27 500 visas in 2005-06, an increase of 47 per cent over the previous year (see Figure 4), and approximately 83 850 visas have been issued since 1996 under these mechanisms.

The distribution of these visas across the states and territories in 2004-05 and 2005-06 is shown in Table 6.

The government has worked with state and territory governments to encourage Australian employers and potential overseas applicants to consider these pathways.

Table 6: State-specific and regional migration
State/Territory 2004-05 2005-06 Per centchange

New South Wales

1300 1640 26.2

Victoria

7100 10 570 48.9

Queensland

2410 3120 29.5

South Australia

4950 8240 66.5

Western Australia

1790 2420 35.2

Tasmania

460 510 10.9

Northern Territory

160 310 93.8

Australian Capital Territory

530 690 30.2

Total

18 700 27 500 47.1

Source: DIMA Migration Programme Data

Figure 4: State-specific and regional migration visas 1996-97 to 2005-06
Figure 4: State-specific and regional migration visas 1996-97 to 2005-06

Source: DIMA Migration Programme Data

 

 

Profile

Australia provides a better work life balance

After completing his Masters degree at the Australian National University, Brazilian student Elton De Simone Carneiro decided to stay and work in Australia 'to learn about a different culture'. Mr Carneiro found work through the Australian Government's Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme working for Stepsoft, a specialist IT company.

Analysis of Performance

Regional migration continues to be a priority under the Skill Stream. Our 2005-06 outcome of 27 500 for state-specific and regional migration initiatives is the highest outcome for these initiatives since they were established in 1996-97.

The 2005-06 outcome for state and territory-sponsored visa subclasses within this group - skilled independent regional (3920) and state and territory nominated independent (4110) - represented an increase of 94.1 per cent on the 2004-05 outcome.

The 2006-07 Migration Programme provides a total of 10 000 places for these two state-sponsored categories, which are an important component of state-specific and regional migration initiatives overall. State and territory governments continue to have a direct influence on the number and skills of migrants that settle in their jurisdictions through their sponsorship of skilled migrants.

The Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) is a list of occupations in significant national shortage and provides for priority processing and additional points for the general skilled migration points test. The MODL is reviewed every six months to better reflect emerging labour shortages and further improve targeting. In 2005-06, a total of 25 new occupations were added to the MODL:16 trades and nine professional occupations - three engineering-related, five computing professional specialisations, and one dental specialist.

Employer-sponsored programmes

Employer-sponsored programmes include the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS), the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) and the Labour Agreement (LA) programme. In 2005-06 there were 15 226 visas granted (9693 ENS, 3454 RSMS and 2079 LA), which was a 16.9 per cent increase over 2004-05 and representing 15.6 per cent of the total skilled migration programme.

The main occupation sought under these programmes was registered nurses, and the major source countries were the United Kingdom, the Republic of South Africa, and India.

Over 50 per cent of people lodging ENS applications were holders of a business (long-stay) subclass 457 visa, which now provides a pathway for temporary skilled workers seeking permanent residence.

Business and investment migration

Overseas business people who have a successful business or investment background can benefit Australia in terms of job creation, capital transfers, and exports. State and territory governments play an active role in selecting business migrants through their sponsorship of approximately 97 per cent of all applicants. This sponsorship also enables the support for economic development in specific areas of the sponsoring state or territory.

All business skills migrants have to demonstrate a commitment to business in Australia, and most applicants have up to four years on a provisional visa to establish a business in Australia. Some visa holders initially granted permanent residence (rather than a provisional visa), can be subject to visa cancellation. In 2005-06, we granted visas under this category to a total of 6080 migrants and 1020 visas were cancelled.

Skilled migrants boosted a Queensland company's apprenticeship scheme

1.1.2 Family entry (permanent)

Objectives

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • facilitate the entry of close family members of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens (including spouses, interdependent partners, fiancé(e)s, and dependent children)
  • provide opportunities for other family members (such as parents, aged dependent relatives, carers, and remaining relatives) to join their relatives in Australia.
Table 7: Performance information - Family entry (permanent)
2005-06 Measures Results
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
51 005 onshore applications (persons) finalised 51 746 53 771 55 896 52 267
50 580 offshore applications (persons) finalised 49 801 52 804 51 549 53 359
85 per cent of first stage offshore partner cases from non-ETA countries interviewed (either face to face or over the phone) Standards maintained
65 per cent of first stage offshore partner cases from ETA countries interviewed (either face to face or over the phone) Standards maintained
65 per cent of first stage onshore partner cases from ETA countries interviewed (either face to face or over the phone) Standards maintained
Performance against service standards See output component 1.1.2 on page 91

(1) Applications processed in Taipei are not reflected in the applications (persons) finalised quantities

Description

Table 8 shows the components of the Family Stream and the percentage change between last year and the previous year. The outcome for these visa categories was 45 290 in 2005-06, up 8.5 per cent on 2004-05.

Table 8: Migration Programme outcome - Family Stream
Category

2004-05 2005-06 Per cent change
Partner 33 060 36 370 10.0
Parent* 4500 4500 0.0
Child 2490 2550 2.4
Other family 1690 1870 10.7

* Including 3500 grants in th contributory parent subclasses.
Source: DIMA Migration Programme, MPMS and ICS data.







Analysis of performance

Partner visas

The median processing time for partner visa applications in Australian offices was 3.2 months and at overseas posts 5.1 months, which is below the service standards (see Table 30).

We started a partner visa review during 2005-06, including an examination of the partner visa best practice model that was implemented in 2002. We expect that once the review is complete and we have implemented its recommendations, there will be further improvements in visa processing times.

Integrity gains

Australia's Migration Programme enables people (generally those who are in Australia on a provisional partner visa) to apply to stay in Australia if a partner relationship breaks down because of domestic violence. The domestic violence provisions were introduced in response to community concerns that some partners might feel compelled to remain in abusive relationships rather than end the relationship and be required to leave Australia.

Legislation introduced on 1 July 2005 allows us to refer doubtful claims of domestic violence to an independent expert, with extensive expertise in domestic violence matters, to ensure that only genuine claimants access the provisions. The opinion of the independent expert (currently gazetted as Centrelink) is binding on the immigration decision maker. These changes were developed in consultation with the Office for Women and the Partnerships Against Domestic Violence Task Force.

Our reports indicate that 492 applications with claims against the domestic violence provisions were made during 2005-2006, compared to 497 applications in 2004-05.

As of 30 June 2006, there were 44 referrals made to Centrelink by our officers, a referral rate of less than 10 per cent of the total number of applications with domestic violence claims. Of the 44 referrals finalised by Centrelink, there were 22 findings of domestic violence having taken place and 22 findings of no domestic violence.

A further 36 referrals to Centrelink were also made by the Migration Review Tribunal. Of these, there were 16 findings of domestic violence having taken place and 20 findings of no domestic violence.

Parent visas

All 1000 places available in the non-contributory parent category were filled in 2005-06. The contributory parent migration category came into effect on 27 June 2003 and there were 3500 visas granted in that category in 2005-06. This category was capped for the first time in June 2006 but in 2006-07 there will again be 4500 visa places available: 1000 in the non-contributory parent category and 3500 in the contributory parent category. Application rates in both categories increased significantly in 2005-06.

Global working

All applications for parent visas previously lodged at overseas offices are processed centrally at the Perth Offshore Parents Centre (POPC). This includes applications for the contributory parent migration category. Economies of scale and specialisation have enabled POPC to develop more efficient and effective processing procedures.

Temporary child visa applications from onshore applicants are lodged and processed centrally at our Hobart office. This ensures consistency and focus on the special needs of these children who are seeking this temporary visa. This visa will allow them to be included in their parent's application for grant of a permanent partner visa. In 2005-06, we granted 38 of these applications.







1.1.3     Special eligibility

Objectives

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • resolve the status of certain groups of people who, for humanitarian reasons, have been allowed to remain in Australia as long-term temporary residents
  • facilitate the entry of former permanent residents who have spent nine out of their first 18 years in Australia as permanent residents and who have maintained close ties to Australia or served in Australia's armed forces
  • cater for people who arrived in Australia before 1975, or who had advertently become unlawful before the age of 18, have close ties to Australia and spent their formative years in Australia. This close ties visa subclass was repealed on 1 November 2005.
Table 9: Performance information - Special eligibility
2005-06 Measures

Results

2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
720 onshore applications (persons) finalised 1433 1119 639 329
225 offshore applications (persons) finalised 292 179 256 165
Performance against service standards See output component 1.1.3 on page 92

(1) Applications processed in Taipei are not reflected in the applications (persons) finalised quantities.

Description

In support of these objectives, visas were issued in three categories, as shown in Table 10:

Table 10: Migration Programme outcome-Special Eligibility Stream (1)
Category 2004-05 2005-06 Per cent change
Resolution of Status (ROS) Programme 90 28 -68.9
Close Ties and Former Residents 360 278 -22.8

(1) 2004-05 Annual Report data has been changed due to change in data source. Data now provided by Migration Programme Section.







Analysis of performance

Resolution of Status programme

Resolution of Status (ROS) visas were introduced in June 1997 to enable certain people in Australia on temporary visas, often for long periods of time, to apply for permanent visas. Applications closed in October 1998. The process to gain permanent residence under the ROS programme comprises two stages and successful applicants were initially granted a temporary ROS visa.

Decisions on permanent visas are not made until the applicant has lived in Australia for a period of 10 years. Applicants must meet this 10-year requirement within 12 years of arriving in Australia.

We granted a total of twenty eight permanent ROS visas during 2005-06 and only a handful of cases remain outstanding.

Former resident visas

The former resident subclass caters for both onshore and offshore applicants who have spent nine out of their first 18 years in Australia as Australian permanent residents, subject to an upper age limit of 45. It also caters for former residents who served in the Australian Armed Forces before 1981.

Close ties visas

The close ties subclass is no longer available for application, having been repealed on 1 November 2005. This subclass previously catered for onshore applicants who had either arrived in Australia before 1975, or who had inadvertently became unlawful before the age of 18, have close ties to Australia and spent their formative years in Australia. It also provided for former permanent residents who were onshore at the time of application, a group we now cater for under the expanded former resident visa subclass.

Global working

We currently process close ties and former resident visa applications in the Australian Capital Territory and Regions' Global Processing Unit (GPU).

During 2005-06 the GPU granted 172 close ties and 106 former resident visas. It received a total of 38 applications for close ties visas and 192 former resident visas refusing 98 of these. The close ties visa was repealed in November 2005.







1.1.4 Visitors and working holiday makers

Objectives

The objectives of this programme are to deliver visa processes and strategies that support the growth of the tourism industry and enhance border integrity by:

  • assisting the entry of genuine tourists, business, and family visitors by continually improving grant rates, client services, and processing times
  • minimising the potential for non-genuine visitors to enter, or remain, in Australia or to contravene their visa conditions.
Table 11: Performance information - Visitors and working holiday makers
2005-06 Measures Results
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
31 260 visitor onshore applications (persons) finalised 38 541 33 977 31 912 23 574
730 735 visitor offshore applications (persons) finalised 688 993 675 877 713 106 708 203
107 620 working holiday maker offshore applications (persons) finalised 89 553 95 336 105 824 113 744
4000 working holiday maker onshore applications (persons) finalised n/a n/a n/a 1973
260 work and holiday offshore applications (persons) finalised n/a 3 257 751
150 sanctions issued where there has been breach of visa and/or sponsorship conditions n/a 146 sponsors (relating to 184 visitors) 161 sponsors (relating to 189 visitors) 106 (2) sponsors (relating to 122 visitors)
3 085 520 electronic travel authority applications (persons) finalised - electronically lodged 2 596 766 2 731 021 2 811 068 2 742 997
75 760 electronic travel authority applications (persons) finalised -lodged at post n/a 75 476 78 545 81 577
Number of international event organisers assisted with entry of participants 204 406 681 790
Percentage of visitor visa bonds refunded because visa conditions are met 98.49 per cent 98.40 per cent 98.62 per cent 98.85 per cent
The Approved Destination Status scheme Visitors non-return rate from the People's Republic of China maintained at less than 0.5 per cent 0.28 per cent 0.39 per cent 0.34 per cent 0.32 per cent
The non-return rate of visitors relative to the refusal rate continues to decline or remain low in historic terms 1.59 per cent 1.47 per cent 1.22 per cent 1.20 per cent
Percentage of visitors applying for Protection visas after arrival remains below 0.2 per cent n/a 0.07 per cent 0.06 per cent 0.07 per cent
Overall take up rate of electronic working holiday applications greater than 90 per cent n/a 93.30 per cent 98.01 per cent 98.13 per cent
Number of working holiday maker arrangement countries n/a 16 19 19
Percentage of onshore Visitor visa extensions lodged electronically that could have been lodged that way 7 per cent 17.40 per cent 28.58 per cent 17.32 per cent
Rate of sanctions for breach of visa and/or sponsorship to continue to decline n/a 2.14 per cent 1.68 per cent 1.29 per cent
Performance against service standards See output component 1.1.4 on page 93

(1) Applications processed in Taipei are not reflected in the applications (persons) finalised quantities.(2) Not all breaches in the 2005-06 programme year that require sanction have been finalised.


Description

People who want to visit Australia can apply for a range of visitor visas, including:

  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which enables passport holders from 33 countries and regions to make short-term business and visitor visits to Australia
  • Tourist visa (subclass 676) for people seeking to visit Australia for social or recreational reasons
  • Business (Short-Stay) visa (subclass 456) and the Sponsored Business Visitor (Short-Stay) visa (subclass 459) for business people wishing to make a short business visit to Australia
  • Working Holiday (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visas, which provide opportunities for people between 18 and 30 to holiday in Australia and to supplement their travel funds through incidental employment
  • Sponsored Family Visitor visa (subclass 679), which is specifically designed for people seeking to visit family in Australia
  • Medical Treatment (Short-Stay) visa (subclass 675) and medical treatment long-stay visa (subclass 685) which enable people to travel to Australia for medical treatment or consultations.

Analysis of Performance

As shown in Table 12 and Figure 5 below, tourist and business visa grants have continued to grow during 2005-06. However, there has been a slight drop in other visa categories, such as sponsored family visitors and the ETA visitors.







We play key role in life-saving partnership


Table 12: Visas granted to offshore applicants by categories
Categories 2004-05 2005-06 Percentage variation
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Visitors (subclass 956, 976, 977) 2 969 903 2 902 249 -2.28
Tourist (Non-ETA) (subclass 676, 686) 429 723 460 757 7.22
Business Visitors (Non-ETA) (subclass 456, 459) 174 724 186 290 6.62
Sponsored Family Visitors (subclass 679) 10 655 10 405 -2.35
Medical Treatment (subclass 675, 685) 3942 3671 -6.88
Total Visitor Visas 3 588 947 3 563 372 -0.71
Working Holiday Makers and Work and Holiday visas (subclass 417, 462) 104 605 112 619 7.66

Note: 'Offshore applicants' includes visas granted in repatriated visa caseloads (subclass 679 and 459).

Figure 5: Trends in Visitor and Working Holiday visa grants (other than ETAs)
Figure 5: Trends in Visitor and Working Holiday visa grants (other than ETAs)

During 2005-06, we continued to support the tourism industry by facilitating the entry of bona fide visitors to Australia, including by:

  • improving access to visa services through expanding online services
  • maintaining integrity checking to minimise opportunities for non-bona fide visitors to be granted visas
  • maintaining and expanding schemes, such as the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme and the Preferred Aussie Specialist programme, in important markets to help promote tourism to Australia
  • working closely with bodies such as the Tourism and Visa Advisory Group
  • continuing to assist entry through the International Event Coordinator Network for events such as the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Negotiations.

Visitor visas

As noted in Table 12, in 2005-06, there were 3 563 372 visitor visa grants offshore, a decrease of 0.71 per cent over the 2004-05 figure of 3 588 947. Table 13 shows the countries in which the highest number of offshore visitor visas were granted.

Table 13: Countries where highest numbers of offshore visitor visas granted
Country 2004-05 2005-06
United Kingdom 655 271 651 077
Japan 642 994 616 650
United States of America 385 827 389 062
Republic of Korea 223 002 215 871
People's Republic of China 195 912 206 776
Singapore 148 502 136 406
Malaysia 138 688 122 980
Germany 136 407 121 216
Canada 97 354 98 381
France 93 982 97 940
Taiwan 88 870 85 579
Hong Kong 73 738 76 158

The approval rate for visitor visas has continued to improve during 2005-06.

Table 14: Trends in visitor visa approval rates
Visa category Approval rate 2004-05 Approval rate 2005-06
Offshore visitor visas 98.5 per cent 98.69 per cent
ETA applications 99.98 per cent 99.99 per cent
Non-ETA applications offshore 91.6 per cent 93.35 per cent

Improving access for clients

ETAs are issued through travel agents and airlines, or directly via the Internet. People who are not eligible for ETAs can apply for visas either over the Internet, through Service Delivery Partners, or at Australian missions overseas.

We continued to streamline visitor visa arrangements during 2005-06 to encourage emerging tourism markets, by making it faster and simpler for people to apply for a visa. We implemented a number of initiatives, for example, to improve access to visitor visas for nationals from certain Gulf countries. This included enabling citizens of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait to travel without a label in their passport.

We are also working towards improved access to electronic Tourist visas (known as e-676) with nationals of 46 countries now being able to lodge e-676 applications online. Applications are processed in the Hobart Global Processing Centre, typically in a period of two to five days, unless further information is required. Some visas can be granted in a matter of seconds.

The benefits of e-676 are very similar to those of the ETA. These include electronic lodgement and payment, label-free travel, quicker decision-making, and no requirement for applicants to visit or post their passports to an Australian mission, usually located in another country.

In 2005-06, 43.63 per cent of eligible subclass 676 applications made offshore were lodged electronically, compared with 21.52 per cent in 2004-05. Table 15 shows the nationalities that had the highest electronic take-up rates.

Table 15: Countries with high eVisa take-up rates
Country Percentage of e-lodged 676 applications
Slovenia 97.88
Estonia 97.13
Latvia 88.44
Czech Republic 87.46
Switzerland 84.44
Sweden 77.42
Denmark 75.36


In coming years, we will work to further improve electronic visa access, by expanding the availability of e-676 to additional countries and working to make the onshore e-676 visa product more attractive and convenient for clients.

Maintaining programme integrity

During 2005-06, we improved access to visitor visas, without compromising programme integrity. We use tools such as the 'no further stay' condition, bonds, and sponsor sanctions to maintain integrity.

The number of visitor visa holders failing to leave Australia before their visa expired hit an all time low in 2005-06, with a 'non-return rate' of 1.20 per cent. As shown in Figures 6 and 7, non-return and protection visa application rates from high-risk countries (that is, non-ETA countries), also continued to decrease. Only 0.07 per cent of visitor visa holders (that is, 2441 people) applied for protection visas after arriving in Australia during 2005-06. This is similar result to 2004-05 when 2436 visitor visa holders applied for protection visas.


Figure 6: Non-ETA visitor visa approval rates and protection visa (PV) application rates
Figure 6: Non-ETA visitor visa approval rates and protection visa (PV) application rates

Figure 7: Non-ETA visitor visa approval rates and non-return rates
Figure 7: Non-ETA visitor visa approval rates and non-return rates


Approved Destination Status scheme

The Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme enables tourists from the People's Republic of China (PRC) to travel to Australia more easily as part of organised tour groups. Since its inception in August 1999, the number of PRC tourists visiting Australia has increased significantly, providing a substantial boost to Australia's tourism industry.

We granted 55 487 ADS visas during 2005-06, compared with 45 083 in 2004-05, with a total of 223 007 tourists arriving on ADS visas since August 1999. The ADS non-return rate in 2005-06 was 0.32 per cent compared to a global non-return rate of 1.20 per cent.

The ADS scheme has been extremely successful, allowing a large number of tourists to visit Australia, while ensuring high levels of integrity and compliance with visa conditions. There are now 73 Chinese and 52 Australian travel agencies participating in the ADS scheme.

Since 1 July 2004, the ADS scheme has been operating in nine regions of the PRC: the Beijing and Shanghai Municipal Governments, Guangdong province, Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong, Chongqing, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu.

In October 2005, we reached agreement with the China National Tourism Association (CNTA) to expand the scheme to all provinces in the PRC, reflecting the expected growth in tourism from the PRC to Australia of more than 16 per cent annually. Changes have been made to the law to give effect to this expansion, and the expanded scheme will begin in August 2006. Streamlined travel opportunities will then be available to an additional 855 million PRC citizens.

Preferred Aussie Specialist arrangements

Preferred Aussie Specialists are travel agents selected to promote tourism and facilitate the processing of Australian visitor visa applications. The agents are trained by Tourism Australia in promoting Australia as a destination and by us in general visitor visa policy and bona fides assessment. They do not, however, grant visas.

Figure 8: Trends in Approved Destination Status scheme grants
Figure 8: Trends in Approved Destination Status scheme grants

The Preferred Aussie Specialist scheme enables visas to be processed quickly and with greater programme integrity. The programme has been operating successfully in India since November 2003, with agents lodging more than 8000 tourist (subclass 676) visa applications (approximately 10 percent of the caseload) during this period, and an approval rate of more than 98 per cent. Further improvements are planned with the introduction of electronic processing by Preferred Aussie Specialist agents in India in August/September 2006.

In conjunction with Tourism Australia, the Aussie Specialist programme was expanded to Russia during 2005-06, recognising Russian tourism to Australia as an important emerging market. Since September 2006, five agencies have been participating in the scheme, with plans to extend the scheme in 2006-07. These agencies are lodging approximately 20 percent of Russian tourist (subclass 676) visa applications and short-stay business visa applications - with approval rates close to 100 per cent.

Tourism and Visa Advisory Group

We continue to work closely with key stakeholders in the tourism industry, with the Tourism and Visa Advisory Group (TVAG) providing the main forum. The TVAG is made up of representatives from Tourism Australia, the Tourism and Export Council, Tourism and Transport Forum, Qantas, the Board of Airline Representatives Australia, the Australian Hotels Association, state and territory tourism authorities, and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.

Business visitors

Short-stay business visitor visas support Australian businesses, including export industries, and are an integral part of our operations. They enable business people to visit Australia for business negotiations, signing of contracts, intra-company business activities, and attendance at conferences.

In 2005-06, 368 333 short-stay business visitor visas were granted, an 8.52 per cent increase over the 2004-05 programme year (339 424 visas). Almost half of these were issued electronically, as shown in Table 16.

Table 16: Types of short-stay business visitor visas granted in 2005-06
Visa category Visas granted in 2005-06 Percentage of total Business visitor (short stay) visas granted
ETA business visitor visas 182 043 49.42 per cent
Non-ETA business visitor visas 186 290 50.58 per cent
Table 17: Main source countries for short-stay business visitor visa grants
Country 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
People's Republic of China 49 330 62 164 78 495 76 084
United States of America 44 137 48 578 49 101 52 836
United Kingdom 22 154 25 663 27 183 29 754
India 12 281 15 029 18 018 23 651
Japan 16 058 17 937 19 845 21 874
Thailand 7966 10 088 11 731 12 703
Singapore 6952 9037 9718 12 045
Indonesia 8875 10 251 10 087 10 820
Germany, Federal Republic of 6209 7778 9418 10 329
Canada 7075 7853 9441 9580
Malaysia 5652 7309 7812 9420
South Africa, Republic of 5618 6179 6845 8082


Sponsored family visitors

The Sponsored Family Visitor programme allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to formally sponsor their relatives to visit Australia. In order to strengthen the integrity of this visitor programme, the sponsor may have to provide a security bond. This programme has proved to be successful in allowing those applicants about whom we may have some residual concerns to be granted a visa to visit family in Australia.

In 2005-06, we granted 10 405 Sponsored Family Visitor visas, a slight decline of 2.35 per cent from 10 655 grants in 2004-05. In 99 per cent of cases where a bond was requested, the visa holders met all visa conditions, including departing within the valid visa period, and the bond was refunded.


International Event Coordinator Network


Working holiday visas

Australia's Working Holiday programme has both social and economic benefits. It promotes international understanding by helping young people experience Australian culture. It supports the Australian economy by providing supplementary labour for industries needing short-term casual workers, and it gives the Australia tourism industry an additional boost.

Australia now has 19 reciprocal Working Holiday arrangements in place. We granted 111 973 working holiday maker visas to offshore applicants during 2005-06, a 7.30 per cent increase over the 104 352 visas granted in 2004-05. Table 18 shows the main source countries for Working Holiday visas over the last two years.

Table 18: Countries where highest numbers of working holiday visas were granted to offshore applicants
Country 2004-05 2005-06
United Kingdom 30 092 28 353
Republic of Korea 17 706 23 536
Ireland 12 585 12 369
Germany 10 646 11 925
Japan 9975 9102
Canada 6656 6754
France  550 6044


Key changes to the working holiday programme

Changes to the Working Holiday programme came into effect on 1 November 2005, in recognition of the fact that overseas travellers often have highly sought-after skills and can make a positive long-term contribution to the Australian economy. These changes enable people who spend three months employed in primary industries - such as pearling, fishing, and tropical horticulture work - to apply for a second working holiday visa. This expansion will help primary producers in regional Australia by providing them with additional labour resources. It will also provide a further boost to tourism industries by enabling backpackers to stay longer in Australia.

Further changes agreed to in 2005-06, which will come into effect on 1 July 2006, will enable all working holiday makers to work for the same employer for an extra three months and to study in Australia for four months (instead of the current three months). These changes will benefit both employers and working holiday makers. They will enable employers to retain trained staff for longer and allow working holiday makers to apply for jobs that require a stay of longer than three months. Working holiday makers, who want to undertake further study or need to upgrade their skills to Australian standards (such as nurses) will also benefit from these changes.

e-WHM

Working holiday makers have been able to lodge their visa applications electronically (e-WHM) since 1 July 2002. Of the 115 337 working holiday visa applications lodged in 2005-06, 98.13 per cent were lodged electronically, and almost half of these applications were approved automatically. Our Hobart office undertakes any additional processing that is required, and responds to email enquiries. The continuing high take-up rate of electronic lodgement of working holiday maker visa applications during 2005-06 is an important achievement, allowing for easy access by clients and faster decisions.

Work and Holiday visas

Australia's Work and Holiday visa programme provides opportunities for young people, from a number of higher risk countries, to travel and experience different lifestyles and cultures. It is designed for tertiary-educated people aged 18 to 30, with functional English, who are interested in a working holiday of up to 12 months in Australia. Due to the higher risk, in addition to the educational and English qualifications, applicants are required to have approval from their government.

Currently, there are work and holiday visa arrangements in place for people from Chile, Iran, and Thailand. We also signed new arrangements with Turkey and Bangladesh in 2005-06 which should come into effect in 2006-07.


Figure 9: Take-up of e-WHM since July 2002
Figure 9: Take-up of e-WHM since July 2002







1.1.5 Students

Objective

The objective of this programme is to enable international students to come to Australia for the purpose of full-time study. The student visa programme is aimed at providing an efficient service that facilitates ease of access to visas for genuine students, while ensuring the integrity of Australia's immigration policies and procedures.

Table 19: Performance information - Students
2005-06 Measures Results
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
142 165 onshore applications (persons) finalised 123 359 142 046 141 380 160 348
130 230 offshore applications (persons) finalised 120 741 129 191 129 558 140 320
Approval rates compared to rates of non-compliance as measured by:

  • percentage of students who apply for protection visas as a proportion of the number of student visas expiring in that programme year
  • percentage of students who become unlawful as a proportion of the number of student visas expiring in that programme year
  • percentage of students whose visas are cancelled for non-attendance or for not meeting course requirements as a proportion of the number of student visas expiring in that programme year
  • percentage of students located by DIMA Compliance as proportion of the number of student visas granted in that programme year
93.14 per cent



0.29 per cent

1.49 per cent

2.00 per cent

3.30 per cent
93.19 per cent



0.19 per cent

1.47 per cent

1.92 per cent

2.90 per cent
91.31 per cent



0.08 per cent

0.60 per cent

1.87 per cent

2.84 per cent
92.96 per cent



0.07 per cent

0.71 per cent

1.58 per cent

1.41 per cent
Percentage of onshore student applications lodged electronically 5 per cent 7.42 per cent 39.40 per cent 40.52 per cent
Percentage of Assessment level 1 offshore student applications that could be lodged electronically being lodged in this way 57 per cent 73.4 per cent 87.20 per cent 89.82 per cent
Percentage of Assessment level 2-4 offshore student applications that could be lodged electronically being lodged in this way n/a n/a 13.32 per cent 42.09 per cent
Performance against service standards See output component 1.1.5 on page 94

(1) Applications processed in Taipei are not reflected in the applications (persons) finalised quantities.

Table 20: Total student visa grants by subclass
Category 2004-05 2005-06 Per cent change
Independent ELICOS* 22 642 26 683 17.85
Schools 12 612 12 659 0.38
Vocational Education and Training 25 187 29 942 18.88
Higher Education 82 116 93 732 14.15
Postgraduate Research 11 008 5510 -49.95
Non-Award 17 668 17 573 -0.54
AusAID/Defence 3554 4575 28.73
Total 174 787 190 674 9.09

* English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students. Source: Reporting Assurance Section

Description

The structure of the student visa programme broadly reflects Australia's different education sectors. Student visas are issued in the categories listed in Table 20.

We also introduced a Student Guardian visa on 1 January 2004 so that a parent or relative of an overseas student (18 years of age or under) can accompany the student to Australia to support them while studying. In certain limited circumstances, the visa may also provide for someone to accompany a student aged 18 years and over.

For each category of visa, there are criteria students have to meet in relation to their financial capacity, English proficiency, and other requirements. The level of evidence required depends on their visa category and nationality.

All applicants are assigned an assessment level on the basis of their visa category and nationality. Assessment Level 1 is assigned to nationalities/categories that represent the lowest immigration risk in the visa programme, while Assessment Level 5 represents the highest immigration risk.

Analysis of performance

Key indicators of the effectiveness of the student visa programme include:

  • growth in student visa approvals and student numbers
  • increase in visa approval rates
  • diversity of student visa source countries
  • a reduction in processing times
  • improved compliance with visa requirements
  • enhanced client services.

A total of 190 674 student visas were granted in 2005-06. This figure does not include Permission to Work, Change of Provider, or Student Guardian visas. This represents a significant increase of 9.09 per cent over the 2004-05 figure of 174 787 visas and is an encouraging trend for Australia's international education sector.

There were 129 175 offshore student visas granted in 2005-06, an increase of 10.67 per cent compared with 2004-05. During the same period, the number of onshore student visas granted increased by 5.9 per cent from 58 071 to 61 499 (not including visas granted for Permission to Work, or to allow students to change provider).

In 2005-06, there were 1135 Student Guardian visas granted representing a 0.8 per cent increase compared with 2004-05. The majority of the grants for this visa went to Korean nationals (47.3 per cent of total grants) followed by PRC nationals (18.3 per cent of total grants).

International students from a diverse range of nationalities are attracted to studying in Australia. This diversity is illustrated by the fact that in 2005-06 we granted visas to students from 189 different countries.

Table 21: Total student visa grants
Visa statistics 2004-05 2005-06 per cent change
Offshore grants 116 716 129 175 10.67
Onshore grants* 58 071 61 499 5.9
Total 174 787 190 674 9.09

*Not including Permission to Work, Change of Provider and Student Guardian visa grants.

Source: Reporting Assurance Section

Figure 10: Offshore student visa grants 2002-03 to 2005-06
Figure 10: Offshore student visa grants 2002-03 to 2005-06

The top 10 source countries for student visas granted during 2005-06 (offshore grants only) were:


Table 22: Top 10 source countries for student visa grants
Passport Held 2004-05 2005-06
People's Republic of China (PRC) 17 506 15 877
India 10 000 15 396
Republic of Korea 9 328 11 657
United States of America 10 367 9 635
Malaysia 6 609 6 446
Japan 5 829 5 406
Thailand 4 818 5 391
Indonesia 4 751 5 059
Hong Kong (SAR of China) 4 838 4 561
Brazil 3 118 4 439

There was a significant increase in the number of student visas approved for ELICOS (from 22 642 to 26 683), and a larger increase in the Vocational Education and Training sector (VET) from 25 187 to 29 942. The total number of students applying for university education, including the Higher Education and Postgraduate Research sectors, also increased from 93 124 in the last programme year to 99 242. The non-award sector showed a slight reduction in overall growth from 17 668 to 17 573 visa grants in 2005-06.

The following tables illustrate the steady growth in the number of student visa holders in Australia, both in total and by top source countries. This data provides a 'snapshot' of the estimated number of people in Australia on student visas (including students and their family members) on four given dates throughout the year.

At 30 June 2006 there were 208 038 international students in Australia, which is a 9.27 per cent increase over the previous year, while 31 March 2006 showed a record number of 232 147 international students in Australia.

Table 23: Number of people on student visas in Australia
Programme Year 30 September 31 December 31 March 30 June
2000-2001 138 566 87 728 153 706 138 192
2001-2002 163 032 102 331 168 730 154 017
2002-2003 176 405 109 024 184 732 171 619
2003-2004 193 546 120 602 203 123 177 292
2004-2005 207 914 132 278 211 515 190 400
2005-2006 222 216 150 560 232 147 208 038

Source: Quarterly stock data reports provided by Research & Statistics Section.



Table 24: Stock of students by citizenship for top 10 source countries at 30 June
Citizenship 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
PRC 13 926 22 078 30 479 34 541 40 844 43 938
India 8 351 6 728 8 123 11 878 17 358 23 609
Korea 12 321 10 903 12 379 13 127 14 716 17 492
USA 3 342 4 110 4 588 4 202 3 971 3 706
Malaysia 9 713 11 316 12 878 12 539 12 224 12 153
Japan 7 664 8 750 9 911 9 965 9 407 8 978
Thailand 6 876 7 911 8 629 8 207 7 938 8 528
Indonesia 14 962 13 640 12 826 11 426 10 466 10 052
Hong Kong 2 486 3 415 5 229 6 036 6 591 7 169
Brazil 1 541 1 849 1 658 2 051 2 852 3 969

Source: Quarterly stock data reports provided by Research & Statistics Section.

The data in Table 23 has been extracted at the end of each quarter of each programme year from 2000-01 to 2005-06. Table 24 shows the fluctuations in each year at 30 June due to student peak periods.

Compliance

One of the main goals of the student visa programme is to support the growth of Australia's international education sector, while minimising the number of students not complying with their visa conditions. These levels of non-compliance are measured by:

  • the visa cancellation rates
  • the number of student visa holders who become unlawful
  • the number of protection visa applications by student visa holders
  • the level of fraud by student visa applicants.

Since the reform of the student visa legislation in 2001, there has been a steady improvement in compliance levels.


Figure 11: Unlawful and protection visa rate trends compared with approval rates

Source: Reporting Assurance Section



Figure 12: Student visa cancellations compared with grants

(1) The student visa cancellation data for 2004-05 included 2060 visa cancellations that have subsequently been reversed as a result of the Federal Magistrates Court decision of Uddin v Minister for Immigration [2005] FMCA 841.

Source: Reporting Assurance Section




The number of students applying for protection visas (PV) in proportion to student visa grants continues to decline. The rate of protection visa applications compared with student visa grants now stands at its lowest-ever level of 0.11 per cent.

Student visa cancellations in 2005-06 were lower than the previous year (6983 compared to 8140). The proportion of cancellations compared to grants declined from 4.66 per cent in 2004-05 to 3.64 per cent in 2005-06.

There has been a slight increase in the'Unlawful in Australia' rate (from 0.60 per cent in 2004-05 to 0.71 per cent in 2005-06). However, this figure is proportional to the increase in overall student visa grants in the last programme year. The number of student visa holders who became unlawful in 2005-06 was 1959, compared to 1514 in 2004-05.

Assessment Level Review

The improved levels of compliance by student visa holders is a good measure of the success of the 2001 student visa reforms. As a result, we can now review the risk ratings allocated to individual nationalities by education sector, to better reflect their current compliance levels.

In recognition of improving compliance levels, Assessment Levels for a number of countries and education sectors were reduced in November 2005. In all, 15 nationalities had their risk ratings reduced in one or more sectors, totalling 59 Assessment Level adjustments. These reductions reflect the on-going success of the reforms introduced in 2001, and will provide more people with the opportunity to study in Australia.

Following these reforms, we are seeing rising approval rates and a general decline in non-compliance rates for student visa holders. The changes are likely to increase the numbers of students from different countries, adding to the diversity of the industry.

Adjustments to Migration Regulations

Key changes to the Migration Regulations that took effect from 1 November 2005 included:

  • removing the assessment of 'career relevance' from the requirements for higher immigration risk countries, to ensure that otherwise genuine students are not disadvantaged by the 'career relevance' of their studies
  • allowing alternative pathways to the Higher Education sector for international students from higher immigration risk countries
  • enabling students to submit combined applications (that is primary applicants and dependants in the one application) in order to simplify the technical requirements of the Student Guardian visa.

Effect of the decision of Uddin V Minister for Immigration [2005] FMCA 841

In a judgement handed down on 7 June 2005, the Federal Magistrate's Court found a notice issued under s.20 of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 by education providers to students in breach of student visa obligations to be defective.

The judgement affected people who received a s.20 notice between 4 June 2001 and 16 August 2005. Importantly, it only applied to students who received a notice of automatic cancellation and did not report to a departmental office within 28 days of receiving the notice.

Some 8450 s.137J cancellations were reversed. Most such visas would have expired in any case, and some people had other visas.

Student visa holders are obliged to maintain enrolment in a registered course, attend classes, and achieve a satisfactory academic result.

Students who did not comply with these attendance or academic requirements were issued with a written notice by their service providers. This notice gave the student 28 days to report to us and discuss their case. If they failed to do this, their visa was automatically cancelled.

The notice, found by the Court to be defective, told students to report to a particular departmental office and officer. The Court found students should have been directed to any departmental office. Any cancellation of student visas where this notice was used may have been ineffective.

As a result, we decided to reverse all student visa cancellations made under s.137J between May 2001 and 16 August 2005. All affected student visas are now considered to have never been cancelled and remain in effect until their expiry date. This reversal ensures that all people affected will not have further visa applications rejected on the incorrect basis that they had previously been unlawful in Australia. We have subsequently revised the s.20 notice.


Consultation

We consult widely with education providers, international education bodies, and student representative groups on the student visa programme. Industry input is critical to ensuring the programme remains responsive to its dual purposes of maximising Australia's competitive advantage while maintaining integrity. We participated in a range of conferences, workshops, and seminars arranged by education peak bodies, Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), and state education authorities, as well as having regular meetings with 13 education bodies. In a recent survey of student visa holders conducted by Australian Survey Research, education body representatives commented favourably on the improved level of consultation and information provided to them.

Evaluation of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 (the ESOS Act)

We continue to work closely with the DEST on matters relating to the management of the student visa programme, and in particular the intersection between migration legislation and theESOS Act.

In 2004, DEST undertook an evaluation of the ESOS Act. The ESOS Act ensures the quality of education services delivered to overseas students studying in Australia, and protects their interests as consumers.

The independent report into the evaluation found that while effective, a number of improvements could be made to strengthen the quality assurance and consumer protection aspects of the ESOS arrangements.

During 2005-06, we worked closely with DEST to implement the recommendations of the report, including amending the ESOS National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students (the National Code). We and DEST have consulted widely with industry on proposed changes to the National Code that are aimed at improving the quality of education for international students, while affording education providers more flexibility in their delivery of education services.

Outreach activities

Our state and territory offices undertake regular outreach activities at the local level, visiting universities and other institutions during student orientation periods, and conducting information sessions for international students and their education providers. Issues around visa conditions, particularly those relating to study and work, are a central focus of these sessions. Between October and December 2005 we held 60 seminars that were attended by approximately 4500 students.

Client services

We continue to improve our online services, using new technology to increase the competitive advantage of Australia's international student market.

Our eVisa promises faster visa processing times, and will contribute to higher approval rates. Take-up rates for eVisa continued to improve, and both Australia's overseas missions and education agents are being continually encouraged to transfer from paper processing to eVisa processing.

Online visa services

The Internet-based student visa facility offers improved access to services for many student visa applicants, both offshore and in Australia. All student visa holders can apply for a further student visa online in Australia to continue their studies.

In Australia

Electronic lodgement of student visa applications by students in Australia continued to grow from 11 019 in 2004-05 to 27 405 in 2005-06 (a 148.3 per cent increase). This figure does not include electronic Permission to Work (ePTW) visa applications lodged by students in Australia. The number of ePTW applications lodged in Australia was 56 301 for the 2005-06 programme year. The take-up rate for ePTW grants has increased significantly from 58.65 per cent in 2004-05 to 66.66 per cent in 2005-06.

Electronic lodgement of PTW and onshore student visa applications is promoted by our contact centres and through peak bodies.

Outside Australia

The number of Assessment Level 1 students applying offshore via the Internet continued to grow, with 41 510 visa grants in 2005-06, compared to 39 270 in 2004-05. The rate of eligible applicants using this facility increased to 89.82 per cent (87.20 per cent in 2004-05).

The number of students in the People's Republic of China (PRC), India, Indonesia, and Thailand who lodge their applications via the Internet has continued to climb in 2005-06 as the trial of an online service for these four markets continues.

The overall rate of use by eligible applicants across the four countries in 2005-06 was 42.09 per cent, up from 13.32 per cent in 2004-05.

A total of 16 591 visas were granted in 2005-06 to students using the service.

Table 25: eVisa grants in Assessment Level 2 - 4 trial countries
2004-05 2005-06
PRC 2556 7286
India 599 6943
Thailand 241 2148
Indonesia 0 214
Total 3396 16 591

Source: Reporting Assurance Section



Figure 13: Offshore eVisa take-up rates for Assessment Level 1 countries
Figure 13: Offshore eVisa take-up rates for Assessment Level 1 countries

Source: Reporting Assurance Section

Education agents support us in providing quality visa services to international students.



The uptake of the service for the PRC and India was particularly strong in 2005-06. Almost 43.28 per cent of all visa applications from the PRC were lodged online. In India the rate of applicants using the facility was 51.16 per cent (up from 10.07 per cent in 2004-05).

These initiatives have improved client service and delivered greater consistency in decision-making, while enabling overseas posts to focus resources on integrity checking.

Through the trial, we are also fostering a collaborative relationship with education agents overseas and Registered Migration Agents in Australia. Students in the four countries can lodge their application through an agent to whom we have given access to the Assessment Level 2-4 eVisa facility. The agent can also manage their students' applications through the visa application process.



Figure 14: Offshore eVisa take-up rates for PRC, India, Thailand, and Indonesia (Assessment Level 2-4 trial countries)

Source: Reporting Assurance Section

Profile

'Goodonya' Aditya

Aditya Tater is one of the success stories of the skilled migration programme. Mr Tater came to Australia in October 2001 to study for his masters in business administration at Griffith University.







1.1.6 Temporary residents

Objective

The objective of this programme is to further Australia's economic, social, cultural, and international relations in the context of a more mobile global workforce.

Table 26: Performance information - Temporary residents
2005-06 Measures Results
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
25 715 sponsored business (long stay) onshore applications (persons) finalised 32 568 32 075 33 541 38 217
24 145 sponsored business (long stay) offshore applications (persons) finalised 23 666 23 455 28 240 47 812
21 225 other temporary residence onshore applications (persons) finalised 22 961 22 050 20 763 16 878
36 540 other temporary residence offshore applications (persons) finalised 34 718 34 498 37 373 34 542
63 955 nomination/sponsorship applications finalised 57 564 58 169 65 449 76 763
25 professional development visa - sponsorship applications finalised n/a 26 13 7
40 sanctions issued where there has been breach of visa and/or sponsorship conditions n/a 0 13 33
Approval rates compared to rates of non-compliance as measured by:

  • percentage of temporary entrants who apply for protection visas
  • percentage of temporary entrants who become unlawful
  • percentage of sponsors in breach of their undertakings
n/a



n/a



n/a
95.33 per cent



0.36 per cent



1.59 per cent



0.47 per cent
97.17 per cent



0.11 per cent



1.05 per cent



0.16 per cent
98.02 per cent



0.11 per cent



1.27 per cent



0.33 per cent
100 per cent of 457 visa sponsors monitored for compliance with visa conditions n/a 100 per cent 96.6 per cent 65.2 per cent
25 per cent of 457 visa sponsors site visited at place of employment n/a 28 per cent 22.4 per cent 18.0 per cent
Performance against service standards See output component 1.1.6 on page 94

(1) Applications processed in Taipei are not reflected in the applications (persons) finalised quantities.



Description

In support of these objectives, visas are issued in the categories shown in Table 27.

Table 27: Number of visas issued by category(1)
Category 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 Per cent change
Skilled visa classes 48 652 55 675 74 666 34.1
Social and cultural 26 400 26 550 27 782 4.6
International relations 11 165 11 033 10 541 -4.5
Other temporary residents 9 191 7 500 5 192 -30.8
TOTAL 95 408 100 758 118 181 17.3

(1) Significant quality assurance work to correct miscoding. Inclusion of a new category, Other Temporary Residents, has resulted in changes to the number of grants reported in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 Annual Reports.

Source: Migration Programme



Analysis of performance

Benefiting Australia's economy

Skilled long-term temporary residents continue to make a major contribution to Australia. By filling specific skill gaps in Australian businesses, they are assisting Australia to remain a strong competitor in the international market. Skilled long-term temporary residents also bring with them new ideas, international contacts, and access to cutting edge technologies and business practices. Many are also helping businesses to train their Australian staff. We expect demand for the programme will continue to grow while Australia's economy remains strong.

A skill focused, streamlined process

The temporary business long-stay (subclass 457) programme allows businesses to respond quickly to skill gaps by sponsoring skilled workers in management, professional, association professional, and skilled tradesperson positions. Demand continues to be high for health professionals and senior management roles. In 2005-06, some 3350 nurses, 3300 medical practitioners (2200 subclass 457 and 1100 subclass 422), and 4500 management and information professionals were nominated by employers.

The skill focus of the programme is reinforced through minimum salary requirements. In May 2006, minimum salary requirements were increased to $41 850 for general occupations and $57 300 for information and communication technology (ICT) occupations. In 2005-06, the average nominated salary under the programme was $65 000.

Supporting regional needs

Recognising the unique needs of employers in regional Australia, the subclass 457 programme has provisions that allow regional employers to nominate a broader range of occupations at lower salary levels, subject to certification by a regional body endorsed by the state or territory government. Arrangements were made to set regional minium salary requirements at 90 per cent of the minimum salary requirements in metropolitan centres of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne, and Perth. The changes include the requirement that the minimum salaries are based on work for 38 hours per week. These come into effect from the beginning of the 2006-07 programme year and address a number of the controversies relating to the visa in 2005-06.

A pathway to permanent residence

The subclass 457 programme provides a pathway for skilled workers to apply for permanent residence at the completion of their nominated role. In 2005-06, some 13 300 subclass 457 visa holders applied to stay in Australia permanently. The majority of these (80 per cent) applied for permanent entry under the Employer Nomination Scheme, the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, or the Labour Agreement, or skilled independent visa programmes.

Global working

Australian business and skilled workers have enthusiastically shown a preference to lodge their applications over the Internet. The take-up rate for the 2005-06 year remained high with between 60 and 70 per cent of sponsorship, nomination, and visa applications lodged online.

Robust integrity measures

In 2005-06, there were 6471 business sponsors monitored to test their compliance with sponsorship undertakings and commitments made on their application. Of these, 27 per cent were site visited based on targeted risk profiling.

We also undertook investigations with workplace relations and law enforcement agencies into alleged breaches by business sponsors raised by employee bodies and members of the public.

There is a high level of business sponsor compliance with their sponsorship undertakings under the temporary business long-stay (subclass 457) programme. In 2004-05, with over 8000 sponsors, fewer than 30 sanctions were issued. This trend was mirrored in 2005-06, with fewer than 40 cases subject to sanction activity out of a total of 9928 sponsors.


Profile

Hein's move is the bees knees for Australian farmers

Hein Van Kralingen's decision to leave his nine-to-five South African desk job and join the Australian beekeeping industry is a sweet victory for local farmers.







1.1.7 Resident return visas, Australian declaratory visas, and certificates of evidence of resident status

Objectives

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • facilitate the re-entry of Australian permanent residents while ensuring that only those people with a genuine commitment to residing in Australia, or who are contributing to Australia's wellbeing, retain the right to return and remain permanently in Australia
  • provide documentation to enable the entry into Australia of Australian citizen dual nationals who have compelling reasons preventing them from travelling on an Australian passport
  • upon request, provide clients with written evidence of their status in Australia as permanent residents.
Table 28: Performance information - Resident return visas, Australian declaratory visas, and certificates of evidence of resident status
2005-06 Measures Results
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
82 425 onshore applications (persons) finalised 67 554 80 922 86 404 72 652
7825 offshore applications (persons) finalised 7964 8061 8117 8369
Percentage of onshore Resident Return Visa applications lodged electronically 4 per cent   6 per cent 10 per cent 13 per cent
Performance against service standards See output component 1.1.7 on page 95

(1) Applications processed in Taipei are not reflected in the applications (persons) finalised quantities.

Description

In support of programme's goals, visas were issued in the following categories, including the issue of certificates of evidence of resident status (CERS).

Table 29: Number of return residents, Australian declaratory visas, and certificates issued
Category 2005-05 2005-06 Per cent change
Return Resident 65 371 57 255 -12.3
Australian Declaratory 1163 980 -15.7
Certificates of Evidence of Resident Status 20 167 17 964 -10.9
Total 86 701 76 199 -12.0

Analysis of performance

Resident Return visas

The resident return visa (RRV) scheme provides a service to cater for Australian permanent residents who wish to leave Australia temporarily but retain the capacity to return as permanent residents. Applications can be lodged in a number of ways, including over the counter at departmental offices in Australia and overseas, and electronically over th Internet. A total of 60 343 RRV applications were lodged over the counter and via the Internet during 2005-06. Of those, 53 772 were lodged in person, resulting in 50 881 grants and 760 refusals.

Global working

During 2005-06, there were 6571 Internet applications lodged for RRVs, up 7.6 per cent on 2004-05. A total of 6374 RRVs were granted as a result of this process.

Australian Declaratory visas

An Australian declaratory visa (ADV) is an administrative document granted in limited circumstances to Australian citizen dual nationals who would suffer hardship or persecution in another country if they travelled on their Australian passport. A total of 1033 ADV applications were lodged during 2005-06, down 25.4 per cent on 2004-05. A total of 980 ADVs were issued during 2005-06.

Certificates of evidence of resident status

We provide a service to permanent residents who are unable to present (to third parties) a passport and visa as proof of their resident status. During 2005-06, 17 862 applications were lodged for a certificate of evidence of resident status, down 11.2 per cent on 2004-05. A total of 17 964 certificates were issued during 2005-06.







Output 1.1 Migration and temporary entry performance information

Table 30: Service standards - output 1.1 migration and temporary entry

Actual median and 75 percentile processing time

Output 1.1.1 Economic entry (permanent)
  Onshore Offshore
Low Risk High Risk (1) Low Risk High Risk (1)
Labour agreement/employer nomination/regional sponsored migration        
Median processing time 3 months 4 months 3 months 4 months
75 percentile processing time 5 months 7 months 5 months 7 months
Business skills        
Median processing time 6 months 9 months 6 months 11 months
75 percentile processing time 9 months 15 months 9 months 15 months
General skilled migration        
Median processing time 4 months 4 months 9 months 12 months
75 percentile processing time 6 months 6 months 12 months 15 months
Skilled independent - regional        
Median processing time 3 months 3 months 5 months 5 months
75 percentile processing time 5 months 5 months 7 months 7 months



Output 1.1.2 Family entry (permanent)
  Onshore Offshore
Low Risk High Risk (1) Low Risk High Risk (1)
Spouse/interdependent (temporary)        
Median processing time 3 months 3.5 months 3 months 6 months
75 percentile processing time 6 months 6 months 5 months 10 months
Prospective spouse             
Median processing time N/A (2) N/A (2) 3 months 6 months
  Onshore Offshore
Low Risk High Risk (1) Low Risk High Risk (1)
75 percentile processing time N/A (2) N/A (2) 5 months 10 months
Spouse/interdependent (permanent)        
Median processing time 3 months 3.5 months N/A (3) N/A (3)
75 percentile processing time 6 months 8 months N/A (3) N/A (3)
Child        
Median processing time 3 months 3 months 2 months 4.5 months
75 percentile processing time 6 months 7 months 3 months 10 months
Contributory aged parent (temporary)        
Median processing time 6 months 6 months 6 months 6 months
75 percentile processing time 9 months 9 months 9 months 9 months
Contributory aged parent (permanent)        
Median processing time 6 months 6 months 6 months 6 months
75 percentile processing time 9 months 9 months 9 months 9 months



Output 1.1.3 Special eligibility
  Onshore Offshore
Low Risk High Risk (1) Low Risk High Risk (1)
Other special eligibility        
Median processing time 5 months 6 months 6 months 9 months
75 percentile processing time 6 months 9 months 9 months 12 months



Output 1.1.4 Visitors and working holiday makers
  Onshore Offshore
Low Risk High Risk (1) Low Risk High Risk (1)
Sponsored visitors        
Median processing time N/A (2) 1 month N/A (3) N/A (3)
75 percentile processing time N/A (2) 1.5 months N/A (3) N/A (3)
Non-sponsored visitors (short-stay)        
Median processing time 1 day 1 day 1 day (3) 0.5 months
75 percentile processing time 1 day 1 week 1 day (3) 1 month
Non-sponsored visitors (long-stay)        
Median processing time 1 day 1 week 1 day 1 month
75 percentile processing time 1 day 1 month 1 day 1.5 months
Sponsored business visitors        
Median processing time N/A (2) N/A (2) N/A (3) 3 days
75 percentile processing time N/A (2) N/A (2) N/A (3) 1 month
Non-Sponsored Business Visitors        
Median processing time N/A (2) N/A (2) 1 day (3) 0.5 months
75 percentile processing time N/A (2) N/A (2) 1 day (3) 1 month
Working holiday makers        
Median processing time 1 day N/A (2) 1 day N/A (4)
75 percentile processing time 6 days N/A (2) 6 days N/A (4)



Output 1.1.5 Students
  Onshore Offshore
Assessment Level 1 / 2 Assessment Level 3/4 Assessment Level 1 Assessment Level 2 Assessment Level 3/4
Students          
Median processing time (calendar days) 7 days 14 days 7 days 14 days 60 days
75 percentile processing time (calendar days) 14 days 30 days 14 days 21 days 90 days
  Onshore Offshore
Assessment Level 1 / 2 Assessment Level 3/4 Assessment Level 1/2 Assessment Level 3/4  
Students: permission to work          
Median processing time (calendar days) 3 days 3 days N/A (5) N/A 5)  
 
75 percentile processing time (calendar days) 7 days 7 days N/A 5) N/A 5)  
 


Output 1.1.6 Temporary Residents
  Onshore Offshore
Low Risk High Risk (1) Low Risk High Risk (1)
Long Stay Business & Other Sponsored Temporary Residence (5)        
Median processing time 1 month 6 weeks 1 month 6 weeks
75 Percentile service standard 2 months 3 months 2 months 3 months



Output 1.1.7 RRVs, ADVs and Evidence of Resident Status
  Onshore Offshore
RRV, ADV, and Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status    
Median processing time 1 day 2 days
75 percentile processing time 1 day 2 weeks
Notes:

(1)    High Risk is defined as those nations for whom ETA is not available.

(2)    Not applied for in Australia.

(3)    ETA is available to applicants from low-risk nations.

(4)    No working holiday maker agreements in place with high-risk nations.

(5)    Service standard excludes sponsorship and nomination processing.

The median and 75 percentile processing times are from application to finalisation.

All permanent entry service standards may vary according to the number of places available in the Migration Programme.

  DIMA home | Contact DIMA | Privacy Information | Copyright | Disclaimer