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The points required for Australian General Skilled Migration is increasing to a minimum of 65 points

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30 June 2018

The points required for Australian General Skilled Migration is increasing to a minimum of 65 points

Applicants applying for a Skilled Visa for Australia must obtain a minimum of 65 points to apply from 1 July 2018. This legislative change will impact all applicants on 60 points who have not yet received an invitation to apply for a skilled visa.

If you have received an invitation prior to 1 July 2018, your point remain valid at 60. Anyone else who has not received the invitation will follow the 65 point as the minimum points required.

It’s important to note that obtaining the new minimum points score of 65 does not guarantee an invitation to apply for a visa. Realistically, an applicant requires a minimum of 70 to 75 points to secure an invitation to apply for a Skilled Independent 189 Visa.

There are three primary ways to increase your points score; 1) The English Test, 2) State Sponsorship, 3) Partner’s Point. The majority of states are temporarily closed which means it’s difficult to assess state sponsorship options until they reopen. We anticipate most states will reopen after 1 July 2018.

Things you need to know about migrating to regional Australia

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Skilled visas sponsored by state and territory governments are prioritised in Australia.

Recent reports suggest that international migrants are helping to provide stability to the regional Australian communities they settle in.

The Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS), the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) and the State Sponsored Skilled Migration visas aim to attract young, skilled, English speaking migrants to areas of Australia where they are most needed.

Migration agents Rohit Mohan and Ranbir Singh from Lakshya Migrations told SBS Punjabi that new arrivals are skilled, younger and have the potential to build families and work in these rural communities for prosperity.

“With the current visa changes that were introduced after 18th March 2018, we’re already seeing an increase in the number of applications in State Sponsored Skilled Migration visa streams,” said Mr Mohan.

“The applicants on 457 visas shouldn’t be disheartened as there are other options available now in various employer-sponsored visa categories.

Ranbir Singh told SBS Punjabi that the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa category 482 is now replacing the controversial 457 visa.

“For this category, one must have two years full-time work experience. There are two categories, one with a 4-year visa and the other with 2 years.

“The applicants must be mindful that the conditions have now become stringent. There’re recent changes to training benchmark requirements and the labour market testing is also getting tougher now,” Ranbir Singh said.

“For permanent residency, one would need to wait for three years, which is applicable for medium and long-term lists.”

Ranbir also provided some suggestions to the 457 visa holders who are struggling either because their employer has either closed the business or has terminated their employment resulting in a notice of cancellation of the visa.

“You still have chances provided you’ve gained work experience that may help open the doors of general skilled migration option,” he said.

Rohit Mohan said that migration to regional areas is becoming a matter of choice for many prospective applicants.

“These visas enable states to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian,” he said.

“ENS and RSMS are now available for those applicants who have three year full time work experience. The only difference is that SOL list for of RSMS visa occupations is wider than ENS.

“I believe there will be changes to TSS or RSMS visas as there is already pressure from industry bodies regarding the shortage of skilled professionals.

“They have already started raising concerns about labour shortages that would affect the businesses due to recent changes. So we don’t expect to see any rigorous changes this year.

Ranbir Singh suggested that newly arrived international students who want to call Australia home should improve their English language skills and should also try to gain experience in their respective fields.

“With the recent immigration cuts, we can already see the competition among the applicants who seek invitations to apply for skilled visas,” he said.

“The international students need to focus more on improving their total points so as to compete with the off-shore applicants.”

“They should be mindful that the annual number of 200,000 applicants decided by the government for general skilled migrants not only consists of main applicants but also the secondary applicants including spouse and their kids.

“Eventually, it’ll get harder to cross the line for permanent residency. They’ve more chances if they aim for regional areas where states such as Tasmania and the ACT are keen to take applications under 489 or 190 visa categories.

“The prospective applicants who are not getting invites and their 485 visa are about to expire may think of moving to states offering state sponsorship.”


How to get an apprenticeship in Australia

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For a young migrant, an apprenticeship is a great way to get a head start in a chosen career in Australia. An apprenticeship combines time at paid work with training and can be completed full-time, part-time or while still at school.

Apprenticeships are an ideal way to earn, learn and build a life in a new country. Structured training is combined with practical work experience with an employer.

An apprenticeship usually takes between two and four years to complete and leads to nationally accredited qualifications in many professions.

Meredith Stuebe from Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre says her organisation is a good place to start looking for an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are an ideal way to earn, learn and build a life in a new country. Structured training is combined with practical work experience with an employer.

“We’ve had had some youth clients come to us asking how to access an apprenticeship and we refer them on to either TAFE or a private provider and encourage them to find an employer through their own networks and on-line job sites.”

Meredith Stuebe says that case workers from Western Sydney MRC are willing to help young migrants with writing a CV but she acknowledges that a lack of English can slow down the process of finding employment and an “English is a difficulty and that’s why there might be a delay for some young people looking for apprenticeships whilst they build up their English capacity.”

Australia’s largest training provider is TAFE which stands for Technical and Further Education. Craig Robertson is the Chief Executive Officer of TAFE Directors Australia. He says young migrants looking for an apprenticeship should contact their local TAFE careers advice officer and discuss what they would like to do. The careers advisor will then try to match them up with employers looking for apprentices. Craig Robertson says TAFE organisations also help new arrivals with improving their language skills.

“One obligation on all registered training organisations, including TAFEs, of course, is that if people have challenges with the English language and in writing they can organise supplementary training course to help them along their way.

Australia’s TAFE network operates more than 1000 campuses across metropolitan, regional and remote locations. TAFE institutions are known as either colleges or institutes, depending on the state or territory.

Craig Robertson says many careers started at TAFE.

“TAFEs in Australia have delivered qualifications that cover 60 to 70 per cent of jobs in the Australian economy. And they can range from building and construction, but they can be business services, they can be child care, aged care, enrolled nursing, and a whole range of study.”

And best of all, for most new arrivals, TAFE courses are free, says Craig Robertson.

“Particularly for new arrivals, the government pays for the majority of those courses – it varies a bit between states and territories – but if the person is on some form of support from the government there is generally no fee.”

The National Apprentice Employment Network is a private organisation offering apprenticeships. Lauren Tiltman is NAEN’s National Executive Officer. She explains what her organisation has to offer.

“Our organisation looks after approximately 50 organisations that specialise in the employment of apprentices and trainees. They employ about 25-thousand apprentices and trainees across Australia. About 12 per cent of all apprentices and trainees are employed by one of our members.”

Lauren Tiltman says the member companies of her organisation focus on delivering entry level training for many industries.

“The model of group training is that the member organisation employs the person as an apprentice or a trainee and they have partner organisations that teach them the on-the-job requirements of the apprenticeship. So, if somebody wants to be an automotive mechanic, our member would employ them but they would go out and work in a workshop to get the on-the-job experience.”

Lauren Tiltman says the members of the National Apprentice Employment Network are happy to give young migrants and new arrivals a helping hand in getting job qualifications and finding work.

Particularly for new arrivals, the government pays for the majority of those courses – it varies a bit between states and territories – but if the person is on some form of support from the government there is generally no fee.

“So their focus is really about getting people who are not in work into work and particularly people who have additional needs, whether it be language, whether it be coming from an disadvantaged background or a migrant background. They specialise and are able to support those people.”

Lauren Tiltman says that there are vacancies for apprentices in many Australian industries and jobs are often advertised on social media or online job sites. However Meredith Stuebe from Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre is not so optimistic about the job prospects of young migrants. She thinks that the government could do more to help new arrivals into work and apprenticeships.

“I think there is scope for improvement. One of the biggest issues we’re seeing is trying to find an employer to take them on which is obviously the first big step in getting an apprenticeship and I think if there was more support for new arrivals in that, then that would be a huge help.”


New visa scheme to attract highly skilled global talent

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A new visa scheme to attract highly skilled global talent and deliver innovation to Australia will be piloted from 1 July of this year.

The Government recognises there is fierce competition globally for high-tech skills and talent, and that attracting these people helps to transfer skills to Australian workers and grow Australian-based businesses.

The Global Talent Scheme will consist of two components. Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million will be able to sponsor highly skilled and experienced individuals for positions with earnings above $180,000 into Australia.

The employers will need to be able to demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians and that there will be skills transfer to Australian workers as a result of the person being granted a visa.

The sponsoring business must have a track record of hiring and training Australians.

Technology-based and STEM-related start-up businesses will also be able to sponsor experienced people with specialised technology skills.

Start-ups will need to be recognised by a start-up authority and demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians.

In the both instances, a four year Temporary Skill Shortage visa will be issued with permanent residence applications available after three years.

The Government will consult further on the details of the scheme over the next few months, before piloting it for 12 months, starting 1 July 2018. An industry advisory group will provide ongoing guidance for the pilot.

Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said that the new scheme is recognition that global talent is in high demand and we need to provide pathways for Australian businesses to access this.

“We want to ensure that Australian businesses can access the best talent in the world, because this will underpin business growth, skills transfer and job creation,” Minister Tudge said.

“At all stages, Australians are prioritised for the jobs, but where the skills and experience are not available here, we want to be able to attract talent from overseas.

“This is part of the ongoing reforms to our skilled visa programs to ensure that Australians have priority for Australian jobs, but acknowledge that there are times when the skills are not available in the country.”

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the new scheme will particularly help Australian employers in our growing innovation sector and help them to create more Australian jobs.

“Industry figures say globally mobile, highly skilled and experienced staff can act as ‘job multipliers’ in Australian businesses, helping them to hire more local staff and fill critical areas of need,” Minister Cash said.


Immigration Update April 2018

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Immigration Update April 2018

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Changes to Assurance of Support (AoS)

Significant changes have been made to the assurance of support scheme, a program designed to keep new migrants off welfare by ensuring their families have sufficient fund to support them in their initial years in Australia.

The Department of Social Services has increased the financial requirement for migrant families who intend to financially back their relatives in visa applications. The changes were made on 26 March and became effective on 1 April. With the changes take effect, the families of new migrants will need to earn more than double what was previously required.

For example, if a couple in Australia wants to act as financial backers for their parents, they will need to earn a combined $115,475 a year, instead of $45,185. A single person who wants to vouch for their parents will need to earn $86,606, rather than $45,185.

The new requirements will not apply to applicants who submitted their applications before 1 April.

For detailed information regarding the changes, please visit:

Students from China, India and Nepal surge at Australian universities despite jobs squeeze

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Education has become the country’s third-biggest export market. Photo: James Brickwood

Chinese and Indian students have not been deterred by negative media coverage or reports of racist attacks, and are flocking to Australian universities in record numbers.

New statistics show amost 190,000 foreigners applied to study in Australia between July and December, an increase of 14.1 per cent on the same period in 2016, with Indian applicants surging by 32 per cent and Chinese applicants by 13 per cent. Nepal overtook Brazil as the third-largest source of applicants, rising by 46 per cent to nearly 12,000 prospective students.

More than 90 per cent of applicants were granted student visas, with 41,000 – a quarter of all student visas issued in the quarter – going to Chinese nationals. A further 20,000 were Indian nationals. The grant rate for Chinese applicants steadily declined over the course of 2017 from 98.3 per cent to 93.8 per cent.

In total, the number of student visas granted rose by 7 per cent.

International students pay huge fees to study in Australia and have become an enormous source of income for universities, particularly the Group of Eight, to the extent that education has become the country’s third-biggest export market.

Critics have raised concerns at the level of Chinese influence in Australian universities, with students sometimes objecting to course material covering China and its government. Such matters, as well as physical attacks on Chinese students, have received prominent coverage in local and overseas Chinese media. Last month Beijing issued a safety warning for Chinese students in Australia and provided phone numbers in case of emergency.

But the figures released this week by the Department of Home Affairs show Chinese interest in an Australian higher education has only continued to grow. The 12.9 per cent increase in applications from Chinese nationals was far higher in July-December 2017 than the same period in 2016 (6.7 per cent) and 2015 (5.6 per cent).

Over the past 10 years, Nepal has grown exponentially as a source of international students, initially spurred by the decade-long Maoist insurgency and subsequent word of mouth. Nepalese media have identified Sydney’s Victoria University and Western Sydney University as major destinations for Nepalese students, and Auburn has become Sydney’s hub for Nepalese-speakers.

However, the figures released by the government this week also show signs of a jobs squeeze for international students after graduation. The number of graduates moving straight into skilled work has crashed following the Turnbull government’s changes to the temporary 457 visa, which will be abolished and replaced this month.

Just 3000 graduates transitioned to a 457, a decline of 50 per cent on the same period in 2016, while the number who moved on to a 189 or 190 skilled visa also fell. Instead, there was a 30 per cent increase in students moving on to a 485 “temporary graduate” visa, which allows them to work in Australia but is not a guarantee of skilled labour. There was also an 11.5 per cent rise in the number of graduates who moved on to a tourist visa.

Er-Kai Wang, associate lecturer in migration at the Australian National University, said the 485 visa still offered a “window of opportunity” for permanent residency, but it was easier on the 457. “That was a pathway for a lot of people to get into permanent residency – which was probably one of the things that the government was a bit suspicious about,” she said.

Last year the Turnbull government slashed the number of occupations eligible for the 457 visa, which this month will be replaced by the similar but stricter temporary Skills Shortage visa.

Of those graduates who were on the increasingly-popular 485 temporary graduate visa, about 6000 transitioned to a skilled migrant visa – a decline of 13.7 per cent on the same period in 2016.

Despite the lure of an Australian job and pathway to permanent residency, Ms Wang noted a large number of foreign students who study in Australia “are wanting to study and then go home”.


Australia to introduce new visa to boost economy, jobs

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The Australian Government says it will introduce a new visa for people willing to establish businesses in the country. The visa will not require any mandatory funding outlay and an applicant only needs to demonstrate “vocational English”.

Indian migrant Navjot Singh Kailay moved to Melbourne from Adelaide last year that was his home for close to a decade. For Mr Kailay- a migration agent, slow economic growth was the primary reasons for leaving the state.

He says many permanent residents with a state nomination from South Australia move to other parts of the country, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, looking for better opportunities.

“The current policies in SA are such that are designed to attract only business migration and not retaining skilled migrants in the state,” says Mr Kailay.

The Federal Government says, to increase job opportunities, it will start a new visa to foster entrepreneurship and improve the state’s economy before its national roll out next year.

The Federal Government has given an undertaking to South Australian Liberals to pilot this visa from South Australia.

“The Turnbull Government is focussed on increasing job opportunities and standards of living for Australians and we are doing this by fostering business growth and investment in Australia,” Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said.

Under the proposed visa, foreign entrepreneurs and investors with an innovative idea and a supporting business plan will be able to apply for a temporary visa to establish their venture in Australia.

The existing entrepreneur visa requires a mandatory capital backing of $200,000 which will not be required for the proposed visa.

The applicants’ business proposals will be examined by the State or Federal Government authorities before granting a temporary visa.

Entrepreneurs who are successful in establishing their business venture in Australia will become eligible to apply for permanent residence.

“Encouraging seed-stage entrepreneurs to take forward innovative ideas in Australia will assist in growing the jobs of the future,” said Mr Dutton.

Revealing further details of the proposed visa, the South Australian Liberal leader Steven Marshall said all applicants must be under 45 years of age and have vocational level English which is band 5 in each four components of the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS).

“We are confident that this arrangement can lead to participants applying for permanent residence in South Australia as they develop their business plans into successful enterprises creating new companies and jobs in our state,” said Mr Stevens.

“These arrangements will also encourage more investment in those sectors of our economy with the greatest capacity to grow, including advanced manufacturing and defence technology following the Federal Government’s decision to centre the naval shipbuilding program in South Australia.”

While it’s not clear if the introduction of the visa is subject to the Liberals winning the state election, Mr Kailay says whether or not this measure will succeed in retaining talented individuals in the state would depend on the criteria for progressing to permanent residency which are yet to be unveiled.

“At the moment, it’s more of an election promise. The details would tell us how high or low the bar is set in terms of a business’ job creation and turnover,” he says.


Tasmania top of the pops for population growth, report finds

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Visitors to Tasmania who comment about the island state’s beauty and liveability will often get a response from locals along the lines of “Yes, we know … don’t tell anyone!”

Sorry Taswegians, but it seems the secret is out, with a new report showing Tasmania is now top-ranked on relative population growth.

Long the butt of jokes across the nation, the state is now holding its own as the fourth-best performing economy in Australia.

The state is in the midst of a housing boom, tourism is going gangbusters and even the weather is heating up (well, at least in the past few days).

Here are some of the reasons Tasmania is kicking goals (and also some areas for improvement).

More people heading south

CommSec’s latest State of the States report showed Tasmania had jumped on top of the relative population rankings with its 0.64 per cent annual population growth rate.

A decade ago the rate of growth was 0.55 per cent.

The fastest population growth in six years helped boost Tasmania’s overall ranking from the fifth to the fourth-best performing economy, ahead of South Australia and Queensland.

The Liberal Government has set a target to grow the population to 650,000 people by 2050 (the population is about 520,000).

So while Tassie might have the fastest-growing population for six years, there is a long way to go to meet that target.

Can’t afford a house, Sydneysiders? Come on down!

A recent CoreLogic report showed Hobart was by far the strongest housing market in the country for the month, quarter and year — rising by 1.5, 3.1 and 12.3 per cent respectively.

The main reason for capital appreciation in the city’s housing market was its affordability, compared to other capital cities.

The median dwelling price in Hobart (including houses and apartments) was about $404,000 — compared to $895,000 in Sydney and $720,000 in Melbourne.

But the boom has been bittersweet, with disadvantaged house hunters being squeezed out.

Despite this, the State Government is determined to entice more mainlanders to Tasmania, even launching a campaign designed to woo Sydneysiders.

And the rental market is ultra-competitive, with Airbnb and surging tourism pointed to as factors in the latest Deloitte Access Economics report.

The report showed the residential vacancy rate was less than 1 per cent and the lowest in the country.

Job rate improving

According to the Deloitte report, Tasmania’s job market has improved, which helped to reduce the unemployment rate.

“Subject to the important caveat that the numbers for smaller states should be taken with a grain of salt, job gains over the past year are very strong, at over 3 per cent,” the report stated.

“That’s helped reduce the unemployment rate from its level of a year ago, although at just over 6 per cent still, Tasmania is now the recipient of the unwanted title of highest unemployment rate jurisdiction [with South Australia carving chunks out of its previously highest unemployment rate].”

The report also showed Tasmania’s engineering construction sector improved over the last year, with the value of work done now back above the levels seen during the last peak in 2013-14.

Business investment picked up and small business confidence was higher than the national average.

Tourism continues to boom

PHOTO: The state’s natural beauty continues to draw increasing numbers of visitors. (Supplied: Jo Ledda)

The number of interstate and international visitors to Tasmania is booming, helping to boost the state’s tourism sector.

According to Deloitte, international visitors increased by 16 per cent in 2016-17, with their spending up by 24 per cent.

In 2016-2017, Tasmania attracted nearly 1.27 million visitors, that spent a total of $2.26 billion throughout the state during their stay.

So book that trip, pack that tent and get yourself out and amongst what Tasmania has to offer.

But please be careful of the flora and fauna when posting those Instagram photos.

How about this hot weather!

PHOTO: The weather is not always conducive to getting your kit off but hundreds do each June. (ABC News: Ros Lehman)

Ok, we can’t promise this will be the case for this year’s annual Dark Mofo nude swim.

But on Sunday, at least, the mercury soared to 36 degrees Celsius in Hobart. That was hotter than Darwin.

While Tasmania’s major political parties cannot take credit for the weather, the Liberals have been quick to claim responsibility for the positive economic growth, while Labor put it down to “significantly improved conditions”.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the Deloitte report confirmed Tasmania had surged ahead under the Liberals.

“Under our long-term plan, Tasmania has come a long way after a disastrous period of Labor-Green minority government slammed the state into a deep recession,” he said.

Labor spokesman Scott Bacon put the improvements in Tasmania’s economy down to good fortune, not good management.

“The report shows up the Treasurer’s boasting as nothing but spin by highlighting that the combination of lower interest rates and a lower Australian dollar came to the rescue,” he said.


Why US billionaires want property in New Zealand

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The island nation of New Zealand has emerged as an unlikely real estate and investment hub for U.S. billionaires looking for palatial estates, and, according to some reports, a sense of security amid rising global tensions.

New Zealand’s gorgeous landscape, booming home prices and isolation have made it an attractive target to outside investors, to the point that government officials are pushing to ban the sale of houses to overseas buyers. However, the country presently offers a pathway for motivated foreign investors, offering residency and a pathway to citizenship, for those willing to invest millions in the country and spend a certain amount of each year there.

With nuclear tensions on the rise, New Zealand’s political stability, low population density, pristine country and distance from major powers provides a potential refuge to those for whom money is no object. That is particularly true among the tech elite of Silicon Valley, whose West Coast headquarters are a nonstop plane ride away.

“[New Zealand] makes investor visas relatively easy to obtain when compared to many other nations such as the United States, thus it is natural for those looking to invest money overseas to choose New Zealand,” Joshua Harris, a clinical assistant professor of real estate at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, said. “The country’s real estate markets are generally believed to be under supplied and have experienced rising prices in recent years. Further, daily nonstop flight options from the West Coast of the U.S. has made getting to New Zealand easier in the past few years as well.”

Silicon Valley tycoon Peter Thiel, legendary investor Julian Robertson and Hollywood director James Cameron are just a few of the notable figures tied to property deals in New Zealand, whose pristine hills served as the filming location of the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy. Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, purportedly told the former New Zealand prime minister in April 2016 that he wished to buy a home in the country, the New Zealand Herald reported, adding that many of Ma’s colleagues had already retired there.

New Zealand offers two pathways for foreign applicants to obtain an investor visa. For a standard visa, applicants must invest NZ$3 million (more than $2 million in U.S. currency) for a four-year period and spend at least 146 days for three of the four years of an investment period. To speed up the process, foreign applicants can agree to invest NZ$10 million for three years and spend at least 44 days in the country for the last two years of the investment period. The country grants about 250 such visas annually, according to the Washington Post.

The notion that New Zealand is serving as a refuge for billionaires wary of a global crisis originated from a January 2017 story in the New Yorker entitled “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich.” Venture capitalist Sam Altman told the publication in 2016 that he planned to fly with Thiel to New Zealand in the event of a global pandemic.

For proponents of the theory, a New Zealand Herald report that Thiel recently added a panic room to his $4.8 million estate in Queensland served as a form of proof.

“I would venture to guess the biggest reason for U.S. billionaires investing in New Zealand real estate is political and economic instability, coupled with the ‘prepper’ mentality and vast amounts of disposable income,” said Max Coursey, a real estate investment expert and president of Tiger Prop in Boise, Idaho. “New Zealand is friendly with most of the world, so their chances of being hit would be minimal and fallout in the southern hemisphere would likely be substantially less than the northern. … If there was a major outbreak of disease, what better place to be than a sparsely-populated island?”

Years of overseas investment has driven up housing prices on the island. New Zealand’s national median average home price rose 5.8% to $405,000 in 2017, the BBC reported. Those rising prices are the primary driver behind the push by New Zealand’s Labour Party government to ban foreigners from buying homes in the country.

The emergence of high-profile American buyers has rankled some New Zealanders. The country’s Overseas Investment Office, which oversees attempts to buy property, told FOX Business last December that it review disgraced former NBC anchor Matt Lauer’s ownership of a $9 million ranch to determine if the allegations of sexual misconduct against him would violate the country’s “good character” clause for foreign investors.

“For an overseas person to receive consent under the Overseas Investment Act they need to be of good character,” Lisa Barrett, the agency’s deputy chief of executive policy and overseas Investment, said at the time. “There is a range of regulatory tools or actions we can take if we believe the Overseas Investment Rules have been broken. The OIO can seek orders, through the Courts, that require people to dispose of property.”

For critics, Thiel’s pathway to property ownership was seen as particularly problematic. New Zealand experienced a public uproar after it was revealed last month that the PayPal founder had gained permanent citizenship after just four visits to the country and did not attend his citizenship ceremony.

The country’s laws generally require that a would-be citizen spend 70% of their time in New Zealand for five years before gaining acceptance. Detractors argued that Thiel, who donated $800,000 to a local earthquake relief fund in 2011 and millions of dollars toward local startups, had effectively bought his citizenship.

“I am happy to say categorically that I have found no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand,” Mr. Thiel wrote on his citizenship application.


Turnbull government ‘considering laws to screen migrants before leaving home’

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The Turnbull government is considering monitoring migrants coming to Australia before they leave home. Source: AAP

The Turnbull government is reportedly considering laws that will allow the Home Affairs department to gather intelligence on the ‘lived behaviour’ of would-be migrants

The Coalition government is considering laws that would allow Peter Dutton’s new Home Affairs department to gather intelligence on migrants when they first apply to come to Australia, the department’s secretary has revealed.

Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo, the department’s top public servant, told The Daily Telegraph the government was actively considering the idea.

“Prior to you even getting citizenship, before you even migrate, the government is looking at how do you make an assessment using intelligence, using all sources of information,” Mr Pezzullo told the newspaper.

The laws have not been tabled in parliament and have not been publically canvassed before the drop to the Telegraph.

Mr Pezzullo said the assessments would use a range of “data sources” to check whether would-be migrants were likely to “conform with and live by Australian values” by analysing their “lived behaviour”.

“There will be three assessment points; before they get here, while they are here and then when they apply for citizenship,” he said.

Minister for citizenship Alan Tudge told the Telegraph the government wanted to move to a model of “ongoing assessment” of migrants before they apply for citizenship.

SBS News has contacted the minister’s office for comment.

Mr Pezzullo was in Parliament House on Tuesday for Senate Estimates to answer questions from senators on his new Home Affairs department.

SBS News approached Mr Pezzullo on the morning tea break and asked if he could answer a few questions on the proposal.

“Of course not,” he said, adding his interview with the Telegraph was “part of a different thing”.

Mr Pezzullo said subsequent attempts to ask questions anyway were “incredibly disrespectful but expected”.

Annual immigration reports show Australia has accepted roughly 190,000 permanent migrants every year since 2011, mostly on skilled and family visas. It remains unclear what proportion of these would be vetted under the proposal.

Labor senator Doug Cameron accused the government of using coded messaging and dog-whistle politics.

“It wouldn’t surprise me that this government would use whatever dog whistle it can against potential refugees, potential migrants to this country,” Labor senator Doug Cameron told reporters at Parliament House on Tuesday.

But another Labor senator, Jenny McAllister, said the opposition would wait to see the detail of the government’s plan.

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