We have helped thousands successfully migrate to Australia. Need more reasons why Oz Migration? Find out how we can help.

Creating a brighter tomorrow…


Due to the horrendous bush fires recently, there were a lot of destruction of the natural habitat and food sources of the Koalas. They lost their homes and their lives to these widespread bush fires and excessive tree cleaning.

In order to further protect Koalas, before they are gone forever and to address the issue of their national decline, our sister company, Pendragon has made a New Year Resolution to do what they can to address the situation and to save the koalas.

Pendragon has pledged to help and support local charities who are ethical, environmentally friendly and working hard to stop the destruction of endangered habitats, by planting a tree for every qualified lead they receive in 2020. 

As a team, we are glad to share that Pendragon have over 100 trees ready to be planted so far…

They will be doing more during the year and we will keep you updated! In the end, it’s up to everyone to ensure future generations get to see these iconic Aussie animals in the wild.

The Benefits of Work Place Diversity – The Positive Impact of Sponsoring Visa Holders!


Workplace diversity has become a key trend in employment over recent years. An inclusive and diverse team has increasingly becoming a major goal for many companies, overcoming the perception previously held by some that hiring employees of varying age, gender, ethnicity, race and cultural background, religious beliefs, family situation and sexual orientation, was simply a politically correct response to equal opportunity employment policies.

There are multiple benefits for any company to build a team that consists of individuals with different strengths and perspectives, such as increased problem solving and decision-making ability, higher levels of employee engagement and a good corporate reputation for the company as an employer of choice.

As a visa and migration company working with companies to become Standard Business Sponsors and subsequently sponsor Temporary Visa Holders, and also assisting with Employer Sponsored Permanent Residence Visa, we have experienced the positive impact that employees who originate from backgrounds outside of Australia can have within a workplace. We will outline just some of the reasons below:

  1. An employee who has trained and worked overseas will bring a different set of skills and perspectives to the team. The combination of the different approaches from collaborating employees can lead to increased productivity and more successful outcomes.
  2. Since cognitive skills and personal creativity have their base within in a person’s life experiences, workplace productivity and creativity is boosted when the life experiences of the team members are varied.
  3. Employees with a background of conducting business within a different culture or who are multilingual can assist with opening up new channels and markets to company wanting to expand into international markets
  4. Exposure to a colleague with international training and experience can be an excellent learning opportunity for Australian employees to gain insight and new ideas.
  5. Most employees who have been sponsored for a visa fully appreciate that the employer has taken the steps necessary for them to be part of the team, and their resulting loyalty and engagement will have a stabilising and positive effect on the team. 

While there are costs and obligations involved for a business with sponsoring an employee and it does involve additional administrative work, there are positive benefits and opportunities to be gained for your business. 

If you would like to know more about what is required, and how Oz Migration Solutions can make the process of sponsoring an employee for a visa easier for you, please contact us at info@ozmigration.net.au or give us a call at 02 9407 8788


Don’t wait until it’s too late for company nominated PR!


If you held or were applying for a Temporary Work Skilled Visa (Subclass 457) around the 18 April 2017, you would have remembered the major announcement from the Department in relation to the drastic changes to the visa program. Essentially, 216 occupations were removed from the occupations list, and the list was spilt into the following:

  • Short-term Skilled Occupation List (Short-term list). If your occupation is listed under the Short-term list, you would no longer be able to apply for PR under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS).
  • Medium & Long-term Strategic Skills List (Long-term list). Under the new rules, only applicants whose occupations were listed on the Long-term list are able to apply for PR.

To assist with the transitional arrangements, if your occupation was on the Short-term list, you are still able to apply for PR if you meet the grandfathering provisions:

  • You held or were applying for a Subclass 457 visa which was subsequently approved, on or before 18 April 2017.
  • The age requirement would remain less than 50 (instead of 45 under the new rules).
  • The minimum period an applicant is required to have been employed in their nominated occupation as the holder of the TSS/457 visa holder will remain at two years (instead of 3 years under the new rules).
  • And most importantly, you must apply before 18 March 2022!

To conclude, under the grandfathering provisions, it wouldn’t matter if your occupation was removed or is only listed on the Short-term list. Given these transitional arrangements are only in place until 18 March 2022, and the fact that you will need to have worked for your sponsoring employer for 2 years to qualify, it is extremely important to start reviewing your pathway to PR now, before it’s too late!

If you would like our team to undertake a free assessment to determine whether you qualify under the ENS, please do not hesitate to contact our team at rob.lu@ozmigration.net.au or give us a call at 02 9407 8788

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Written By Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in "Big Australia". 

MARN: 0848586


Immigration changes for 2019


The Australian immigration landscape has always been a defining feature of Australia's economic and social life. Whilst Australia's migration program continues to revolutionise with consultative public debate, Australia's immigration policy has seen a movement away from family migration which used to represent two-thirds of the program in the early 1990s. Since the transition, we have seen governments placing more emphasis on the Skilled migration program, and now with a more employer-centric focus.

2019 hasn't been too much different compared to last year, as it has been a challenging year with the overall size of the permanent migration program set by the government being reduced from 190,000 to 160,000 places. The decrease in allocations were the result of a re-balance of the Skilled migration category to prioritise the Employer Sponsored Regional and State Nominated categories. As the Australian migration program continues to shape, we have provided below a high-level review of the key changes which has taken place in 2019.

* 17 April 2019 – the long anticipated Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Subclass 870 visa commenced which enabled parents to temporarily remain in Australia for 3 or 5 year periods.

* 1 May 2019 – the definition of ‘Accredited Sponsors’ was revised to include companies which undertook major investments of at least $50 million into Australia, which has directly generated Australian employment.

* 30 June 2019 – the Department of Health initiated the new Health Workforce Certificate application process, which affected General Practitioners & Resident Medical Officers. Under this initiative, the number of doctors were reduced by 200 per year which is significant number, considering the specialised nature of the industry. The initiative was designed to redirect doctors into regional and remote areas of Australia where it’s needed the most. 

* 26 October 2019 – immigration announced a change to the regional migration planning levels with an increase from 23,000 places to 25,000. The definition of regional postcodes were also revised, and all applicants from outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane would be able to access regional points. 

* 26 October 2019 – introduction of bio-metrics takes place for certain regional visa categories. The process involves taking a digital photo of the applicant’s face and scanning all 10 fingertips, with the data being stored in the government’s database. 

* 4 November 2019 – the Global Talent Independent program which offers a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals to work and live permanently in Australia was implemented. The aim of the program is to attract high calibre candidates at the top of their field. 

* 16 November 2019 - immigration introduced two new visas for regional Australia. The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Subclass 494 visa & the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa for skilled workers who wanted to live and work in regional Australia. These new visas will provide further incentives for migrants to bring their skills to regional Australia to and further grow the Australian economy. A new permanent visa pathway will also be available for holders of the new regional provisional visa in November 2022. 

* 13 December 2019 - the government released their report which confirms which occupations will be flagged for change in 2020. Whilst the proposed changes aren’t finalised until the public consultation process is completed which will likely be in March 2020, we are connecting with our clients to review who will be potentially affected. Some of the proposed changes are listed below for your perusal. 

Occupations which will potentially have a minimum salary threshold: Sales and Marketing Manager ($120K); ICT Project Manager ($120K); Information and Organisation Professionals ($90K).

Occupations which will potentially be added to the visa list: Corporate Treasurer; Aged or Disabled Carer; Nursing Support Worker, Personal Care Assistant. 

If you would like to see the full list of changes, please refer to the following web link:

https://docs.employment.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/smol_traffic_light_bulletin_december_2019_0.pdf

As you can see, it’s been another busy year with changes from immigration taking place every few weeks. In order to stay updated, please continue to subscribe to our e-Newsletters. If you or your business would like to discuss any of the above points, please feel free to contact our team at Oz Migration.

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Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586


It’s a wrap for 2019!


It’s been a fun, busy and productive year for Oz Migration Solutions. We have ended the year on a high, and have provided a snapshot of some of our key business achievements for 2019. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone - all our corporate clients and visa applicants who supported and assisted our business. We offer our best wishes and happiness to you and your families, as we all look forward to the holiday period and another successful year in 2020. 

Training & information sessions

As part of Oz Migration's revised business strategy in 2019, we commenced our consultation process, and provided face-to-face training and information sessions to our clients. The feedback from the training sessions, proved to be invaluable which involved reviewing our client’s internal mobility policies to ensure they were compliant, should immigration decide to conduct a random on-the-spot audit. If your business would be interested in this free session, please contact our team in the new year.

Company website

Our long-awaited website upgrade has been finalised, and we will be launching the site in early 2020. The website has been designed to be “user friendly" and "easy to read”, whilst reinstating our core corporate values and extensive list of migration services.

Newsletter

Oz Migration also launched their official e-Newsletter in 2019 which provided insights into developments with immigration and general discussions towards topics of interest. If you could like to subscribe to our newsletters, please do not hesitate to contact our team at info@ozmigration.net.au

Customer satisfaction surveys

Under our new business model, we also commenced tracking and monitoring feedback from all our clients. Our customer satisfaction surveys which was initiated in 2019, involved obtaining feedback from all visa applicants using our services. We are glad to advise that the program has been a huge success with 91% of respondents scoring our services a 10 out of 10. We are also reviewing the constructive feedback provided by our clients, to assess whether they can be implemented in the new year. 

Business growth

Business growth is always a key driver in any business, however at Oz Migration, we have primarily focused on values & customer service, as word of mouth has proven to be Oz Migration’s main source of referrals. We are pleased to announce that the financials for 2019 have been the highest on record, which is a testament to the team with their level of care and respect given to each application. We look forward to expanding our networks, and further improving our service offerings in 2020.

As Oz Migration continues to grow, we look forward to continue sharing our journey with you. And now to welcome the new year!

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Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586

Santa needs a visa!


It’s that time of year again and Santa Claus is coming to town. According to his well-documented flight plan, he will start his Christmas journey at the International Date Line visiting the South Pacific islands, then New Zealand and then Australia.

This has sparked an ongoing conversation in our office – what visa will Santa be entering Australia on?

First we needed to gather the relevant information to be able to assess his options:

Passport Details: Santa’s country of birth is not clear – some say Netherlands, while others say Germany. His current residence of the North Pole does not technically sit within any country as it sits in International Waters. The closest land is a Canadian territory, followed by Greenland. However, Russia, Denmark and Canada have all staked claims at some point or another. It’s also debatable whether Santa Claus is in fact his legal name, given that he has multiple aliases such as St Nicholas and Father Christmas. We’d need to see the passport to be sure, but for the purposes of this assessment we are going with Santa Claus and The Netherlands.

Age: Santa is believed to have been born in the year 270AD, so he is estimated to be around 1,749 years old

Family Composition: Santa is married to Mrs Claus. Rumours that he has been caught kissing Mummy under the Christmas tree appear to have not affected his marriage. He is also believed to have grown up children and is thought to have adopted some elves along the way as well. The family will not be travelling with him for the purposes of this trip.

Health: Given his age Santa seems to be in pretty good condition. Apparently he does tend to overindulge on the cookies and milk that kids leave out for him, which may result in a future burden on the healthcare system at some stage. We’ll let this one slide as long as he has health insurance.

Character Issues: Where do we start here? The list of possible crimes is long: break and enter, trespass, exploitation of elf labour, flying without a pilot’s licence in restricted air space, and entering countries without a valid visa. We are going to need to see the Police Clearances…..for ALL of the aliases.

So what visa for Santa:

Working Holiday? No, although citizens of the Netherlands do qualify for Working Holiday visas, Santa is well above the upper age limit of 30 years old

Family based visas? No, no member of Santa’s family is an Australian citizen so this is not available to him

Temporary Skills Shortage Visa or an Employer Sponsored Visa? No, while Santa has extensive experience in his field, his occupation does not appear on the Short Term or Medium Term Skilled Occupation Lists. He would also struggled to find an Employer willing to take him on given that he really only works for one day a year.

Visitor Visa? Santa is not only going to be here for tourism purposes or business meetings, so we’d have to pick the right stream. The Business Visitor stream allows the applicant to make a short visit for business visitor reasons, but they can’t work or sell goods or services. Since he is officially working, the Visitor Visa may not be the most appropriate.

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) might be the best option for Santa since he will only need to be in Australia for less than a day, and the work he is carrying out is definitely considered highly specialised.

If Santa Claus wanted to stay in Australia on a permanent basis, he could also consider a Distinguished Talent Visa since he can be of any age for this visa, and he is internationally recognised as having superior abilities in his field.

Problem solved. Now about the reindeer entering Australia… that’s one for another time.


Results from Australia's National Survey.


To provide an objective view, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which is an independent government broadcaster, conducted a national survey to 54,970 Australians to share their thoughts and opinions on being “Australian”. The purpose of the survey was to obtain data representing the communities across Australia in a number of areas, including sex, age, education, language, finance, lifestyle, religion and geography. According to the survey, the following proportion of Australians, indicated the following areas were affecting them personally (highest to lowest):

* Climate change – 72%

* Saving enough money for retirement – 62%

* Health or the health of the family – 56%

* Affording a home – 46%

* Australia must do more to address injustices against indigenous people – 41%

* Not having enough money to get by – 40%

* There is still a lot of racism in Australia these days – 40%

* Job security – 38%

* Crime – 36%

* Providing for family – 30%

In other sections of the survey, the respondents were required to provide a score from one to ten, on a range of questions about being an Australian. The results from the survey were very interesting - listed below from the highest to lowest.

  • Respecting Australia's institutions and laws

8.7

  • Appreciation of Australia's natural environment

8.3

  • Feeling Australian

7.5

  • Speaking English

7.1

  • Having Australian citizenship

7.1

  • Sharing the same values as most Australians

6.9

  • Being knowledgeable about Australian history

6.6

  • Living most of one's life in Australia

4.7

  • Being born in Australia

3.0

  • Being white

1.8

Whilst it would have been interesting to understand how many Aussies enjoyed Vegemite for breakfast, or which sporting team was the most popular in Australia, it was pleasing to see the key aspects with being an Australian, were focused on “respect” and “attitudes” towards the local laws and environment. On a personal level, it was also surprising to see that 80% of respondents agreed that immigrants to Australia, are able to retain their cultural values without being less Australian. 

My takeaway from the survey? Being an Australian is a subjective test with varying indicators, however it includes key notions of being part of a society that preserves individual cultures, backgrounds and at the same time instigates equality and respect amongst all.

If you are personally interested in comparing your own results, the article from ABC provides the link where you can complete the survey:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-22/annabel-crabb-national-identity-what-makes-an-australian/11623566

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Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586



Contractor Or Employee? Differentiating the two in today's gig economy!


An employee works in your business and is a part of your business, whereas a contractor runs their own business.

The table below outlines six of the factors that, taken together, determines whether a worker is an employee or contractor for tax purposes.

Follow the links in the table for more information about each factor.

EMPLOYEE

CONTRACTOR

Ability to subcontract: An employee can’t assign or delegate the work, i.e. they can’t pay someone else to do the work.

Ability to subcontract: A contractor can assign or delegate the work, i.e. they can pay someone else to do the work.

Equipment, tools and other assets:

Your business provides all or most of the equipment, tools and other assets required to complete the work, or the business provides them with an allowance or reimburses them for the cost of the equipment, tools and other assets.

Equipment, tools and other assets:

The worker provides all or most of the equipment, tools and other assets required to complete the work.

The worker does not receive an allowance or reimbursement for the cost of this equipment, tools and other assets.

Commercial risks: An employee takes no commercial risks. Your business is legally responsible for the work done by the employee and liable for the cost of rectifying any defect in the work.

Commercial risks: A contractor takes commercial risks and is legally responsible for their work and liable for the cost of rectifying any defect in his work.

Control over the work:  Your business has the right to direct the way in which the employee does the work.

Control over the work: A contractor has freedom in the way the work is done, subject to the specific terms in any contract or agreement.

Independence: An employee is not operating independently for your business. They work within and are considered part of your business.

Independence: A contractor operates their own work independently for your business. They perform services as specified in their contract or agreement and is free to accept or refuse additional work.

Basis of payment: An employee is paid either hourly, weekly, fortnightly or monthly for the time worked, or for a price per item/activity or commission.

Basis of payment: A contractor is paid for the result achieved based on the quote they provided.

Similarly, a quote can be calculated using hourly rates or price per item to work out the total cost of work.

If you hire a worker you must check if they are an employee or contractor. It’s important because:

  • It affects your tax, super and other obligations.
  • Penalties and charges may apply if you get wrong.

Your Tax, Super and Other Obligations:

Your tax, super and other obligations will vary depending on whether your worker is an employee or contractor.

If your worker is an employee you will need to:

  • Withhold tax (PAYG withholding) from their wages and report and pay the withheld amounts to us.
  • Pay super, at least quarterly, for eligible employees.
  • Report and pay fringe benefits tax (FBT) if you provide your employee with fringe benefits.

If your worker is a contractor:

  • They will generally look after their own tax obligations, so you don’t have to withhold from payments to them unless they don’t quote their ABN to you, or you have a voluntary agreement with them to withhold tax from their payments.
  • You may still have to pay super for individual contractors if the contract is principally for their labour.
  • You don’t have FBT obligations.

Remember, it is against the law to wrongly treat an employee as a contractor. Businesses that do this are illegally lowering their labour costs by:

  • Not meeting their tax and super obligations.
  • Denying workers their employee entitlements.

So, you need to check that you have got it right. If you don’t get it right, penalties may apply.

Some workers are always employees…

Any of the following types of workers are always treated as employees:

  • apprentices
  • trainees
  • labourers
  • trades assistants

Apprentices and trainees do a combination of work and recognised training to get a qualification, certificate or diploma. They can be full-time, part-time or school-based and usually have a formal training agreement with the business they work for, which is registered through a state or territory training authority or completed under a relevant law.

In most cases they are paid under an award and receive specific pay and conditions. The work arrangement for apprentices and trainees is employment. You must meet the same tax and super obligations as you do for any other employees of your business.

Companies, trusts and partnerships are always contractors:

An employee must be a person. If you've hired a company, trust or partnership to do the work, then it is a contracting relationship for tax and super purposes. The people who actually do the work may be directors, partners or employees of the contractor but they're not your employees.

Labour hire or on-hire arrangements:

If you have obtained your worker through a labour hire (or on-hire) firm and pay that firm for the work undertaken in your business, then your business has a contract with the labour hire firm and they are responsible for the PAYG withholding, super and FBT obligations. Labour hire firms can be called different names including recruitment services and group training organisations (where your business is referred to as the 'host employer').

Hiring individuals?

If you've hired an individual, it is the details within the working agreement or contract that determines if they are a contractor or employee for tax and super purposes. The agreement or contract your business has with the worker can be written or verbal.

How can you work it out: Employee? Or Contractor?

To check if your worker is an employee or contractor, you would need to review the whole working arrangement. The easiest way is to use the Employee or Contractor decision tool.

You can use the Employee/Contractor decision tool to work out if your worker is an employee or contractor for tax and super purposes.

You have to simply answer the questions about the working arrangement and you will generate a report that you can keep for your records. If you answer each of the questions accurately and honestly, you can rely on the results.

If you are a worker and want to determine your employment status, you can use the Independent Contractors decision tool.

As mentioned above, if you outsource or run your contractors through an ‘on-hire company’ such as our sister company, Pendragon, this in most cases, will alleviate you of any employee obligations, responsibilities and compliance and in most cases, you will also not be deemed to be the direct employer.

If you are still confused or in doubt as to whether your contractors would be deemed/viewed as employees or not, we are more than happy to have a look at your company’s individual circumstances and advise accordingly. Don’t hesitate to contact our sister company, Pendragon on 02 9407 8700 or reach them at info@pendragon.net.au to discuss further.

Regional Permanent Residence - Is it an option for you?


The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Provisional Visa (Subclass 494) will replace the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) on 16 November 2019. Once granted, the Subclass 494 Visa will have a pathway to permanent residency after the applicant has worked and resided in regional Australia for 3 years. In total, nine thousand spots will be allocated to the program every year.

What are the requirements from the sponsoring company?

  •  your employer must be located in a designated regional area of Australia (excludes employers in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne).
  •  your employer will need approval from the Regional Certifying Body which is the government authority designated for your location of proposed employment.
  •  your proposed position title will need to be on the relevant occupation list.
  •  the position on offer must be full-time, offering a salary at market rates and likely to be available for five years.

What are the requirements for the candidate?

  •  obtain a successful skills assessment for your proposed occupation
  •  have at least three years of full time and relevant skilled work experience
  •  be under 45 years of age
  •  demonstrate a competent level of English which is equivalent to at least 6 for each of the 4 test components for IELTS..

What are the requirements for pathway to Permanent Residency?

You can access permanent residence through the Subclass 191 visa when the following is met:

1. have worked in the designated regional area for at least three years, whilst holding a 494 visa.
2. show earnings of at least $53,900 annually for three years.

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Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586



How do you attract top talent?


According to Herman Aguinis’ research paper titled ‘The best and the rest: revisiting the norm of normality in individual performance’, which involved more than six hundred thousand researches, entertainers, politicians and athletes, the results found that “high performers are approximately 400% more productive than average ones.

According to Herman’s findings, the answer is simple right? Your organisation needs to hire the top performers within their field of specialisation. The difficult question is, how do you locate, attract and more importantly afford the top talent?

In today’s employment market, companies need to differentiate themselves from competitors, as employees are now looking beyond the traditional opportunities on offer.

The modern workplace has increasingly been focusing on ‘flexibility’ and employers have been aiming to become ‘employers of choice’, which is all about creating a work culture that people want to be a part of, and a workplace where they enjoy coming into every day.

According to Robert Half’s 2019 market overview, their survey concluded that providing company perks for employees is also key. Their findings confirmed:

  •  80% of Australians would consider companies with flexible working arrangements and company perks, over a higher salary.
  •  84% with flexible working arrangements, allow their employees to work outside the standard 9-5pm hours, with the option to work from home.
  •  60% offer bonuses and well-being programs.
  •  58% provide paid parental leave / Long-service recognition / Increased holiday allowance.


With the new generation of employees being millennial aged workers, it is becoming the norm for employees to “job hop”, hence it might be good timing to start reviewing the internal policies to be aligned with your organisation’s values.

The late Steve Jobs of Apple probably summed up talent’s importance the best, with this advice:

Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B & C players. The more companies that aren’t on their game will find their best people cherry-picked by companies that are”.

http://www.hermanaguinis.com/PPsych2012.pdf 

https://www.roberthalf.com.au/sites/roberthalf.com.au/files/documents_not_indexed/RH_0319_IAPDF_SG2019_AUS_ENG_SEC.pdf?utm_source=sfmctransactional&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=2019salaryguide-ongoing&i= 

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Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586



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Oz Migration Blogs

Creating a brighter tomorrow…


Due to the horrendous bush fires recently, there were a lot of destruction of the natural habitat and food sources of the Koalas. They lost their homes and their lives to these widespread bush fires and excessive tree cleaning.

In order to further protect Koalas, before they are gone forever and to address the issue of their national decline, our sister company, Pendragon has made a New Year Resolution to do what they can to address the situation and to save the koalas.

Pendragon has pledged to help and support local charities who are ethical, environmentally friendly and working hard to stop the destruction of endangered habitats, by planting a tree for every qualified lead they receive in 2020. 

As a team, we are glad to share that Pendragon have over 100 trees ready to be planted so far…

They will be doing more during the year and we will keep you updated! In the end, it’s up to everyone to ensure future generations get to see these iconic Aussie animals in the wild.

The Benefits of Work Place Diversity – The Positive Impact of Sponsoring Visa Holders!


Workplace diversity has become a key trend in employment over recent years. An inclusive and diverse team has increasingly becoming a major goal for many companies, overcoming the perception previously held by some that hiring employees of varying age, gender, ethnicity, race and cultural background, religious beliefs, family situation and sexual orientation, was simply a politically correct response to equal opportunity employment policies.

There are multiple benefits for any company to build a team that consists of individuals with different strengths and perspectives, such as increased problem solving and decision-making ability, higher levels of employee engagement and a good corporate reputation for the company as an employer of choice.

As a visa and migration company working with companies to become Standard Business Sponsors and subsequently sponsor Temporary Visa Holders, and also assisting with Employer Sponsored Permanent Residence Visa, we have experienced the positive impact that employees who originate from backgrounds outside of Australia can have within a workplace. We will outline just some of the reasons below:

  1. An employee who has trained and worked overseas will bring a different set of skills and perspectives to the team. The combination of the different approaches from collaborating employees can lead to increased productivity and more successful outcomes.
  2. Since cognitive skills and personal creativity have their base within in a person’s life experiences, workplace productivity and creativity is boosted when the life experiences of the team members are varied.
  3. Employees with a background of conducting business within a different culture or who are multilingual can assist with opening up new channels and markets to company wanting to expand into international markets
  4. Exposure to a colleague with international training and experience can be an excellent learning opportunity for Australian employees to gain insight and new ideas.
  5. Most employees who have been sponsored for a visa fully appreciate that the employer has taken the steps necessary for them to be part of the team, and their resulting loyalty and engagement will have a stabilising and positive effect on the team. 

While there are costs and obligations involved for a business with sponsoring an employee and it does involve additional administrative work, there are positive benefits and opportunities to be gained for your business. 

If you would like to know more about what is required, and how Oz Migration Solutions can make the process of sponsoring an employee for a visa easier for you, please contact us at info@ozmigration.net.au or give us a call at 02 9407 8788


Don’t wait until it’s too late for company nominated PR!


If you held or were applying for a Temporary Work Skilled Visa (Subclass 457) around the 18 April 2017, you would have remembered the major announcement from the Department in relation to the drastic changes to the visa program. Essentially, 216 occupations were removed from the occupations list, and the list was spilt into the following:

  • Short-term Skilled Occupation List (Short-term list). If your occupation is listed under the Short-term list, you would no longer be able to apply for PR under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS).
  • Medium & Long-term Strategic Skills List (Long-term list). Under the new rules, only applicants whose occupations were listed on the Long-term list are able to apply for PR.

To assist with the transitional arrangements, if your occupation was on the Short-term list, you are still able to apply for PR if you meet the grandfathering provisions:

  • You held or were applying for a Subclass 457 visa which was subsequently approved, on or before 18 April 2017.
  • The age requirement would remain less than 50 (instead of 45 under the new rules).
  • The minimum period an applicant is required to have been employed in their nominated occupation as the holder of the TSS/457 visa holder will remain at two years (instead of 3 years under the new rules).
  • And most importantly, you must apply before 18 March 2022!

To conclude, under the grandfathering provisions, it wouldn’t matter if your occupation was removed or is only listed on the Short-term list. Given these transitional arrangements are only in place until 18 March 2022, and the fact that you will need to have worked for your sponsoring employer for 2 years to qualify, it is extremely important to start reviewing your pathway to PR now, before it’s too late!

If you would like our team to undertake a free assessment to determine whether you qualify under the ENS, please do not hesitate to contact our team at rob.lu@ozmigration.net.au or give us a call at 02 9407 8788

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Written By Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in "Big Australia". 

MARN: 0848586


Immigration changes for 2019


The Australian immigration landscape has always been a defining feature of Australia's economic and social life. Whilst Australia's migration program continues to revolutionise with consultative public debate, Australia's immigration policy has seen a movement away from family migration which used to represent two-thirds of the program in the early 1990s. Since the transition, we have seen governments placing more emphasis on the Skilled migration program, and now with a more employer-centric focus.

2019 hasn't been too much different compared to last year, as it has been a challenging year with the overall size of the permanent migration program set by the government being reduced from 190,000 to 160,000 places. The decrease in allocations were the result of a re-balance of the Skilled migration category to prioritise the Employer Sponsored Regional and State Nominated categories. As the Australian migration program continues to shape, we have provided below a high-level review of the key changes which has taken place in 2019.

* 17 April 2019 – the long anticipated Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Subclass 870 visa commenced which enabled parents to temporarily remain in Australia for 3 or 5 year periods.

* 1 May 2019 – the definition of ‘Accredited Sponsors’ was revised to include companies which undertook major investments of at least $50 million into Australia, which has directly generated Australian employment.

* 30 June 2019 – the Department of Health initiated the new Health Workforce Certificate application process, which affected General Practitioners & Resident Medical Officers. Under this initiative, the number of doctors were reduced by 200 per year which is significant number, considering the specialised nature of the industry. The initiative was designed to redirect doctors into regional and remote areas of Australia where it’s needed the most. 

* 26 October 2019 – immigration announced a change to the regional migration planning levels with an increase from 23,000 places to 25,000. The definition of regional postcodes were also revised, and all applicants from outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane would be able to access regional points. 

* 26 October 2019 – introduction of bio-metrics takes place for certain regional visa categories. The process involves taking a digital photo of the applicant’s face and scanning all 10 fingertips, with the data being stored in the government’s database. 

* 4 November 2019 – the Global Talent Independent program which offers a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals to work and live permanently in Australia was implemented. The aim of the program is to attract high calibre candidates at the top of their field. 

* 16 November 2019 - immigration introduced two new visas for regional Australia. The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Subclass 494 visa & the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa for skilled workers who wanted to live and work in regional Australia. These new visas will provide further incentives for migrants to bring their skills to regional Australia to and further grow the Australian economy. A new permanent visa pathway will also be available for holders of the new regional provisional visa in November 2022. 

* 13 December 2019 - the government released their report which confirms which occupations will be flagged for change in 2020. Whilst the proposed changes aren’t finalised until the public consultation process is completed which will likely be in March 2020, we are connecting with our clients to review who will be potentially affected. Some of the proposed changes are listed below for your perusal. 

Occupations which will potentially have a minimum salary threshold: Sales and Marketing Manager ($120K); ICT Project Manager ($120K); Information and Organisation Professionals ($90K).

Occupations which will potentially be added to the visa list: Corporate Treasurer; Aged or Disabled Carer; Nursing Support Worker, Personal Care Assistant. 

If you would like to see the full list of changes, please refer to the following web link:

https://docs.employment.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/smol_traffic_light_bulletin_december_2019_0.pdf

As you can see, it’s been another busy year with changes from immigration taking place every few weeks. In order to stay updated, please continue to subscribe to our e-Newsletters. If you or your business would like to discuss any of the above points, please feel free to contact our team at Oz Migration.

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Written by Robert Lu

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586


It’s a wrap for 2019!


It’s been a fun, busy and productive year for Oz Migration Solutions. We have ended the year on a high, and have provided a snapshot of some of our key business achievements for 2019. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone - all our corporate clients and visa applicants who supported and assisted our business. We offer our best wishes and happiness to you and your families, as we all look forward to the holiday period and another successful year in 2020. 

Training & information sessions

As part of Oz Migration's revised business strategy in 2019, we commenced our consultation process, and provided face-to-face training and information sessions to our clients. The feedback from the training sessions, proved to be invaluable which involved reviewing our client’s internal mobility policies to ensure they were compliant, should immigration decide to conduct a random on-the-spot audit. If your business would be interested in this free session, please contact our team in the new year.

Company website

Our long-awaited website upgrade has been finalised, and we will be launching the site in early 2020. The website has been designed to be “user friendly" and "easy to read”, whilst reinstating our core corporate values and extensive list of migration services.

Newsletter

Oz Migration also launched their official e-Newsletter in 2019 which provided insights into developments with immigration and general discussions towards topics of interest. If you could like to subscribe to our newsletters, please do not hesitate to contact our team at info@ozmigration.net.au

Customer satisfaction surveys

Under our new business model, we also commenced tracking and monitoring feedback from all our clients. Our customer satisfaction surveys which was initiated in 2019, involved obtaining feedback from all visa applicants using our services. We are glad to advise that the program has been a huge success with 91% of respondents scoring our services a 10 out of 10. We are also reviewing the constructive feedback provided by our clients, to assess whether they can be implemented in the new year. 

Business growth

Business growth is always a key driver in any business, however at Oz Migration, we have primarily focused on values & customer service, as word of mouth has proven to be Oz Migration’s main source of referrals. We are pleased to announce that the financials for 2019 have been the highest on record, which is a testament to the team with their level of care and respect given to each application. We look forward to expanding our networks, and further improving our service offerings in 2020.

As Oz Migration continues to grow, we look forward to continue sharing our journey with you. And now to welcome the new year!

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Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586

Santa needs a visa!


It’s that time of year again and Santa Claus is coming to town. According to his well-documented flight plan, he will start his Christmas journey at the International Date Line visiting the South Pacific islands, then New Zealand and then Australia.

This has sparked an ongoing conversation in our office – what visa will Santa be entering Australia on?

First we needed to gather the relevant information to be able to assess his options:

Passport Details: Santa’s country of birth is not clear – some say Netherlands, while others say Germany. His current residence of the North Pole does not technically sit within any country as it sits in International Waters. The closest land is a Canadian territory, followed by Greenland. However, Russia, Denmark and Canada have all staked claims at some point or another. It’s also debatable whether Santa Claus is in fact his legal name, given that he has multiple aliases such as St Nicholas and Father Christmas. We’d need to see the passport to be sure, but for the purposes of this assessment we are going with Santa Claus and The Netherlands.

Age: Santa is believed to have been born in the year 270AD, so he is estimated to be around 1,749 years old

Family Composition: Santa is married to Mrs Claus. Rumours that he has been caught kissing Mummy under the Christmas tree appear to have not affected his marriage. He is also believed to have grown up children and is thought to have adopted some elves along the way as well. The family will not be travelling with him for the purposes of this trip.

Health: Given his age Santa seems to be in pretty good condition. Apparently he does tend to overindulge on the cookies and milk that kids leave out for him, which may result in a future burden on the healthcare system at some stage. We’ll let this one slide as long as he has health insurance.

Character Issues: Where do we start here? The list of possible crimes is long: break and enter, trespass, exploitation of elf labour, flying without a pilot’s licence in restricted air space, and entering countries without a valid visa. We are going to need to see the Police Clearances…..for ALL of the aliases.

So what visa for Santa:

Working Holiday? No, although citizens of the Netherlands do qualify for Working Holiday visas, Santa is well above the upper age limit of 30 years old

Family based visas? No, no member of Santa’s family is an Australian citizen so this is not available to him

Temporary Skills Shortage Visa or an Employer Sponsored Visa? No, while Santa has extensive experience in his field, his occupation does not appear on the Short Term or Medium Term Skilled Occupation Lists. He would also struggled to find an Employer willing to take him on given that he really only works for one day a year.

Visitor Visa? Santa is not only going to be here for tourism purposes or business meetings, so we’d have to pick the right stream. The Business Visitor stream allows the applicant to make a short visit for business visitor reasons, but they can’t work or sell goods or services. Since he is officially working, the Visitor Visa may not be the most appropriate.

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) might be the best option for Santa since he will only need to be in Australia for less than a day, and the work he is carrying out is definitely considered highly specialised.

If Santa Claus wanted to stay in Australia on a permanent basis, he could also consider a Distinguished Talent Visa since he can be of any age for this visa, and he is internationally recognised as having superior abilities in his field.

Problem solved. Now about the reindeer entering Australia… that’s one for another time.


Results from Australia's National Survey.


To provide an objective view, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which is an independent government broadcaster, conducted a national survey to 54,970 Australians to share their thoughts and opinions on being “Australian”. The purpose of the survey was to obtain data representing the communities across Australia in a number of areas, including sex, age, education, language, finance, lifestyle, religion and geography. According to the survey, the following proportion of Australians, indicated the following areas were affecting them personally (highest to lowest):

* Climate change – 72%

* Saving enough money for retirement – 62%

* Health or the health of the family – 56%

* Affording a home – 46%

* Australia must do more to address injustices against indigenous people – 41%

* Not having enough money to get by – 40%

* There is still a lot of racism in Australia these days – 40%

* Job security – 38%

* Crime – 36%

* Providing for family – 30%

In other sections of the survey, the respondents were required to provide a score from one to ten, on a range of questions about being an Australian. The results from the survey were very interesting - listed below from the highest to lowest.

  • Respecting Australia's institutions and laws

8.7

  • Appreciation of Australia's natural environment

8.3

  • Feeling Australian

7.5

  • Speaking English

7.1

  • Having Australian citizenship

7.1

  • Sharing the same values as most Australians

6.9

  • Being knowledgeable about Australian history

6.6

  • Living most of one's life in Australia

4.7

  • Being born in Australia

3.0

  • Being white

1.8

Whilst it would have been interesting to understand how many Aussies enjoyed Vegemite for breakfast, or which sporting team was the most popular in Australia, it was pleasing to see the key aspects with being an Australian, were focused on “respect” and “attitudes” towards the local laws and environment. On a personal level, it was also surprising to see that 80% of respondents agreed that immigrants to Australia, are able to retain their cultural values without being less Australian. 

My takeaway from the survey? Being an Australian is a subjective test with varying indicators, however it includes key notions of being part of a society that preserves individual cultures, backgrounds and at the same time instigates equality and respect amongst all.

If you are personally interested in comparing your own results, the article from ABC provides the link where you can complete the survey:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-22/annabel-crabb-national-identity-what-makes-an-australian/11623566

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Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586



Contractor Or Employee? Differentiating the two in today's gig economy!


An employee works in your business and is a part of your business, whereas a contractor runs their own business.

The table below outlines six of the factors that, taken together, determines whether a worker is an employee or contractor for tax purposes.

Follow the links in the table for more information about each factor.

EMPLOYEE

CONTRACTOR

Ability to subcontract: An employee can’t assign or delegate the work, i.e. they can’t pay someone else to do the work.

Ability to subcontract: A contractor can assign or delegate the work, i.e. they can pay someone else to do the work.

Equipment, tools and other assets:

Your business provides all or most of the equipment, tools and other assets required to complete the work, or the business provides them with an allowance or reimburses them for the cost of the equipment, tools and other assets.

Equipment, tools and other assets:

The worker provides all or most of the equipment, tools and other assets required to complete the work.

The worker does not receive an allowance or reimbursement for the cost of this equipment, tools and other assets.

Commercial risks: An employee takes no commercial risks. Your business is legally responsible for the work done by the employee and liable for the cost of rectifying any defect in the work.

Commercial risks: A contractor takes commercial risks and is legally responsible for their work and liable for the cost of rectifying any defect in his work.

Control over the work:  Your business has the right to direct the way in which the employee does the work.

Control over the work: A contractor has freedom in the way the work is done, subject to the specific terms in any contract or agreement.

Independence: An employee is not operating independently for your business. They work within and are considered part of your business.

Independence: A contractor operates their own work independently for your business. They perform services as specified in their contract or agreement and is free to accept or refuse additional work.

Basis of payment: An employee is paid either hourly, weekly, fortnightly or monthly for the time worked, or for a price per item/activity or commission.

Basis of payment: A contractor is paid for the result achieved based on the quote they provided.

Similarly, a quote can be calculated using hourly rates or price per item to work out the total cost of work.

If you hire a worker you must check if they are an employee or contractor. It’s important because:

  • It affects your tax, super and other obligations.
  • Penalties and charges may apply if you get wrong.

Your Tax, Super and Other Obligations:

Your tax, super and other obligations will vary depending on whether your worker is an employee or contractor.

If your worker is an employee you will need to:

  • Withhold tax (PAYG withholding) from their wages and report and pay the withheld amounts to us.
  • Pay super, at least quarterly, for eligible employees.
  • Report and pay fringe benefits tax (FBT) if you provide your employee with fringe benefits.

If your worker is a contractor:

  • They will generally look after their own tax obligations, so you don’t have to withhold from payments to them unless they don’t quote their ABN to you, or you have a voluntary agreement with them to withhold tax from their payments.
  • You may still have to pay super for individual contractors if the contract is principally for their labour.
  • You don’t have FBT obligations.

Remember, it is against the law to wrongly treat an employee as a contractor. Businesses that do this are illegally lowering their labour costs by:

  • Not meeting their tax and super obligations.
  • Denying workers their employee entitlements.

So, you need to check that you have got it right. If you don’t get it right, penalties may apply.

Some workers are always employees…

Any of the following types of workers are always treated as employees:

  • apprentices
  • trainees
  • labourers
  • trades assistants

Apprentices and trainees do a combination of work and recognised training to get a qualification, certificate or diploma. They can be full-time, part-time or school-based and usually have a formal training agreement with the business they work for, which is registered through a state or territory training authority or completed under a relevant law.

In most cases they are paid under an award and receive specific pay and conditions. The work arrangement for apprentices and trainees is employment. You must meet the same tax and super obligations as you do for any other employees of your business.

Companies, trusts and partnerships are always contractors:

An employee must be a person. If you've hired a company, trust or partnership to do the work, then it is a contracting relationship for tax and super purposes. The people who actually do the work may be directors, partners or employees of the contractor but they're not your employees.

Labour hire or on-hire arrangements:

If you have obtained your worker through a labour hire (or on-hire) firm and pay that firm for the work undertaken in your business, then your business has a contract with the labour hire firm and they are responsible for the PAYG withholding, super and FBT obligations. Labour hire firms can be called different names including recruitment services and group training organisations (where your business is referred to as the 'host employer').

Hiring individuals?

If you've hired an individual, it is the details within the working agreement or contract that determines if they are a contractor or employee for tax and super purposes. The agreement or contract your business has with the worker can be written or verbal.

How can you work it out: Employee? Or Contractor?

To check if your worker is an employee or contractor, you would need to review the whole working arrangement. The easiest way is to use the Employee or Contractor decision tool.

You can use the Employee/Contractor decision tool to work out if your worker is an employee or contractor for tax and super purposes.

You have to simply answer the questions about the working arrangement and you will generate a report that you can keep for your records. If you answer each of the questions accurately and honestly, you can rely on the results.

If you are a worker and want to determine your employment status, you can use the Independent Contractors decision tool.

As mentioned above, if you outsource or run your contractors through an ‘on-hire company’ such as our sister company, Pendragon, this in most cases, will alleviate you of any employee obligations, responsibilities and compliance and in most cases, you will also not be deemed to be the direct employer.

If you are still confused or in doubt as to whether your contractors would be deemed/viewed as employees or not, we are more than happy to have a look at your company’s individual circumstances and advise accordingly. Don’t hesitate to contact our sister company, Pendragon on 02 9407 8700 or reach them at info@pendragon.net.au to discuss further.

Regional Permanent Residence - Is it an option for you?


The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Provisional Visa (Subclass 494) will replace the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) on 16 November 2019. Once granted, the Subclass 494 Visa will have a pathway to permanent residency after the applicant has worked and resided in regional Australia for 3 years. In total, nine thousand spots will be allocated to the program every year.

What are the requirements from the sponsoring company?

  •  your employer must be located in a designated regional area of Australia (excludes employers in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne).
  •  your employer will need approval from the Regional Certifying Body which is the government authority designated for your location of proposed employment.
  •  your proposed position title will need to be on the relevant occupation list.
  •  the position on offer must be full-time, offering a salary at market rates and likely to be available for five years.

What are the requirements for the candidate?

  •  obtain a successful skills assessment for your proposed occupation
  •  have at least three years of full time and relevant skilled work experience
  •  be under 45 years of age
  •  demonstrate a competent level of English which is equivalent to at least 6 for each of the 4 test components for IELTS..

What are the requirements for pathway to Permanent Residency?

You can access permanent residence through the Subclass 191 visa when the following is met:

1. have worked in the designated regional area for at least three years, whilst holding a 494 visa.
2. show earnings of at least $53,900 annually for three years.

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Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586



How do you attract top talent?


According to Herman Aguinis’ research paper titled ‘The best and the rest: revisiting the norm of normality in individual performance’, which involved more than six hundred thousand researches, entertainers, politicians and athletes, the results found that “high performers are approximately 400% more productive than average ones.

According to Herman’s findings, the answer is simple right? Your organisation needs to hire the top performers within their field of specialisation. The difficult question is, how do you locate, attract and more importantly afford the top talent?

In today’s employment market, companies need to differentiate themselves from competitors, as employees are now looking beyond the traditional opportunities on offer.

The modern workplace has increasingly been focusing on ‘flexibility’ and employers have been aiming to become ‘employers of choice’, which is all about creating a work culture that people want to be a part of, and a workplace where they enjoy coming into every day.

According to Robert Half’s 2019 market overview, their survey concluded that providing company perks for employees is also key. Their findings confirmed:

  •  80% of Australians would consider companies with flexible working arrangements and company perks, over a higher salary.
  •  84% with flexible working arrangements, allow their employees to work outside the standard 9-5pm hours, with the option to work from home.
  •  60% offer bonuses and well-being programs.
  •  58% provide paid parental leave / Long-service recognition / Increased holiday allowance.


With the new generation of employees being millennial aged workers, it is becoming the norm for employees to “job hop”, hence it might be good timing to start reviewing the internal policies to be aligned with your organisation’s values.

The late Steve Jobs of Apple probably summed up talent’s importance the best, with this advice:

Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B & C players. The more companies that aren’t on their game will find their best people cherry-picked by companies that are”.

http://www.hermanaguinis.com/PPsych2012.pdf 

https://www.roberthalf.com.au/sites/roberthalf.com.au/files/documents_not_indexed/RH_0319_IAPDF_SG2019_AUS_ENG_SEC.pdf?utm_source=sfmctransactional&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=2019salaryguide-ongoing&i= 

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Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

MARN: 0848586