Immigration officers to attend Xstrata Mount Isa Mining Expo

Date: May 16, 2012

Individuals who want to gather some information before taking on the expertise of migration lawyers may want to head to the Xstrata Mount Isa Mining Expo.

Immigration officers will be attending the event from May 16 to 18, where they can provide information on visa programs and reforms to the skilled migration program.

A number of changes are due to come into force on July 1, including a new online service known as SkillSelect that is accessible by applicants and their potential employers.

The service is expected to be particularly useful for those already working in Australia on a temporary skilled 457 visa.

A spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) highlighted that the amendments have been made are necessary due to changes in the labour market.

"Intending migrants will be found and nominated for skilled visas by Australian employers or state and territory governments, or they could be invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application," they emphasised.

At the Xstrata Mount Isa Mining Expo, the immigration officers will be able to supply information on both temporary and permanent employer-sponsored visa options.

Furthermore, they are in a position to discuss the concessions that are available to regional applicants.

The expo also presents the opportunity for people to sign up for brief individual appointments with employers and employees alike, where the experts can answer any specific questions.

In order to sponsor employees, companies are required to demonstrate that they have a genuine need for the workers and that the required skills are not currently available in their region.

As of July 1, a fast-tracked pathway from the 457 visa to permanent residence will be offered by the DIAC under the employer-sponsored visa program.

This should make it easier for skilled migrants to settle and work in Australia's regional and metropolitan areas.

Earlier this month, the DIAC announced the launch of a new online video available in 14 languages that explains the options available to people who have overstayed their visas.

It addresses some of the problems people might face, such as the stress of realising they are no longer legally allowed to stay in Australia.

The department explained that many people delay visiting its officers because they are unsure of what to do, or are in fear of being immediately detained.

In many instances, a short-term bridging visa can be granted until the situation is resolved and a more permanent alternative is found - although this will be determined on a case by case basis.