Limited-skills workers with limited English get Australian permanent residency pathway

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The Federal Government is making concessions in skill, income and English language requirements for work visas in regional areas where employers cannot find local workers with relevant skills to fill vacancies. The new agreements also provide migrant workers with a pathway to permanent residency in Australia.

The Federal Government of Australia has opened doors to semi-skilled migrants, in order to fill skill gaps in some regional areas, where they will have a pathway to permanent residence in Australia that was unavailable before.

The Commonwealth Government has signed a five-year special visa agreement with Victoria’s Great South Coast Region that will give businesses in the region access to broad range of occupations, including agriculture and hospitality, that weren’t available through Australia’s standard migration program.

The move serves as a respite for those affected by the changes to Australia’s immigration program that tightened the requirements for sponsored visas and pruning of the skilled occupation list that made permanent residency difficult for many migrant workers.

Immigration Minister David Coleman said the agreements will support the skills needs of regional Australia where Australian workers are not available to fill those jobs.

But the Department of Home Affairs says the terms of these agreements, including the mandatory minimum period of stay would be negotiated and tailored to the specific needs of particular regions.

Those workers who are eligible for permanent residence under a DAMA will need to have been working in the region on a temporary visa for an agreed period before they can apply for a permanent residence visa. This could be a period of up to four years depending on the agreement.

Permanent residence is not automatically granted, each person will have to make a valid application and meet the required criteria for a grant of a permanent residence visa.

The currently available sponsored work visas are subject to a minimum income threshold of $53,900 per annum. However, under the DAMA, employers are able to apply for concessions in this. Similarly, concessions are also made for English language requirements for migrant workers, depending on the country they come from, while all of them from non-English speaking countries are required to take an English test.

For these agreements to be approved, regions of Australia must demonstrate efforts to recruit the locals first and clearly identify labour market conditions and gaps. They must also demonstrate local support available to migrant workers.

Hope the above information is helpful. If you are interesting to know more, please feel free to contact our professional advisors at Evolve Lawyers.

Shadow lenders are facing unprecedented level of demand

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Australian Financial Review recently published an article that the non-bank lenders are facing an unprecedented demand for their products as a result of the big 4 banks’ increasingly restrictive lending standards.

However, the non-bank lenders are hitting back at suggestions that they are not extending easy money to risky borrowers. They argue that they are winning new businesses because they can finance good borrowers that are being turned away by the big 4 banks.

The non-bank lending sector is growing rapidly and the non-bank lenders are taking their market share from the big banks, but the gap left behind by the big banks is still bigger than what they call fill.

Are you interested to explore the business opportunity in the non-bank lending sector? If you are, we are delighted to arrange a meeting to talk to you.

Five top jobs granted Australian permanent residency visas in 2017-18

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Professionals, technicians and managers emerged as top major occupation groups granted skilled visas in 2017-18. Find out which occupations were granted the majority of skilled visas in 2017-18.

The highest numbers of permanent residency visas were granted to Accountants last year, followed by Software Engineer and Registered Nurses, new government figures have revealed.

The total permanent Migration Program outcome for 2017–18 was 162,417 places, compared to 183,608 permanent visas granted in 2016-17.

Professionals, technicians and managers emerged as top major occupation groups granted skilled visas in 2017-18 which accounted for 68.4 per cent of the total 2017–18 Migration Program outcome.

The top five occupations granted visas in the skilled stream in 2017-18 are:

• Accountants (3505)
• Software Engineer (3112)
• Registered Nurses (1561)
• Developer Programmer (1487)
• Cook (1257)

Within the Skill stream, the Employer Sponsored category was granted 35,528 places. Under which, 29,307 visas issued under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and 6221 visas issued under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).

“It is getting tougher to get permanent residency”

Over 20.5 per cent of the total permanent migration program outcome for 2017-18 came from India.

33,310 places of 162,417 places were granted to Indian citizens

But it is getting tougher to get Australian permanent residency, says migration agent Rohit Mohan.

“Accountants, software engineers and nurses are in demand, no doubt. But it is getting very competitive. It is tough to get permanent residency now. It is very tight,” Mr Mohan told SBS Hindi.”

“Due to cut in immigration intake, only the top applicants with more points are being invited to apply for skilled visas.“

“First it was easy to get an invite. The benchmark for an invitation was not this high. Now, with more supply and less demand, only those applicants who have high points, thanks to the high score in English, work experience are getting an invite to apply for these visas.”

“Nursing is getting competitive too,” he says.

Foreign person additional duty exemption if you buy with your spouse or partner

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If you are a foreign purchaser, you may be entitled to an exemption from additional foreign person duty if you purchase a principal place of residence jointly with your spouse/domestic partner who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen who holds a special category visa. You must, however, live in the property as your principal place of residence for a continuous period of 12 months, starting within 12 months of becoming entitled to possession of the property.

This exemption is available for transfers from 14 June 2018.

Foreign investors be aware of the tax costs for purchasing residential properties

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In addition to some of the more ‘well known’ costs applicable to foreign investors such as FIRB or the 7% additional foreign stamp duty, there have been at least 3 more recent Federal/State tax that may apply to foreign investors. As such, it is prudent to include all the applicable tax as part of the overall purchase cost calculation when considering to purchase residential properties in Australia.

 1.       Vacant Residential Land Tax Victorian State Revenue office tax

From 1 January 2018, the Victorian state government imposes a tax on residential properties in certain areas of Melbourne that are unoccupied for more than 6 months in a year.

The tax is calculated based on 1% of the capital improved value of the property. The capital improved value can be found in the statement published by the relevant council. For example, if the council states that your property is of a capital improved value of $500,000, then the tax payable amount is $5,000.

 2.       Absentee Owner Surcharge Victorian Revenue office tax

The absentee owner surcharge is calculated based on 1.5% of the value of the land component of a residential property. For example, if you own an apartment, then the 1.5% tax is calculated by reference to the value of the land component of the apartment only (and not the full value of the apartment).

Who is an Absentee Owner?

An absentee individual is any individual who:

a.     Is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident,

b.    Does not ordinarily reside in Australia, and

c.     Was absent from Australia:

o   on 31 December of the year prior to the tax year, or 

o   for more than six months in total in the calendar year prior to the tax year.

If you are an absentee owner, then you may be required to pay the absentee owner surcharge at a rate of 1.5% by reference to the land component of your property. For example, if the land component of your property is valued at $500,000, then you will be required to pay a tax of $7,500.

However, there is an exemption to this tax. If your total land holdings is below $250,000 in value (in aggregate for all property holdings in Victoria), then you are not required to pay the absentee owner surcharge even though you are an absentee owner according to the definition above. 

 3.       Vacancy fee  (Federal Australian Government fee)

The Federal Government has introduced a vacancy fee for residential property owned by foreign investors in Australia that is not occupied for more than 6 months in a 12 month period. 

 In December 2017 the Australian Government introduced an annual vacancy fee for foreign owners of residential properties.

 Under the legislation, foreign owners of residential properties in Australia are required to pay an annual vacancy fee if their property is not occupied or rented out for more than 183 days (six months) in a year.

 If you’re a foreign owner of a residential property you may be liable to pay the annual vacancy fee.

 The fee will be equal to the fee payable for FIRB approval to acquire the residential property. For example, if you paid a FIRB fee of $5,600 for acquiring a property then the annual vacancy fee will be equal to $5,600.

What are the passive investment opportunities available in Australia?

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What are the passive investment opportunities available in Australia? The most popular choices appear to be rental income from investment properties or interest income from large stable financial institutions such as the big 4 banks.

I have received some enquiries from some of my friends recently regarding the same question. They are from overseas and looking for investment opportunities in Australia. They are not interested in the Australian stock market but are looking for stable recurring passive income. Although the interest rate on term deposit available from the local big 4 banks may be more attractive than those available from the overseas banks, but at 3%p.a. -4%p.a. it barely looks exciting. On the other hand, they don’t want to put all eggs into one basket by putting all money into 1 single investment property.

Investing in high quality mortgage funds can be a viable alternative. Mortgage funds typically offer a much higher interest rate than the big 4 banks. In addition, overseas investors potentially enjoy a better tax treatment than local investors when it comes to interest income.











For example, the Australian Taxation Office may impose a 10% withholding tax on interest income derived by an overseas investor, but it may impose up to 47% tax on the same income derived by an Australian investor.

This is not intended as legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied on as such. Before making any commitment of a legal or financial nature you should seek advice from a qualified and registered legal practitioner or financial or investment adviser.

Debt or Equity? The importance of knowing exactly what your investment is.

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In recent times, we are noticing that investors are sometimes confused about precisely what rights their investment gives them. This is mainly because they are financial products (e.g. managed funds) are marketed as offering ‘fixed returns’, ‘preferred returns’ or ‘capital protected’. These are usually debt like concepts and investors can be forgiven in thinking that they are investing in some sort of equity instrument.

 However, if you are obtaining units or shares in any structure, you are most likely investing in equity. These returns being claimed are not ‘promised’ and should be thought of as merely ‘target returns’. Under law, generally, returns to equity holders can only be made if the investment is in the financial position to do so. As such, it is very possible that if the business is unprofitable or has cash flow issues, you are unlikely to be entitled to the ‘promised’ distribution of income or capital. Unfortunately, that is the nature of equity and no promises of ‘capital protection’, ‘fixed return’ etc. will change that.

 So what can investors do to understand what they are investing in? Well, the first step will be to closely examine the disclosure document in relation to the investment (which depending on your circumstances is likely to be either a ‘prospectus’, ‘product disclosure statement’ or ‘information memorandum’). These documents should explain the structure and risks associated with the investment.

 Secondly, it is really important to understand the existing capital structure. What is its current debt and equity mix? What sort of rights are attached to the debt and equity and how do those rights rank relative to your rights? Answers to these questions will give you an understanding of where you rank in terms of receiving income and capital from the investment. Sometimes however, getting to the bottom of this can be complicated and you may wish to seek advice from a lawyer and/or financial advisor to more clearly understand your position.

 We frequently assist clients with understanding the structure of their investments. If you require any assistance on this, we would be pleased to assist.

 IMPORTANT: The above has been provided for your general information only. It is not legal or financial advice and must not be relied on as such. Should you require advice in relation to your circumstances, we suggest that you contact us.


Special offer!!!

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Choose Evolve Conveyancing for your next residential sale or purchase, 

Fixed cost residential conveyancing from $880 (incl. GST),

Get a $50 KFL Springvale shopping voucher, 


$50 dollars off with Costco card holder,

Upon engaging us for your property purchase or sale. 

*Fixed fee does not include disbursements such as rates certificates, body corporate certificates, settlement agency fees and required searches. Further terms and conditions apply.

** offer valid till 31st Oct, 2018

Top 5 tips when you plan to sell your business

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You’ve worked hard to build up your business over many years and you have been approached by a potential buyer. But what should you be talking about and what are the issues to be aware of? 

In this video, we will share with you our top 5 tips on the matters you should be preparing for when having those all-important meetings with the purchaser.




Business Migration – Transitioning to Permanent Residency

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Please join our director Amy Cai together with our client Lin Zhou share their stories, experiences and tips in relation to transitioning from a temporary business innovation visa (subclass 163 or 188A) to an Australian permanent residency visa.

Evolve Lawyers are experienced corporate, commercial and migration lawyers providing innovative, streamlined and end-to end solutions for clients from the Asia-Pacific region seeking to invest, operate a business or settle in Australia.

Evolve Lawyers – First Year Lawyer Opportunity

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Evolve Lawyers is seeking a first year lawyer to be a part of its growing corporate, commercial and migration practice.

The successful candidate can expect:

  • excellent mentoring from 2 legal practitioner directors (both former senior practitioners in Australian mid and top tier firms);
  • to work predominately with clients having a connection with the Asia Pacific region on a variety of corporate, commercial and migration matters;
  • to work in an environment where you will not be ruled by individual budgets where your primary focus is on getting the job done for our clients in a timely and efficient manner; and
  • to work with a young and energetic team of professionals in a genuinely collegiate, supportive and flexible workplace.

We are seeking a candidate who:

  • has strong analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • has a sound academic record;
  • has excellent attention to detail;
  • is friendly, proactive, self-motivated and possesses a strong work ethic;
  • has an interest in our practice areas and business activity in the Asia Pacific region generally (the ability to speak and write Chinese and understand cultural nuances will be advantageous);
  • is willing to assist us, and take an active role, in our business development activities; and
  • has recently completed the necessary practical legal training requirements and is admitted to practice as an Australian lawyer.

If you (or someone you know) might be interested, please send through your CV and academic transcript to Otherwise, if you would like any additional information about the role, please call Winston Lay on 0412898388.

No agency contact please.

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