MEAA’s visa consultation fees hurt Australian film industry

Immigration to Australia

Last month a new 408 temporary activity visa replaced several temporary work visas, including the 420 entertainment visa for actors, musicians, entertainers and crew.

The new framework is designed to make the process of applying for a temporary visa simpler for business, industry and individuals. This is a result of the skilled migration and temporary activity review, which the Department of Immigration and Border Protection launched in December 2014.

It’s a welcome step forward, but the entertainment industry, including the screen sector, still will be at an unfair disadvantage. That’s because of a legislative requirement in the migration regulations for compulsory union consultation over temporary visa applications.

Our industry is the only one in the country with such a requirement. What’s more, we have to pay consultation fees to the union, on top of visa application fees charged by the department.

The process that the actors union, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, helped establish more than 20 years ago for screen industry consultation requires paying a fee and the lodging of commercially sensitive documentation. This information goes far beyond the reasons for importing overseas talent. As well as the script and details of local cast and crew, MEAA must get the finance plan. The fees MEAA has received for this compulsory process, across the entertainment industry, totalled $467,355 in 2013-14 and $421,712 in 2014-15.

The screen industry increasingly is worried that private finance, necessary to trigger production subsidies, is drying up. Investors are naturally more comfortable about getting their money back when a marquee actor is cast. If one of our own stars is unavailable or unsuitable for a role, producers must have the option to cast an overseas name that can attract investors. More private finance means more and bigger productions, translating to more work for everyone in the industry. The visa process has been a real barrier to that happening. The statistics support that concern.

Immigration to Australia

The government screen funding body, Screen Australia, reveals that private investment in subsidised screen production has halved in the past 10 years. A recent survey confirmed that the screen sector supports more than 46,600 full-time jobs. Actors, and the relatively small proportion of film crew who are MEAA members, make up a minority of these jobs. Think about the credits at the end of a film … they are still rolling long after the cast list. It’s not just about actors.

Last year the government called for submissions for a review into the possibility of simplifying the application process for temporary visas for the screen industry. Throughout that process it was clear that a whole range of people and organisations supported sensible reform — from fellow actors such as John Jarratt, independent producers such as Helen Leake and Antony I. Ginnane, directors, cinematographers, composers, writers, distributors and sales agents such as Odin’s Eye, television networks, casting directors and actors’ agents, screen production companies such as See Saw Films, through to the main screen business association, Screen Producers Australia.

It is really only the union that opposes any changes to the compulsory consultation process and I wonder whether this is mainly to do with the prospect of losing the substantial income from the consultation fees it charges. It certainly does not seem to have a genuine desire to see more work opportunities created for its members. Last year MEAA ran a disingenuous campaign called Save Our Stories in which it made unsubstantiated claims that if the union were taken out of the visa consultation process, government-subsidised screen productions would somehow be cast and crewed by Americans and not tell Australian stories.

This has no basis in fact. All taxpayer subsidised productions must pass the significant Australian content test, which means Screen Australia must be satisfied that the project has a significant level of Australian content and satisfies Australian cultural aspirations. The SAC test was signed off by all screen industry stakeholders including MEAA.

The Australian taxpayer is not going to fund American car chase movies cast with B-grade American actors.

MEAA also claims that roles in Australian productions should be kept for Australians to support their career growth. That’s old-school thinking. We are long past the 1980s. Now, with so many Australians playing roles in offshore productions, there is no need to score a lead role in an Aussie film to be discovered. Our reputation is such that our actors are very successful in getting international work, some going straight to the US after graduating from acting school. A list, compiled by Ausfilm, of actors who have recently worked, or are working, in the US runs to four pages and is growing.

I can’t see that the ability for producers to cast name foreign actors in some roles in government-subsidised productions should be of concern. More productions will mean more work for everyone. If Cate or Geoffrey can play American or British characters in offshore films, I, for one, have no problems with working in Australian films alongside actors who are American, Indian, British, Chinese, whatever.

It’s time for our industry to be a 21st-century player in the global world of screen production and the government should do everything it can to stop a trade union enforcing protectionism that is preventing Australian screen producers from tapping into global sources of screen production investment.

Source: theaustralian

Cranbourne North family wants criminal who sexually assaulted woman in her home to be deported

Australian Immigration

THE family of a woman sexually assaulted as she slept in her Cranbourne North home wants the man responsible booted out of the country.

Family members have even offered to pay for a one-way ticket for South Sudanese refugee Lang Kouth, 21, who has lived in Australia since he was nine years old.

Kouth was sentenced to four years’ prison on November 29 after he pleaded guilty to sexual assault, aggravated burglary and theft, as well as unlicensed and careless driving.

The court heard a drunken Kouth entered the family’s home through an unlocked door, stealing a mobile phone and car keys before going into the bedroom.

There he took off his shoes and climbed into the couple’s bed, aggressively kissing and biting a woman.

Kouth then bolted from the home and stole the family’s Ford Falcon. He was picked up by police about 3.30am after losing control of the vehicle and smashing into a tree.

Speaking to the Leader after Kouth’s court appearance, the victim’s mother-in-law said the family was now living a nightmare.

“He’s got two years and three months, my son and daughter have a lifetime of flashbacks and trauma,” she said.

She said she had started an online petition asking that refugees and immigrants who receive jail sentences of more than 12 months have their residency revoked and be deported.

Under the Migration Act 1958, the immigration minister may refuse or cancel a visa on character grounds and nonresidents can have their visa cancelled if they have been convicted of a crime that carries a prison sentence of 12 months or longer.

The woman said her daughter-in-law had been left traumatised by the assault.

“My daughter-in-law … she woke up and just saw a pair of white eyes looking at her,” she said.

“We are left living in a prison in my house now; I was just out in the backyard and I had the door locked and deadbolted and my back door locked in case someone was able to sneak in past me.

“He’s not a kid, he knew what he did was wrong … he used alcohol as an excuse but you still know right from wrong whether you are on ice or heroin or blind drunk.”

The Department of Immigration confirmed Kouth was an Australian citizen, but would not speak further about the case.

Immigration to Australia

Liberty Victoria president Jessie Taylor said having different laws for citizens born in Australia and citizens born overseas would set up different classes of citizenship, which was not something Australia should consider.

She said Australian law allowed citizenship to be revoked if a person was found to be fighting with the armed forces of a country at war with Australia, but if it was extended beyond that it could lead to a slippery slope where any number of other people could be exiled.

“It is completely understandable that the family of this victim is angry and distressed, however, we believe that the proposal is not justified,” she said.

“Citizenship can and should only be cancelled in extreme circumstances.

“We cannot simply deport people who commit antisocial or criminal behaviour once they have become citizens.”

A Victoria Legal Aid spokeswoman said visas could not be refused or cancelled on the basis of a person’s nationality or membership of a particular cultural group.

“The minister must strike a balance between the risk a person poses, and the profound consequences for people whose visas are cancelled,” she said.

“The consequence for some will be either return to persecution or harm, or indefinite detention in Australia because they can’t be sent back.”

Article Source: heraldsun

Fears over Dutton’s new visa powers

Immigration to Australia

Proposed laws giving Immigration Minister Peter Dutton new discretionary powers have been given the green light by a government-dominated committee, despite concerns raised about the changes.

The bill allows Mr Dutton to seek revalidation of information from visa holders to make sure they continue to meet requirements.

The new powers enable the government to manage potential risks as it trials new 10-year visas for Chinese visitors.

The committee report, tabled in parliament on Monday, notes the Senate’s Scrutiny of Bills Committee has raised several concerns about the bill, citing a lack of detail over who would be affected, and how the minister’s decisions could be reviewed.

Immigration to Australia

The committee insists Mr Dutton would be required to table a statement to both houses of parliament justifying his decision in relation to visa holders.

“This provision would ensure that decisions made by the minister are subject to appropriate scrutiny by parliament,” it said.

The report calls on the government to consider that checks made by the minister be subject to disallowance by the Senate.

In a separate dissenting report, the Greens recommended the Senate reject the bill, arguing it would unreasonably extend the immigration minister’s discretionary powers.

It argues the wording of the bill could require the holder of any Australian visa to undergo a revalidation check, not just the holder of a 10-year Chinese visitor visa.

“This could make all Australian visas – no matter whether temporary or permanent – subject to the unchecked discretionary powers of the minister,” it said.

Article Source: theaustralian

Top Universities in Australia

Migration to Australia

The matter of getting admission in a well ranked university is now not much difficult for good students. The Pakistani students are also competing with the world of study in this concern. The most popular country for the Pakistani students is Australia. The Australian student visa for the Pakistani students is based on criteria, related to their specific subclass.

The Australian student visa is now the choice of everyone whether he belongs anywhere in the world. The main reason is the popularity of the Australian universities globally.

Universities are ranked on the basis of two primary levels mainly economics and social affairs. There are 7 criteria’s that are used to classify their ranks that are as follow;

The top ten universities of Australia  this year, are mentioned below ;

  • Australian national university.
  • University of Sydney.
  • University of Melbourne.
  • University of Queensland.
  • Monish University.
  • University of New South Wales.
  • University of Western Australia.
  • University of technology, Sydney (UTS).
  • University of Adelaide.
  • Macquarie University.

Australian Student Visa

Innovations

The findings of the universities about economy, society, agriculture, healthcare, communication innovations, and financial services of the universities are of great matter. The innovation brought by the universities towards the establishment of the products being used in the society and the advancement in the services to the universities are also of great importance in the ranking.

Researches

This category represents the researches made by the universities on the global and regional academic reputations. The overall impact of the researches, which they made amongst the peers in industries and on other related factors, is also included. Also the main role of the university should be at introducing new ideas and knowledge in the global research community.

Publications

The ranking is highly concerned with the publications that universities produce. These publications are based on the excellent researches made by the universities. The ranking is also influenced by the overall publications of the papers by the universities that can be in the top 10 percent of the most highly cited papers in the world.

 Facilities

Universities are also ranked in the basis of the facilities provided by the universities to students. QS World University Rankings also focus on the facilities, while ranking the universities. By increasing the facilities of the constituent university, the increasing number of students takes it to the list of most popular universities of the world.

Teaching

Teaching is also a main concern in the ranking system of universities. The level of teaching staff takes the universities in the top rankings. The hard work of the students depends upon the hard workings and also on the attentions of the teachers. The Pakistani students are also impressed by the teachers in the Australian universities.

This is the reason why the Australian student visa for Pakistani is highly supported by the students in Pakistan.

Age of the University

University age is also is a main concern in the QS University Rankings. If the university is included in the top 50 rankings, then it must be 50 years old or more. QS World university rankings also assesses on the age of the university and also the year of its establishment.

Immigration to Australia

Top 10 universities in Australia;

The student visa for Pakistani is mainly depends upon the popularity of the universities in Australia. There are 33 Australian universities that are in the list of QS World Rankings. Seven of them are in the top 100 rankings globally. Meanwhile, 10 are featured in to 300 of the world.

  • The top ten universities of Australia  this year, are mentioned below ;
    • Australian national university.
    • University of Sydney.
    • University of Melbourne.
    • University of Queensland.
    • Monish University.
    • University of New South Wales.
    • University of Western Australia.
    • University of technology, Sydney (UTS).
    • University of Adelaide.
    • Macquarie University.

Student visa Australia

The Australian student visa for Pakistani is base d on different subclasses according to one’s choice. A large number of Pakistani students are moving to Australia. They are applying for the Australian Student Visa in a great number. The main reason is the top rankings of the Australian Universities and their great methods of teachings.

At last Australian Student Visa is a great opportunity for the Pakistani students that are sincere with their studies.

Offshore detention: Australia’s recent immigration history a ‘human rights catastrophe’

Migration to Australia

Adeal with the US to settle an unknown number of refugees from Australia’s offshore processing centres could mark the end of one of Australia’s most contentious political and moral issues over the past 15 years.

Since offshore processing was restarted in 2001, it has grown into an internationally condemned, secretive regime, subject to hundreds of court cases in Australia and overseas.

Inside the centres there have been violent deaths, horrific acts of self-harm and abuse, and mass protests.

The centres have emptied and swelled, peaking under the former Labor government.

The government’s line, hardened over the years by both Labor and the Coalition, had left it in an immovable position – not one asylum seeker who comes by boat can settle in Australia, lest its policy be seen as a failure.

Australia’s government claims its harsh policies have stopped the boats – despite some recent attempts – and thus the deaths at sea. It’s assumed any future arrivals would be dealt with as they are now – with enhanced screening processes and boat turnbacks.

The ‘Pacific Solution’

Offshore processing restarted in earnest in 2001 after the Tampa affair, when a Norwegian freighter rescued 433 asylum seekers from their sinking vessel, 140km from Christmas Island. Against international law, Australia refused the Tamp entry into its waters, sparking an international controversy.

Dubbed the “Pacific Solution” under then prime minister John Howard, the policy saw all asylum seekers who arrived by boat intercepted at sea and sent straight to offshore camps established on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

Australian Immigration

Christmas Island, closer to Indonesia, was excised from the Australian migration zone to host another centre. A subsequent Labor government would more than 10 years later excise the entire Australian mainland.

Following the “children overboard” incident in October 2001 – and the deaths of 353 men, women and children in the Siev X disaster – asylum seekers were a major political issue and Howard went to a federal election with his infamous declaration that “we will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come”.

Howard won the election and offshore processing continued. Concerns about indefinite detention and its impact on physical and mental health was widespread among advocates and rights groups.

‘Pacific Solution’ ends but the boats restart

The detention camps housed more than 1,500 people. Between 2001 and 2008, 705 people from the offshore centres were resettled in Australia and 401 in New Zealand. Some asylum seekers remained in detention for years, but the boat arrivals slowed, and in 2008 offshore processing was dismantled by the new Labor government, led by Kevin Rudd.

However arrivals began again and several high-profile tragedies, including an explosion on a boat near Ashmore Reef in 2009 and the crashing of Siev 221 on the coast of Christmas Island in 2010, contributed to a death toll at sea estimated at more than 1,000.

A deal under then prime minister Julia Gillard, signed in mid 2011 with Malaysia, was supposed to see 4,000 refugees taken from Malaysia’s camps in return for it taking 800 asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat, but this was struck down by the high court.

Later, the Coalition immigration minister Scott Morrison would successfully negotiate a $55.5m deal with Cambodia to host refugees, but it would be taken up by just six people, with many returning home shortly after arriving.

Following recommendations from an expert panel which focused largely on the need for a “no advantage” policy, offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island restarted in August 2012.

An “enhanced screening” process – criticised for its lack of transparency – was introduced to deal with the overwhelming backlog of asylum seekers, which grew to 20,000 by mid-2013.

Amnesty International and the UNHCR released reports condemning the conditions inside the two centres, and the indefinite nature of the detention. Amnesty labelled the Nauru centre “a human rights catastrophe”.

Read more : theguardian

Student visa shift risks $18bn in exports

australian students

A new “simplified” visa processing regime is causing ­catastrophic ­delays to processing overseas ­student applications and a big spike in visa rejections, causing universities and ­English-language colleges to postpone courses and threatening the viability of the $18.5 ­billion export sector.

Education providers say that thousands of overseas students, particularly from China, have been caught up in the new ­system, introduced on July 1.

The delays are not only causing education institutions financial stress but threatening longstanding partnerships, and putting at risk a prestigious scholarship program through which China sends abroad 6000 of its best postgraduates each year.

The Chinese Scholarship Council is so concerned about the delays it is recommending students approved for postgraduate study in Australia seek other host countries, said Australian Council of Graduate Research executive officer Fiona Zammitt.

students in australia

Brett Blacker, executive director of peak group English Australia, which represents ­English-language colleges, ­described the current delays and punitive rejections regime as a crisis. “We have members who have hundreds of students waiting for their visas,” Mr Blacker said. “A lot of these students are set to study English courses, then move into foundation courses and degree programs. The knock-on effect of the delays mean they will miss the start date for their next intake.”

The University of NSW is one institution struggling with the ­delays. Vice president, international, Fiona Docherty, said the university had 350 students due to start next week still awaiting visa approvals. “We’ve had a 50 per cent ­increase in applications this year, which is a good problem to have, but delays in processing is not good for our reputation,” Ms ­Docherty said.

Mr Blacker said the main issue appeared to be with applications from China, which supplies about more than a quarter of all overseas students. Last year there were 645,200 enrolments by full-fee paying international students in Australia on student visas, representing almost a 10 per cent ­increase on 2014. Education for overseas students is Australia’s third-largest export industry after coal and iron ore, bringing at least $18.5 billion into the country.

Mr Blacker said the simplified system was wantonly complex and lacking in nuance, applying the same criteria to very low-risk students from Japan, for example, as to high-risk applications from Nepal or Pakistan. Ms Zammitt said she was aware of visa applicants waiting nine months for a response.

A Department of Immigration and Border Control spokesman acknowledged changes to the visa system had triggered the backlog. He said the department aimed to finalise 75 per cent of complete applications within a month. He said the department would prioritise visa applications lodged more than a month ago. Students arriving in Australia can generally start study on a bridging visa.

Article Via: theaustralian

‘New student visa system in Australia causes delays and rejections’

australian students

The latest changes in Australia’s student visa processing is causing delays and a big rise in visa application rejections, The Australian has reported.

The new Simplified Student Visa Framework which aimed at making a complicated student visa process simpler, came into effect on 1 July 2016. However, it is now threatening the $18.5 billion international education sector in Australia.

According to the news report, thousands of overseas students, particularly from China, are caught up in the complexities of the new system, forcing many educational institutions to postpone the course commencement.

australian student immigration

Australian Council of Graduate Research’s executive officer Fiona Zammitt told the Australian that concerns over the delays have prompted the Chinese Scholarship Council to recommend students seeking postgraduate education in Australia to look for other countries for their study. She said some applicants were waiting for up to nine months to hear the outcome of their visa applications.

English Australia, a body of the colleges running English language colleges has termed the high visa rejections as a crisis.

Brett Blacker, executive director of English Australia said the new system applied the same criteria to very low-risk students from Japan, for example, as to high-risk applications from Nepal or Pakistan.

A Department of Immigration and Border Control spokesman acknowledged changes to the visa system had caused delays in processing of applications.

He said the department aimed to finalise 75 per cent of complete applications within a month.

Under the Simplified Student Visa Framework, visa subclasses were reduced to study in Australia. International students can now apply for a single student visa- subclass 500, regardless of their chosen course of study.

Article Source: sbs