Here's my experience with the Australian Computer Society.
Having studied abroad (Ireland), I was required to send in all of my exam results for my B.Sc, H.Dip & M.Sc. as well as a reference from each employer that I worked with in my field (Software Engineering).
For the visa I was applying for at the time it required that I was certified by the ACS, have a minimum of 5 years experience.
The process took 6 months for a single sheet of paper saying I was qualified for my profession! Due to this, my visa was submitted quite a while later than I initially planned and that took a further 12 months. 18 months all up waiting for my residency.
They took $600 for what was an open and shut case. They never contacted any of my references or colleges enquiring about my past experience or grades. The whole thing is a complete sham and is just another way of grabbing money off those who need visas.
The entire visa system in Australia is in bad need of restructuring and left a very sour taste in my mouth.
Compare that to a Canadian coming into the United States as a "Computer Systems Analyst" - Show up at the airport 20 minutes earlier than you normally would, give them a one-page letter describing your employer, what you'll be doing, where you'll be working. Include a either a 2 year diploma + 2 (3?) years of work experience or a 4 year degree.
10 minutes later you have a Visa good for three years. Normally one expects lots of bureaucracy when dealing with the government, but the US/Canada have really streamlined their NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) down to next-to-no hoops to jump through.
I've been here since 1995, and have renewed 18 times, always at YVR. Approximately 20-30% of the time I run into a guy taking that position with me. (100% male TN inspectors over 17 years - that's some weird gender bias in a job which really doesn't have any particular need for men vs women) Sometimes, they go so far as to say, "I don't think there's anything temporary about your stay, you're planning on renewing again next year, right?" [note - I love how they try to close me on that. ]
Regardless of what they say, you always calmly reply with the following mantra, "My period of employment is for a period of up to 3 years [note: used to be one year]", at which point my plan is to return home to Canada.
Every statement you make with immigration must be some variant of that, and you must never, ever, suggest that there is the slightest thought/plan of staying past your limited visa, even if you plan to do that by re-applying.
With the exception of the first couple years (where I was rejected twice), I've never had to spend more than 10 minutes at immigration. I will admit the confrontational attitude does get your heart racing...
Quick questions. Is it possible to migrate to Australia (Sydney) if you only have a DipHE (didn't finish last year of uni) and have around 2 - 3 years full time Software Engineering experience or MUST you have a BSc?
Also, I am potentially doing this through my current employer rather than as a skilled independent migrant.
Make sure your employer is willing to sponsor you on the other side. I worked for a large multinational in London that were not.
OTOH the independent visa gets you much better terms than the sponsored one. The sponsored one contains a provision stating you must leave the country if you're unemployed for a month (IIRC). BUT you will need to prove more experience than you currently have to get the independent PR visa. If you have the BSc it knocks a few years off the experience requirements.
I found the australian immigration website and a web community called PomsInOz very helpful for these things.
Your employer should be able to get you on a 457 visa fairly easily; they just need to prove that you are qualified to do the job and they can't find a local to undertake it. The 457 binds you to that employer for the term of that visa unless you find another employer to take it over.
You would have issues getting a different visa than the 457 though, they require 5 years experience if you do PR by yourself.
After two years (IIRC) on a 457, you can apply for a permanent visa, and that's also easier - and more expensive, of course - with a nominating employer. At least at the moment, there doesn't seem to be any education requirement for the nominated permanent visa (but they have a tendency to change the rules quite often).
The 457 requires you "have skills, qualifications, experience and an employment background which match those required for the position". I never finished uni and got a 457 in 2008 (I'm Swedish). I did have ~10 years of experience though.
I went through the same process. Yes it took longer than I would have liked, but in general it went very well.
Australia is very restrictive on immigration because so many people want to go there. I'm not really sure why they would restructure the system when this is the case, they have a relatively small population and extend a variety of state benefits to immigrants, so they don't want to be swamped.
They used to have a "White Australia" policy until late 60s. (Basically yes, we want immigration in order to populate our country, but we only want white people). Since then they have stopped having racist immigration policies, so they have just reduced all immigration.
It's all about keeping one type of immigrants out.
- moved all over the world
- applied for a visa while inside the country in question
- some expectation that having an employer vouch for him means anything
- most of his trouble with getting a COC out of Singapore
Oz basically want to know you have skills, education and no criminal record. They ask you to go to some length to prove this. I really don't see a problem with this. As I say, they are in the unusual situation that they are swamped with applicants from all over the world, they can afford to be picky, and in fact need to be.
That guy is me. My application for permanent residence in Singapore -- another place "swamped with applicants from all over the world" -- was all of three pages long but managed to cover skills, education and criminal records, was processed in a few weeks, and cost precisely $0. By comparison, my employer and I have paid approx. $10,000 to date to the Australian government in visa fees, not including the charges of the agents my employer hired to navigate the morass, despite being unusually versed in this sort of thing.
As I state at the end of the post, I'm quite well placed to deal with all this and thus personally find it mostly rather comical. However, dealing with this as eg. a refugee fleeing war or persecution is another kettle of fish, and the sheer rigidity of the system means that plenty of people fall through the cracks: a friend of mine recently had to leave the country after 10 years (!) of legal residence and entrepreneurship because his self-employment didn't fit squarely into Immigration's boxes.
My sister got the boot from Australia for 9 months even though she was young, had a master's degree in a needed occupation, was attending unimelb, and was about to be married to an Australian. Australia likes to tout its fair and transparent points based immigration scheme, but at the end of the day the decision is arbitrarily decided by an official who might not like your home country or may simply be having a bad day.
You, your employer and your agent are all having a harder time of it than me, an individual with no assistance at all, that managed to get through for about a third the cash and in far less time. I managed to navigate the system, why can't you?
Singapore is a business, not really a country, they want as many immigrants as possible. They have a stated aim to use immigration to massively increase the population. This is not the same situation as Australia at all.
And refugees don't have to apply for skilled visas, they come under other rules.
Good luck with your visa, but don't assume that everyone finds the system as hard as you seem to be.
I did navigate the system. The rules for refugees are considerably worse, DIAC's official estimate of processing time for an Offshore Humanitarian visa is several years. And you're welcome to take a gander at the comments on my blog to see how easy others are finding it!
I still don't understand why you think they should make it easier or faster for people like you (or me), when they have their pick of immigrants and many, many more applicants apply each year than there are places. At that point they can well afford to make all their checks very thorough.
I don't even live there any more so it doesn't affect me directly.
How Oz treats refugees is a subject of much debate, I was trying to say it's quite a separate issue from this one.
I thought the Singapore process for getting a Certificate of Clearance was the craziest part of his post. Getting fingerprints done should be easier, I suppose, but that isn't an indictment of Australia's Visa system, in itself.