Sunday, April 28, 2019

Studying in Australia to Boost Chances of Permanent Residency

IMPORTANT NOTICE, DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

  1. Notice. In Australia, only those who are registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) can legally provide visa advise and services. Applicants for an Australian visa, however, are NOT required to engage the services of a migration agent. Anyone can apply for an Australian visa DIY style. If you need to engage the services of  a migration agent, however, I am able to recommend one. Please reach out to find out more.
  2. Disclosure. The author is a lawyer in the Philippines but is not a MARA-registered agent. 
  3. Disclaimer. This article is an opinion piece and must not be taken as advise of any kind in any way. Information from this article may be used solely at the risk of the party using it. The author shall be free from any liability arising or that may arise from the use or misuse of material(s) from this article.

STUDYING IN AUSTRALIA

For those who may miss out on the opportunity to apply for permanent residency in Australia as skilled independent migrant (Subclass 189), studying in Australia is a way that can boost points in the points-tested visa stream.

By looking at the points system, there are a few areas where additional 5 points can be earned. It is important to note the key requirements for the points boost though: the course must be CRICOS registered and you must have the correct student visa for it. CRICOS stands for Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. It is a register of Australian education institutions that recruit, enrol and teach overseas students.

If you are studying in Australia, it would be better if you can pursue a doctorate degree. A doctorate degree gives you 5 more points than a bachelor's degree. Curiously, a master's degree does not add points. (Click here for the points table at the Australian Home Affairs website). A doctorate, however, is not for everyone.

If a doctorate is not for you, do not fret. There are other ways to boost your points, one of which is the 5 points given for specialist education qualification. To get a specialist education qualification, you must obtain at least a Masters degree by research (or a Doctorate degree) from an Australian educational institution that included at least 2 academic years study in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or specified information and communication technology (ICT) fields.

If a master's degree is also not for you, you can get the 5 points for Australian study requirement if you study in Australia for at least two years (or 16 months) leading to a degree, diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution. Study in private colleges or TAFE will qualify you for this, provided that it is CRICOS registered and the duration of study sums up to two years, even if you obtain multiple qualifications, such as trade qualifications or diploma. (In Australia, trade qualification or diploma is similar to TESDA certificates and vocational courses in the Philippines).

While you are at it, studying in a non-metropolitan area will give you an additional 5 points. If you want to get this points boost, avoid Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other big cities. Refer to this list for the locations considered as eligible for this: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/skilled-independent-189/regional-postcodes.

And since you are in Australia, you get the chance to get the 5 points boost for holding a recognised qualification in a credentialled community language. In other words, you can be a Filipino (Tagalog) interpreter or translator. To obtain this credential, take the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation. Click on the link for more information. This is an entirely separate undertaking from your studies.


8:17 PMManny Diaz

Standard Pathway to Permanent Residency in Australia for IT Professionals

IMPORTANT NOTICE, DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

  1. Notice. In Australia, only those who are registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) can legally provide visa advise and services. Applicants for an Australian visa, however, are NOT required to engage the services of a migration agent. Anyone can apply for an Australian visa DIY style. If you need to engage the services of  a migration agent, however, I am able to recommend one. Please reach out to find out more.
  2. Disclosure. The author is a lawyer in the Philippines but is not a MARA-registered agent. 
  3. Disclaimer. This article is an opinion piece and must not be taken as advise of any kind in any way. Information from this article may be used solely at the risk of the party using it. The author shall be free from any liability arising or that may arise from the use or misuse of material(s) from this article.

THE EOI PROCESS

So, okay, you are interested to permanently reside in Australia. The rules and regulations around visas in Australia change regularly, but at present, you need to go through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process first before you can apply for the visa itself. This means that you submit an EOI, your application is evaluated and if you are deemed to be qualified, you will be invited to submit an application for the visa. The Australian government, through its Department of Home Affairs, has published a guide on how to go through this process. Click on the link below to read the guide:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/skilled-independent-189/points-tested

The skilled independent visa subclass 189 is a points-tested visa. This visa is what I have in mind as the standard pathway to permanent residency in Australia for IT professionals because specialised IT occupations are in the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). To be eligible for the Subclass 189, the first requirement is that your nominated occupation is listed in the SOL. IT occupations in the SOL are as follows:

Analyst Programmer (ANZSCO Code 261311)
Computer Network and Systems Engineer (ANZSCO Code 263111)
Developer Programmer (ANZSCO Code 263111)
ICT Business Analyst (ANZSCO Code 261111)
ICT Security Specialist (ANZSCO Code 262112)
Multimedia Specialist (ANZSCO Code  261211)
Software Engineer (ANZSCO Code  261313)
Systems Analyst (ANZSCO Code  261112)
Software and Applications Programmer - Not Elsewhere Classified (ANZSCO Code 261399)

The ANZSCO Code is the code number assigned to the occupation under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. Don't be bothered by this for now, but you will be needing the ANZSCO Code of your nominated occupation. The links provided above contain detailed information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics describing what the occupation is. Have a read.

WHAT TO DO BEFORE SUBMITTING THE EOI

Before you submit the EOI, you will need to prepare supporting documents. But before you even prepare your supporting documents, it makes sense to do a self-assessment first if you qualify in the points test.

THE POINTS TEST

The points table used in the points test is available from the Department of Home Affairs. The link is provided below:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/skilled-independent-189/points-table

Alternatively, you can use the Points Calculator, also from the Department of Home Affairs. The link is provided below:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/points-calculator

If you are using the Points Calculator, select visa Subclass 189 to start. Please note that you need at least 65 points to even consider applying for the EOI. If you scored below 65, it is best to consult a MARA-registered agent, the DIY approach will not be suitable.

For most applicants, the following items in the points table will be relevant:

Age
English Language
Work Experience
Qualifications

POINTS BOOST

If you scored around 65, you may want a little boost. A points boost can be obtained for the following:

Australian study requirement - you should have studied or you should study in Australia for at least 2 years. Click here for more information on what the criteria are for this requirement.

Accredited in a community language - if you are studying in Australia and wants to boost your points, take the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation to be eligible for this points boost. Filipino (Tagalog) is a community language that attracts this points boost. Click here for more information on how to be an accredited translator or interpreter.

Study in regional Australia - while you are at it, studying in regional Australia will add 5 more points to your application. Thus, if you need to study in Australia (and get the NAATI accreditation at the same time), study in regional Australia. Avoid Sydney, Melbourne, and other high-population growth metropolitan areas. Click on this link to find out which areas are considered as regional.

Specialist education qualification - a further points boost is, if you are taking a 2-year course, to take a 2-year Masters by Research (or a PhD by Research).

(I have written another blog about Studying in Australia to Boost Chances of Permanent Residency. Have a look for details).

Partner skills - perhaps the only points boost that will not require you to study in Australia for at least 2 years, you can get an additional 5 points if your partner or spouse goes through the skills assessment and gets a positive result, i.e. English proficiency is good, nominated occupation is in the SOL, and the relevant assessing authority makes a positive assessment.

SKILLS ASSESSMENT

Assuming now that you have the minimum 65 points required, the next thing to do is get your skills assessed. For IT professionals, the relevant assessing authority is the Australian Computer Society (ACS). The ACS website is https://www.acs.org.au, have a look. Currently, the fee is $500 but it can change (as it usually does). Click here for the fees information.

PREPARING FOR THE SKILLS ASSESSMENT

The ACS provides a guide on how to go through the application process. Please refer to https://www.acs.org.au/msa/information-for-applicants.html or download the relevant document from below list:

ACS Skills Assessment Guidelines for Applicants
ACS Quick Reference of Assessment Requirements
ACS Guide to Choosing the Right ANZSCO
ACS Application Checklist

Once you have all the required documents, have them certified as a copy of the original and scan them using a colored scanner with a maximum resolution of 200 dpi. All files must be in PDF format, but nothing bigger than 3MB. It is recommended that you use an intuitive file naming convention, such using your family name and an indicator of what the file is. For example, it is easy to know that 'Diaz-TOR.pdf' is a copy of the transcript of records of someone surnamed 'Diaz'.

It is a bit ironic that ACS file upload requirements seem to be outdated. AITSL, for example, does not require copy certification anymore as long as documents are scanned in color. In addition, AITSL accepts different file formats, while ACS accepts only PDF and in multiple files. ACS requires all pages are consolidated into one PDF document for each qualification and each employment entry.

When all these are prepared, you are ready to submit the application for skills assessment.

To be continued

Thursday, April 25, 2019

AITSL Skills Assessment for Secondary School Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241411)

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) is the assessing authority for teaching occupations in the Skilled Occupations List (SOL). In assessing skills for the Secondary School Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241411) occupation, it considers two criteria: qualification and English language proficiency.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT

For a secondary teacher, the AITSL requires International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7.0 for both Reading and Writing; and a score of at least 8.0 for both Speaking and Listening. The IELTS test  must have been taken during the 24-month period prior to submitting an application AND must be the academic version.

Those who have completed at least four full years of study (or part-time equivalent) in higher education (university) in Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States of America resulting in qualification(s) comparable to the educational level of an Australian Bachelor degree (Australian Qualifications Framework Level 7) or higher, provided that the study included recognised initial teacher education qualification, are exempt from the IELTS requirement.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

This article was written tailored for hopefuls from the Philippines. The AITSL has published the Assessment for Migration Applicant Checklist: Secondary School Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241411), please download the guide particularly if you are not from the Philippines.

Reading the AITSL guide can confuse, but essentially it is saying that you must have a teaching qualification. This teaching qualification must have been obtained as a result of:

At least four years of study in the university or higher education level;

At least one year of study in the university or higher education level specifically on teaching at the secondary school level; and

At least 45 days of supervised teaching practice with students across the 13 to 18 years age range in a secondary school setting.

Therefore, the following qualifications appear to satisfy this requirement:

A Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, normally a four-year degree in the Philippines;

A Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Education, major in Secondary Education, normally four-year degree in the Philippines. The major subjects should be shown, however, to constitute at least one year of full-time study.

Any Bachelor degree, plus a course of study in teaching Secondary Education which is the equivalent of at least a year of full-time study, such as a top-up course to a Bachelor degree that makes one eligible to take the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) or a Master of Arts in Education, major in Secondary Education.

All three options should include the mandatory 45 days of supervised teaching practice with students across the 13 to 18 years age range in a secondary school setting.

DOCUMENT CHECKLIST

To prepare for the AITSL Skills Assessment for Secondary School Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241411), you need to have the following documents:

Proof of Identity

A current and valid passport at the time of application. Only the passport identity page is needed. This is the page where the photograph and identification details of the passport holder are.

Those who have changed their names, such as by reason of marriage, should provide proof of change of name. A marriage certificate in this case is valid proof.

Proof of Qualification

Diploma (in Australia, this is called a testamur) which must be accompanied by an English translation if not written in English. (The Ateneo de Manila University, for example, issues diploma in Latin).

Transcript of Records

Course description and/or syllabus (optional) which, although not mentioned in the AITSL guide, may be helpful to establish the duration of study and content specific to Secondary Education.

Evidence of supervised teaching practice

Supervised teaching practice is that period before completion of a degree or course where a student teacher is on a school placement and engaged in a teaching and learning process with school students. This teaching practice is under the supervision of a qualified teacher and university education staff and is formally assessed by the university.

An official statement from the university awarding the teaching qualification is required as evidence of supervised teaching practice. The statement must be on official university letterhead, be signed and dated by a university representative and state: the duration of the supervised teaching practice completed, the age range of the students taught and the setting in which the practice was completed.


Standard Pathway to Permanent Residency in Australia for Teachers

IMPORTANT NOTICE, DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

  1. Notice. In Australia, only those who are registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) can legally provide visa advise and services. Applicants for an Australian visa, however, are NOT required to engage the services of a migration agent. Anyone can apply for an Australian visa DIY style. If you need to engage the services of  a migration agent, however, I am able to recommend one. Please reach out to find out more.
  2. Disclosure. The author is a lawyer in the Philippines but is not a MARA-registered agent. 
  3. Disclaimer. This article is an opinion piece and must not be taken as advise of any kind in any way. Information from this article may be used solely at the risk of the party using it. The author shall be free from any liability arising or that may arise from the use or misuse of material(s) from this article.

THE EOI PROCESS

So, okay, you are interested to permanently reside in Australia. The rules and regulations around visas in Australia change regularly, but at present, you need to go through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process first before you can apply for the visa itself. This means that you submit an EOI, your application is evaluated and if you are deemed to be qualified, you will be invited to submit an application for the visa. The Australian government, through its Department of Home Affairs, has published a guide on how to go through this process. Click on the link below to read the guide:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/skilled-independent-189/points-tested

The skilled independent visa subclass 189 is a points-tested visa. This visa is what I have in mind as the standard pathway to permanent residency in Australia for teachers because teaching is listed in the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). To be eligible for the Subclass 189, the first requirement is that your nominated occupation is listed in the SOL. The teaching occupations in the SOL are as follows:

Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241111)
Secondary School Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241411)
Special Needs Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241511)
Teacher of the Hearing Impaired (ANZSCO Code 241512)
Teacher of the Sight Impaired (ANZSCO 241513)
Special Education Teachers - Not Elsewhere Classified (ANZSCO Code 241599)

The ANZSCO Code is the code number assigned to the occupation under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. Don't be bothered by this for now, but you will be needing the ANZSCO Code of your nominated occupation. The links provided above contain detailed information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics describing what the occupation is. Have a read.

WHAT TO DO BEFORE SUBMITTING THE EOI

Before you submit the EOI, you will need to prepare supporting documents. But before you even prepare your supporting documents, it makes sense to do a self-assessment first if you qualify in the points test.

THE POINTS TEST

The points table used in the points test is available from the Department of Home Affairs. The link is provided below:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/skilled-independent-189/points-table

Alternatively, you can use the Points Calculator, also from the Department of Home Affairs. The link is provided below:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/points-calculator

If you are using the Points Calculator, select visa Subclass 189 to start. Please note that you need at least 65 points to even consider applying for the EOI. If you scored below 65, it is best to consult a MARA-registered agent, the DIY approach will not be suitable.

For most applicants, the following items in the points table will be relevant:

Age
English Language
Work Experience
Qualifications

POINTS BOOST

If you scored around 65, you may want a little boost. A points boost can be obtained for the following:

Australian study requirement - you should have studied or you should study in Australia for at least 2 years. Click here for more information on what the criteria are for this requirement.

Accredited in a community language - if you are studying in Australia and wants to boost your points, take the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation to be eligible for this points boost. Filipino (Tagalog) is a community language that attracts this points boost. Click here for more information on how to be an accredited translator or interpreter.

Study in regional Australia - while you are at it, studying in regional Australia will add 5 more points to your application. Thus, if you need to study in Australia (and get the NAATI accreditation at the same time), study in regional Australia. Avoid Sydney, Melbourne, and other high-population growth metropolitan areas. Click on this link to find out which areas are considered as regional.

Specialist education qualification - a further points boost is, if you are taking a 2-year course, to take a 2-year Masters by Research (or a PhD by Research).

(I have written another blog about Studying in Australia to Boost Chances of Permanent Residency. Have a look for details).

Partner skills - perhaps the only points boost that will not require you to study in Australia for at least 2 years, you can get an additional 5 points if your partner or spouse goes through the skills assessment and gets a positive result, i.e. English proficiency is good, nominated occupation is in the SOL, and the relevant assessing authority makes a positive assessment.

SKILLS ASSESSMENT

Assuming now that you have the minimum 65 points required, the next thing to do is get your skills assessed. For teachers, the relevant assessing authority is the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). The AITSL website is https://www.aitsl.edu.au/, have a look. Currently, the fee is $830 but it can change (as it usually does). Click here for the fees information.

PREPARING FOR THE SKILLS ASSESSMENT

The AITSL provides a guide on how to go through the application process. Please refer to https://www.aitsl.edu.au/migrate-to-australia, or download the AITSL Assessment for Migration: Applying for a skills assessment guide. Specific requirements for each teaching qualification are as follows :

AITSL Skills Assessment for Secondary School Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241411) This provides details on what to prepare to apply for skills assessment under this occupation. Click on the link to read through and come back here for the next steps.

AITSL Skills Assessment for Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241111) This provides details on what to prepare to apply for skills assessment under this occupation. Click on the link to read through and come back here for the next steps.

AITSL Skills Assessment for Special Needs Teacher (ANZSCO Code 241511) This provides details on what to prepare to apply for skills assessment under this occupation. Click on the link to read through and come back here for the next steps.

AITSL Skills Assessment for Teacher of the Hearing Impaired (ANZSCO Code 241512) This provides details on what to prepare to apply for skills assessment under this occupation. Click on the link to read through and come back here for the next steps.

AITSL Skills Assessment for Teacher of the Sight Impaired (ANZSCO 241513) This provides details on what to prepare to apply for skills assessment under this occupation. Click on the link to read through and come back here for the next steps.

AITSL Skills Assessment for Special Education Teachers - Not Elsewhere Classified (ANZSCO Code 241599) This provides details on what to prepare to apply for skills assessment under this occupation. Click on the link to read through and come back here for the next steps.

A documents checklist is provided in each of the links above. Once you have all the required documents, scan them using a colored scanner with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. No file must be bigger than 20MB and must only be in one of the following formats: JPG, PNG, PDF, TIFF or BMP. It is recommended that you use an intuitive file naming convention, such using your family name and an indicator of what the file is. For example, it is easy to know that 'Diaz-TOR.pdf' is a copy of the transcript of records of someone surnamed 'Diaz'.

When all these are prepared, you are ready to submit the application for skills assessment.

To be continued

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

An Outlook Macro

Objective: To create a macro for Outlook 365 which will paste a text string when a hotkey is pressed. In this example, the string '@brightidiaz.com' is pasted when the hotkey Alt-6 is pressed.

STEP 1 - Enable Macro


Click on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar ribbon as shown. Select More Commands.

Select Trust Center then Trust Center Settings. This will open a new window, select the Macro Settings suitable. I recommend 'Notification for all macros' to be on the safe side. Click on OK to accept the Macro setting. Click the OK button again to accept the Trust Center setting. This has been marked on the screenshot above and color-coded for easy reference.

STEP 2 - Enable the Developer option

Click on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar ribbon as with STEP 1 and select More Commands. Click on Customize Ribbon and see to it that the option Developer is checked. Accept the change by clicking on OK.

 STEP 3 - Write the Macro

 
Click on the Developer tab then click on the Visual Basic button.

 
The Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications project window will open up as shown above. Navigate to ThisOutlookSession as shown encircled in red. This will open the code window shown at right above.


Paste the following code inside the code window.

Sub InsertText()
Const sText As String = "@brightidiaz.com"
On Error GoTo ErrHandler
If TypeName(ActiveWindow) = "Inspector" Then
    If ActiveInspector.IsWordMail And ActiveInspector.EditorType = olEditorWord Then
        ActiveInspector.WordEditor.Application.Selection.TypeText sText
    End If
End If
Exit Sub
ErrHandler:
Beep
End Sub

The code window will look like as shown above. Click on the Save button encircled in the screenshot above and CLOSE the window.

STEP 4 - Create a button for the Macro


Click on New Email as if composing a new email. Click on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar in the new email window then click on More Commands.



Click on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar as in STEP 1 or click on File | Outlook Options which will achieve the same thing. Choose Quick Access Toolbar then select Macros from the Choose commands from drop down. Highlight the name of the Macro Project1.ThisOutlookSession.InsertText then click on Add to add it to the right. Click OK to accept the changes. This has been marked on the screenshot above and color-coded for easy reference.


A button will be created on top of the new email window, encircled in yellow shown above. Click on this button each time you need to insert the text defined in the Macro.


STEP 5 - KEYBOARD SHORTCUT

Press the ALT key to determine the keyboard shortcut assigned for the macro. In this example, the keyboard shortcut assigned is ALT-6. Thus, pressing the key combination of ALT and 6 will insert the text defined in the macro.