Thursday, April 9, 2015

Indian Power of Attorney from Sydney Australia

Recently I was required to give Power of Attorney to my parents in India. After my research, I still ended up wasting 200$ but still got through the procedure. I am defining the process below for anyone that wants the Power of Attorney (POA) done in Australia and send it to India.

In my case, my parents sent me the POA from India. In other blog, I had read that POA can be printed on A4 paper and no Bond paper is needed. You can get the format and content of POA from either a lawyer in India or from a website. My lawyer in India though did not agree on No-Bond-Paper saying that sometimes it does not work in India. 

For Indian nationals holding Indian Passport,
1) Get each page of POA + copy of passport signed by Justice of Peace. This is free and you can generally find a JP in your locality council or simply google it.
Find JP

2) Submit the signed papers to VFS center with passport size photo, JP signed passport copy, document checklist and miscellaneous form that you will get from the VFS website. You can find the documents here under 'Checklist and Application Forms' tab. I was charged 46$ by VFS. Also, there are instant photo booths available here.
VFS Global center in Sydney - Level 8, 189 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW 2000 (It is walkable distance from Wynyard station).
They will also collect your passport and all the documents will be returned in 5 working days. You can collect it personally or choose to courier them to you with some extra cost.

For Indians holding Australian Passport,
1) Get public notary on each page of POA. You will be needed to sign the papers in front of him. I was charged 110$ for notarization. It may differ for different lawyers and depending on number of pages.
Find nearby public notary service here
2) Get a copy of passport signed by JP. (Details in step 1 above for Indian nationals). Also in case of urgency or convenience, there is RED SEAL NOTARY that provides public notary service in the next building. You can check their fees on their website.
3) Get Apostille from DFAT (Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade). If you reach early, you can get the documents back the same day. For multiple pages, I was charged $80 with binding. You need to fill a form there from the counter and submit the document with the form and payment. 
In Sydney, DFAT is next to Central Station. Sydney address - Level 7, 26 Lee St, Sydney 2000
If going by train, exit towards the Railway Square and it is just next to the exit.

4) If you get the documents quickly from DFAT, you can submit the documents to VFS the same day. (Details in step 2 above for Indian nationals)

I referred to this blog during my process which was very helpful 

While referring to the blog, I did not realize it was different for Indians with Indian passport and Australian passport. Also, refer to relevant websites to check on any updated process and forms to download.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Step 1-a: Points test

Points test is a test where you will be awarded certain points based on your age, qualification, English proficiency, experience etc. This test is used by Australia to select people with correct skills and attributes. You can roughly calculate your points based on the below chart to check if you qualify for the immigration program. Minimum points needed are 60 and are subjective to change by the Immigration Department.

Note that these points actually matter at the later stage, so your points may differ later based on your age and experience at that point of time. 
Age (at the time of invitation)
English language competency level
**Grade required in each section and not overall/average
Competent English - IELTS 6 / OET B
Proficient English - IELTS 7 / OET B
Superior English - IELTS 8 / OET A
Overseas experience (not in Australia) in past 10 years in nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation
3 to less than 5 years
5 to less than 8 years
8+ years
Australian work experience in nominated occupation or a closely related occupation
1 to less than 3 years
3 to less than 5 years
5 to less than 8 years
8+ years
Qualification (Australian or recognised overseas) 
Diploma completed in Australia, trade qualification completed in Australia, or qualification or award of recognized standard
At least a Bachelor degree, including a Bachelor degree with Honors or Masters, from an Australian educational institution or other degree of a recognized standard
Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or other Doctorate of a recognized standard
Credentialed community language qualifications (The points are awarded to applicants accredited by NAATI as a translator or interpreter at the Paraprofessional level or above)
Partner skill qualifications (Partner must also be accessed by the relevant governing body with skill listed in SOL)
Professional Year completion, for a period of at least 12 months in the four year period immediately before the day on which the invitation was issued
Study in regional Australia or in a low population growth metropolitan area (excluding distance education)
Nomination by State or Territory government (visa subclass 190 only)
Nomination by State or Territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member, for residing and working in a specified/designated area (visa subclass 489 only)

Alternatively, you can check the points test details on Immigration website - the left panel, click visas and from the dropdown select your relevant visa. For example, for 189 skilled independent – choose Permanent work visas>189 Skilled Independent
In the Centre page bottom half, you will find tabs. Check out the tab for Points Test

These points will be used when you will be applying for EOI after skill evaluation. Invitations to lodge visa are sent out based on the points – higher points gets invited first and people with same points are invited on first come first serve basis. The points that you calculate now may vary at the time of Invitation. That is, if your age is 32 now for which you get 30 points and you turn 33 at the time of invitation or before, your points will be deducted by 5 as for age now you are eligible for 25 points.

Also, based on this rough calculation, you can plan on the areas where you can improve your points like IELTS, partner skill qualifications if applicable.

Also, if you apply for state sponsorship (190 visa) you get an additional 5 points. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

One look at overall process flow

Let us in short understand the process of Australian PR. Some terms may look like alien to you, but read it for now. I will try to keep it simple as I can.

Immigration website:

Step 1: First you need to roughly calculate your evaluation points and apply for skill evaluation. This point test can be taken on internet and immigration website or you can do it referring to the chart in my other post. These points will actually matter at step 4 when you get invited later. Minimum points need for qualifying is 60 as of now. Check for any updates on the given Immigration website. For more details see, Step 1a - Points Test

You also need to identify the closest ANZSCO code relevant to your occupation. For example, I am a software engineer and fall under code 261313. You can check out the codes on the website again. Australian Immigration department sends out new SOL (Skilled Occupation List) every year in July. Hence your occupation has to be there in the list when lodging the application.

For me it was
Assessing Authority
Software Engineer

You need to apply for skill evaluation to assessing authority relevant to your occupation which was ACS (Australian Computing Society) in my case.
General Timeline: 12 weeks
My Timeline:
ACS Lodged: 07 June 2013
ACS Results received: 06 Sept 2013

Your skill evaluation result will mention the ANZSCO code for which you qualify and you will only be allowed to process visa against the same code you were evaluated for.

To prove your English proficiency, you need to clear the IELTS English test. You need this at step 4 when you are invited.

Step 3: EOI (Expression of Interest)
Once you have your skills evaluated with ANZSCO code, you can proceed to express your interest to migrate to Australia through EOI application. You will need the visa category for which you will be applying at this stage. We applied for 189 (skilled independent) and 190 (Skilled sponsored/nominated). You can also check them on the immigration website or (Left panel under Visas)
Note that some ANZSCO codes may not be relevant to 190 visa.

Step 4: Invited for lodging visa
Once you have expressed your interest, you need to wait unless the Australian department picks up your application and invites you for lodging visa application. Selection happens in rounds of first come first serve basis. It may be less or more months as compared to our timeline.

Our Timeline: 6 months
EOI 189 lodged: 24 Sept 2013
Invitation received for Visa: 24 March 2014

Note that your points needs to be qualifying at the time you are invited. So if your points were to be decreased due to age factor on the date of the invitation, it may affect your application unless it still under minimum qualifying marks even after deduction.

Step 5: Lodging Visa
Once you are invited, you need to lodge visa application by submitting the fees (non-refundable) and with form and relevant documents against which points has been claimed. You may also get your medicals and PCC (police clearance certificate) done while awaiting case officer allocation or wait unless CO asks for PCC and medicals.

Step 6: CO Allocation
Case Officer (CO) will be allocated within few weeks-months to review your application. While reviewing, if they need more proof to verify your claims, they will e-mail you regarding the same. Your claims may also be verified by tele-verification of references provided. If all documents seem to be fine, you will be granted the visa!

Our Timeline:
Visa lodged: 29 March 2014
Visa Grant: 13 June 2014

I will be detailing each step for more details, but this is just a short glimpse to understanding the process flow. Also, note that the timelines may differ for each application.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thinking of moving to Australia?

Thinking of moving to Australia? A similar thought strike my love and he started on the mission to check out the prospect of this.  Luckily Australia has been inviting immigrations and my hubby saw a chance. He visited several agents and we listed down to one who is a MARA agent.

Deciding Factors to pick them – MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority) agent, and they convinced us that they would be in a better position to follow up. if any problem arises.

So we started our journey on June 2013 and were finally Australian PR holders on June 2014!

Glimpse of our milestones
ACS Lodged: 07 June 2013
ACS Results: 06 Sept 2013
IELTS cleared: 20 Sept 2013
EOI 189 lodged: 24 Sept 2013
Invitation received for Visa: 24 March 2014
Visa lodged: 29 March 2014
Visa Grant: 13 June 2014

While our first step was to get the right agent and not get duped, the right agent itself was an utter waste of money. The process is quite simple and lots of help available on google and expatforum. The main reason to go through agents was that either of us did not have time for followups and nor any idea about the process. It turned out, that we were doing all the followups with the agents and eventually all help was available on internet and forums. 

So we were all pecked up now to start! And I was a little scared too :)