Brexit: Latest news for skilled professionals

An update on Brexit and the implications for skilled professionals

The European Commission has advised the leaders of the 27 EU member states to proceed with the second phase of Brexit negotiations. That doesn’t mean that a final solution has been achieved on issues of citizen’s rights, the Irish border and the UK’s financial settlement, but it is considered that there is enough common understanding between the EU27 and the British government to continue to the next phase of negotiations.


The next phase is likely to see similar issues; time pressures, a well-choreographed approach from the EU leadership and a weak British government gradually converging with the European position.

Indeed, Donald Tusk, European Council president, warns that the next phase of negotiations is “The most difficult challenge ahead”, The EU27’s unity will now be tested, as national preferences are likely to become more obvious in the next phase. But, as has been the case so far, the pressure – from various conflicting interests – will very much remain on the UK government.

The Brexit effect – are professionals questioning their future in the UK?

Earlier this year, a KPMG survey found that an alarmingly high number of highly qualified professionals are planning to leave the UK because of Brexit. Indeed, almost a million EU citizens working in Britain – many of them young, qualified and much sought-after by businesses – are either planning to leave the country or have already made up their minds to go as a result of Brexit.

The survey of 2,000 EU workers in Britain found that 55% of those with PhDs and 49% of those with postgraduate degrees were either planning to go or were actively considering it.

These findings reinforce fears of a substantial brain drain in the UK. KPMG describes those most likely to leave as “the independent, in-demand, educated and young”. Despite the UK government attempting to reassure EU citizens about their future in the UK, with what it described as a “big and generous” offer, professionals in demand remain keen to leave.

Brexit and the health sector – is it time to escape ‘down under’ for UK doctors and healthcare specialists?

Since the UK referendum’s decision to leave the European Union, Brexit has led to uncertainty about the future and concerns over the ways in which the loss of staff will intensify the already existing recruitment issues within the NHS.

Since the Brexit vote, 10,000 EU health workers have quit the NHS. Furthermore, The British Medical Association found that 12,000 doctors (nearly 7.7% of the medical workforce) are from the EEA and 18% of them have made plans to leave, with a further 25% unsure what to do since the referendum. When questioned, the most prevalent reasons for leaving appeared to be the potential changes to immigration rules, as well as the hostile behaviour and attitudes towards EU nationals.

Many healthcare professionals are finding their professional ambitions thwarted by a system divided by politics. With such a crisis in the NHS, many doctors and nursing staff are considering the huge benefits of migration to Australia. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s best places to live in terms of income, political stability, healthcare and civil rights, the Australian healthcare system itself is ranked as one of the world’s best. Combined with beautiful beaches, stunning scenery and cosmopolitan cities, there are many advantages to a life ‘down under’.

A move to Australasia not only offers a an exceptional lifestyle, but given the healthcare skills shortage in Australia, there are a great many career opportunities, and less competition for training programmes. Indeed, working conditions in Australia are considered to be the best in the world – doctors are set to receive six weeks annual leave and work an average of fewer than 42 hours per week.

What next?

With the much publicised crises in the NHS and the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, there is certainly much to be gained from exploring your career options outside the UK. If, like many, you are considering the benefits of a move to Australia, Ark Migration can help. As a team of experienced visa specialists, we are adept at supporting successful visa applications from professionals, across a range of sectors.

To discuss your migration plans in greater detail, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email

SSM and Marriage Visa Applications

Australia’s Marriage Act  - same sex marriage and it’s impact on visas applications

Following Australia’s recent parliamentary approval of same sex marriage, amendments to the Marriage Act are now underway. With an overwhelming majority of MPs voting to change the Marriage Act, eight days after a similarly decisive result in the Senate, this result brings an end to more than a decade of robust and often controversial debate on the issue. Here we explore the likely migration consequences for same-sex couples when Australia's Marriage Act is duly updated.
Partner Visas - Legal Marriage

Under existing Australian law, same-sex marriages are not currently recognised and as such it has not been possible to apply for a partner visa on the basis of same sex marriage. With recent parliamentary approval however, it reads that same sex marriages should be eligible to form the basis of a partner visa application.

Partner Visas - 12 Month De Facto Relationships and Relationship Registration

Since we are as yet unsure when amendments to the Marriage Act will come into force, it maybe useful for same-sex couples to consider the 12 Month De Facto Relationships and Relationship Registration. This registration allows same sex couples to apply for partner visas on the basis of a de facto relationship. The requirements here are for couples to provide evidence that they have cohabited for a period of 12 months, in order to qualify for a partner visa.

One of the main exemptions to the 12-month cohabitation requirement for de facto partner visas is where your relationship has been registered by an Australian State or Territory Government. In this case, you can qualify for a partner visa if you can show that you are living together, but don't need to show that you have lived together for a 12-month period.

However, not all states and territories support registration of relationships, or require both parties to be resident in the state or territory. For the purposes of immigration, registered relationships are only recognised in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, NSW, and the ACT.

Prospective Marriage Visa Applicants

The Prospective Marriage Subclass 300 or Fiancé(e) Visa can be a good option for many applicants. This relates to situations where a couple has an intention to get married in Australia, but are not cohabiting. This option can be beneficial in circumstances where it is not possible for a couple to live together due to immigration or cultural issues. While many overseas countries do not recognise same-sex couples for visa purposes, with recent changes to Australia’s Marriage Act, same sex couples should now be eligible to make an application for the Prospective Marriage Subclass 300 or Fiancé(e) Visa.

An additional visa subclass should also now be open to same sex couples; the Subclass 309 Offshore Partner Visa. This visa always applicants to apply on the basis of a marriage which is planned to take place in the future. Since amendments to the Marriage Act are now underway, this pathway should also be open to same-sex couples.

Including Family Members as Dependents

Given that same-sex marriages are now recognised, this will make it easier to include partners in visa applications. Previously, you could only include a same-sex partner if you could establish that you were in a de facto relationship. For permanent visas, you would generally have needed to show that you had lived together for 12 months to establish a de facto relationship. This also applied to certain temporary visas such as student visas, provisional skilled and business migration visas. However, with amendments to the Marriage Act underway, it should be possible to include family members as dependents.


Whilst we do not yet know how or when the changes to the Marriage Act will be implemented, one thing is clear, marriage equality in Australia is here. To discuss how changes to the Marriage Act may affect your visa application, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email


find work in Australia

Top tips to finding work in Australia

Top tips to help you find work in Australia.

Now that you have made the all important decision to relocate to Australia, one of the important next steps is often securing a suitable job. With a growing economy, a buoyant job market and essential skill shortages across a range of sectors and professions, finding work in Australia may be far easier than you thought.

However, before you commence any job search, it is important to secure the right visa that will allow you to live and work in Australia. With the recent changes to one of the most common visa types, the 457 visa, it is essential that you secure professional advice to ensure that you make an application for the correct visa type. General visa information can be found at and Up-to-date information on the 457 visa can be found here.

Looking for jobs in Australia

General web based jobs searches can be a useful source of information. They will enable you to get a clear picture of the salary rates and opportunities in your chosen profession. For general job searches the following websites have been found to be useful:

For particular occupations, for example nursing, mining, construction etc, dedicated recruitment agencies can often give you a strong indication of the employment opportunities in your sector. The list below is a good starting point though you will find many more:


It is also worth consulting the Australian national and local newspapers to view available vacancies and employment opportunities.

Paying Tax in Australia

All workers in Australia are required to pay tax to fund programs and services such as roads, schools and hospitals. As in the UK, the amount of tax you pay depends on how much you earn. You can find out more about how tax works and the different tax rates at

You will also need a Tax File Number (TFN). This is a number unique to you, identifies your tax records and is required to work in Australia. It is similar to your NI number in the UK. To find out how to apply for one visit

Applying for a job in Australia

Like in the UK, you would typically apply for a job by providing the employer with a covering letter and a CV or by completing an application form. Generally, job interviews are an important part of the process of applying for a job and may range in formality from a casual conversation to a series of discussions with multiple people. Different employment sectors and companies can all have very different recruitment approaches, as they do in the UK.

Top Interview Tips

1) Research - Find out as much as you can about the company, what they do, if they have had any recent product launches, developments, what their last year's profit was etc.
2) Practice -There are often common questions that will definitely be asked during most interviews, such as why you are the right person for the job, and what are your strengths and weaknesses, so it is always useful to have good practiced answers to these questions. Preparing well for an interview increases your chances of success and raises your confidence.
3) Dress - First impressions really do still count and if you look the part and dress for success, you will make a good first impression. Taking care over your appearance will also give you a confidence boost.
4) Relax - Staying calm under pressure can be difficult but remaining calm enables you to perform well in an interview situation. Good preparation is the key to staying calm; along with some nice deep breaths!
5) Questions - Well prepared questions are crucial in any interview situation. They give your prospective employer an insight into your commitment to, interest in and knowledge of the company and role you are applying for. Well prepared questions could also give you an edge over other candidates.

If you want to know more about getting the right visa for the right job in Australia, contact Michael Leonard for a free consultation on +44 7904 666 124 or email

Your 2018 International Sports Calendar

Your guide to all the big sports in 2018.

Click here for our 2018 International Sports Calendar. 

At Ark Migration, we love our sport. And we know that plenty of you do too. So we thought what better way to help you (and us!) plan our sporting diary for next year than to compile a calendar of the biggest sporting events scheduled for next year.

2018 promises to be another bumper year in sport. The England Cricket Team are on tour down under, some of the world's finest athletes will be competing at the Winter Olympic Games for the first time in South Korea and Australia will host XXI Commonwealth Games on the spectacular Gold Coast. The FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia from 14 June and there are international honours in athletics, golf, and rowing.

Ark Migration - Cost of living in Australia

Cost of living: UK v Australia

Comparing the cost of living: UK v Australia.

With the prevailing economic uncertainty post Brexit, could a move to Australia provide a more stable future? With its great weather, cosmopolitan cities, diverse natural landscapes and relaxed lifestyle, Australia remains a top global destination for those seeking the relocation dream...but what is the financial impact of migrating to Australia?
Cost of living: 

Australia currently has the 12th highest cost of living in the world, however the overall cost of living in Australia is an incredible 10% cheaper than London. While the cost of living in Australia remains relatively high, Mercer’s most recent Cost of Living Survey shows that Australian cities remain very competitive.


Sydney and Melbourne remain popular relocation destinations but many people are now choosing to explore the benefits of other locations throughout Australia. While Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city, The Economist Intelligence Unit gave it perfect scores for healthcare, education and infrastructure. Ranked as seventh in a list of the world’s most liveable cities, Sydney has excellent weather, beautiful beaches and an attractive outdoor lifestyle. Melbourne is cosmopolitan with a thriving restaurant and arts scene. Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth are appealing options for many people, as are regional and coastal towns, where the cost of living is considerably lower.


Like all countries, house prices vary greatly across Australia and location is key. Sydney tops the list with an average house price of $782,000, while Adelaide has a more affordable average price of $490,000. For those looking to live outside the major cities, the average house price reduces dramatically. The average cost of a property in New South Wales is $331,000 and you could expect to pay under $300,000 for properties in Victoria and South Australia.

The rental market also reflects location and while a Sydney rental averages at around $650 per week, renting the same sized apartment in scenic Hobart is half the price at $325 per week.

With housing comes utility bills and like in the UK, shopping around for the most competitive supplier will secure you the best deal. On average, basic utility costs for electricity, gas and internet for a standard two bedroom apartment, will cost around $350 a month.

Travel & Commuting:

Australia’s major cities are well served by its reasonably priced public transport system. Sydney boasts rail, bus and ferry options which are all covered by the Opal card; a swipe-on, swipe-off card that can be topped up as needed. Compared to cities like London and New York, Australia’s public transport system delivers significant value for money.

Health & Fitness:

Australia has a world class healthcare system and permanent residents have access to Medicare, thanks to reciprocal health agreements between countries. Like the UK, many Australians also choose to take out private health insurance to cover extras, like dental and specialist care. Comprehensive medical cover can cost around $500 a month.

Fitness is a key feature of the Australian lifestyle and average gym memberships costs around $65 a month. However, many Australians take advantage of the incredible weather, choosing to opt for outdoor personal fitness trainers and group sessions.


Groceries tend to be more expensive in Australia than in many other major cities around the world and an average weekly shop can range from $80 to $300. A dozen eggs will cost around $4.45, a loaf of bread around $2.53 and a 1-litre bottle of milk is $1.41. However, if you are eating out, the cost of a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Sydney will be around $70, while in London you would expect to pay more, at around $80.

Is moving to Australia cost effective?

While the cost of living in Australia is generally higher than in the UK (13.71%), earnings are higher too. Salaries in Australia are much higher than in the UK. Current average earnings show Australians earning over 25% more than their UK counterparts. Indeed, Australia’s minimum wage is AU$17.70 per hour, compared to AU$14.66 for the United Kingdom.

With higher salaries, growing career opportunities, an enviable quality of life and incredible weather, it’s easy to see why Australia remains a much favoured relocation destination.


If you want to find out more about how the cost of living in Australia may affect your migration plans, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email

Applying for a visa? Check your social profile

How your social media profile can impact your Australian visa application.

In a world where our digital selves grace global public platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and many others, how can your social media profile determine your success in getting an Australia visa?

In short, your social media profile can have as much impact on your Australia visa application as it can have on any other formal application. Your social media accounts can be monitored and used to assess the credibility of the information contained in your visa application. Any publicly available information is taken into consideration when making a visa application decision. This may be information regarding your work history, qualifications, relationship status – any information in fact which might contradict details you have included in your visa application.

Facebook used to uncover visa application ‘truths’

Like other global public bodies, Australia’s Department of Immigration can and does conduct internet searches. They have refused applications where information contained with a social media profile was inconsistent with that in the application. In one high profile case, the Department refused an applicant’s submission because of inconsistencies relating to his religious status. On appeal, the Federal Circuit Court upheld the Department’s decision, ruling that material on his Facebook page constituted “evidentiary material” used to determine  whether his claims made in his visa application were truthful.

Not quite the US model...yet?

While such verification exercises are not without its critics, it remains to be seen whether Australia will adopt the US social media checks introduced by the Trump administration. Under the new procedures, rolled out in June this year, consular officials can request all prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses, phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history.

Your social media checklist

While social media platforms enable us to communicate and connect with friends, family, colleagues and contacts, it is important to remember that the internet is a global public forum. If you are considering reviewing your social media profile, this checklist might be useful:

Personal details - check what personal details are available on the internet and social media channels, and consider removing any information which is out of date or no longer reflects your current situation.

Posting comments - when posting information on social media platforms or internet forums, consider that this may be seen by the Department of Immigration.

Privacy settings - check the privacy settings on your social media accounts. These allow you to control the information published about you by others and to choose what information is publically displayed.

Professional advice - enlist the advice of a professional to ensure your visa application runs smoothly from start to finish.

Part of Ark Migration’s due diligence involves doing the same internet and social media checks that are done by the Department of Immigration. We look for any inconsistencies between the information contained within your social media profiles and in your application, and address these early on to give you the best chance of success.

For a free, no obligation consultation about your application or migration plans, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email

Changes to the English language test

Changes to the English language test for prospective Australian citizens

Why is the English language test being changed?

Earlier this year, the Australian Government announced that it's strengthening the requirements for those wishing to become Australian citizens. Citing concerns over national security following recent terrorist attacks around the world, it stated "there is no better time to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to democracy, opportunity and our shared values."

The new requirements introduced a range of measures, including:

  • The need to demonstrate a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to any citizenship application;
  • An undertaking to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community (The Australian Values Statement);
  • New test questions about Australian values, and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship;
  • Introducing a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community;
  • Strengthening the Pledge of commitment to refer to allegiance to Australia; and
  • Introducing an English language competency test before being able to sit the citizenship test.

Of these changes, it is the English language test which has generated the most interest (and concern) among those wishing to become Australian citizens.

On the face of it, the need to prove you can read, write and speak English at a competent level seems reasonable. But it's the word "competent" that is causing debate about whether to measures are fair.

Many bodies, including the Australian government’s own Multicultural Council, have argued that the changes are both too harsh and are a particular disadvantage for refugees: “While recognising that the ability to communicate in English is clearly important...the council is concerned that the language test being considered by government will adopt a standard that is too high and above that needed to achieve the aim of integration”.

So what does the English language test involve?

The stand-alone English test has four elements; reading, writing, listening and speaking. If the proposed changes come into effect, prospective citizens will be required to achieve an IELTS level 6 score in English (the equivalent of a university entrance level).

The Australian government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection currently accepts the following English language tests: International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Occupational English Test (OET), Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT), Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test (also known as Certificate in Advanced English).​

How will changes to the test impact on my visa application?

It's still early days. Since the proposed changes have yet to be finalised, it is difficult to assess their impact on individual visa applications. However Australia’s parliamentary committee are strongly recommending that the government review their proposals and request that prospective migrants achieve a more basic level of English rather than the proposed IELTS level 6.

To find out more about the impact of these changes on your migration plans, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email

457 visa implications for construction industry

457 visa implications for the construction industry

Ark Migration reviews the most recent reforms to the temporary work (skilled) 457 visa and examines the implications for the construction industry.

Following recent changes to the 457 visa, what are the implications for the construction industry?

Recent reports suggest that there has been a varied response to the removal of the 457 visa program for skilled migrants. Citing a desire to target industry sectors experiencing critical skill shortages, the Australian government has replaced the 457 scheme with Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visas.

The new TSS visa programme is now comprised of two streams, a Short-Term and a Medium-Term stream. It is proposed that Short-Term visas will be issued for a maximum of two years but cannot be transferred into permanent residency (STSOL). Medium-Term visas, however, will be valid for up to four years and offer a pathway to permanent residency (MLTSSL).

As one of Australia’s largest employing industries, the construction sector was granted 5,618 visas by the Department for Immigration last year. While several occupations in this sector have now been removed from the eligible occupation lists, including Construction Estimator, key professionals are still in demand to fill integral roles in the buoyant Australian construction industry.

Master Builders Australia pledges to work with the government to make sure the TSS visa responds to industry needs and CEO Denita Wawn has been reported as commenting “We welcome the government’s announcement of a new temporary skill shortage visa to allow employers to meet genuine skills shortages.”

While there remains some concern over the impact of this reform on the timeframe and costs associated with the recruitment of skilled workers, engaging the expertise of seasoned MARA and MIA registered migration agents, will ensure businesses and individuals are able to confidently access the appropriate visa.

To find out more, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email

Business Talent Visa

New Business Talent Visa criteria

New property development criteria have been introduced for the Business Talent Visa (subclass 132) - Significant Business History stream.

What is the Business Talent Visa?

The Business Talent Visa is a permanent business skills visa that allows you to establish a new or develop an existing business in Australia. It has two streams:

  • The Significant Business History Stream: for high-calibre business owners or part-owners who want to do business in Australia; and
  • The Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream: for people who have sourced venture capital funding from a member of the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL).​

The additional criteria apply only to the Significant Business History Stream for all proposed business activities that relate to property development. The aim of the change is to help applicants better understand the assessment process and in turn speed up processing times.

Who could get this visa?

The Business Talent visa (subclass 132) is for business people who are nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency. To be able to get this visa you need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect and then be invited to apply.

You might be able to get this visa if:

  • you are nominated by a state or territory government;
  • are invited to apply;
  • you and your family members (whether or not they are included in your application) meet health and character requirements; and
  • you meet the additional requirements for the stream in which you apply.
What this visa lets you do

It lets you and any member of your family unit who has also been granted this visa:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely;
  • work and study in Australia;
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia's scheme for health-related care and expenses;
  • apply for Australian citizenship (if you are eligible);
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence; and
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time, you will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia).
What are the current requirements for the Significant Business History Stream?

You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must have all of the following:

  • total net assets of at least AUD $400 000 as the ownership interest in one or more qualifying businesses for least two of the four years immediately before you are invited to apply and if the qualifying business(es) was a publicly listed company, a shareholding of at least 10 per cent of the total issued capital;
  • net business and personal assets of at least AUD $1.5 million that are legally acquired and can be transferred to Australia within two years after the visa is granted;
  • a total annual turnover of at least AUD $3 million in one or more of your main businesses in at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply;
  • ownership of at least:
    • 51 per cent of a business with turnover of less than AUD $400 000 per year
    • 30 per cent of a business with turnover of more than AUD $400 000 per year, or
    • 10 per cent of a publicly listed company
  • an overall successful business career;
  • no involvement in unacceptable business activities; and
  • a genuine desire to own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.

You must also be younger than 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the region where it will operate.

What are the additional requirements?

If your proposed business activity relates to property development, you must meet the following additional requirements:

  • have relevant qualifications and experience (e.g. architecture, engineering, construction management);
  • the property development activity aligns with one of Victoria’s priority sector strategies;
  • the minimum AUD $2 million capital investment does not include land purchase costs; and
  • activity must not be small scale, project-based property development.

To find out more about how these changes may affect you, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email

Australian Business Visa processing times

How long will my Australian Business Visa take to process?

It’s the question I get asked more than any other.

Processing times are never guaranteed. All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis and timings can vary on any number of individual circumstances. But now the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)’s have published their global visa and citizenship processing times online for the first time.

Processing times are listed by visa type and will be updated monthly, giving you (and me) an indicative timeframe in which the majority of applications are processed.

If your Australian Business Visa application is in the process of being assessed, it’s a handy reference to have. However it’s worth noting that processing times can be impacted each month by a range of factors including:

  • whether you have lodged a complete application and included all necessary supporting documents;
  • how promptly you respond to requests for additional information;
  • how long it takes to perform required checks;
  • the time it takes to receive additional information from external parties, particularly in relation to health, character, national security, and Assurance of Support requirements;
  • the number of places available in the migration programme; and
  • surges in demand and peak periods

At Ark Migration, we don’t leave anything to chance. We’ll ensure that your Australian Business Visa application gets processed within the published timeframes. To find out more, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email