Regional economic contributors…Scottish architect, Dave Huntley (employed by local firm Magoffin and Deakin); RDANI Project Officer, Kim-Trieste Hastings; Former Philippines national, Vangie Esterbauer (who has a new business, “Vangie’s Jewellery” in Hanna’s Arcade, Armidale); and Armidale Settlement Support Project Worker with Northern Settlement Services Limited (NSS), Judith Roberts.
Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has announced that representatives from the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will be visiting the region next week. It is part of the Government’s commitment to provide regional areas with services and information readily available in the city. Employers, migrants and anyone with immigration issues are being urged to take advantage of the opportunity.
Regional employers in the New England North West will have their first opportunity to meet the new DIAC Regional Outreach Officer for NSW, Philomena Leong, to discuss their skilled migration needs and concerns. Ms Leong will be visiting businesses and meeting with employers in Tamworth on Tuesday, 1 June and in Armidale during the morning of Wednesday, 2 June. She will be accompanied by RDANI Project Officer, Kim-Trieste Hastings. Anyone wishing to arrange an appointment should contact Ms Hastings on: 6771 2790.
On the Wednesday afternoon, Ms Leong will deliver a general skilled migration seminar at the International Students Office at the University of New England from 12-3pm, before heading back to Sydney.
RDANI is the Northern region’s certifying body for employer sponsored visa applications. “Our work in this area is vital, because of the skills shortages. Employers are finding it extremely difficult to fill positions. When they cannot meet their business’ needs with local labour, then skilled migration is an option,” Ms Hastings said. “RDANI mainly deal with the regional sponsored skilled migration visa. This enables employers to source a skilled employee overseas. A minimum two year contract is attached to this visa. At the conclusion of the contract, permanent residency is offered.”
“There have been a lot of changes in immigration legislation. Some of these matters can be quite complicated and the process itself can be lengthy; it is always helpful to discuss them face-to-face,” Ms Hastings said.
Also visiting the region will be Parliamentary and Ministerial Liaison Officer with DIAC, Ralph Harwood. Northern Settlement Services is encouraging people with family migration, citizenship and general migration questions to come along and talk to Mr. Harwood at the following venues:
Tuesday 1 June, 9am-4pm at Member for New England, Tony Windsor’s Peel Street office in Tamworth;
Wednesday 2 June, 9am-4pm in the Armidale Dumaresq Council Function Room; and
Thursday 3 June, 10am-1pm at Member for New England, Tony Windsor’s Otho Street office in Inverell.
Bookings are essential. Please contact Sandy at Mr. Windsor’s Inverell Office on 02 6721 0144.
Armidale based Settlement Support Project Worker, Judith Roberts, of Northern Settlement Services Limited explained that significant changes to citizenship requirements have occurred in recent years and new resource texts have become available, so there are many reasons for consulting with DIAC officials in person. “One target group of Northern Settlement Services is the refugee community. Often those who find a safe haven in northern inland NSW communities have close family members remaining in the refugee camps. That really impacts on their settlement and well-being. They frequently ask about the possibility of sponsoring the migration of their family members,” she said.
Mrs. Roberts said these Immigration meetings have been greatly appreciated by attendees in the past. “As long as Immigration is notified prior to an appointment, they can access a telephone interpreter,” she said. “People aren’t always satisfied or happy with the outcome of their appointment, but at least they leave with an understanding of what options may or may not be available.”
RDANI Project Officer, Kim-Trieste Hastings: 6771 2790 (for visa certification inquiries) or NSS Settlement Support Project Worker, Judith Roberts: 6771 3975 (for migrant support services).