29 April 2007

UCQ defends itself.

The University of Central Queensland (UCQ), Melbourne campus has gone into defence mode this week, publishing "The Economic Benefits of CQU Melbourne Campus to Victorian GDP " on its website. In recent weeks the campus has had very bad press, following student protests against the large number who failed a final year accounting exam. Patrick O'Keefe, RMIT Student Union President reported in Melbourne Indy Media that "a vast majority of students enrolled in this course have been failed by the University, following an examination which tested students on material not covered in the course material, or included within the syllabus. Today [March 30th] marks the final day that students can re-enrol in the subject, for which the University is charging an extra $2,000. This is despite the fact that students have already paid $24,000 to complete the two year course."

The plight of UCQ accounting students has been widely reported in Australia and has even reached The Times of India. The message is clear. Students should choose their University and course very carefully, and not just enrol in a course because the occupation is currently on the Australian MODL (occupations in demand) list.

As a local Melbournite I find it difficult to understand why anyone would want to study at the CQU Melbourne campus. When you look at University rankings, CQU is well down the list. For example in the"The Australian" teaching performance 2005 rankings UCQ ranked 35th. Why would you go to a 35th ranked University when the location, fees and living costs for Universities in the top ten are much the same?

Can I work while studying in Australia?

Working and Taxation: A Brief Rundown

Here's a quick rundown of work rights and taxation:

Normally your student visa will be initially issued without permission to work. Once you commence your studies, you can apply for a work permission. This will cancel the original visa and replace it with a student visa of equal duration with condition 8105 on it. This allows you to work:

20 hours per week during ALL advertised periods of semester, including examination periods
Full-time during advertised periods of vacation (e.g. mid-semester break)

You also need to obtain a Tax File Number from Australian Taxation Office. Working without a TFN will result in a 46.5% tax deduction from your income. The taxation system in Australia is very elaborate, and a bit brutal to an extent; part time jobs are not exempt from tax. Tax rates are progressive, but the rate applicable to students is generally 15%. There's currently no tax on the first $6000, and 15% after that up to $25,000.

Some employers tend to offer "cash-in-hand" jobs. This may seem to save you tax, but it may fall under tax evasion under certain cases. Therefore, it it not advisable to go for "cash-in-hand" jobs.

by Ahmad

Reproduced from the Study in Australia community on Orkut

26 April 2007

New Rules for Applications for Australian Permanent Residence

New rules for applications for Permanent residence (P.R) will apply from 1 September. The new rules are available on the Department of Immigration website:

Ahmad has been studying the changes, attending information sessions and leading a discussion on the Orkut “Study in Australia” community. Excerpts from the discussion are reproduced here with Ahmad's permission.

Ahmad wrote:

There is very high chance that the two years study rule may be changed such that the two years must be the result of one single qualification, effectively ruling out any people who use multiple qualifications to make up two years.

Furthermore, MODL (Migration Occupation in Demand List ) points will no longer be given without work experience, and a 18 month TR (temporary residence) will be introduced.

The asked:
So the overall picture is positive or negative for future students?

Ahmad replied:

"Positive for:

  • Students studying for 3 yrs or more
  • Students with higher IELTS scores at time of application
  • Students willing to stay on and get work experience before
  • Students completing occupations in many diverse fields, as the incentive of MODL is not immediate, and is now dependent on 1 years' work experience

Negative for:

  • People trying to use an MODL occupation as a pathway to a PR using qualifications that were often unrelated to each other and sandwiched together to make up 2 years, which is nothing but exploitation of migration rules, and the fact that it had lead to market saturation, thereby disadvantaging more deserving applicants

  • People with low English language proficiency, which often meant a low factor of work-readiness

In general, the new rules are meant to reduce the concentration of people in areas like IT and accounting, and better prepare people for the job market by encouraging them to get work experience and more proficient English language skills."

Ahmad discusses the new PR rules

Ahmad wrote:

The Australian qualifications rule has been amended as:

25 points for PhD
15 points for Bachelors + Masters in Australia, each at least 1 yr long, totaling at least 3 yrs
15 for Bachelors + Honours (total study at least 3 yrs)
15 for Bachelors with at least 2nd class honours results, at least 3 yrs long
5 for diplomas or any other qualifications of 2 yrs or more

the criteria for determining 2 yrs study have not yet been published, but there is high change that "sandwiching" shorter qualifications in unrelated disciplines to make up 2 yrs will be excluded.

There will be no changes to points for SOL and Age. They will remain as:

18 to 29 years: 30 points
30 to 34 years: 25 points
34 to 39 years: 20 points
40 to 44 years: 15 points

Occupations can be nominated to be either 60 or 50 points for ALL applicants, against the older rules only allowing 50 point occupation for PhDs.

Under the new Points Test, to claim MODL points you will need:
• a suitable skills assessment in your nominated occupation that is on the MODL; and

• a total of at least 12 months skilled work experience in that occupation or a closely related occupation.

Australian Work Experience:

10 points for 1 years' work experience in the field you nominate for PR, or a closely related occupation.

English Language:

25 points for a minimum score of 7.0 in each IELTS component
15 points for a minimum score of 6.0 in each IELTS component

485 graduate skilled visa:

This visa will be up to 18 months in duration, allowing people to travel/study/work.

It will be granted to:

People who meet the 2 years study requirement
People who have applied for a skills assessment

During this visa, people can apply for a PR any time within the 18 months. People can claim 10 points for Australian work experience and any MODL points if applicable. People can also improve English language proficiency.

Australian work experience:

10 points for people with work experience of 12 months in a field closely related to their occupation within the last 48 months.

Applicants who can meet the points test requirements without work experience may be granted 885 visas without work experience.


The asked:

Diploma Course
They have not mentioned anything about Diploma courses. How many points will be awarded for a 2year diploma course? If the occupation is in SOL?

Mobilash asked:

What about the 5 points for regional Australian study and residence? I didn't find any mention of that in the proposed changes to the GSM points test. Will it stay the same or has it been deleted? Any idea?

Ahmad replied:

More information will be coming up later on...

A 2 year diploma will give you 5 points.

Nothing has yet been said on regional Australia, but the original research document recommends that it stays as it is.

Jitin asked:

Do you have any information regarding changes/increase in total points required? Is it going to remain same, i.e.120?

Ahmed replied:

They haven't published the exact passmark yet, but estimating from the increase in points for aussie qualifications, but I guess it will be set at about 140.


Yes. I agree with you.

However, most of the crucial points have been taken out of Bob Birell's report so I think direct PR will be on the cards if you score 7 or above on the English language test (provided you already have 115 from a 60 point profession).

Ahmed agreed:

Which of course means the probability of 130 is very high.

60 - skill
30- age
25 - IELTS
5-15- 3 yrs study in australia (Bachelors in 2nd class honours, bachelors + honours or bachelor + master, or 2 yrs degree/diploma to get 5 points

10 one year work experience while on a TR
15-20 MODL if applicable after 1 yr work experience

Adding up the black points gives: 60+30+25+15 = 130

Now this is likely to be the new passmark, or it may be around 140 if they include the red points as well (1 year work experience).
However, the Visa Restructure document says that :

Q:Will all overseas students be required to gain work experience in order to apply
for a permanent onshore GSM visa?

A:No, overseas students who meet the requirements for a permanent GSM visa
will still be eligible to apply upon completing their studies.

It means that the compulsion for work experience will likely not be there, and the possibility to complete the passmark without getting the TR will be there for people with high IELTS scores. Hence its safe enough to assume a pass mark of 130 at the moment. However, nothing can be ruled out until further correspondence from Mr Andrews (the Immigration minister) is published.

There is another new situation in the new rules:

You could nominate a 50-point occupation for your PR as well. For example, if you are an economist, which is a 50 point occupation, you may be able to complete the points using 1 years' work experience.

Jitin replied

It's highly likely that pass mark won't be increased because, in the FAQ section, it's mentioned that if someone has high score in IELTS he/she can apply for PR without the need of 18 month of work visa after Sep1,2007. This would be applicable to only 60 points professions. So that itself means that

1. 120 can be achieved by getting 7 in IELTS.
2. If in case someone doesn't achieve this score then he/she can take up Work experience option or have to study a professional year. 10 points will be given for either one of them.

Ahmad countered:

You are right as well...but since we haven't had a word from Mr Andrews and Ms Bishop on this yet, we can only guess that it will be in between 120 and 135.

Reproduced from the Orkut "Study in Australia" community with permission from Ahmad and Jitin.

25 April 2007

When should I file for a student visa for Australia for Feb 08 intake?

The Immigration Department says Student visa applications normally take 3 months.

I just spoke to a friend from China who said her visa only took 1 month, so you've got plenty of time before Feb '08. Do take care if you are planning to arrive in early Feb that things may be a bit slower here in January over the Australian summer holiday period.

You can apply for a student visa online through a migration agent*, which may speed up the process. If you are going through an agent, you should know that all the Universities pay agents to attract overseas students . If you would like to go to Monash for instance, contact information about their international agents who can help you with your application is freely available from the Monash recruitment services unit.

*currently only from India, Indonesia, Thailand and The People’s Republic of China

24 April 2007

Where is my campus in Melbourne?

The locations of University and TAFE campuses in Melbourne are marked on the map at the bottom of the page.

Zoom in to see local features.

21 April 2007

How to search for an address or instructions for driving

Many of you who are new to Victoria will be looking for means to find out how to get to a place ? There are few good sites which can be used for such searches, all you need is the address where you want to goto ?

1. -> This is electronic version of MELWAY (everyone here knows what this means). All you need to do is to fill the address and then hit search, you can even move maps to see what are the places around.

2. Second comes to this catagory is , its from Sensis, a well known name in Australia also producers of UBD and part of Telstra.

3. If you are looking for driving directions there is another good tool which can be used is

4. Yahoo and Google direction searches can be used as well.

This post is copied from the Melbourne Community on Orkut: Rajan's thread, First time in Melbourne? Few tips for you, with permission from Rajan.

Rajan, will these clothes be sufficient?

Will these much clothes will be sufficient ???
like i m bringing in Feb...
5-6 jeans
4-5 kargos
2 formal black trousers
1 comlete formal suit reymond
6-7 half sleve t-shirts
5-7 full sleves
6-7 printed shirts
3-4 formal shirts
3-4 jackets (formal + informal)
anything + or -
advice will be highly appreciated
thanx in advance

That is more than enough i guess.

This post is copied from the Melbourne Community on Orkut: Rajan's thread, First time in Melbourne? Few tips for you, with permission from Rajan.

20 April 2007

How can I accompany my fiance?

Hi Rajan.
Awesome Information rendered! Hats off to your dedication!! My query follows:
1. My Fiance in India has applied for a Student Visa,any idea how much time would it take to get a Visa?
2.Can i come with him as a Dependent? If yes, wht are the requisites?If no , what are the other ways to come with him?
3.How much monthly would it cost for both of us [for travel,living,accommodation etc.]
Awaiting your reply!!

You will have to show that you are legally married to your fiance to count as a dependent. Check more details here:

usually the primary applicant has to be in Australia for at least twelve months before he/she can bring dependants.

18 April 2007

Puma Factory Outlet Sale

Puma Factory Outlets are offering 30% off everything until 22nd April, at

111 Keys Road Moorabbin
Ph: 9256 8241

DFO Cheltenham
Shop T58, Cnr Centre Dandenong & Grange Road Cheltenham
Ph: 9584 4809

DFO Essendon
Shop T22, Cnr Tullamarine Fwy & Bulla Road Essendon Airport
Ph: 9937 7259

17 April 2007

Rajan advises: Travelling from the Airport to Melbourne Suburbs

Another useful piece of info would be how to get to the city/some suburb from Melbourne airport using public transport.. Apparently the public transport connections from the airport are very bad in Melbourne, so this info would be useful to almost anyone.

I tried once.. took me 2 hrs 20 minutes to get from Airport to Fairfield using a combination of bus/train/train/bus

This would be open question, there are factors what decides how you want to do it ?

1. How much money are you willing to spend ?
2. how far away is the place you want to go to ?
3. What time of the day are you landing ?

If you want to go to city which is the hub for going anywhere... cheapest is to take the Airport shuttle service from SKYBUS.

It charges $15 one way to take you to Spencer Street Station. It's service is every 15 minutes from the Airport.

Same way as SKYBUS there are other shuttle or pick-up services which can be used if you do not want to get a CAB.

One Example of such services is AIRPORT BUS. More information can be found at

From the Orkut Melbourne community. Republished here with permission from Rajan.

16 April 2007

Rajan's advice on jobs and immigration to Melbourne

Hi Rajan, I must say that this person is really amazing and I wish that Rajan gets all the good things in his life for the effort he is putting in just to help others. Great work buddy. Let me tell you about myself. I am Raaj here and I am a Delhite, coming to Melbourne on a student visa in January. Just want to ask what are the opportunities for hairdressers there? I am a hair stylist here with Loreal and I want to do a lot of hair cuts there. Can you help me in that? I mean can you tell me about the demand for hairdressers in Melbourne and is there any racism against Indians, and what is the living cost for a bachelor like me for say a month? Take care, thanks.

Hairdressing.... a really good prospect....heaps and heaps of jobs if you are good at it. Everyone is looking for hairdressers. You should not face much problem after being trained by Loreal. Living costs are not as high in Melbourne as compared to Sydney. But still as I said before in this thread. It depends on your preferences.

Thanks Rajan, you are a real sweetheart, and can you please tell me that do you have Indian food easily available there or not? And how much would a room will cost me? And the most important thing is how much do hairdressers like me who will work part time earn in a day? And how much is enough if I want to lead a normal life. I am just looking for a rough idea of living cost for a month. Take care dear and I must say that you are really nice.

I do not have any friend who is doing hairdressing as a job so I would not be able to help you in that regard. For living expenses, if you will be sharing with other people it would be about $1000-$1500 a month. But I saw people living of on less than that. But its all about priorities.


Thinking of immigrating to Australia, Melbourne soon. Any ideas if there are any good prospects for architects, photographers and social workers? Would really like to get to know someone who already lives there so I can get some insight into what its really like to settle in Melbourne career wise and education wise..because I'm planning to continue with my studies as in social sciences or something...

Architects, have prospects but since I am only a IT engineer I most know about IT and cookery (through friends). For photography I am not sure.. but I guess if your work is exceptional then you might find good work. Social work: are you talking about old age care? If that is so then yes there are heaps and heaps of jobs. But you might have to get police clearance as well as some local experience as a volunteer. Nursing is also in demand. Not enough nurses in Australia.

Hi rajan ... first of all HATS OFF to U .. its really helpful to find such info for the first timers like me ... I will be joining Uni of Melbourne for Master of Telecommunications Engineering ... i ll be coming for the Feb intake ... any idea about the prospects in the telecommunications sector .. i also want to know bout INTERNSHIPS during the semester breaks as we have here in India ..I don't have any idea bout what's the common practice in Australia... does your UNIVERSITY name have any impact on finding jobs at all ... I have chosen Uni Melb because of its ranking.

Melbourne University is one of the best universities in Australia in almost all the faculties. Its well known for Medicine and related studies.

For telecommunication internships I would not have clue. I am aware of people who did really well in telecommunications and then joined come ISP or telco companies. But I could not still tell you about any internship programs.

Hello Mr Rajan,
I will be in Melbourne soon for a two year course on accounting. . .and looking for PR . . .do you have any advice for the terms of the PR for my kind of study?

Accounting is everyone's choice these days. Currently its getting you good points which you need for your PR. Look at the MODL list from

Its on the list, but this gets reviewed every year or 6 months... one of these... so we do not know how much demand will be there in next two years since everyone seems to be doing Accounting... but we all hope for the best... best of luck with your studies and move to Melbourne.

Hi Rajan, no words for your appreciation but still wanna say great work for for all students,
I was about to come to melb but changed my mind for the next two years as per the MODL list, because you are right its changes in every six months and who knows which course would be in demand after 2 years especially for those who want PR, and PR also depends on points...I think now the Australian government has introduced a new policy that every student will have to work for a certain duration in their respected field(course) to get PR. My sister and Jijaji are there but don't have PR more year to get that. They also advised me to come after some time so that I can get points from their PR. Can you please put your opinion on the PR process? Your suggestion or advice?

You Sister is right, I would recommend you start working in India and file for residency from there. Since your sister will be a resident in Australia you should get the points needed.

From the Orkut Melbourne community. Republished here with permission from Rajan.

15 April 2007

First time in Melbourne? Some tips for you. Rajan's advice thread.

Advice from Rajan for Indians thinking of studying and working in Melbourne.

Can I use my electronic items?

The Australian standard is 240 volts with frequency of 50Hertz. Most of the universal converters are available in super markets.

Happy wrote:
If I want to drive taxi part time there in Melbourne then what should I do? question to you is why do you want to drive a cab? Just because a lot of friends told you that they are doing the same here? Its easy money but a bad job..especially when you are dropping people home when they do not know what they are doing (Drunk)... anyway you asked this question so I can tell you that you need first of all a Full Victorian License ... you need to clear driving tests for this. then you need to attend a course with the Taxi directorate. Then they also give you exams. Look for taxi Directorate Victoria on Google for more information.

Gorav asks:
Can you please tell about job prospects in the IT field? I've enrolled for a masters in network computing from Monash in Feb'07 session. Its a 1.5 yrs course. I've seen other postings in different communities and they've suggested that its really a bad time for guys in this field, thats why now I'm feeling a bit afraid of making this investment. Please help.

Hi Gorav, I did my Masters of Network Computing from Monash. Its a good course but problem is Australia has not grown up to be a really good market for IT professionals. Prospects for programmers are not many as compared to China, India, USA, UK and Germany.

The rest is all about luck. You never know. I know people here who work for companies like TCS, Infosys, EMC and other. Depends on how hard you can try and how good you are. You also require a reference. As a fresher its a hard and long way to go.

Hey Rajan, I have my real sister also there, she's in Canberra workng with Accenture.....will her reference do? Or i'll still have to struggle a lot!!!

Buddy. MNC from Monash lets you decide what you want to do. Its up to you to go for programing based subjects or the ones related to Network Security and System Administration. All depends on you that what do you want for you.

If you are really good at programing and you can prove that. I would suggest you to work for MNC in India and after having experience move where ever you like. If you sister works in Accenture ask her what she can do for you. She would be able to tell you better than me.

Vicky wrote
How much money can I carry from India to Melbourne. I am coming on a student visa in Feb 07 ?

Rajan's advice
In my understanding you do not need to declare if you are carrying less than $10000. I am not sure if you get questioned in India about this. If you want to bring more than $10000 then you need to declare it in Australia.

Vicky wrote
But Sir, what about travellers cheques. How much money should I take?
I mean the expenses of accommodation and all before I get a job there ... and what about jobs. What kind of jobs are there? Are call centre jobs easily available there?

Rajan's advice
Vicky, that is the hardest question you can ask us. It all depends upon where you want to live and what facilities you want to have.

Fully furnished places will be expected to be expensive, so do the ones closer to the city and universities.

Best is to stay in a university campus for 1-2 weeks and meanwhile start looking for people who are looking for house mates. Believe me there are a lot of them

Vicky responded
“Thanks sir ... just sir my question is still not answered fully...
well I am getting temporary accommodation for $220/ week with meals for a single ...later I will look in some suburban area for share accommodation... so what amount should I carry with me as a travelers cheque so that I can manage before I find a job to earn my living?

Rajan's advice
Vicky, the question you are asking is very broad... there are so many things which matters like do you want to live close to the city ? Close to uni ? Close to public transport ? All these places will be expensive to live in.

To be on the secure side at least keep $A5-8K with you. In case you will find it hard to get a job which can pay for your accommodation.

Sumit wrote
“Hey Rajan, I will be there in July, but at that time I will be just 18 years old. Will it make any difference to anything like my job?”

Sumit, your age not not affect your working capability. 18 years is a good age except for few jobs which involve driving because you will not have a full license.

Networking Jobs
Hi Rajan .... I am a Networking Engineer with 7 years of experience in a Large Scale ISP network. Can you please tell me what is the job prospect of such Network Engineers in Australia?

Hi There,

Telling you the truth there are jobs in the market. But not as many jobs as the professionals who are here. Usually companies promote internal staff to the next level. Still there are chances to score a job but you might have to start with small job. But we never know if luck is with you, you might get a good job in the beginning (Usually as we say you could be in the right place at the right time).


I am flying in Plane for the first time. What should I carry?
In your hand luggage you should carry
a) your passport and student visa, aeroplane ticket, money, important documents and valuables
b) Items that will be declared at Australian Customs
a spare copy of the front pages of your passport and visa
c)emergency clothing and a jacket
d)suitcases and other luggage should be 'LOCKED' and tagged with your name, address and contact telephone numbers.

From the Orkut Melbourne community. Republished here with permission from Rajan.

06 April 2007

Buying a Wireless Modem

I'm sick of all the electric cables and computer cables around the place & want to buy a wireless modem. I've been shopping around the internet, and was about to buy a Netgear DG834G from for $179 when I chanced on the Shopferret website. Why didn't anyone tell me about this site before? After comparing about 10 shops on Shopferret, I was about to buy a D-Link modem from SkyComp for $113, when I checked the sites on my Discount-Melbourne Swicki & found the same D-link modem from PCWorld for $109. PCWorld doesn't have such a good rating from Shopferret, so I'll check them out for real in Dandenong tomorrow.

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