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Looking at SkillSelect one year later – what have we learned?

by Lauren 11/09/2013 17:35:00

As SkillSelect has been in place for a full migration year, running from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, we now have a significant amount of information on how the program has been working in practice to assist us in advising potential applicants.

KEY TERMS
  • Expression of Interest (EOI)
    An expression of interest is an applicant’s indication to DIAC that they would like to be considered for a visa application. It takes place after the skills assessment and other early stage matters have been addressed.
  • Invitation to Apply (ITA)
    An ITA is DIAC’s communication that an applicant’s EOI has been selected and they are invited to submit a visa application within 60 days.
  • Ranking
    The rankings only apply to Skilled Independent 189 and Skilled Regional Sponsored 489 applicants. Applicants who secure state nomination and wish to apply for a Skilled Nominated 190 or Skilled Regional Nominated 489 are issued an ITA immediately upon the state confirming the nomination.
  • ANZSCO
    A publication by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which classify occupations into categories, used for migration purposes. The ANZSCO for each occupation lists the key responsibilities and education required for the occupations and it is then used by case officers when assessing employment claims, as well as forming a fundamental part of the SkillSelect system when considering occupation ceilings.

What is SkillSelect?

To put it in simple terms, SkillSelect is how the Australian government ranks potential visa applicants once they’re ready to lodge their application. The basic process is as follows:

1. Completing an Expression of Interest (EOI)

Once an applicant applying for a visa under the General Skilled Migration program has met the primary criteria for the visa (i.e. their skills assessment and a sufficient IELTS test result), they will be asked by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to complete an Expression of Interest (EOI).

2. Receiving a ranking

Upon submitting an EOI, the applicant is then given a unique ranking, in accordance with the points the applicant is claiming.

3. Receiving an Invitation to Apply

Twice a month, DIAC will issue an Invitation To Apply (ITA) to a pre-determined number of applicants based on their rank.

Should there be a number of people who get the same points score, then DIAC will also take into account the date that applicants lodged their EOI and issue ITAs to those who submitted earlier (so, someone with a points score of 70 who applied in March, 2013 would receive an ITA earlier than someone with a points score of 70 who applied in May, 2013).

However, there are also occupational ceilings set by DIAC, which specify the maximum number of visas DIAC is prepared to grant to applicants in each occupation group. DIAC uses this in combination with the ranking system to control the program so that a good balance of occupations.

Applicants who lodge a Skilled Nominated 190 or a Skilled Regional Nominated 489 visa are not subject to rankings, and they will receive an ITA immediately upon the state confirming the nomination.

How do occupational ceilings work?

Occupational ceilings are set by DIAC and represent the maximum number of ITAs that they are able to issue to applicants in each occupation group. Occupational ceilings exist to ensure that the program is weighted in a way that meets Australia’s skills needs.

A number of government organisations in Australia advise DIAC as to the patterns of employment in Australia, taking into consideration the ages of people in industries to monitor retirement rates, as well as education providers to see how many people are on track to work in that industry, to determine what degree of skill gaps exist in each industry.

Occupational ceiling are then set so as to limit the ITA’s that can be issued for each occupation group so that the program is balanced.

How many places are there for each occupation?

The number of places set for each occupation varies. Additionally, when DIAC set occupational ceilings they do this at the ANZSCO Unit Group Level rather than at the ANZSCO occupation level, which means that there are often a number of occupations falling into a unit group.

For the purposes of occupational ceilings this means that often a less subscribed occupation can meet its ceiling owing to it being in a unit group with an application they receive large numbers of. The impact of that procedure will be explained later.

How do applicants know when their occupation’s ceiling is close to being reached?

As part of every round of issuing ITAs to applicants, DIAC monitors how many are issued to each occupation unit group and publish information that shows where they are tracking against the ceiling.

As a result, applicants and agents can be aware of what occupations may be at risk of meeting their occupational ceiling during the program year. This gives transparency into the system and allows applicants and agents to be aware of any occupations that may be prone to potential delays in processing times.

Have any occupations reached their occupational ceiling?

So far, very few. Last year there were a handful of occupation groups that reached their occupation ceiling, affecting chemical, electronics and telecommunication engineers as well as ICT business analysts and developer programmers, plus a few more obscure occupations.

No other occupational ceilings were met, with the vast majority of occupation groups being less than 20% filled.

For example, there were 7,140 places for carpenters and joiners, and they only received 171 applications, which is just over 2% filled.

Registered nurses had a ceiling of 13,380 and they received 1,966, which is under 15% filled.

Secondary School Teachers had total applications of 490 and a ceiling of 7,020, resulting in just under 7% filled.

How has SkillSelect performed since it was introduced?

As noted, Skillselect has now been in place for a full migration year, so we’ve had the opportunity to fully appreciate how the system is working. We’ve also been able to make some observations and answer some questions that people have had.

Is state nomination important to receiving an Invitation To Apply?

Initially, there was a strong indication that obtaining state nomination would be the only way of ensuring that an ITA would be received, and was pitched as being the only means of predicting the outcome of an application with any degree of certainty, particularly in relation to timeframes.

However, as the year progressed it became apparent that, except for in a very small handful of cases, the occupation ceilings for each occupation were not in jeopardy of being met. As a result, it seems like DIAC had perhaps received fewer applications than they had anticipated.

The net effect is that there is no significant difference in timescales at the moment between the permanent state nominated 190 subclass and the independent 189 subclass. There are fluctuations to some degree at certain periods of the program year though, depending on how DIAC is performing against yearly targets.

How familiar are Visa Bureau with SkillSelect as migration agents?

As we’ve now seen a full program year, this has given us a good deal of confidence in advising on the potential risks and issues with the SkillSelect system, as there is a large amount of data available to assist in coming to informed decisions.

This allows us to disseminate that information to applicants at the beginning of the process, and throughout their application, so that they are aware of any changes to overall timescales and can adjust their plans accordingly.


- Lauren Mennie is a Registered Migration Agent for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Resident Return Visas: What You Need to Know

by Lauren 16/05/2013 17:16:00

The process of moving to Australia can be time consuming and incredibly involved, few Visa Bureau clients intend on making the move permanently as soon as their visas are granted. Many of our clients visit Australia to activate their visas or look for their new homes; others simply have a change of circumstances and wish to delay their move for a while.

If this is the case, it’s likely that you will need a Resident Return Visa to ensure your move to Australia is done on your own timetable.

What is a Resident Return Visa?

A Resident Return Visa (RRV) is a permanent Australian visa which allows the holder to leave and re-enter Australia while maintaining their residency status. It is required for all non-citizen permanent residents of Australia who wish to travel after the first five years of their visa’s validity period.

The two main types of RRV are the 155 Resident Return Visa and the 157 Resident Return Visa. Both are essentially the same in all aspects except their validity period; the 155 is valid for a period of up to five years while the 157 is valid for just three months.

I have a permanent residency visa for Australia, why would I need an RRV?

A common misconception regarding permanent residency visas for Australia is their capacity as an entry visa to Australia.

If you hold a permanent residency visa, you are permitted to live and work in Australia permanently. However, your visa is only valid as an entry visa to Australia for the first five years, after which you’ll need a Resident Return Visa to legally re-enter Australia unless you have taken Australian citizenship.

The conditions of most categories of permanent resident visas for Australia require the holder to activate their visa within 12 months of their police or medical checks (whichever is earliest). As this can feasibly be far in advance of when a visa holder plans to make the move permanently, they will need a Resident Return Visa in addition to their permanent residence visa.

I don’t plan to leave Australia again once I’ve moved, I don’t need an RRV

In order to be eligible for a five-year RRV (subclass 155), the applicant must have remained in Australia for two years within the last five – you can read about other eligibility requirements here.

While you might not intend on leaving Australia once you have made the move, unforeseen circumstances can always arise, inconveniently changing plans. Having a Resident Return Visa as a safeguard against such unforeseen events can offer great peace of mind, even if you don’t intend to use it.

Examples 

Few instances in the migration process are particularly simple and given the lengthy time frames and the myriad of circumstances involved, when a Resident Return Visa is required can be difficult to be sure.

Here are a couple of examples of people who would require an RRV and when they should get one:

Example 1

Richard and June were granted a Skilled Independent 175 visa in August, 2008, meaning it is valid until August, 2013. The couple took a trip to Australia to activate their visa in May, 2009, two months before their Intial Entry Date. After a four week holiday spent looking for new homes, the couple returned to the UK with the intention of moving to Australia shortly after.

However, when Richard was offered a new position in London, they postponed their move to Australia until May, 2013 before their visa runs out in August, 2013.

It is now May of 2013 and Richard and June have just 3 months of their 175 visa left. They are booked to go to Australia in 3 weeks. However when there they will not be able to leave the country after August (e.g. for a visit home) and then return on their 175 visa, as it will have expired.

Richard and June will need to remain in Australia until at least May, 2015, after which time they will be able to apply for a five-year Resident Return Visa which will allow them to leave and re-enter Australia freely.

Should the couple leave Australia before May, 2015, there would need to exceptional circumstances - most likely of a compassionate nature, such as the funeral of a close relative - for them to qualify for a short-term Resident Return Visa and be allowed to legally re-enter Australia.

Example 2

Steven had a Subclass 100 Partner Visa granted in June, 2006. He travelled to Australia to activate his visa in September of that year and stayed until December, 2007. He then returned to the UK to spend more time with his daughter from a previous relationship who had not migrated with him.

During his time back in the UK, Steven enrolled in a part-time university course which took him six years to complete, during which time he did not visit Australia again. Steven intended to return to Australia in April, 2013 but his 100 Visa expired in June, 2012.

In order to re-enter Australia, Steven needed to apply for a Resident Return Visa as his 100 Visa is no longer functional as an entry visa; he was required to explain to the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that his daughter and academic studies were compelling enough reasons for his absence over the last five years.

He was granted a Resident Return Visa valid for one year which allowed him to complete his move to Australia in May, 2013.

As we appreciate that the circumstances outlined above are only two individual cases, if they do not apply to you and you would to leave Australia and are unsure of how that might affect your residency status, please do not hesitate to get in touch, either on our contact us form or complete the Resident Return Visa online assessment for a free consultation.


- Lauren Mennie is a migration consultant at the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

New Australian skilled visa points test introduced and changes to priority processing

by Lauren 01/07/2011 16:09:00

As of today, 1 July, 2011, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has implemented a number of changes to the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, chief of which is the new Australian skilled visa points test.  However, the changes will also see an update made to Australian visa priority processing.

New Australian visa points test  

The changes to the points test have been made in order to target what the Australian government describes as the "best and the brightest", with more emphasis placed on work experience, high-level educational qualifications and English language proficiency.

The new points test is a critical part of the process involved when applying for an Australia visa, as in order to lodge an application, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they both meet the basic skilled migration requirements and are also able to pass the points test at the time of lodging their visa.

Skilled visa applicants will now have to score 65 points on the points test. The points test awards points for:

  • Age;
  • English Language Ability;
  • Australian Work Experience;
  • Overseas Work Experience;
  • Qualifications;
  • Recognition of Australian Study;
  • Designated Language;
  • Partner Skills;
  • Professional Year;
  • Sponsorship by State or Territory Government;
  • Regional Sponsorship by Family or State or Territory Government; and
  • Study in a Regional Area  

While the implementation of a new Australia visa points test is the change that will have an immediate effect on who qualifies for an Australian skilled visa, today's update will also result in an update to the priority processing arrangements for skilled migration visas.

Updated priority processing arrangements

The Australian Government prioritises the order in which skilled migration applications are processed, with the government stating that priority will go to applicants who will "bring the most benefit to Australia and are most likely to be successful".

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has set new priority processing arrangements for certain skilled migration visas, to come into effect on 1 July 2011.

As of 1 July 2011, processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) are:

Current Australian Visa Processing Priorities - Updated 01/07/2011
Processing Priority Group Group Criteria Processing timeframe
Priority Group 1

Applications from people who are employer sponsored under the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) program or who have applied for a Skilled – Regional (subclass 887) visa.

Approx. 5 - 8 months.
Priority Group 2 Applications from people who are applying under the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) program. Approx. 5 - 8 months.
Priority Group 3

Applications from people who are nominated by a state or territory government agency for an occupation specified on that agency's State Migration Plan.

Approx. 12 - 24 months.

Priority Group 4

Applications from people who have nominated an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL)- Schedule 1 in effect from 1 July, 2011.

All other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

Approx. 18 months.

Priority Group 5

All other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

Assessment will commence when all cases in priority groups 1-4 are finalised.

I will continue looking at all these changes over the next few days, and provide an update as I find more aspects of this major update which require clarification.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager of the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australian Visa application charges increased from 1st July 2011

by Lauren 22/06/2011 10:32:00

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship have announced the annual review of Australia Visa application charges that are scheduled to be introduced on 1 July, 2011.

The annual review of Australian visa application fees, made as part of the release of the Federal Budget, typically sees fees increase in accordance with changes in the Australian Consumer Price Index. You can read the full Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) amendments to migration fees and regulations here.

The new visa application fees for some common skilled and family visas will be as follows:

  VISA TYPE
OLD FEE (AUD)
NEW FEE (AUD)

 Skilled - Independent visa (subclass 175)

$2,575

$2,960

 Skilled - Sponsored visa (subclass 176)

$2,575

$2,960

 Skilled - Regional Sponsored visa (subclass 475)

$2,575

$2,960

 Spouse visa (including de facto couples) (subclass 309/100)

$1,735

$1,995

 Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300)

$1,735

$1,995

 Contributory Parent – Migrant visa (subclass 143)

1st VAC $1,735
2nd VAC $37,965

1st VAC $1,995
2nd VAC $40,015

 - Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Major news regarding new Australian skilled migration points test

by Lauren 08/06/2011 14:41:00

Today saw some important news released regarding the the new Australian skilled migration points test that is set to be released on 1 July, 2011.

The points test is what will determine which skilled workers will be eligible to emigrate to Australia on a skilled Australia visa and is set to be radically different to the current points test. You can find the original information regarding the points test changes here, but in this blog, I've identified the following major points of news regarding the new points test:

Major points of news regarding the new Australian skilled migration points test 

Qualification points awarded where the qualification is recognised by the assessing authority in the skills assessment.

This is potentially the best news of all, as it looks like 10 points will be awarded when an applicant has passed a skills assessment where qualifications form part of the assessment. This is excellent for the following applicants whose assessing bodies assess their level of qualification as part of the assessment:

  • Accountants (who are applying for their skills assessment on the basis of holding membership with CIMA, ACCA and ICAEW);
  • Nurses who are diploma-qualified;
  • IT professionals with vendor qualifications applying for their skills assessment with ACS; AND
  • Tradespeople applying for their skills assessment under TRA pathways B, C and E.

It's still unclear how this will apply to VETASSESS Trades applicants who don’t require qualifications and are currently not given an indication as to the comparability of their qualifications to an Australian standard.

In order to know exactly how this new criteria will be applied in practice, more information on how it will work in operation is needed.


Schedule 3 of the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has been changed, with a number of key occupations added

You can find a PDF for the full list of Skilled Occupation List (SOL) changes here. However, the key occupations added are pharmacists, fitters and metal machinists.

The real benefit of these occupations being added to Schedule 3 is that it now opens up the possibility of applicants in these occupations qualifying for the Skilled - Independent (subclass 175) visa.

Unfortunately, other occupations have now been removed from Schedule 3 of the SOL, including panel beaters and vehicle painters. It is our belief though that these occupations will remain on Schedule 4, meaning that the Skilled - State Sponsored (subclass 176) visa may remain as a possible alternative. However, we are still awaiting formal confirmation that this will be the case.


Work experience points have changed

There will no longer be limited brackets applied to points awarded for work experience (i.e. '3 years overseas work in the last 5 years', '8 years overseas work in the past 10 years', '1 year of Australian work in the last 3 years' etc.), as the new points test will instead simply look at an applicant's last 10 years of work history. This is a positive change to the new points test, as it now allows people with a combination of Australian and overseas work experience to potentially claim significant points.

To explain, in the previous draft of the points test, there was a prejudice against applicants who had worked in the UK, and then spent a few years working in Australia before returning to work in the UK for several more years, as these applicants would not fit neatly within the work experience points brackets. In fact, some individuals in this position would not have been awarded any points, despite working consistently in their occupation in both Australia and overseas.

As this final draft of the points test now allows individuals to claim the points they deserve, DIAC have remedied this potentially unfair situation. However, applicants should remember that an applicant can only claim a maximum of 20 points for their work experience.


If an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test is required, it must be provided at the time of lodgement

You will no longer be able to submit a visa application and then sit an IELTS test afterwards to claim proficient or superior English. This makes it very important that anyone in need of an IELTS test sit it early, just in case they ever need to lodge their visa application in a hurry (e.g. due to age deadline, state migration sponsorship validity).


Unrelated degrees will be recognised

Any applicant holding a degree that doesn't form part of the skills assessment process for their nominated occupation can still seek assessment for this qualification level and potentially receive points for it. For example, a nurse that studied English Literature at university could still have this degree assessed and receive additional points as a result.

Unfortunately, we're still unsure as to how exactly such qualifications will be assessed (or if it's possible to bypass the assessment process if the skill level of the qualification is easily determined by Country Education Profiles) but we hope to receive further clarity on this point shortly.


The Skilled - Family Sponsored (subclass 176) visa has not been abolished

While the initial draft of the points test (which you can find online here) explicitly states that the Skilled - Family Sponsored (subclass 176) visa would be abolished, it appears that this is not the case.

It is true that applicants will not receive any points for permanent family sponsorship, meaning there is technically no benefit in applying for the Skilled - Family Sponsored (subclass 176) visa over the Skilled - Independent (subclass 175) visa in terms of the points test

However, there are some rare cases where individuals with medical or character issues might prefer to apply for the Family Sponsored subclass 176 visa, to allow for appeal rights in the event that the application is refused.


I will continue looking at all these changes over the next few days, and provide an update as I find more major points of new from this release and there are still a few points which need clarification. However, for the most part, this is great news and I don't think we could have expected anything better!

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager of the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Fee increases announced for nurses and midwives applying for skills assessment

by Lauren 26/05/2011 18:20:00

Aother Australian skills assessing body has announced that they will be increasing their fees for Australian visa applicants - the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC).  They released the following statement:

"ANMAC is aware of the new DIAC visa points system coming into effect on 1 July 2011, and the implications that it may have for people applying for skilled migration. Our online application form and required documents are being amended to incorporate the new requirements and will be available in the coming weeks." 

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC)

The ANMAC is the designated assessment authority for the following skilled occupations on the Australian General Skilled Migration Program Skilled Occupation List (SOL):

ANZSCO Code Profession
254111 Midwife
254411 Nurse Practitioner
254412 Registered nurse (aged care)
254413 Registered nurse (child and family health)
254414 Registered nurse (community health)
254415 Registered nurse (critical care and emergency)
254416 Registered nurse (developmental disability)
254417 Registered nurse (disability and rehabilitation)
254418 Registered nurse (medical)
254421 Registered nurse (medical health)
254422 Registered nurse (mental health)
254423 Registered nurse (perioperative)
254424 Registered nurse (surgical)
254499 Registered nurse

As of 1 July, 2011, ANMAC's fee for a Modified Assessment of an application (for applicants with current Australian or New Zealand registration) will be going up from AUD$215to AUD$300 and their fee for a Full Assessment of an application (for applicants without current Australian or New Zealand registration) will be going up from AUD$710 to AUD$825.

You can read more on the ANMAC website.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager of the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Fee increases announced for Australian assessing bodies

by Lauren 17/05/2011 17:53:00

Following the announcement that Australian visa application fees will be increased for skilled and family visas, a number of Australian skills assessing bodies have followed suit and announced that they too will be increasing their fees.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) 

The AITSL is the designated assessment authority for the following skilled occupations on the Australian General Skilled Migration Program Skilled Occupation List (SOL):

ANZSCO Code Profession
241111 Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teacher
241213 Primary School Teacher (not in schedule 3)
241411 Secondary School Teacher

As of 1 July, 2011, AITSL's fee for an assessment of an application will be going up from AUD$450 to AUD$550. You can read more on the AITSL website.

Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) 

The AIQS is the designated assessment authority for the following skilled occupation on the Australian General Skilled Migration Program Skilled Occupation List (SOL):

ANZSCO Code Profession
233214 Quantity Surveyor

As of 1 July, 2011, AIQS' fee for an assessment of an application will be going up from AUD$400 to AUD$490. You can read more on the AIQS website.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager of the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australian visa application fees increasing by 15% from 1 July, 2011

by Lauren 16/05/2011 11:16:00
As part of the Australian federal budget, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will be putting the fees up for a number of visa subclasses from 1 July, 2011. They have stated that many visas will have their application fees go up by 15%.

The reason for the visa fee increase has been cited as to "help offset the wider costs associated with the operation of the migration and temporary entrant program." You can read more about the announcement on this page on the Australian government's website. This increase in Australian visa application charges will not apply to:

  • Second instalment investor retirement visas;
  • Second instalment contributory parent visas; and
  • Humanitarian protection visas lodged in Australia, which are charged at a rate of $30 and not indexed.

While there have yet to be any official announcements of how much the new fees will be, see below for our own projections of what the new fees could be for the permanent skilled migration and permanent family migration subclasses:

 Potential increase to skilled and family visa application fees.

 The new fee figures are not official, only our own projections of what they could be.

 

Current Fee Potential New Fee

Permanent Skilled Migration

$2,575 $2,961 (approx.)

Permanent Family Migration

$1,735 $1,995 (approx.)

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

A closer look at Australian immigration planning levels for 2011/12

by Lauren 13/05/2011 12:02:00
The Australian Migration Program planning levels for 2011/12 were recently announced as part of Australia's annual Federal budget announcement, with the total number raised to 185,000 from 2010/11's total of 168,700.

Regional migration initiatives will now take up a higher
proportion of the Australian skilled migration stream. 

Of this, the skilled migration stream saw an increase of 10.5%, with the most gains made for the Skilled - Independent visa pathway, which went from 34,200 places to 44,350 places. The Employer Sponsored visa pathway also saw an increase of 1,850 places with a greater emphasis put on the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), which went from having 10,160 places in 2010/11 to 16,000 places for 2011/12.

The new focus on regional Australian immigration for skilled workers is a welcome one, though there are some aspects which remain uncertain. For example, one major point that has yet to be clarified is the introduction of 'Regional Migration Agreements'.

However, it is hoped that the end result will be a reduction of 'red tape' and the process of applying for and receiving an Australia visa to work in regional Australia will become easier (and faster too, due to the introduction of priority processing for regional visa categories).

The CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia, Maurene Horder, had the following comments to make:

"While details of these programs are yet unknown, these are good and sensible changes to encourage skilled migration to regional areas where it is needed most.

"The announcement that there will be new procedures for selecting skilled migrants will bring about major changes in the way people apply for visas. The Institute calls for considerable consultation with all stakeholders regarding how this will done, and sufficient notice of the implementation of this new selection method

"The MIA knows from experience that when the Government fails to consult all stakeholders – particularly the migration advice profession that deals most closely with visa applicants – there is a danger of unfortunate, unforeseen consequences occurring. It is imperative that the full details and clarification of all these changes are made known as soon as possible so that potential visa applicants and their advisors can properly make significant decisions for their futures."

For a more detailed understanding of how the Australian migration program for 2011/12 has changed from 2010/11, you might like to refer to the table below which shows the variation from last year's program to this year's:

Variations in the Australian Migration Program

 See below for statistics on how the Australian migration program figures have changed from 2010/11 to 2011/12.
  2010/11 2011/12 Variation % Change
 FAMILY STREAM

Partner

42,000 45,400 3,400  

Child

3,300 3,450 150  

Preferential / Other Family

750 1,250 500  

Parent

1,000 2,000 1,000  

Contributory Parent

7,500 6,500 -1,000  

Total Family

54,550 58,600 4,050 7.4%

% of program

32.3% 31.7%    
 SKILL STREAM

Employer Sponsored

44,150 46,000 1,850  

ENS + Labour Agreement  

33,990 30,000 -3,990  

RSMS 

10,160 16,000 5,840  

Skilled - Independent

34,200 44,350 10,150  

Skilled - State / Territory Sponsored

24,000 24,000 0  

Skilled - Australian Sponsored

3,500 4,100 600  

Distinguished Talent

200 200 0  

Business Skills

7,800 7,200 -600  

Total Skilled

113,850 125,850 12,000 10.5%

% of program

67.5% 68.0%    
 SPECIAL ELIGIBILITY STREAM

Special Eligibility

300 550 250  
TOTAL
168,700
185,000
16,300
9.7%

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

South Australia sponsorship application under current Australian points test closing

by Lauren 27/04/2011 13:42:00

 

The deadline for South Australia
sponsorship applications under
the current points test is 2 May.

A quick update today for anyone applying for a South Australia sponsorship application - the deadline for sponsorship applications under the current Australian points test is 2 May, 2011.

See below for the official announcement from the South Australian website:

ATTENTION ALL APPLICANTS

Deadline for Sponsorship Applications - 2 May 2011

Under current Points Test

To enable all applicants sufficient time to lodge their visa applications with DIAC under the current Points Test, Immigration SA will require all complete applications to be received before 5pm Monday 2 May 2011. (Note - Our understanding is that this will be 9am UK time, due to the time difference with Australia.)

This means that all online sponsorship applications AND supporting documents must be submitted to and registered by Immigration SA before 5pm Monday 2 May 2011.

The Online Application System will be shut off at 5pm Adelaide local time on Monday 2 May 2011.

Any applications/documents received after the 5pm on the 2 May 2011 will not be processed.

Please note that every effort will be made to finalise applications received by the deadline before 1 July 2011 to enable applicants to lodge visa application with DIAC under the current Points Test. Check the Online Tracking System for results which will be posted as soon as a decision is made on the application.

All applications will be processed in order of receipt of complete applications, subject to the volume of applications, Immigration SA cannot guarantee that all applications will be finalised before 1 July 2011.

Note also that PLANNING LEVELS exist for all occupations on the current State Sponsored Migration List, once the planning level has been reached, the occupation will no longer be available for sponsorship and applications already submitted (and registered) will not proceed.

You will need to lodge your visa application with DIAC before 1 July 2011 or your visa application will be assessed against the new Points Test and criteria.

Once details of South Australia's Sponsorship criteria for 2011-2012 have been finalised, the Online Application system will be re-instated. Monitor this website for updated information.

Just as some further guidance, we're trying to make sure that all documents have left our offices by Friday, 29 April via courier in order to ensure that they will be received by 2 May.

Please understand that this doesn't mean that South Australia won't be accepting any further sponsorship applications, but it DOES mean that if you're still hoping to apply for your Australian visa with sponsorship from South Australia under the current points test (as opposed to the new points test which is set to be introduced on 1 July, 2011), you need to make sure you meet this deadline.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.