As part of the changes which came into place at the beginning of the month, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has removed the requirement for skilled workers to have 12 months work experience in their nominated occupation in the last 24 months.
While applicants have always had to earn points by meeting certain requirements in order to reach a threshold which would allow them to move to Australia, the ’12 out of 24’ requirement did not earn an applicant any points and was simply an eligibility requirement which was needed regardless of how many points an applicant had earned.
The requirement was defined as an applicant being employed for at least 20 hours a week in their nominated occupation or another occupation on the Skilled Occupations List for at least 12 months at any time during the past two years.
The work undertaken in their nominated occupation could not be undertaken whilst studying for any required qualifications to meet the specified skill level and the work also had to have involved duties or tasks at the Australian standard of the occupation.
DIAC have not specified their reasons for the change in policy but there are several advantages to applicants. For instance, a UK applicant in the struggling British economy could have the necessary skills, qualifications and experience for their nominated application but either because they have not been able to find employment or have been forced to work temporarily in another industry, the applicant faced the prospect of their relevant work experiencing ceasing to count toward their Australia visa application.
The same issue also applied to new mothers who were often pressured to rush back from maternity leave in order to avoid their experience becoming redundant.
What this means
This is less likely to apply to any applicant requiring state or territory nomination as applicants still have to meet any state specific and/or occupation specific requirements, which can relate to professional experience. This is likely to benefit some clients.
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s assessment currently requires no professional experience while the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council requires just three months’ of professional experience in the past five years for accreditation, meaning nurses and teachers with little or no professional experience can meet the pass mark.
If an applicant requires state or territory nomination to move to Australia, the Australian Visa Bureau advises them to check with the individual state or territory government’s own list of requirements for any that may differ from the national level. While most states and territories amend their immigration requirements in line with the federal level, it can take time for changes at the state or territory level to reflect those national changes.
Western Australia’s current level of requirements is designed to follow those stipulated at national level. However, if the Australian economy continues to slow down in its rapid growth rate as seen in the past quarter, the resources boom may begin to stabilise and competition for jobs may increase.
South Australia is a popular choice for applicants requiring state sponsorship and they continue to require applicants to have 12 months experience in the last two years. While this may change in time, applicants hoping to move to Adelaide or anywhere else in South Australia are advised to folllow old guidelines to be safe.
- Leonie Cotton is the Casework Department Manager at the Australian Visa Bureau.
©Visa Bureau 2003-2013