DIAC released a new order of priority
processing today that is set to affect
many Australia visa applicants
We received another update today regarding the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) processing priorities for Australian skilled visas and a new set of changes that have been made
What changes have been made to the Australia visa processing priorities?
Formerly, state nominated visa applications were marked as high priority and were typically entered into processing within a few weeks of state sponsorship confirmation. However, DIAC today released a new order of processing priorities.
Please understand that these changes only affect the time it takes your visa to be decided, and not your visa eligibility. See below for the new order (with the highest priority listed first):
Applications from people who are employer sponsored under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS);
Applications from people who are nominated by a State/Territory government AND whose nominated occupation is listed on the Critical Skills List
Applications from people who are sponsored by family and whose nominated occupation is listed on the CSL;
Applications from people who are neither nominated nor sponsored but whose nominated occupation is listed on the CSL;
Applications from people who are nominated by a State/Territory government whose nominated occupation is not listed on the CSL;
(i) Applications from people whose occupations are listed on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL); OR
(ii) Applications from people who are sponsored by family and whose nominated occupation is not listed on the CSL;
All other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.
What does this mean for Australia visa applicants?
The new order of processing priorities puts much greater importance on processing applications with a nominated occupation on the CSL. The following information further clarifies the new timeframes for both CSL-listed and non CSL-listed applications:
"APPLICATION ON THE CSL
If your nominated occupation is on the CSL and you have applied for an onshore or offshore GSM visa it is estimated that your application will be finalised within 12 months from your lodgement date.
APPLICATIONS NOT ON CSL
If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL and you have applied for an offshore GSM visa it is unlikely that your visa will be finalised before the end of 2012."
Essentially, anyone without a nominated occupation on the CSL will have to wait a considerable time before DIAC finalises their visa application. However, DIAC have announced that they are currently undertaking a Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) review (which we've discussed on an earlier Visa Bureau blog) which could result in further amendments to the processing priorities.
One potential outcome of the MODL review could be the introduction of the Future Skills List; a new targeting mechanism which could replace both the MODL and the CSL as the tool used by DIAC to determine the priority of visa applications.
What should I do at this time?
With the MODL review still in the pipeline, it's unlikely that these will be the last changes made to General Skilled Migration for now. Therefore, the best thing for all applicants to do is to stay calm and continue working towards their visa lodgement.
Additionally, while less priority has been placed on applications which are state sponsored, I would still advise continuing your application for state sponsorship if you have yet to do so. Possessing state sponsorship is still considered beneficial and would place in you a higher position than you would otherwise be in.
This information has just been announced today by DIAC and it has come as an enormous surprise to both migration agents and visa applicants alike. We'll post a more extensive blog providing comments on these changes soon, as well as any further updates we receive as the situation progresses.
- Jodie List is a MARA-registered migration agent for the Australian Visa Bureau
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