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MODL review update: Future Skills List detailed and Australian visa change timeframe given

by Lauren 10/09/2009 12:04:00

More details have been released regarding the
MODL review set to make huge changes to the
skilled Australia visa program in 2010.

 We covered the first issues paper in a previous blog, but yesterday saw the Australian Government release the second issues paper for the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) review. 

Full details won't be available for some time, but the second issues paper does provide a little more explanation on what migrants and migration agents can expect from the review and the impact it will have on Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM).

What new information regarding the MODL review is in the second issues paper?

The most pertinent new information in the second issues paper is regarding the Future Skills List.  The Future Skills List is set to be the replacement for both the MODL and the Critical Skills List (CSL) as the tool used to select applicants with high value skills, and the Government is now considering three potential options:

  1. No Future Skills List in the GSM process

    The first option is not to have an occupational targeting mechanism at all, essentially scrapping any scheme where applicants with 'in-demand' skills receive additional points towards their GSM points test. This would help ensure that the program is not filled by applicants with a narrow range of occupations and remove the perception from some applicants that having an MODL-listed nominated occupation provides an 'easy' avenue towards permanent skilled migration.

    However, the drawback is that there would then be no method to ensure a positive migration outcome for those who fail to meet the Points Test requirements by just a few points.
  2. Future Skills List as component of GSM Points Test

    This option would see the MODL tied into the GSM points test, where applicants with recognised skills in a MODL occupation are awarded 5 points or 10 points where they had a job offer. A significant reduction of the points value would put less emphasis on the MODL as the best way to obtain a GSM Australia visa, while still rewarding applicants who have 'in-demand' skills.
  3. Future Skills List replaces the CSL as a prioritisation mechanism

    This option would have the Future Skills List essentially replace the Critical Skills List (i.e. applicants nominating an occupation under the Future Skills List would have their application receive priority processing).

    However, while this would give the occupations in demand priority, it has the same drawbacks as removing the Future Skills List from the GSM process.  Additionally, it could see applicants with high Points Test scores being processed some time after applicants with lower Points Test scores who happen to have an occupation on the Future Skills List.

When will the MODL review be decided upon and the changes introduced?

The results of the review are still scheduled to be handed to the Australian government in October, 2009.  Additionally, the following section from the second issues list now gives us some idea of when and how the changes will be introduced:

"All three options for integrating a new Future Skills List with the GSM assessment process require complementary changes to the Points Test. A sensible transition period would need to be established to ensure a smooth administrative implementation and to provide potential applicants with adequate notice of changes to the eligibility requirements.

It would also be sensible to look to align any changes to MODL with DIAC’s plan to transition from using ASCO to ANZSCO as a basis for the SOL in the first half of 2010."

So, it can now be assumed that all the changes we previously anticipated will all be made, and the Government is hoping to launch all the changes as part of one, unified overhaul to the Australian migration program in early 2010.

However, with so many changes involved, it seems very possible that they'll be forced to stagger them over a series of months and some could arrive sooner than expected.  Until some more concrete announcements are made, it's hard to put too much stock in any prospective timeframe.

What does Visa Bureau advise applicants to do at this time?

Again, the message remains the same; critical changes to the Australian visa application process are coming and all visa applicants should work quickly towards lodging their visa application, if they have not already done so. Further information will be announced on our blog as and when we receive it.

- 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.

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