On 8 February 2010, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced the following changes to the General Skilled Migration program:
- the outcomes of a review of the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL)
- the replacement of the current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) in the second half of 2010
- offshore GSM visas made before 1 September 2007 would be capped and ceased
- priority processing arrangements
- skills assessment requirements for GSM applicants nominating a trade occupation.
Australian government will tighten the list of target occupations and focus instead on healthcare, engineering and mining. The changes aimed at making skilled migration to be more effective to Australia’s needs.
The government will also abolish the current Migration on demand list (MODL) and publish a new Skill Occupation List (SOL).
The Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, said Australia needed a program that ”delivers the skills that are actually in demand in the economy, not just the skills that applicants present with”. ”If hospitals are crying out for and willing to sponsor nurses then of course they should have priority over the 12,000 unsponsored cooks who have applied and who, if all were granted visas, would flood the domestic market,” Senator Evans said.
”In recent years, the skilled migration program has been skewed as the pool of applicants has become dominated by a handful of occupations.” The current points system puts an overseas student with a short-term vocational qualification gained in Australia ahead of a Harvard-educated environmental scientist.
The bar was being raised for applicants without an Australian employer prepared to sponsor them. There were many occupations where the supply of qualified young Australians was adequate. But there were some jobs where there was a high demand for skills such as for hospital nurses, country doctors and resource sector employees.
Yesterday the Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, warned against a dramatic migration drop. The need for doctors, nurses, mining engineers, and IT specialists from overseas was ”crucial to our economy”, he told Channel Ten’s Meet the Press.
More information is available on the department’s website.
Changes to the General Skilled Migration Program (362KB PDF file)
Outcomes of the Migration Occupation in Demand List Review – Frequently Asked Questions (373KB PDF file)
Onshore International Students (435KB PDF file)
Changes to Offshore General Skilled Migration Visa Applications Received Before 1 September 2007 (409KB PDF file)
Changes to the Current Skilled Occupation List (368KB PDF file)
Revoking the Critical Skills List (337KB PDF file)
Changes to Priority Processing Arrangements – Frequently Asked Questions (406KB PDF file)
General Skilled Migration (GSM) Points Test Review (377KB PDF file)
Changes to the Skills Assessment Requirements for GSM Applicants Nominating a Trade Occupation (417KB PDF file)
1 January 2010 legislative change – suitable skills assessment as a validity requirement for onshore GSM visas
Pre 1 January 2010, applicants applying for permanent migration based on one of the onshore General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa subclasses were required, at time of application, to provide evidence that they had applied for a skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority. At time of decision, a suitable skills assessment was required.
From 1 January 2010, applicants applying for one of the following onshore GSM visa subclasses will be required to have obtained a suitable skills assessment prior to applying for migration in order for the application to be valid and assessed by the department for a decision:
- Skilled – Independent (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 885)
- Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 886)
- Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 487)
More information is available online.
See: Skills Assessment Criterion as a Validity Requirement from 1 January 2010 for Onshore GSM Visas( 49KB PDF file)