August 5, 2010

 

The Minister for Immigration has announced new processing priorities which apply from 14 July 2010 for General Skilled Migration and permanent employer sponsored visas.

These arrangements take account of the changes to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) that came into effect on 1 July 2010, as well as the revocation of the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) and the Critical Skills List (CSL).

Processing Priorities

There are 4 priority groups – from highest to lowest priority these are:

  • Employer Sponsored: RSMS and ENS are the highest priority
  • General Skilled applicants sponsored under a State Migration Plan
  • General Skilled applicants with an occupation on the new SOL
  • All other applicants

Processing Times

In addition, we also have indicative processing times:

ENS/RSMS:

  • ETA countries (Low Risk): 5 months
  • Non-ETA countries (High Risk): 7 months

State Migration Plan

  • Onshore: 6 months
  • Offshore: 12 months

New SOL:

Lodged prior to 1 July 2010:

  • Onshore: to be processed prior to 1 July 2011
  • Offshore: to be processed prior to 31 December 2011

Lodged after 1 July 2010:

  • Onshore: 18 months
  • Offshore: 18-24 months

Otherwise: to be processed after groups 1-3 are finalized

Exempt Visa Types

Not all skilled visas are subject to the new priorities. For instance, the following continue to be processed in the order received:

  • Skilled Graduate Subclass 4 js” type=”text/javascript”> 85 – 12 months
  • Skilled Recognised Graduate Subclass 476 – 7 months
  • Skilled Regional Subclass 887 – 5 months
  • Cases which have been refused and appealed successfully to the MRT (Migration Review Tribunal)
  • Subsequent entrants for Skilled Regional Sponsored and Skilled Graduate visas
  • Applications which clearly do not meet essential criteria and which are for refusal

Summary of Previous Changes

  • The Critical Skills List – introduced in January 2009 – has now been abolished and effectively replaced by a much shorter Skilled Occupations List which is now being used both to limit numbers of new applications and to prioritise applications already in the system.
  • Note that no State Migration Plans have yet been finalised. We understand that a number of states have completed their plans and are awaiting signature from the Minister of Immigration. As the government is currently in caretaker mode, ahead of the Federal Election on August 21, these may be a few months off coming into effect.
  • People who were sponsored by state or territory governments receive no priority due to this unless they are sponsored under a State Migration Plan. If the nominated occupation is not on the new SOL, the application would be at the lowest priority level – despite the fact that such applicants were previously at the highest priority level.
  • The changes are still positive for accountants – previously a minimum score of 7 in the IELTS test was required for priority to be given. Now, any applicant with a skills assessment as an accountant will be at least in priority group 3.
  • The indicative processing time for a Skilled Graduate subclass 485 visa is far longer than is reasonable. This type of visa is only valid for 18 months from the date of grant. On the positive side, the longer DIAC takes to process a 485 visa, the longer a student has to stay in Australia with full work rights.
  • People in the lowest priority group have reason to be concerned because the Minister has introduced a visa capping bill which would give him the ability to cancel visa applications from people meeting certain criteria (eg occupation). Given the number of people waiting for decisions on skilled visas, the Minister would be highly likely to exercise this power if the Visa Capping Bill is passed through Parliament.

 

 

 

 

May 17, 2010

Today the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced the list of occupations included in the new Skilled Occupation List (SOL). The introduction of a new list of occupations is part of a package of reforms that reflects the Government’s commitment to a labour market demand-driven Skilled Migration Program.

 

This will affect all applications for General Skilled Migration from 1 July 2010, with only a few exceptions.

 

See link attached, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/new-list-of-occupations.pdf

 

 

February 7, 2010

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.

See:
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:

More information is available online. 
See: Skills Assessment Criterion as a Validity Requirement from 1 January 2010 for Onshore GSM Visas( 49KB PDF file)