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Overview of the changes to the Skilled Migration Program March 2010
Ministerial Announcement 8 February 2010 Outcomes of a review of the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) The MODL is revoked from 8 February 2010 The current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) will be replaced with a new list of targeted occupations in mid 2010 at which time the CSL will be revoked All offshore GSM applications lodged before 1 September 2007 will have their applications withdrawn and the visa application charge (VAC) refunded Amendments to the Migration Act to cap and cease by selection factors such as occupation The points test used to assess GSM applicants will be reviewed new priority processing arrangements for certain skilled migration visas State and territory-specific migration plans will be developed
Who do these changes to GSM apply to ? Groups affected by the GSM changesRevocation of the MODL from 8 February 2010 New SOL in effect from mid 2010 Current applicantsNo Subclass 485 visa applicants and holders as at 8 February 2010 yet to apply for a permanent or provisional GSM visa No: provided they apply for a permanent or provisional GSM visa by 31 December 2012 Higher Education, Postgraduate Education and VET sector student visa holders as at 8 February 2010 YesYes unless they apply for a Subclass 485 visa prior to 31 December 2012. People who are considering applying for a GSM visa Yes
Capping and Ceasing Pre–1 Sept 2007 Offshore GSM Visas On 8 February 2010, the Minister announced he would set a maximum number of offshore GSM visa applications made before 1 September 2007 that could be granted The cap is expected to be set shortly Once the cap is reached, all offshore GSM applications lodged before 1 September 2007 will be ceased Refunds of the visa application charge (VAC) for these applications will be processed by the Department Associated fees/costs incurred will not be refunded
New Priority Processing Arrangements New priority processing arrangements for GSM visas came into effect on 8 February 2010. These apply to all GSM applications with the exception of subclasses 476, 485, 883 and 887. 1.Employer sponsored under ENS and RSMS; 2.Nominated by a State/Territory government agency under a State Migration Plan agreed to by the Minister; 3.Nominated by State/Territory government and CSL nominated occupation; 4.CSL nominated occupation 5.Nominated by State/Territory government and non-CSL nominated occupation 6.(i) MODL nominated occupation and (ii) sponsored by family and non- CSL nominated occupation 7.All others processed in the order in which they are received
With the introduction of a more targeted SOL, the Department will look to develop State and Territory Migration Plans to provide states/territories more flexibility to sponsor applicants for a broad range of occupations which will not be on the new SOL. The Plans will be in the form of Memoranda of Understandings between the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, and the relevant state/territory government minister. These plans will specify the number of applicants each state/territory government can nominate, and which occupations they can nominate skilled migrants for. State and Territory Migration Plans
State and Territory governments will identify occupations which are in demand in their jurisdiction. Plans will provide states and territories with flexibility to address specific skills shortages. These plans will be in place by mid 2010 to coincide with implementation of the new targeted SOL. Under the current priority processing Direction, applicants sponsored under a State or Territory Migration Plan are given the second highest priority. State and Territory Migration Plans cont’d
Job Ready Program (JRP) commenced on 1 January 2010. Introduced to ensure applicants nominating a trade occupation are ‘job ready’ and able to perform in their occupation DIAC is working with the assessing authorities to improve standards and chances of success. Applicants for the Employer Nomination Scheme will not be subject to the JRP Students applying for 485 with a trade qualification only required to complete step one of JRP (provisional skills assessment) 485 holders who wish to apply for permanent migration must continue through remaining three steps Job Ready Program
The Minister recently announced his intention to allow applicants who hold a skills assessment predating 1 January 2010, to use this assessment when applying for either a subclass 487, 885 or 886 visa. Mechanisms are currently being put in place to allow this to occur, and are expected to commence by mid March 2010. This means applicants with an existing skills assessment will not need to be reassessed by Trades Recognition Australia (TRA). Information will be made available on DIAC’s website via the What’s New link and Agents Gateway. Trade applicants who hold an existing skills assessment
Applicants for the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visas will not be subject to the Job Ready Program. ENS applicants will be assessed under TRA’s Skilled Worker Program. International students wishing to apply for a subclass 485 with a trade qualification are required to undertake step 1 of the JRP - Step 1 is a provisional skills assessment Who is required to undertake the JRP?
Subclass 485 applicants Subclass 485 holders should continue through the remaining three steps of the JRP if they wish to apply for permanent skilled migration. Subclass 485 visa holders who do not wish to remain in Australia or apply for skilled permanent migration, are not required to complete the JRP. Completion of step 1 of Job Ready (provisional skills assessment) is only sufficient for the purposes of applying for a subclass 485.
Points Test Review The GSM Points Test Review will be undertaken in the first half of 2010 A discussion paper is available on the department’s website www.immi.gov.au and open for public comment until 12 March 2010
Some Perverse Outcomes Reviewing standards –Do the current standards give good employment prospects in Australia? Level of qualification Work experience –onshore v offshore –Professional year? Occupational specific English Australian HairdresserO’seas Environmental Scientist Skill60 pointsSkill50 points Age30Age30 English15English15 Qualifications – Aust Trade Certificate 5Qualifications – O’seas PhD 0 MODL15MODL0 Work exp (12 months)10Work exp (3 years)5 Pass Mark 120 points135 PASSPass Mark 120 points100 FAIL
Australia’s points test places most weight on occupational targeting CriteriaPoints awarded Occupation, Age and English-language proficiency Occupation40 - 60 Age15 – 30 English Language Proficiency15 – 25 Other Australian Educational Qualifications5 – 25 Family Sponsorship 25 Migration Occupations in Demand15 – 20 Australian Work Experience10 Work Experience5 – 10 State or Territory Nomination10 Designated Language5 Regional Study in Australia5 Partner Skill Qualifications5 Threshold criteria Bonus factors Up to 115 points are available in the three threshold criteria. The current pass mark for an independent skilled migrant is 120. There are between 40 to 60 points for occupation.
Principles of a new Points Test A revised Points test will: Select migrants who offer the most human capital and will make an optimal contribution to Australia’s economy Not preclude very good applicants from offshore or those in Australia Operate flexibly under both current arrangements and any future arrangements for the selection of skilled migrants Enable applicants with high value attributes across a number of area such as English language ability, academic qualifications and work experience to achieve the maximum number of points and Should not give undue weight to any one factor to avoid distortions in the program.
Points Test Review – factors for consideration Should there be differentiated points for occupation or no points awarded for occupation? Points for overseas qualifications? English language ability The age factor More points for higher degree qualifications? More points for a qualified partner? Sponsorship points
… I have asked my Department to explore the feasibility of introducing a new system where applicants initially put forward their claim for skilled migration, and are then selected as candidates by employers, by State and Territory governments, or by the Commonwealth. That way we marry demand with supply, the best outcome for all concerned. That is what I mean by immigration being the job matching agency for the nation, connecting employers to the global labour market where skills cannot be sourced locally. Senator Chris Evans Changes to Australia's skilled migration program 8 February 2010 Australian National University Future of Skilled Migration
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