Home Affairs Announces Major Changes to General Skilled Migration Programme

From 1 July 2018, applicants wishing to apply for the following visa subclasses will be required to obtain a pass mark of 65 to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply:
• Skilled-Independent (Permanent) (Class SI) Subclass 189;
• Skilled-Nominated (Permanent) (Class SN) Subclass 190; and
• Skilled-Regional Sponsored (Provisional) (Class SP) Subclass 489

This is an increase of five points.
The new pass mark reflects the high level of interest in skilled migration to Australia and the high calibre of prospective applicants who express their interest in the General Skilled Migration program.

Under the transitional arrangements, the pool and pass mark from the previous instrument is preserved for all visa applications for the above visas made before, on or after 1 July 2018 in response to an invitation given by the Minister before 1 July 2018.

The abovementioned visas are part of the Skill Select initiative launched by the Australian Government on 1 July 2012. SkillSelect is an online service that enables skilled persons who are interested in obtaining an Australian visa to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) that includes information about their skills and other attributes. SkillSelect then issues invitations to apply to migrate based upon a ranking of the attributes of nominees and subject to ceilings on occupation numbers. SkillSelect also enables staff of certain State/Territory government agencies and Australian employers to view relevant information in an intending migrant’s Expression of Interest (EoI).

This information assists State/Territory government agencies to identify persons who they may nominate to help meet labour market needs in their respective jurisdictions. Similarly, SkillSelect assists employers to identify skilled workers in circumstances where vacancies are unable to be met through the Australian labour market.

By way of background, SkillSelect is a three-stage process:

1. intending migrants submit details of their qualifications, experience, English language ability and other information in their EOI.
2. intending migrants who possess the skills and qualifications needed in the Australian labour market and are sufficiently highly ranked will be invited by the Minister to make a visa application or may be nominated or sponsored by an Australian employer.
3. intending migrants make a visa application which is assessed and granted in circumstances where all criteria are satisfied.

The Minister has determined that invitations should not be issued if the occupation ceiling has been reached for any occupation. GSM categories of the skilled migration program deliver a wide variety of occupations which are in need in the medium to long term in the Australian labour market. This mechanism is known as the occupation ceiling.

In simple terms, the occupation ceiling limits how many persons are invited to apply for a skilled independent, skilled regional sponsored and State/Territory government nominated GSM skilled visa from a particular occupation group (as per the 4 digit ANZSCO occupation group). Its purpose is to prevent the skilled migration program from being over-supplied by a narrow range of occupations. Once the annual occupation ceiling for a unit group is reached there will be no further invitations issued for skilled migration from this unit group.

Repealed Visa Subclasses:

Previously repealed visa categories within the General Migration Scheme will preserve their pre- 1 July eligibility requirements. These include:

• Subclass 175 (Skilled – Independent) visa;
• Subclass 176 (Skilled – Sponsored) visa;
• Subclass 475 (Skilled – Regional Sponsored) visa;
• Subclass 487 (Skilled – Regional Sponsored) visa;
• Subclass 885 (Skilled – Independent) visa; and
• Subclass 886 (Skilled – Sponsored) visa.

Immi Account Maintenance:

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed that Immi account maintenance is expected over the weekend considering 1 July changes. All applicants are encouraged to lodge their visa applications by close of business, Friday 29 June.

Invitation Rounds

There were two invitation rounds conducted in June. It is not anticipated that further invitation rounds will be issued for this Migration year which concludes this Saturday. Invitations for new migration year FY 2018/19 are expected to be issued in the first half of July.

Source: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2018L00920

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