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Changes to the General Skilled Migration Program Annouced

Today, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced a number of changes to the General Skilled Migration program.

 Let’s look at the key changes. We’ll cover these changes in more detail further on in this article.

  • Offshore General Skilled Migration Visa Applications made before the 1st September 2007 will be capped and then ceased.
  • The current Critical Skills List (CSL) will be revoked and will be replaced by a new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) effective from the middle of 2010.
  • The current Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) will be revoked and replaced with the same (and more targeted) Skilled Occupations List.
  • The General Skilled Migration (GSM) Points Test will be reviewed to evaluate the effectiveness of the current test.
  • New priority processing arrangements will be introduced for certain skilled migration visas.

Quite a lot to take in huh? We’ll try to break down the changes into a little more detail and as always, if you get stuck or have any further questions then feel free to pop into our forums.

1. Offshore General Skilled Migration Visa Applications made before the 1st September 2007 will be capped and then ceased.

OK, first things first and for many applicants (around 20,000 in fact) it’s not good news.  In changes aimed at making skilled migration more responsive to Australia’s needs, all general skilled migration applications lodged before September 1, 2007 (when English and work experience requirements were, in theory easier), will have their applications withdrawn and application fees totalling $14 million refunded.

The Australian Government see this as ‘ending the ongoing uncertainty’ for offshore General Skilled Migrants although for many I’m sure it is the news they were dreading the most even if it does mean that the Visa Application Charge (VAC) is refunded.

On a more positive note applicants who have had their Visa Application revoked can still apply for any of the current GSM visa subclasses although they should be mindful of the need to meet the current legislative requirements which have changed significantly since 2007.

2. The current Critical Skills List (CSL) will be revoked and will be replaced by a new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) effective from the middle of 2010.

As part of today’s announcement, the government is looking to abolish the current list of Critical Skills, which contains 106 occupations.

For some time now the Australian Government has suggested that the CSL was always an interim measure whilst the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) review was being undertaken. For the first time however they’ve now set a target date of replacing the CSL with a new Skilled Occupations List which will become effective from the middle of 2010.

It is expected that the new SOL will be available for review by the 30th April 2010 with priority processing arrangements for applications with nominated occupations on the current CSL continuing until they are reviewed in Mid 2010.

3. The current Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) will be revoked and replaced with the same (and more targeted) Skilled Occupations List.

As with the CSL, today’s announcement will also see the removal of the current Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL). The revocation of the current MODL will not affect applicants sponsored by an Australian employer, nor will it affect applicants who, at the date of this announcement (8th February 2010)    

  • hold a Skilled- Graduate (subclass 485) visa, or have a pending subclass 485 visa application and are yet to apply for a permanent or provisional General Skilled Migration (GSM visa), or
  • have a pending GSM visa application

It’s also worth noting that the new SOL will not apply to people applying for a Skilled-Graduate (subclass 485) visa who at 8th February 2010 hold a:

  • Vocational Education and Training (subclass 572) visa.
  • Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa
  • Postgraduate Research Sector (subclass 574) visa.

Having said that, these student visa holders will still be required to have an occupation on the new SOL to apply for a permanent GSM Visa.

4. The General Skilled Migration (GSM) Points Test will be reviewed to evaluate the effectiveness of the current test.

The GSM Points Test Review will be undertaken in the first half of this year and a ‘discussion paper’ will be placed on the departments website (http://www.immi.gov.au/) by the 12th February 2010 which will then be open for public comment until the 12th March 2010.

It is not know at this stage whether the government will decide to make changes to the GSM points test, however, at a guess we think that they will. it’s been suggested that the current point test can distort outcomes for a skilled migrant. One example used on the Governments own website was a comparison between an international student who studied hairdressing in Australia compared to an applicant who has a PHD in environmental science from Harvard University.

The hairdresser past the points test with no problems gaining 135 points whilst the scientist failed the test with only 100 points. Although 10 of the hairdressers extra points were due to the occupation being more in demand then scientists; the extra 25 came from a combination of the hairdressers being on the MODL and having 12 moths Australian work experience. All things that the Australian Government says do ‘not always lead to outcomes that are consistent with the objectives of the General Skilled Migration Program.

5. New priority processing arrangements will be introduced for certain skilled migration visas.

The priority processing arrangements are designed to ensure that the Australian Economy gets the skills it needs now, rather than those of the visa applicants who applied first. If you are on the list then I’m sure you’ll love these changes..

The changes take effect from today and apply to applications lodged on or after this date. The changes also apply to applications that had been lodged previously with the department and have not been finalised.

The new priority processing arrangements will apply to the following Visas:

  •  Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
  • The General Skilled Migration (GSM) Visas listed below:
    • Skill Matching (subclass 134)
    • Skilled—Independent (subclass 136)
    • Skilled—State/Territory-nominated Independent (subclass 137)
    • Skilled—Australian-sponsored (subclass 138)
    • Skilled—Designated Area-sponsored (subclass 139)
    • Skilled—Independent (subclass 175)
    • Skilled—Independent (subclass 176)
    • Skilled—Regional Sponsored (subclass 475)
    • Skilled—Regional Sponsored (subclass 487)
    • Skilled—Independent Regional (subclass 495)
    • Skilled—Designated Area-sponsored (Provisional) (subclass 496)
    • Skilled—Graduate (subclass 497)
    • Skilled—Onshore Independent New Zealand Citizen (subclass 861)
    • Skilled—Onshore Australian-sponsored New Zealand Citizen (subclass 862)
    • Skilled—Onshore Designated Area-sponsored New Zealand Citizen (subclass 863)
    • Skilled—Independent Overseas Student (subclass 880)
    • Skilled—Australian-sponsored (subclass 881)
    • Skilled—Designated Area-sponsored Overseas
    • Student (subclass 882)
    • Skilled—Independent (subclass 885)
    • Skilled—Sponsored (subclass 886)

 The following processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) apply:

  1.  Applications from people who are employer sponsored under the ENS and the RSMS.
  2. Applications from people who are nominated by a state/territory government agency under a state migration plan agreed to by the minister.
  3. Applications from people who are nominated by a state/territory government agency and whose nominated occupation is on the Critical Skills List (CSL)
  4. Applications from people who are neither nominated nor sponsored in priority groups 1, 2 or 3, but whose nominated occupation is listed on the CSL.
  5. Applications from people who are nominated by a state/territory government agency whose nominated occupation is not listed on the CSL.
  6. (i) Applications from people whose occupations are listed on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL).(ii) Applications from people who are sponsored by family and whose nominated occupation is not listed on the CSL.
  7. All other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

 So that’s it folks, as always we’ll provide the latest updates as they happen. Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news as it happens or pop into our forums if you have any initial questions.

More information is available on the department’s website. (links open in a new page)

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)

Cheers

Mark

Written by Mark

As the founder of Getting Down Under, Mark is passionate about demystifying the process associated with a move to Australia.
Having launched Getting Down Under in early January 2006 and made the move to Australia from the UK in the same year, Mark continues to share resources and support for those looking for assitance, Getting Down Under.

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14 Comments

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  1. me and my wife are indians and PR holders of australian visa (sub class 138).how long will it take to get aus visa for my newborn child?

  2. Having seperate policies for skilled immigrants and well experienced Entrepreneurs would go a long way into improving the labor market. Providing for clearer regulations and stricter qualifications on manpower pooling will only help in the long run. I’d like to see the other countries moving towards what Singapore is doing. Just my 2 cents though!

  3. hi this redwan. i want to accounting is still in sol list. can certificate4 in financial service(accounting) students apply 4 P.R
    i applied for certiificate 4.

  4. Chris Evans in his own right doesnt know what hes talking about .,he’s going to be cursed by thousands .,when we get our visa ,we r given 2 months extra to discuss our options ,the biggest sales pitch is “Come to australia and start afresh ,n now he leaves us with 1 month and 10 days to get things done ,out of which most of them are holidays ,impossible to get the job done ,why cant the ausie government make up their mind whether they want us or not .

  5. Minister is throwing up surprise after surprise. It is unfortunate that people who waited for so long got a bad deal and Visa fund refunded.
    Minister what next ?….I would suggest stop immmigration to australia for next 10 years and allow the aged population to age further

  6. Hey guys,
    There would not be any unfair, undemocratic decision ever made in the history of Australian immigration. This is making fun of the professional people from around the world. This has been really very bad moment for the Pre September applicants as they were first invited by the DIAC to put their applications. Asked to upload medical, PCC and IELTS. Remember there are average 3 family members in one applicaion. And including the agent fees it cost more than 6000 AUD. And Minister is returning only only 1500 AUD what about rest 3500 AUD.If this was the process then why they had mentioned in their letters from case officers to upload the Medical, PCC and IELTS.
    In my case they asked me to upload the medical and PCC within 70 days. I did it and now what PCC and Medical are expired.Now DIAC is blaming that we are not getting the proper security checks from some countries. I would question Minister that they must have proper communication between the two countries. Look at Canada and India. there are very good relations they have. They share information at very quick pace. It’s not applicants fault to be treated like this after waiting so much time for the visa.

  7. If English is the unifying language for all Australians and would-be Australians, then I am afraid that most comments here are not up to the required standard strictly in terms of the English language!

    If these comments are from those who are directly affected by the recent changes to the immigration laws, then it is no surprise to me.

  8. i,m considering new legislation which released via dep of migration and ministeral direction ,am wondering what kind of occupations will be affected from 1 september 2007, and they have been not separated , and also it,s uncertain how would be finalised the occupation??!!!according skills or time priority??

    want to get a correct answer from the friends this site.

    Thanks,
    keivan

  9. I think this will fix Hair dresser who were getting better deal than us (computer/environmental scientist).I think the changes made by minister are fair and right. Finally Real talents will get the visa and jobs.
    But guys my heart still feel that all these must apply to new application not for those who were waiting patiently with many dreams of good future

  10. Ideally there should be seperate policies for skilled immigrants and well experienced Entrepreneurs such as in Singapore and Canada. I wonder how much of the new changes affect entrepreneurs looking to establish their presence in the country

  11. Hahahaha…..kik them out bloody dmn immigration seekers dont think again ab it…….this is crual mnisters order ok….?

  12. I bet Senator has gone crazy.He keeps changing the rules and have it a right to do that without considering the impact on those who already applied !!! shame on you senator!!

    • It is not fair!!!! They are going to ruin lives. They can simply shut the door down and publicly announce ” No application, No visa, keep living without thinking of Australia”

      I am not affected by new rules but what about other people who lodged before 7 Sep. 2007. Does it make sense? Here, in my awful high risk country, are heaps of people lodged then but did not grant visa as a result security checks which takes ages for us.

      Where is God!!!

      Anyway, I hope everybody gets what deserves

      Cheers mates

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