Alan Collett at Go Matilda often writes a good article and his more recent article; ‘skilled migration, dispelling the myths’ is no exception.
Within the article, Alan talks about some of the misconceptions now held by people looking to make the move down under following the announced changes to the skilled migration program made towards the end of last year.
In no particular order, here are some of the comments heard in recent months:
Australia has stopped accepting skilled migrants
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Australia’s skilled migration program (the amount of visas the Immigration Minister requires his Department to grant annually) is the highest on record this year, with a planned 115,000 skilled visas to be granted in the year to 30th of June, 2009.
The skilled program for 2009/10 is planned to be 108,100, which is the third highest program on record.
By way of comparison the skilled program in the last few years has delivered the following outcomes:
– 2007/08: 108,540
– 2006/07: 97,920
– 2005/06: 97,340
– 2004/05: 77,880
My occupation is not on the Critical Skills List and I can’t be sponsored by a State or Territory Government. That means I will never get a visa.
It is true to say that the Minister’s announcements have impacted quite significantly on the processing of skilled visas, with occupations on the CSL and State/Territory Sponsored skilled visa applications being the only offshore skilled visa applications that are being processed to a decision at the moment.
However, there will come a time (we anticipate in the next 3 to 4 months) when Department of Immigration case officers will have to move onto the next category on the Minister’s priority list, namely applications where an occupation on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (or MODL) is nominated.
We anticipate that many applicants with MODL occupations will have sought sponsorship from a State or Territory Government (as MODL occupations have tended to be included on their Wanted Skills Lists) and as such we think it likely that remaining skilled visa applications will start to be looked at with a view to visas being granted during the 2009/10 program year.
It should also be remembered that when the total skilled migration program was in the region of 70,000 annually processing times were typically 9 to 12 months – even allowing for heightened demand in recent years the large program total that is now available should allow visa application processing times to be closer to 12 months over the next year to 18 months.
And as ever, the sooner a visa application is lodged the sooner a visa will be granted.
I won’t be able to obtain sponsorship from a State or Territory Government
To a varying degree all of the States and Territories in Australia are sponsoring skilled individuals for the grant of visas. Some are sponsoring for the grant of provisional subclass 475 visas (which provide for permanent residency via a second visa application once subclass 475 visa holders have been residing and working in a regional area for the required period), while others are sponsoring for subclass 176 permanent residency visas.
The key question for intending skilled migrants is therefore which States and Territories are sponsoring my occupation, and for what subclass of visa.
If I am sponsored by a State or Territory Government I will have to live there while I remain in Australia
Technically, that is not the case. If applying to a State or Territory Government for sponsorship you will be asked to provide information that demonstrates you are genuine in your intentions to reside in that State or Territory.
Indeed, in most cases you will be asked to sign an undertaking to reside in the sponsoring State/Territory for at least 2 years.
However, you are at liberty to move on without visa cancellation if you find that living and working in the sponsoring location is not for you.
We would add though that when applying for sponsorship you should be completing the application in good faith, with a genuine intention to reside in the State or Territory to which you are applying.
Note also that if applying for sponsorship of a subclass 475 (provisional) visa you will be subject to a visa condition that requires you to live and work in a regional area of Australia, and that you can anticipate that this will be checked when you apply for permanent residency in due course.
Employers are no longer able to sponsor individuals for skilled visasThis comment is typically heard in the context of subclass 457 visas – which is the long term temporary residency visa.
It is fair to say that Australia’s Immigration Minister has sought to change 457 visa sentiment amongst employers by issuing “clarification” in the last few months in the form of policy guidance to his Department. This has included (amongst other things) requiring employers to more clearly demonstrate the benefit to Australia arising as a consequence of the employment of the nominated individual following the grant of a 457 visa.
However, this amendment of policy settings has not caused a cessation of 457 visa grants – far from it. Indeed, Go Matilda has had many 457 visas granted in the last few months.
Even if I obtain a visa, the global economic crisis means I won’t be able to get a job when I move to Australia
The Australian economy has held up remarkably well in comparison with other first world countries, and indeed has thus far avoided a technical recession. This is quite possibly due to its closer associations economically with South East Asia and China, and the financial boost associated with a growth in population, most notably through the large migration programs of the last few years.
By contrast the UK has found itself more closely aligned with the fortunes of the US, and with the collapse of wealth through banking and housing failures.
No-one can say that any one individual will be certain to secure employment when they move to Australia. However, the prospects for work are generally considered to be brighter in Australia than in the UK, US, etc, which should augur well for intending migrants.
I won’t be able to sell my house and the GBP – AUD exchange rate is awful
Yes, the economies of the world are in a dreadful state at the moment, and the bottom has fallen out of the housing market in the UK.
However, there is no requirement for you to move to Australia as soon as your visa is granted – permanent skilled visas require you to enter Australia by an initial entry date, which is usually 12 months from the earlier of the date of police clearance certificates and the date medical examinations were attended.
That required initial entry can be on a holiday, and the permanent move can be a few years later – at any time up to 5 years after visa grant – by which time we suggest the economies of the world and the currency exchange rate will be somewhat different, most probably better than they are today.
This means that applying for a skilled visa now rather than waiting could actually mean that you find yourself migrating at a better time than those who have been granted their visas in the last 12 months.