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Australia General Skilled Migration Update - August 2017


This article looks at recent developments in General Skilled Migration such as:

  • Policy change for Graduate Diplomas in meeting the 2-year study requirement

  • Processing times

  • State nomination update

  • Occupational Ceilings/SkillSelect Update

Graduate Diplomas - Policy Change for 2-Year Study Requirement

The Australian Study Requirement (usually referred to as the 2-Year Study Requirement) is relevant for the following visas:

  • General Skilled Migration - awarding points for Australian study

  • Gaduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas

Postgraduate Diplomas are listed in the Migration Regulations as being an eligible qualification in assessing the 2-year study requirement. Whilst they are not eligible qualifications for the 485 Post Study Work Stream, it has previously been possible to use them for the points test and applying for the 485 Graduate Work Stream.

The Department of Immigration policy document for the 2-year study requirement was recently updated, and it indicates that a Graduate Diploma would not count towards the Australian Study requirement.

If you are completing a Graduate Diploma you must be aware that your eligibility may be affected.

Policy would appear to be in conflict with the Migration Regulations in this matter, and you may need some professional assistance in establishing that you meet the Australian Study Requirement.

Occupation Ceiling and SkillSelect Update

The Occupation Ceilings for General Skilled Migration were released by the Department of Immigration on 3 August and were revised on 7 August.

Last year, the Department initially gave an increased occupation ceiling for accountants which was then hastily revised downwards to 2,500. This year, the ceiling has increased significantly (to 4785 places). Thus far, the ceiling has not been revised downwards, so the situation looks positive for accountants for the time being at least.

We now have a ceiling number for ANZSCO 2621 Database and Systems Administrators and ICT Security Specialists. This will be good news for ICT Security specialists with an allocation of 2391 places for 2017-18.

We now have statistics for the 12 July and 26 July invitation rounds. Required points for all occupations remain high (70 points minimum for a 189 invitation, with some occupations requiring 75). However, we see waiting times reducing, which suggests that Immigration is working through a backlog of EOIs with 70 or more points and that required points for 189 invitations will reduce over time.

We can see that about 10% of the occupation ceiling was used up for pro rata occupations, which suggests that Immigration may be allocating up to 5% of the ceiling for these occupations each invitation round.

The table below summarises the following for pro rata occupations:

  • Points required for the two invitation rounds in July 2017

  • Points required in the 2016-17 program year

  • Percentage change in the occupation ceiling between 2016-17 and 2017-18

  • Likely points required for a 189 invitation in the 2017-18 program year

Whilst it is impossible to give any certainty on the points required for an invitation, we have made a prediction based on the occupation ceilings and number of EOI lodgements remaining stable.

Longer Processing Times for General Skilled Migration

Processing times have been updated and for General Skilled Migration, the Department of Immigration is indicating a processing time of 6-11 months. This is longer than was previously the case, but allocation dates would seem to indicate that applications are being allocated quite quickly. It appears that processing itself has slowed down, and this is possibly due to numbers for the 2016-17 filling early:

State Migration Plans Updated for Most States and Territories

All states and territories have now updated their State Migration Plans for the 2017-18 program year, apart from NSW and NT.

Tasmania is one of the best states for state nomination, but will be increasing their requirements in the coming months (for instance, amount of time required to work or study in Tasmania).

West Australia is one of the more difficult states as their list is quite limited and minimum work experience and job offer requirements apply.

Conclusion

The General Skilled Migration program is in flux at the moment. This makes it more important than ever to have a clear strategy in making your application.Due to the level of uncertainty these days, it is a bad idea to "have all your eggs in the one basket" by considering only one migration pathway. Having a number of fall-back options is certainly a good idea - for example state nominated or employer sponsored pathways.

#liveinaustralia #workinaustralia #permanentresidencyaustralia #immigration #immigrationaustralia

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