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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Changes to General Skilled Migration 2009-2010

Q1. What changes have been announced for the Skilled Migration program?

The changes announced to the skilled migration program by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship are:
  • The Government has decided to set the skilled migration program at 108 100 places
  • To increase the English language requirements for applicants nominating trade occupations
  • To increase the English language requirements for applicants applying for the provisional sponsored visas and claiming confessional competent English
  • To introduce a JobReady test.
Q2. Is the skilled migration program capped, and what does this mean?

The skilled migration program is not capped. Capping means that a set number of visa grants are determined by the Minister for a particular visa category or categories. Once that number is reached no further visa grants can occur until the next program year.

As the economic situation changes, the Government will review its measures to ensure that the program target and objectives are achieved.

Q3. Why have these changes been introduced?

Since the 1 January 2009 changes, the global economic situation has continued to deteriorate, and this has significantly impacted Australia’s economy, including an increase in unemployment. The migration program is one of the tools the Government uses to assist industry with skills and labour shortages, and, as such, is continually reviewed and assessed for its relevance and outcomes in light of the economic and social needs of Australia. The program is modified as these needs change.

Q4. Have the priorities for the program year 2009-10 changed from the priorities of 2008-09?

The Government advised in the May 2009 Budget Announcements that the current priorities for the processing of skilled migration applications will remain the same for the 2009-10 program years (1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010).

On 1 January 2009, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship introduced changes to the skilled migration program including:

• A new section 499 Ministerial Direction on priority processing
• The introduction of a Critical Skills List (CSL)
• Greater scope for state and territory governments to meet critical skills shortages in their jurisdiction

This will ensure that employer-sponsored and government-sponsored visas continue to be fast-tracked. It means that the focus will continue to be on processing applications that are sponsored by an employer, nominated by a State or Territory government, and those with nominated occupations on the Critical Skills List.

The Government may make further adjustments to the Skilled Migration Program this program year.

Q5. Why is the Government making it harder for skilled migrants to move to Australia?

The Government acknowledges the substantial human and financial capital contribution that migrants bring to Australia. The extent to which migrants add to our economy is closely linked to their skills and abilities, and we will need a strong supply of skilled workers when the economic cycle turns and demand for labour picks up again.

These measures will preserve the selection of high-skilled migrants and ensure that employer-sponsored and government-sponsored visas continue to be fast-tracked. It means that Australian employers are more effectively supported in the current economic climate.

Although it may impact many applicants who will now have to wait longer for their visas to be processed, the Government must also take into account the effect the difficult labour market conditions migrants currently face. Also skilled migrants do not have access to most Government assistance for the first two years they are in Australia.

It is expected that further changes may be made as the economic conditions continue to change, to ensure that the Migration Program remains responsive to labour market conditions.

Q6. How long will it take to process my visa? What about visa processing service standards?

The department is unable to estimate how long it will take to process visas, including those which have already been lodged. The visa processing standards relate to normal processing conditions and are only a guide for the majority of applications. They do not take into account the new priority processing measures which have been introduced as a result of the extraordinary economic situation Australia currently faces.

Q7. Where do agents/clients enquire about specific cases?

In the first instance, agents and clients should refer to the information available on the department’s website. This will provide detailed background information on the changes and possible implications.

Where an agent or client’s question is not answered by the information available on the website, an enquiry may be directed to the pre-lodgement enquiry form if the visa application has not been lodged or the post-lodgement enquiry form if a visa has been lodged.

Agents and clients may also contact the General Skilled Migration line:

In Australia: 1300 364 613 for the cost of a local call Outside Australia: +61 1300 364 613 (charges applicable in your home country will apply)

Q8. Where do I get information on general queries about the changes?

General enquiries about the changes should be referred to the information available on the department’s website.

Where more specific information is required, an enquiry may be directed to the pre-lodgment enquiry form if the visa application has not been lodged or the post-lodgment enquiry form if a visa has been lodged.

Agents and clients may also contact the General Skilled Migration line:

In Australia: 1300 364 613 for the cost of a local call
Outside Australia: +61 1300 364 613 (charges applicable in your home country will apply)

Q9. What will happen to those applications which are in the final stages of processing and where the department has requested applicants to provide health and character clearances?

The arrangements will apply to all visa applications, including those in the final stages of processing.

As the economic situation changes, the Government will review its measures to ensure that the program target and objectives are achieved.

Q10. What about applications outside the skill stream?

These measures only affect the skill stream of the migration program.

Q11. What are the changes to English language requirements for GSM visa applicants?

There are two separate changes, Vocational English and Concessional competent English.

Vocational English:

On 12 May 2009, the Minister announced an increase to a minimum of 6.0 (Competent English) in each of the four components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test for all GSM applicants who nominate a trade occupation.

This will remove the option for applicants with a trade occupation to claim Vocational English.

This change applies to all offshore GSM visa applications (subclasses 175, 176 and 475) lodged from 1 July 2009.

It will apply to all onshore GSM visa applications (subclasses 885, 886, 485 and 487) lodged from 1 January 2010.

Concessional competent English

The English language requirements for provisional regional GSM visa applicants who claim Concessional Competent English will be raised from an average of 5.5 to an
average of 6.0.

The change will apply to applications for the offshore Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Subclass 475) visa lodged from 1 July 2009.

It will apply to applications for the onshore Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Subclass 487) visa lodged from 1 January 2010.

Q12. Who will be affected by the changes to the English language requirements?

The increased language requirements will apply to all new offshore GSM applications (subclasses 175, 176 and 475) lodged after 1 July 2009 with Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) Level 4 nominated trade occupations, and those applying on the basis of meeting the Concessional Competent English requirement (subclass 475 only).

The increased English language requirement for all onshore GSM applicants will apply from 1 January 2010.

Applicants who have applied for a GSM visa before the dates these changes commence will not be affected.

Q13. Are provisional regional visas affected?

Vocational English is being removed from all GSM visas.

Offshore GSM applicants will not be able to nominate vocational English from 1 July 2009. Onshore GSM applicants will not be able to nominate vocational English from 1 January 2010.

This means that even those applicants who nominate a trade occupation will need to meet the requirements for either concessional competent or competent English. Note that concessional competent English is only available for those applicants sponsored under the conditions of either Subclass 475 or Subclass 487.

Further information about all visa requirements is available on the department’s website.

See: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/visa-options.htm

• Concessional competent English

The change will affect applicants for the offshore Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Subclass 475) visa from 1 July 2009, and the onshore Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Subclass 487) visa from 1 January 2010.

For the provisional GSM visa subclasses, the threshold English language standard will be raised from an average score of IELTS 5.5 to an average score of IELTS 6.0 for those applicants claiming concessional competent English.

All new applications for the offshore Subclass 475 visa lodged from 1 July 2009 will be affected. The onshore Subclass 487 visa will be changed from 1 January 2010.

In recognition of the increased language requirements, when the change is introduced for applicants for the Subclass 475 visa on 1 July 2009, they will not be required to enrol in an English language training course if they are claiming concessional competent English.

From 1 January 2010, Subclass 487 applicants will not be required to enrol in an English language training course if they are claiming concessional competent English as is currently the requirement.

Applicants who have applied for a GSM visa before the dates these changes commence will not be affected.

Q14. Why is the English language requirement changing?

The aim of the GSM Program is to select migrants who, because of the skills they possess, are more likely to find skilled employment shortly after they arrive in Australia. A high level of English language ability is recognised as being essential for achieving this objective.

The 2006 Evaluation of the GSM Categories recommended that English language ability was an important determinant of skilled migration selection, and as a result, the threshold level of English language ability for GSM visa applicants was raised from vocational English to competent English when the new GSM visa structure came into effect on 1 September 2007. A higher level of English is required for certain occupations where it forms part of the skills assessment.

Furthermore, in recognition of the importance of English language skills, since 1 September 2007, the GSM Points Test has been adjusted to award more points to applicants with very strong English language skills. Those applicants who demonstrate proficient English are awarded 25 points, while applicants who meet the English language threshold are awarded 15 points. The allocation of these extra points means that most applicants who achieve the higher English language standard will be eligible for a permanent GSM visa.

Trade occupations were previously exempt from GSM changes introduced in September 2007. This increase in the threshold English language standard for trade occupations brings it into line with the standard that applies to other occupations under GSM.

Q15. Will there be transitional arrangements for overseas students?

There will be no transitional arrangements for overseas students enrolled in trade courses.

Applicants who apply for a student visa to study a Certificate III trade course are expected to have an English language level of an IELTS 5.0 if they enrol in a preliminary 20 week ELICOS course, or 5.5 with no preliminary ELICOS course.

Given that overseas students must have studied for a total of two years in Australia before being eligible to apply for GSM, it is reasonable to expect that most students should improve their English to IELTS 6.0 over this period.

Q16. I am already in Australia on a subclass 457 visa. Do I still need to sit an IELTS test prior to lodging my skilled migration application?

Yes, all applicants must have sat an IELTS test or an Occupational English Language test in the two years prior to the day the application is lodged.

The only exception is British, American, Canadian, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland citizens who hold a valid, or current, passport and are considered to have ‘competent English’ without needing to provide an IELTS test.

Competent English is equivalent to a score of at least 6.0 in each of the four (4) components of a single IELTS test. Please note that you can not combine the results of an IELTS test.

Competent English is also equivalent to a score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components of an Occupational English Language test.

To meet the threshold English language requirement, the result must be from a test sat no more than two (2) years before the day the application was made.

Please note that if you are unable to meet the Australian study requirement for onshore GSM visas, you will have to apply for an offshore GSM visa, even if you are already living in Australia.

For further information about the English language requirement, you should refer to the Eligibility section of each GSM visa.

See: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/visa-options.htm

Q17. I did not sit an English language test when I lodged my application. Am I eligible for a refund?

All GSM visas require that applicants have evidence that they meet the English language requirement at the time they lodge their application. The Subclass 487 visa allows applicants (except those eligible passport holders) to have booked an IELTS test and provide evidence of this at the time they lodge their visa. All other GSM applicants must have already sat their English language test and received their results before they lodge their application.

Refunds are not given because applicants fail to meet a particular eligibility criterion.

Q18. If I wish to claim partner points, will my partner also need to meet the increased English language requirement?

The changes in English language points also apply to those wishing to claim partner points. This means that if you do not apply for an offshore GSM visa, you nor your partner will be able to claim vocational English. If you apply for an offshore regional Subclass 475 visa and your partner claims concessional competent English, they also must have an average of 6.0 across all four (4) components of the IELTS test.

If you apply for an onshore GSM visa from 1 January 2010, neither you nor your partner will be able to claim vocational English. If you apply for an onshore regional Subclass 487 visa from 1 January 2010, and your partner claims concessional competent English, they also must have an average of 6.0 across all four (4) components of the IELTS test. JobReady Test

Q19. What is the JobReady test?

The JobReady Test is a part of the assessment process to ensure that people who wish to migrate are able to participate in the labour market in the area of their skills and knowledge. The test is currently being developed by the Government in consultation with industry and unions.

The test will initially be applied to trade occupations.

Q20. Why do I have to do it?

A key aim of the GSM program has traditionally been to achieve the migration of “job ready” applicants to supplement the labour market. Employers are looking for employees who are “job ready” and can hit the ground running.

Job ready migrants are more likely to find employment quickly, which leads to improved settlement outcomes for migrants.

The JobReady Test will also ensure consistency of skills and competency across migrants.

Q21. I started my study this year and won’t finish until next year, will it affect me?

If you apply for a GSM visa, other than the 485 or 887 visa, and your nominated occupation is a trade occupation, you will have to meet the JobReady requirement.

Q22. When will JobReady Test become effective?

The JobReady Test will come into effect from 1 January 2010. Applicants who nominate a trade occupation for migration purposes after this date will have to meet the JobReady Test requirement.

Q23. Is the testing process for onshore applications the same as offshore applications?

Yes. The test may vary from occupation to occupation and from one country to another. The Government may target particular cohorts and occupations from time to time.

Q24. Is the JobReady Test the same for all trade occupations?

No, the test may take slightly different forms depending on the occupation, but could be applied to any trade occupation.

Q25. How much will it cost?

The cost is yet to be determined.

Q26. Is there an expiry date for a JobReady test?

This is yet to be determined.

Q27. Will the JobReady Test be necessary for all trade occupations?

The test will be targeted towards particular occupations from time to time.
Critical Skills List – 16 March 2009

Q28. What is the Critical Skills List (CSL)?

The CSL contains occupations that have been identified as being in critical demand in Australia. As these occupations are in critical demand, applicants nominating these occupations will have their applications processed as a priority.

Q29. Will there be changes to the CSL in the 2009-10 program years?

There may be further changes this program year dependent on the impact of the global economic crisis on Australia.

Q30. My nominated occupation was on the CSL, but has now been removed. What will happen to it now?

Only those occupations which are currently on the CSL receive priority processing. If an occupation has been removed from the CSL, it no longer qualifies to be processed before other nominated occupations.

Q31. I have nominated an occupation which is on the CSL. How am I affected?

If your occupation is on the CSL, you will receive priority processing. This means that your visa application will be assessed after all the visas which are sponsored by an employer or nominated by a state or territory government, and before other applications.

Q32. My occupation is now on the CSL. What should I do?

You do not need to do anything. The department identifies those applications which are now prioritized and will advise you when you are assigned a case officer.

Q33. If I get a new skills assessment for an occupation listed on the Critical Skills List, will I then be eligible for priority processing? Can I change my nominated occupation?

No, you cannot change your nominated occupation once you have lodged your visa application in order to access priority processing. If you have a new skills assessment and want to change your nominated occupation, you will need to lodge a new visa application with a new visa application charge (VAC). Please note that there is no capacity to transfer (VAC) payments to another GSM visa application. Also, the legislation allows only limited conditions under which refunds are granted.

Q34. Can accountants who only have IELTS 6 and have not completed the Professional Year receive priority processing?

Only accountants who have a minimum of 7 in each IELTS component or who have completed the Professional Year program under the sc485 visa qualify for priority processing under the CSL.

This means that if you want to have your application given priority, you have the option of sitting the IELTS test and gaining a minimum of 7 in each component of the test.

Accountants who hold a current British, American, Canadian, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland passport are considered to have ‘competent English’ and does not need to sit an IELTS test. To receive priority processing, accountants must demonstrate they have proficient English and so an IELTS result of a minimum of 7 in each component of the test should be provided for these applicants as well.

Please note that the results must be from an IELTS test you sat no more than two (2) years before the day you made your application.

Once you have received your ‘proficient English’ IELTS results, you should contact the department on the post-lodgement form to have your visa processed as a priority.

Q35. I am an accountant with IELTS 6.0, can I still apply for GSM?

If you are an accountant, you may apply for GSM with competent English (a minimum of 6.0 in each component of the IELTS test) but you will not receive priority processing unless you have also completed the Professional Year.

Q36. What will happen to priority processing with these changes to the migration program?

The priority processing directions introduced by the Minister on 1 January 2009 are still in operation and will be applied to all skilled visa applications.

Q37. What are the processing priorities?

The priority processing direction gives priority processing to permanent applications in the following order:
  1. Employer sponsorship
  2. State or territory sponsorship
  3. An occupation on the Critical Skills List (CSL)
  4. An occupation on the MODL
  5. All other applications.
The new priority processing direction gives priority processing to provisional applications in the following order:

1. State or territory sponsorship

2. Family sponsorship where the applicant’s occupation is listed on the CSL

3. All other applications.

As the economic situation changes, the Government will review its measures to ensure that the program target and objectives are achieved.

Q38. Which applicants will receive priority processing?

The priority processing Direction gives priority to applicants with employer sponsorship, state or territory nomination and those skilled migration applicants with an occupation on the CSL.

Q39. What visa subclasses are exempt from priority processing?

Visa subclasses 887, 485, 476 and 487 are exempt from priority processing. Applications in these visa subclasses will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Q40. When the changes to priority processing were introduced?

These changes came into effect on 1 January 2009.

Q41. Why the changes to priority processing were introduced?

The 2008 Budget significantly increased the skill stream of the migration program. However, since then, there has been a significant change in Australia’s economic circumstances as a result of the recent global economic crisis.

This crisis has weakened the Australian economy. In response to these changes in circumstances, the Minister announced a more targeted approach to the skilled migration program, including priority processing of employer sponsored visa applications, state and regional nominated visa applications and the introduction of a CSL of occupations. The Budget on 12 May 2009 announced a reduction in the skilled migration program to 108 100 and an extension of the priority processing arrangements in response to the continuing economic crisis.

People seeking to migrate to Australia who have skills or qualifications in one of the occupations on the current CSL are processed in a higher priority to those applicants who do not. This includes all applications that are on hand as well as any applications received in the future.

Q41. Are these changes temporary or permanent?

The skilled migration program is continually reviewed and assessed for its relevance and outcomes in light of the economic and social needs of Australia. The program is modified as these needs change.

Q42. Is there any difference in processing between onshore and offshore programs?

No, the priority processing affects onshore and offshore applications equally.

Q43. What occupations or industries are affected?

Occupations that are not included in the CSL will not be given priority processing unless applicants are sponsored by an employer or nominated by a state or territory government.

Q44. My application does not fall into one of the priority categories. When can I realistically expect to have my application finalized?

The department is unable to estimate the processing time for GSM visa applications under the current arrangements. As the economic situation changes, the Government will review its measures to ensure that the program target and objectives are achieved.

Q45. If my nominated occupation is not on the CSL. How can I have my application prioritized if my visa class (for example subclass 880, 881, 861, 862) does not allow me to get State or Territory sponsorship?

To be eligible for priority processing, you will need to lodge a new General Skilled Migration application with State or Territory sponsorship, or, if you are eligible, apply for an Employer-Sponsored visa.

Q46. Why medicals and police clearances are still required for subclass 885 and 886 applicants who do not have an occupation on the Critical Skills List or State or Territory government nomination?

Under the Migration Regulations, you must provide evidence that you have applied for health and character clearances when you lodge an onshore GSM visa application.

Visa applicants are required to undergo medical examinations in order to protect the Australian community from high health risks, costs, and overuse of scarce health resources. Similarly, to ensure that all visa applicants are of good character, police clearance certificates are required.

The costs involved are necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the migration program and protect the Australian community. They are kept to a minimum where possible. You should not undertake to re-do any expired clearances until you are requested to do so by a case officer.

Q47. I do not wish to wait indefinitely for my application to be processed. What can I do?

The current arrangements change the order in which applications are processed and the length of time until a decision is reached on those applications which do not meet the new priorities. However, these changes have not affected the requirements for the grant of a visa, and simply replace the previous priority processes.

If you wish to withdraw your application, you may do so. However, please note that the legislation allows only limited conditions under which refunds are granted. A Visa Application Charge (VAC) is usually only refunded when an application is deemed unnecessary or was made as a result of a mistake by either the applicant or the Department. Please note that the application must clearly have been mistakenly made. Situations where the applicant considers a ‘mistake’ was made because they changed their mind or they do not satisfy a criterion for visa grant are generally not covered by the refund provisions.

However if you choose to withdraw your application in writing, it is open to you to seek a refund. Each application for refund is considered on its merits and the department is unable to give an indication of the outcome.

Refunds are not granted if applicants choose to not proceed with their application because it will take longer to process than they expected.

Q48. I paid for my visa to be processed. It is unfair the rules have changed now. Can I get compensation?

No. DIAC will still process applications according to the criteria that applied at the time you lodged your application, but the processing times will be longer. Processing times have always varied depending on the complexity of the particular application and the processing priorities in place at the time.

The visa application charge (VAC) is on a cost recovery basis and relates to the complexity of the criteria that need to be assessed for the grant of the visa. Only a case officer may determine the outcome of a visa application against the criteria in the migration legislation. Applicants are warned not to take any irreversible steps when they apply for a visa, as there are a number of criteria that must be met for applicants to be granted a visa.

Q49. An employer has offered me a job in Australia. Will I get priority processing?

The priority processing only applies to those who have an employer willing to formally sponsor them for migration, not simply a job offer. Applicants who are sponsored by an employer must apply for one of the employer sponsored scheme (ENS) visas.

Q50. An employer has offered to sponsor me. What should I do?

You will need to check your eligibility for an employer sponsored visa. The employer intending to sponsor you must also meet certain requirements.

Applications for ENS visas will receive priority processing.

Q51. How can States and Territories nominate, or sponsor, GSM applicants?

It is entirely at the discretion of States and Territories whether or not they choose to nominate migration visa applicants.

States and Territories can nominate applicants who have an occupation on their skills shortage list. They may also sponsor up to 500 visa applicants and their families a year who do not have occupations on their state or territory list, on condition that the occupation is listed on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL). Applicants should approach the relevant state or territory agency directly to enquire about nomination processes.

Q52. How many people can states and territories bring in under the state and territory skills shortage list?

The number of potential migrants which each state or territory can sponsor from their skills shortage list is unlimited, within the total skilled migration program’s ceiling of 108 100 people.

In addition to their skills shortage list, each state and territory is also allocated a quota of 500 off-list nominations per program year from occupations on the SOL. This enables states and territories to respond effectively to unexpected skills shortages. While off-list nominations are available to state or territory governments, it is their decision which applicants and skills they choose to nominate.

Q53. What is the state skills shortage list?

Each State and Territory compiles its own skills shortage list. Each State or Territory can sponsor potential migrants with skills in an occupation included on their skills shortage list for a General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa. Applicants sponsored by a state or territory government for a permanent visa receive an additional 10 points on the GSM points test.

Q54. Is there any restriction on the types of skills that States and Territories can bring in under the state skills shortage list?

The only limitation is that all occupations nominated by states and territories must be listed on the SOL.

Q55. Can the States and Territories bring in people with skills that are not on the CSL?

Yes, States and Territories may sponsor applicants who have nominated an occupation which is on the SOL but is not on the CSL. They may use their 500 off-list nominations to sponsor other applicants.

Q56. A State or Territory has agreed to nominate me. What do I do?

You will need to provide your State or Territory nominator with your application reference details. Your nominator will then submit a nomination form on your behalf to the department. If the nomination is successful your application will then be eligible for priority processing.

Q57. If I have already lodged an independent skilled application, is there any way to change it to a State Sponsored visa?

If you have lodged a Skilled – Independent (subclass 175) visa or a Skilled – Independent (subclass 885) visa, your visa can be assessed as a State Sponsored visa.

To obtain a state or territory nomination, you should approach the state or territory you would like to live in and request they consider nominating you. Please note that state-sponsored migrants are expected to live for at least two (2) years in the state or territory which sponsors them.

If you are accepted by a state or territory government, they will notify you and lodge the relevant nomination form directly with the department.

You will also need to complete the post-lodgement form to let the department know that you have accepted a nomination and wish to have your application assessed under either the Skilled – Sponsored (subclass 176) visa or a Skilled – Sponsored (subclass 886) visa.

Q58. How will these changes impact on international students?

Australia has a well-deserved reputation for high-quality education and training. We continue to welcome overseas students, and appreciate the contribution they make to both academic life and the communities in which they live.

There are no changes being proposed to the student visa program itself. The pathway from a student visa to General Skilled Migration (GSM) also remains in place. However, applying for a student visa and applying for GSM are separate processes. It is important to note that student visas are aimed at achieving an educational outcome. GSM on the other hand is predominantly driven by the labour market needs of Australia and the requirements for permanent residence can change.

Q59. I am an international student; can I still apply for permanent residence?

International students who were eligible for permanent residence before these changes will still be eligible for permanent residence.

International students who have graduated from an Australian education provider and meet other necessary requirements will still be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the GSM program. Student visa holders will still need to meet the points test and basic eligibility requirements such as having the required level of English language proficiency and having completed a degree, diploma or trade qualification resulting from at least two academic years of study in Australia.

While the requirements for GSM have not changed, Australia continually adjusts and reviews its migration program to ensure it meets changing needs and circumstances. Prospective permanent visa applicants should continue to monitor the website for changes.

International students studying a trade qualification in Australia and intending to lodge an onshore GSM application should note that the English language requirements will change from 1 January 2010. From 1 January 2010, GSM applicants will not be able to claim vocational English (a minimum of 5.0 on each component of the IELTS test). From 1 January 2010 all GSM applicants will have to meet a minimum of competent English (a minimum of 6.0 on each component of the IELTS test).

Note that this change applies from 1 July 2009 for offshore applicants. This means that applicants who apply for an offshore GSM visa from 1 July 2009 will not be able to claim vocational English and must meet a minimum of competent English.

Q60. The course I am studying will not allow me to qualify for an occupation on the Critical Skills List (CSL), can I still apply for a permanent residence visa?

These changes do not impact on the application requirements for GSM. The points test and requirements for GSM have not changed. Students studying in courses leading to 50- or 60-point occupations on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) will still be eligible to apply for GSM. Students with 60-point occupations will also still be eligible for additional points on the points test if that occupation is listed on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) and they have the necessary skilled work experience. The SOL and MODL have not changed.

Eligible applicants with occupations not on the CSL will still be able to apply for GSM. However, their visa applications will not be processed as quickly. Those people nominating occupations on the CSL will be given processing priority.

Q61. What visas other than skill stream visas can I access?

International students holding a student visa can continue to apply for other temporary or permanent visas provided that they meet the necessary eligibility criteria.

Q62. The course I am studying will not allow me to qualify for an occupation on the Critical Skills List - Can I enroll in another course?

Students wishing to change course should firstly discuss with their education provider how this can be done. Those students who wish to change to a course in a different education sector may also need to apply for a Student visa of a different subclass and should contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Q63. I am an education provider with students enrolled in a course that will not allow them to qualify for an occupation on the CSL and these students are now withdrawing their enrolment. Is the Government going to compensate me?

No. The Government has not made any changes to international education or student visa policy. The occupations eligible for GSM have not changed. The changes will only impact on those students who apply for GSM on graduation. The change will mean faster visa processing for applicants with employer sponsorship or who are nominated by a State or Territory Government or who have an occupation on the CSL.

The government changes GSM visa requirements in response to economic conditions and labour market needs. As such, the government makes no guarantees that courses delivered by education providers in response to students seeking a permanent migration outcome will continue to assist them in meeting this goal.

Q64. What further changes are proposed for the student program?

At this time, there are no changes proposed to the student visa program.

Applying for a student visa and applying for GSM are separate processes. GSM requirements may be altered in future in response to changing economic circumstances.

The Government is focused on shifting the outcome of the migration program to a more industry driven model where employer sponsored visas become a significant pathway to permanent residence. Further changes along this direction will potentially be made in the future.

Q65. Do these changes affect my 457 application?

No.

Q66. Can I apply for General Skilled Migration while I hold a 457 Visa?

Yes, you can apply for an offshore GSM visa in Australia as a holder of 457 visas as long as you meet the threshold requirements. However, as this is an offshore category visa, you must be outside Australia at the time of grant and you will not be eligible for a bridging visa.

Source http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/program-changes-faq.pdf

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you use the phrase "labor shortage" or "skills shortage" you're speaking in a sentence fragment. What you actually have to say is: "There is a labor shortage at the salary level I'm willing to pay." That statement is the correct phrase; the complete sentence, the intellectually honest statement.

If you start raising your wages and improving working conditions, and continue to do so, eventually you'll have people lining up around the block to work for you even if you need to have huge piles of steaming manure hand-scooped on a blazing summer afternoon.

Re: Shortage due to retirees: With the majority of retirement accounts down about 50% or more, people entering retirement age are being forced to work well into their sunset years. So, you won’t be getting a worker shortage anytime soon due to retirees exiting the workforce.

Okay, fine. Some specialized jobs require training and/or certification, again, raise your wages and improve benefits! You’ll incentivize people to self-fund their education so that they can enter the industry in a work-ready state. The attractive wages, working conditions and career prospects of technology during the 1980’s and 1990’s was a prime example of people’s willingness to fund their own education.

Junaid N. Sahibzada said...

@^^

Thanks for the input.

Kind Regards

Junaid

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