New GSM Priority Processing Arrangements

By Sarah Kabbara - Solicitor/Case Manager at Acacia Immigration Australia

On 23 September 2009, The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, set new priority processing arrangements for Skilled Migration visas. The new processing times apply to applications lodged that have not been finalised, and to applications lodged with the Department of Immigration, on or after 23 September 2009.

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

  1. ENS and the RSMS applications;
  2. CSL occupations - State/Territory nominated;
  3. CSL occupations - Family sponsored;
  4. CSL occupations - not sponsored/nominated;
  5. State/Territory nominated - occupation not on the CSL;
  6. MODL occupations and family sponsored - occupation not on the CSL;
  7. All other applications to be processed in the order in which they are received.

Applications for Subclass 485 (Skilled - Graduate) visas are now subject to priority processing. The following processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) apply:

  • PHD's completed at an Australian institution;
  • Occupations on the CSL;
  • Bachelor and Masters Degrees completed at an Australian institution;
  • Bachelor or Honours degrees completed at an Australian institution;
  • Bachelor or Masters Degrees completed at an Australian institution;
  • All other valid applications to be processed in the order in which they are received.
The only visa subclasses exempt from priority processing are:
  • Skilled - Recognised Graduate Subclass 476
  • Skilled - Designated Area - Sponsored (Residence) Subclass 883
  • Skilled - Regional Subclass 887
  • Applications remitted to Immigration from the MRT
These new processing arrangements have made CSL occupations more important than state nominated applications which seems to be the implication of huge amounts of applicants being state sponsored since the previous priorities were introduced. Another major change is that family sponsored applications have now been given higher priority than in the past (same level as MODL) and now 485 applications are subject to priority arrangements when they were previously exempt.

Unfortunately, for those who have already lodged applications with Immigration, these new priorities mean a longer wait even if the application is in the final stages of processing. Applications in lower priority groups cannot be processed further until those in higher priority groups are finalised.

If you have applied for an onshore or offshore GSM visa and your nominated occupation is on the CSL, it is estimated that your application will be finalised within 12 months from your lodgement date.

If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL and you have applied for an offshore GSM visa or intend to apply for an offshore GSM before the end of 2009, it is unlikely that your visa will be finalised before the end of 2012.

If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL and you applied for an onshore GSM visa or intend to apply for an onshore GSM before the end of 2009, it is unlikely that your visa will be finalised before the end of 2011.

If you have further questions please contact us

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