Skilled Migration Changes and Processing Times Update

By Mark Webster, Acacia Immigration Australia, 24 November 2009

There are 3 significant changes to General Skilled Migration (GSM) coming into effect on 1 January 2010. These will affect a large number of international students applying for permanent residence. People who apply before 31 December 2009 will be processed under the current guidelines, so please contact us us if you need advice about proceeding with your application.

1. VETASSESS Skills Assessment

VETASSESS is the main skills assessing authority for professional (50-point) and associate professional (40-point) occupations.

Currently, applicants require a bachelor degree to pass skills assessment in a 50-point occupation. There is currently no requirement that the qualification be related to the occupation, nor is any work experience required.

From 1 January 2010, VETASSESS will require that the qualification be relevant, but also that you have at least 12 months of relevant work experience to pass skills assessment.

If you are looking at an 18-month Graduate Skilled subclass 485 visa, you can get an assessment based on your qualification alone, but will need the work experience to get a skills assessment for your permanent residence application.

2. English Requirement

Currently, applicants in trade occupations (eg commercial cookery and hairdressing) must have a minimum band score of 5 in IELTS to apply for skilled migration.

From 1 January 2010, this will be increasing to 6 minimum band score.

Concessional competent English will also go up from 5.5 average to 6.0 average. This will be important for students who are looking to apply for the 3-year Skilled Regional Sponsored visa.

3. Job Ready Test

Trade applicants may also be required to sit for a "Job Ready Test" from 1 January 2010. It is not clear which occupations will be affected, but it is likely that cooks and hairdressers will be the main occupations targeted.

The Job Ready Test will most likely involve an interview in which students must answer technical questions in relation to their occupation. A workplace-based test is not likely to be required.

Processing Time Update

The Minister for Immigration introduced new processing priorities for skilled migration on 23 September 2009. As a result, Critical Skills List (CSL) applicants receive the highest priority.

State sponsorship is no longer the highest priority, and the Minister has advised that unless on the CSL, your application is unlikely to be processed before 2011 (if applying onshore) or 2012 if applying offshore.

If you would like to discuss your case in detail or have questions on how these changes will affect you, please contact us

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