New Selection Model for General Skilled MigrationBy Mark Webster
11 May 2011 The Department of Immigration announced on 10 May 2011 that a new selection model for skilled migration will be introduced which will require applicants to first make an Expression of Interest before being invited by the Department of Immigration to lodge a skilled visa application.
Applications Affected by Selection ModelThe new Selection Model will apply from 1 July 2012 and will affect the following types of visa:
- Skilled Independent
- Skilled Sponsored
- Skilled Regional Sponsored
Expressions of InterestUnder the new model, applicants must first complete skills assessment and English testing, then lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) via the internet. The EOIs will be assessed on a periodic basis - possibly every quarter or every six months. Invitations to apply for a general skilled visa will then be issued by the Department of Immigration based on:
- How many invitations have been issued for the applicant's occupation in the program year
- The applicant's likely points score
- Order of application
Occupation CeilingAn "occupation ceiling" will apply for people applying for skilled independent migration. Should the ceiling be reached in a program year, no further invitations will be issued for that occupation. It appears that this ceiling will not apply to family sponsored or state/territory government sponsored applicants.
Nomination by Employers and State/Territory GovernmentsThe EOI will typically be held in the system for 2 years. During this time, applicants can elect to have their details published to employers and state/territory governments. Employers may then nominate applicants for RSMS or ENS visas, and state/territory governments for sponsored and regional sponsored skilled visas. State and Territory governments will only be able to nominate from applicants who have made an EOI. Nominated applicants will still be part of the invitation process and will be issued with invitations at the same time as independent and family sponsored applicants.
Consequences of the ChangesThe proposed system will mean that the Department of Immigration will be more easily able to control the pipeline of skilled visa applications by restricting the number of visa applications to what can reasonably be processed within the program year. In 2010 the size of the general skilled pipeline peaked at some 150,000 applicants - the Department of Immigration is currently obliged to process valid applications and options for reducing this pipeline are limited. In particular, it would be illegal for the Department of Immigration to refuse or render invalid applications from people having certain occupations, and refusals would be subject to legal and merits review. The new selection model will have serious consequences for people who need to apply for skilled migration within a tight timeframe - for example:
- International students who need to lodge for an onshore visa prior to expiry of their current student or graduate skilled visa; and
- People who are soon to go up an age bracket and so become ineligible for skilled migration