SkillSelect and State Nomination Update March 2017

webster By Mark Webster
Thursday, 16 March 2017

This article looks at recent SkillSelect invitation rounds and changes to state nomination requirements.

The situation remains difficult for pro-rata occupations, but this may change as the number of invitations being issued is well below planning levels.

A few states have restricted their state nomination programs, but state nomination remains a very effective way to improve your eligibility for migration to Australia.

Non-Pro Rata Occupations

For most occupations, 60 point is sufficient to obtain an invitation for either the 189 or 489 subclass, and applicants can expect an invitation next invitation rounds.

The reason for this is that the total number of invitations being issued for both 189 and 489 subclasses is nowhere near sufficient to hit the targets being set by the Department of Immigration.

The current planning level for the 189 subclass is 2,000 invitations per round - giving a total of 48,000 for the program year. Even though we are now 3 quarters through the 2016-17 financial year, only 23,021 invitations have been issued for 189 visas, or 48% of the total planning level.

Similarly for the 489 family sponsored subclass, the planning level is currently 200 per round, or an annual total of 4,800, but only 1,082 invitations have been issued - a lowly 23% of the total. The reason for the shortfall is that applicants in pro rata occupations (see below) are currently very unlikely to receive invitations for 489 family sponsored visas - the 189 program has priority for these occupations.

Pro Rata Occupations

The situation is quite different for occupations which are on the "pro rata" list. These are occupations where more eligible EOIs (Expressions of Interest) are being lodged than there are places available in the occupational ceiling.

The maximum number of invitations for such occupations is limited each round, resulting in a higher minimum points for an invitation or a longer waiting time for invitation.

Accountants and Auditors are the most difficult occupations - they currently require 70 points for an invitation, and waiting times for an invitation are quite long even with this score (3-6 months).

All IT SOL occupations are on the pro rata list as well and require 65 points for an invitation. ICT Business and System Analysts are currently waiting 31 weeks for an invitation with 65 points, but the situation is much better for Computer Network Professionals (6 weeks) and Software and Applications Programmers (4 weeks).

There are a number of engineering specialisations on the pro rata list - most require 65 points for an invitation, but electronics engineers have oscillated between 60 and 65 points in the last few months. Some of these occupations were added fairly late in the program year and are currently very close to being filled - Other Engineering Professionals are 96% filled and Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers are 93% filled.

The 1 March round was interesting in that double the usual number of pro-rata invitations were issued - this suggests that the program is low on numbers and that Immigration is seeking to fill more places.

If the higher number of pro-rata occupations continues, it would mean that the occupational ceilings for pro rata occupations may be met well before the end of the program year. As a result, points and/or waiting times may reduce in the short term, but there may be a period of a month or two where invitations are not issued in some occupations.

State Nomination Update

A number of states and territories have tightened up their state nomination requirements for 190 and 489 visas.

For instance, Western Australia has this week announced that it has suspended 190 and 489 nominations pending a review of the WASMOL. This may be a consequence of the recent state election in WA.

ACT recently suspended state nominations for offshore applicants - nomination is now only available for those living in the ACT.

Victoria previously sponsored IT professionals quite actively but has suspended these occupations until the new financial year.

Despite these changes, state nomination remains a very effective way to improve your eligibility for skilled migration. Figures from February show that there are a significant number of state nominations being issued (1,578 for the month in total), with NSW, South Australia and Victoria still very active in sponsoring for General Skilled Migration.

Visa subclass ACT NSW NT Qld SA Tas. Vic. WA Total
Skilled - Nominated (subclass 190) visa 34 420 15 74 141 46 234 17 981
Skilled - Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa 0 32 5 6 93 70 0 0 206
Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa 0 50 0 40 14 2 199 14 319
Business Talent (Permanent) (subclass 132) visa 0 8 0 19 28 0 4 13 72
Total 34 510 20 139 276 118 437 44 1578

SkillSelect Source Data

The table below summarises the current situation for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Skilled Regional Provisional (Family Sponsored) subclass 489.
Occupation/Subclass Points Required Waiting Time 42781 42795 Running Total Target % Filled
189 - Most Occupations 60 Next round 1253 1832 23021 48000 48% filled
Accountants 70 22 weeks 98 196 2100 2500 84% filled
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 70 12 weeks 55 110 1155 1413 82% filled
ICT Business and System Analysts 65 31 weeks 60 120 1320 1482 89% filled
Software and Applications Programmers 65 4 weeks 225 450 4748 5662 84% filled
Electronics Engineer 60 14 weeks 29 58 821 1000 82% filled
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 65 16 weeks 17 34 1433 1539 93% filled
Other Engineering Professionals 65 11 weeks 28 56 962 1000 96% filled
Computer Network Professionals 65 6 weeks 50 100 1382 1426 97% filled
Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 60 Next round 27 32 1082 4800 23% filled

Conclusion

The General Skilled Migration program certainly appears to be behind planning levels.

Much will depend on the Department of Immigration's reaction to this. Options they could consider would be:

  1. Raising the occupational ceiling for pro rata occupations - this would meet the program and result in lower points requirements for an invitation
  2. Relaxing the restriction on pro rata occupations applying for family sponsored 489s - this would probably still not meet the planning level for the program, but would be a boon for people with permanent resident relatives in Australia
  3. Do nothing - in this case, we can expect the number of pro rata invitations to be increased in the short term to attempt to get closer to program numbers
If you would like advice on your likely eligibility for migration to Australia, please book a consultation with one of our advisors.

The advisor will review your background in detail and give you advice in writing on your migration options, visa requirements, as well as likely costs and processing times. This Immigration Roadmap is an invaluable first step in your journey towards Australian citizenship.

Sources

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