Time Running Out for Migration Applicantsby Mark Webster
14 December 2011 Significant changes to the Australian Migration Program due to be introduced on 1 July 2012 mean that time is running out for people wishing to apply for skilled points tested or business migration. On 1 July 2012, the "SkillSelect" model will commence. As a result, it will no longer be possible to apply directly for skilled migration - instead people must first make an Expression of Interest (or EOI). The EOIs will be collected and evaluated by the Department of Immigration periodically, and the candidates considered to be the "best" will be issued with invitations to lodge their applications.
Effect on Skilled - Points Tested MigrantsThe Department of Immigration has already given details on the effect of the changes on skilled - points tested migrants. Applicants will need to first complete a skills assessment and English testing before lodging an Expression of Interest. Letters of invitation will be issued to applicants with the highest points score, and quotas will apply to each occupation. As a result, it will no longer be possible to give an accurate assessment of a person's eligiblity for skilled migration to Australia at the beginning of the process. Eligibility will depend on whether the person will be issued an invitation to apply by the Department of Immigration, which will depend on a range of factors including how many people have already applied in the occupation nominated by the person. In addition, the skilled migration program will be effectively closed to new applications from July 2012 until January 2013. The reason for this is that the Department of Immigration does not plan on issuing any invitations to apply for skilled migration whilst the SkillSelect system "populates". As a skills assessment is required to apply for a skilled points tested visa, applicants would need to get started on the application process very soon to lodge before the changes and avoid disappointment. The skills assessment process can take 3 months or more, and processing time for skills assessments could well be longer than usual as the deadline approaches.
Effect on Business MigrationIt also seems likely that other visa options will convert across to the SkillSelect model. In particular, it is likely that business migration will convert to this model from 1 July 2012. The Department of Immigration has not given details of the changes to business migration, but this program is currently under review due to concerns about the quality of businesses being started by business migrants in Australia. The Department of Immigration SkillSelect page mentions that business migration subclasses 132, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 890, 891, 892, 893 will be "affected". Subclasses 890-893 are permanent visas for provisional business migration visa holders, so it is possible that people already in Australia on provisional visas will be disadvantaged by the changes. It is also quite possible that the Established Business in Australia Subclass 845 and Regional Established Business in Australia Subclass 846 visas may be amended or possibly withdrawn as part of these changes. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your likely eligibility for migration to Australia and to get started on your application without delay.
ReferencesSkillSelect Model - Acacia Website
SkillSelect - Department of Immigration Website