New rules from June 2012 for General skilled migration in Australia
A new selection model based on an Expression of Interest (EOI) and invitation to apply is implement for new skilled migrants. The proposal is in an early stage of development. Although the key features are settled, further changes are possible and the following must not be taken as a final description of how the new selection model will operate.
The Skilled Migrant Selection Model
The Australian Government has decided for a major reform in the way Australia selects skilled migrants, which is Skilled Migrant Selection Model. The Model will build upon and draw together number of reforms to the skilled migration program over the past three years. In doing so it will deliver the skills Australia needs by matching the best and brightest migrants to the available places in the migration program.
The Model will be an electronic system based upon a two-stage process. Prospective applicants first submit claims for skilled migration through an online EOI and subsequently may be invited to make a visa application. This is a significant change from the current situation, as applicants for independent or state/territory sponsored migration will be required to receive an invitation in order to lodge a visa application.
Once invited, the Model will ensure a match between the number of applicants and the number of available program places. This will result in streamlined processing times.
Benefits of the Model
The fundamental principle underpinning the Model is that the skilled migration program is determined by the economic needs of Australia. As such, it is necessary for the Australian government to manage who is able to apply for skilled migration, when they are able to apply and in what numbers, on the basis of this need. It is proposed that the Model will allocate all places in the independent skilled migration program to the prospective migrants, those who score highest on the points test, in each eligible occupational group.
A key benefit of the Model is the ability to address regional skill shortages. The Model allows prospective migrants to nominate their willingness to live and work in regional Australia. This will be of particular benefit to employers experiencing regional skills shortages and state and territory governments attempting to settle migrants in regional Australia.
The Model will connect state and territory governments and Australian employers with potential skilled workers through a central database of prospective skilled migrants. This will help state and territory governments maximise the benefit derived from their state and territory Migration Plans. From the perspective of employers, the Model would assist in the resolution of skills shortages through quick and easy identification of prospective workers with the requisite skills and attributes, reducing advertising and recruitment costs to businesses.
Implementation of the Model
The Model is proposed to commence on 1 July 2012. As of this date, new applicants for independent, family or state/territory sponsored migration would need to submit an EOI and be issued with an invitation before lodging a visa application, unless eligible for transitional arrangements. The first round of invitations is expected to occur in January 2013.
Transitional arrangements currently apply to certain people who, on 8 February 2010, held or had applied for a Skilled – Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This group is able to apply for a permanent skilled visa under the previous system, until the end of 2012. There are no additional transitional arrangements in relation to the Model.
Visa subclasses affected by the Model
The visa subclasses which will be affected by the Model are:
- Skilled – Independent (Migrant) subclass 175
- Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) subclass 176
- Skilled – Independent (Residence) subclass 885
- Skilled – Sponsored (Residence) subclass 886
- Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) subclass 475
- Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) subclass 487.
All prospective applicants for these visas will need to submit an EOI and receive an invitation before they can apply.
Prospective applicants interested in employer sponsorship would not be required to submit an EOI if they already have a sponsor. However, submitting an EOI allows employers to view their details and contact prospective applicants to discuss sponsorship opportunities. It would also allow prospective migrants who are sponsored on a temporary basis to be invited for either independent skilled migration or state/territory sponsored migration if eligible.
For those who have already lodged a visa application prior to the implementation of the Model and are pending processing, the department would process this application in accordance with any priority processing direction in effect at that time. A prospective migrant who has already lodged a visa application may want to submit an EOI in order to be connected to an employer or state/territory government.
What is an EOI?
An EOI is an online expression of interest for skilled migration to Australia. It is how prospective applicants will register their interest in applying for a skilled visa.
Prospective applicants would provide basic biographical and other information such as occupation, details of work experience and level of English language ability on the online EOI form. Those expressing interest in independent, family sponsored and/or state/territory sponsored skilled migration would need to submit their claims against the points test.
Prospective applicants submitting an EOI are able to indicate whether they want to be considered for independent/family, state/territory and/or employer sponsored migration (on either a temporary or permanent basis). A prospective applicant may register interest in one or more visa program depending on their eligibility and personal preferences
How will the Model work?
Prospective applicants express their interest in applying for a skilled visa through an online EOI form. They will be required to indicate categories of skilled migration they are interested in. These details would be stored in a database, which would be accessible by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (the department). State and territory governments May 2011 2
and approved employers will only be able to access the details of those who have nominated interest in those respective migration categories.
Selected EOIs would be invited to lodge an application. Prospective applicants may be selected by the department for Independent or Family sponsored migration; or state or territory government agencies for state sponsored migration or a state sponsored regional provisional visa. Alternatively, employers may contact prospective migrants to arrange sponsorship for permanent employer sponsored migration or a subclass 457 visa.
The EOI database will provide a central repository of prospective migrants. This would enable employers to easily identify, compare and establish contact with potential skilled workers.
State and territory governments would select prospective migrants from the database if they have available places in their State/Territory Migration Plan approved by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.
Employers will be able to sponsor a prospective migrant, including one identified through the Model, at any time using the current application process
Would I need to submit an EOI?
It is proposed that all prospective skilled migrants seeking an independent, family sponsored or state/territory sponsored visa will need to submit an EOI and be issued with an invitation in order to lodge a visa application. Prospective skilled migrants seeking employer sponsored visas may want to submit an EOI if they have not yet found an employer to sponsor them. This is not a mandatory requirement if they already have an employer sponsor. The following table provides a summary:
Permanent employer sponsored
Regional sponsored (Provisional)
|Yes Must submit an EOI||No EOI optional||No EOI optional||Yes Must submit an EOI||Yes Must submit an EOI|
Would I have to complete the job ready program before I submit an EOI?
If your occupation and circumstances require you to complete the Job Ready Program, you should satisfy this requirement prior to lodging an EOI. It is proposed that you would be required to lodge your visa application within two months of the date of invitation.
If you did not lodge a visa application within this time period your invitation would be considered null and void. Your EOI would remain in the database for the remainder of the two years from the date you submitted your EOI and you may be eligible for selection in a subsequent invitation round during this period
Would I have to complete a skills assessment and/or an English language test before I submit an EOI?
Yes. Your EOI will need to be based upon facts as they stand at the time you express interest in migrating. If you are invited to submit a visa application, it is envisaged that you would have two months to finalise all necessary documentation and to lodge your application. The invitation would expire at the end of two months.
How long would my EOI stay on the database?
An EOI would generally remain in the database for two years after submission. An EOI would be removed prior to the expiry of this period if a permanent or provisional visa has been granted.
The below table summarises the period of time an EOI would remain on the database:
|Granted a 457 visa||Granted a permanent employer sponsored visa||Invited for a state or territory sponsored visa||Invited for an Independent or family sponsored visa||Not invited|
|EOI would not be removed from the database until either:the two year expiry period elapses*or
you are subsequently invited for and granted a permanent residence visa.
|EOI would be removed from the database upon visa grant.||EOI would be removed from the database upon visa grant, even if granted a provisional (regional) visa.||EOI would be removed from the database upon visa grant.||EOI would be removed from the database two years after submission.Prior to the expiry of the two year period, applicants could elect to renew their EOI.|
What if my circumstances change after lodging my EOI?
If your circumstances change after lodging your EOI and before you are invited to lodge a visa application, you would be required to update your information in the database. Updates to your skills would ensure that any documentation you submit in respect of a visa application is consistent with the information on the database. This may increase your score on the points test, therefore improving your chance of being issued with an invitation to lodge a visa application.
If the details you provide in your visa application do not match those contained in your EOI, you may not be granted a visa even if you meet the threshold criteria.
Ranking and selecting in the Model
How would EOIs be ranked?
EOIs for points tested visas would be ranked in accordance with the points achieved on the skilled migration points test, a mechanism that assesses a skilled migrant’s level of human capital by their age, level of qualifications, English language ability and work experience. In this regard, the prescribed pass mark for a points tested visa category will only represent the minimum standard required. This will ensure that the best applicants in each occupation are identified and selected first.
What is the proposed occupation ceiling?
The Model will contain a mechanism to ensure the Independent category of the skilled migration program delivers the occupations that are most in need. This mechanism is known as the occupation ceiling. In simple terms, the occupation ceiling is intended to be a limit on how many people could be selected for independent migration from a particular occupation group. Its purpose is to prevent the Independent category being dominated by a narrow range of occupations. Once the limit is reached each year, there would be no further invitations for migration from a particular occupation group. Program places would then be allocated to other occupation groups, even if they are lower scoring
Who decides which EOIs would be invited?
Independent Skilled Migration
For independent and family sponsored skilled migration, all selection decisions would be made electronically, based on the Selection and Invitation diagram below. Selection is an automated process and is based on objective criteria. Departmental staff will not be involved in the selection process.
State/territory government and employer sponsored visas
It is proposed that state/territory governments would be able to nominate prospective applicants at any time to apply for a state/territory visa as part of a State/Territory Migration Plan. Nominated prospective applicants would then receive an invitation to apply at the same time as the selection round for independent migrants. Employers could also access the database and contact a prospective applicant to arrange sponsorship.
As state/territory government delegates must choose from the EOIs contained in the database, there would be no advantage in contacting state/territory governments directly.
What would happen if I am in Australia when I lodge my visa application?
If you are in Australia, it is important to note that submitting an EOI or being issued with an invitation to apply will not be grounds for being issued a bridging visa (BV). A BV would only be considered once a valid visa application is actually lodged. Therefore, if the visa you hold is about to expire before you apply for a skilled visa, you would need to apply for another visa if you want to remain in Australia. If you do not meet the requirements for grant of another visa, you would need to depart Australia before your visa expires.
What would happen if I don’t get invited?
Your EOI would remain in the database for potential selection for two years from the date that it was submitted. During this time, you may be selected in a subsequent invitation round. You must update your details if your circumstances change. Additionally, if you have expressed interest in an employer sponsored visa, you may be contacted by an employer directly to discuss sponsorship.
If you have indicated interest in state/territory sponsorship you may be contacted by a state or territory government delegate to discuss sponsorship. If more than one state or territory wants to sponsor you, the invitation to apply for migration would be issued against the first state or territory to nominate you.