On the 1stof July 2012 the Australian immigration department will be introducing a set of new visa rules that will change the Australian skilled migrant visa application process and will impact those who are looking to work in Australia.
In this article we explain the new rules and take a look at what they will mean for expatriates who wish to move to Australia under the skilled migrant scheme.
A Brief Look at the New Rules
One of the things that immediately stands out about the new visa process, which has been renamed the Skilled Migrant Selection Model, is that on first glance it looks much more arduous than the previous one. It is clear that the immigration’s intention is to only permit skilled migrant visas to the very best applicants but in the process of doing so they have created a drawn-out application procedure that can appear very daunting.
At present, candidates who wish to enter Australia under the skilled migrant scheme are required to participate in a points system, in which they gain points according to factors such as their age, language skills, qualifications and the trades in which they work. Those candidates that demonstrate they have sufficient points are able to apply for the appropriate visa. However, from the 1st July this year attaining sufficient points will not be sufficient. Those that do pass the points threshold will only get as far as an electronic “expression on interest” stage, in that they will only be permitted to lodge an application that states they are interested in applying for the skilled migrant visa. At this point they will be placed into a pool of candidates who have expressed an interest in applying for the visa and will then need to wait until immigration officials select them from the pool. This, of course, may take some time. Many people predict that candidates could be left waiting in this pool for up to two years before their application is even considered or rejected altogether.
Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship argue that the new Skilled Migrant Selection Model will actually make the visa application process quicker for the right candidates as claimants that are selected from the pool will be provided with a much quicker response from the Australian immigration department while Australia will get skilled migrants in high demand and at lower costs: “These new arrangements are designed to better respond to labor market demands and form part of ongoing reform of the skilled migration program,” a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said. “This will give the government greater control and flexibility to adjust to changes in the economy.”
It isn’t just the application process that is set to change; the points system will also be undergoing some major revisions. On the plus side, the limit for application for the expression of interest will be raised from 25 to 50, which will come as welcome news for older expats. Additional points will also be awarded to individual’s who can prove that they are fluent in English. In addition to this, greater points will be on offer for those who have high levels of qualifications as opposed to those who have trade skills alone. It is therefore clear that Australia is now seeking highly educated professionals in favor of skilled tradesmen.
How Can You Avoid the New Visa Rules?
If you are seriously considering moving to Australia in the near future and were hoping to gain entry to the country under the skilled migrant scheme then you need to get your application in now. If you do apply before the 1st July your application will be considered until the old rules as opposed to the new ones and, if you’re successful you will then have a five-year window of opportunity during which you can accept the visa offer and relocate.
If you’re moving to Australia, check out our expst guides to Sydney and Melbourne. They contain everything you need to know about life in Australia from visa application processes through to finding somewhere to live and navigating the infrastructure.