Published on August 28th, 2009 | by john.weir25
Changes to skilled migration demand list for Australia
The Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) is crucial for the majority of people applying for skilled migration to Australia â€“ in fact, 73% of skilled independent visa applications rely on MODL points to meet the pass mark for the visa points test. The MODL is a list of occupations where skill shortages in Australia have been identified and so extra points are allocated to migrants in these fields. The current MODL review being undertaken by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship could therefore have substantial implications for a large number of prospective British migrants.
The first report of the MODL review has recently been released and highlights a number of important changes being considered for skilled independent visas (subclass 175) and the general skilled migration programme overall. These are:
- A new MODL to replace both the existing MODL and the Critical Skills List (CSL) â€“ the list of occupations eligible for priority processing.
- The number of occupations on the new MODL to significantly decrease from the current 106 occupations to more likely resemble the CSL (with only 55 occupations).
- Possible caps on the number of skilled independent visas available in specific occupations.
- Minimum qualification and increased work experience requirements for the award of MODL points.
- Independent skilled migration to no longer be the driving force of the skilled migration programme, but rather a supplement to state and employer sponsored migration which are now the priority.
These proposed changes could reduce the ability of some prospective migrants to obtain permanent residency in Australia. With the review due to be completed by the end of October, new MODL arrangements are scheduled to be phased in shortly afterwards, possibly before the end of the year. As the number of occupations on the MODL is set to be cut, people in affected occupations may no longer be able to reach the pass mark required for a skilled independent visa â€“ the subclass 175 generally being considered the premier skilled visa available. Given that it can take a few months to obtain the skills assessment needed to lodge a visa application, if your occupation is currently on the MODL you are advised to act quickly to protect yourself from the upcoming potential changes. Similarly, if your occupation is on the Critical Skills List then applying now will ensure you enjoy priority processing, before the CSL is phased out. In either case, if you submit your visa application before the proposed changes take place your application should not be affected by these new regulations.
The consequences of the looming MODL change on the ability of many individuals to migrate to Australia is perhaps best illustrated by a case study. The table below shows how a 35 year old British applicant would typically fare on the visa points test with their occupation currently on the MODL and then if it were taken off the MODL in the proposed regulation change.
35 year old British applicant working in a skilled occupation
for at least 3 of the past 4 years
Pass mark for skilled independent visa (subclass 175) = 120 POINTS
Current points test with occupation
on existing MODL
Eligible for skilled independent visa as passes visa points test
Future points test with occupation taken off MODL
Not eligible for skilled independent visa as fails visa points test
|Please note this example does not factor into the points test those points categories that do not apply to the vast majority of UK applications (eg. community language points, Australian study points, etc).|
As shown, an applicant in the above situation would become ineligible for a skilled independent visa if their occupation was taken off the MODL and be forced to explore other available migration options. For prospective migrants who are older or have less work experience than in the case study above, the impact of the proposed changes would also be failing the points test for the subclass 175 visa.
However it is not all bad news as the MODL review does also outline some positive developments for migrants. While previously the MODL has usually changed every 6 months on an ad-hoc basis, a move towards annually scheduled MODL updates is proposed. This will protect future migrants from unexpected changes, allowing them to make firmer migration plans. Also new regulations are likely to allow a limited number of 40 and 50 point occupations to be included on the new MODL, which will broaden the migration options of people in a few select occupations.
Even with these proposed changes Australia is in no way closing the door to migrants with its 2009-10 migrant intake set to be its largest in history. It is just becoming slightly more selective in who is eligible, with many avenues to permanent residency remaining open. State sponsorship for example will come to play an even greater role in qualifying UK applicants for skilled visas. This means however, the exact location of where one can settle for their first two years in Australia is somewhat restricted. It is also likely more applicants will have to rely upon family and employer sponsorship in the future.
To safeguard yourself against the proposed new regulations contact a Registered Migration Agent who can advise you fully on your current options and how the proposed MODL changes may affect you. If your occupation is on the existing MODL you should consider starting the visa process immediately to ensure the skilled independent visa (subclass 175) remains available to you.
By John Adams – meet John and get a FREE visa assessment at our Down Under Live show at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.
John Adams is the principal Registered Migration Agent of Immigration2oz.com â€“ email@example.com, Ph: +44 (0)1483 230 483. A full list of the occupations on the existing MODL and which may therefore be affected can be found at â€“