Published on December 17th, 2009 | by john.weir2
Latest changes to the General Skilled Migration Visa programme for Australia
Legislation was released on Comlaw on 15 December to affect both onshore and offshore applicants for General Skilled Migration. These changes have not yet been published on the DIAC website or discussed with the Migration Institute of Australia.
From 1 January 2010, changes have been made to the skills assessment requirement for onshore applicants for the following subclasses:
- 885: Skilled Independent (Permanent)
- 886: Skilled Sponsored (Permanent)
- 487: Skilled Regional Sponsored (Three-year provisional)
These are the main visa subclasses accessed by international students applying for further stay in Australia after completion of their studies.
All applicants for the above visas must provide a suitable skills assessment at the date of lodgement to make a valid application from 1 January 2010. Currently, it is sufficient to lodge the visa application with evidence that the skills assessment has been applied for, provided the skills assessment is positive by the time the visa application is assessed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
In addition, provision has been made in the new legislation to require applicants to provide a skills assessment that has been completed on or after 1 January 2010 for certain gazetted occupations. As yet, the list of occupations is not available. However, it seems likely that the changes are likely to affect trade occupations and possibly those assessed by VETASSESS.
Note that the above changes do not affect subclass 485 Graduate Skilled visas as this is the 18-month temporary residence visa available to students studying in Australia for at least two years. It will still be possible to apply for this visa prior to completion of the skills assessment, and there is no provision for the DIAC requesting a recent skills assessment either.
As a result, most international students will most likely need to apply for a Graduate Skilled visa to allow them to remain in Australia whilst their skills assessment is being finalised so that they can then apply for a longer stay skilled visa.
International students with skills assessments completed prior to 1 January 2010 may need to get their skills re-assessed ahead of applying for their long stay skilled visa.
Work experience requirements have been changed for the following offshore applications:
- 175: Skilled Independent (Migrant)
- 176: Skilled Sponsored (Migrant)
- 475: Skilled Regional Sponsored (Three-year provisional)
For gazetted occupations, all applicants must show recent work experience in the occupation. Currently, it is possible to qualify by showing at least 12 of the last 24 months of work experience in any skilled occupation, and a waiver of the work experience requirement is available for international students completing studies of two years or more in Australia.
Again, the list of affected occupations has not yet been gazetted by the DIAC.
To find out how this affects your visa application, or for a free visa assessment, come along to Down Under Live, 30th and 31st January 2010 in London