New Priority Processing For Certain Skilled Migration Visas

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australia-skilled-migrant-visaThe Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, has set new priority processing arrangements for certain Skilled Migration visas. These arrangements are designed to better address the needs of industry by targeting skills in critical need across a number of sectors. The current priority processing Direction commenced on 23 September 2009.

The Direction applies to applications in the pipeline that have not been finalised, and to applications lodged with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, on or after 23 September 2009.

To assist the visitors to our site, we have included the Frequently Asked Questions from the Department Website below.

To discuss these latest changes then post a comment at the bottom of this post or visit the thread in our forums which you can find by clicking here.

Q1 What is priority processing?

Section 51 of the Migration Act 1958 gives the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship powers to consider and finalise visa applications in an order of priority that the Minister considers appropriate. Departmental officers must follow this Ministerial direction, which applies to both new applications and those applications awaiting a decision.

Q2 What are the changes to the Skilled Migration visa processing priorities?

The Minister has set priority processing arrangements which apply to the following visas from 23 September 2009:

• Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
• Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
• General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas except for:

o Skilled – Recognised Graduate Subclass 476
o Skilled – Designated Area – Sponsored (Residence) Subclass 883
o Skilled – Regional Subclass 887.

Under the Ministerial Direction, the following processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) apply:

1. applications from people who are employer sponsored under the ENS and the RSMS
2. applications from people who are nominated by a State/Territory government and whose nominated occupation is listed on the Critical Skills List (CSL)
3. applications from people who are sponsored by family and whose nominated occupation is listed on the CSL
4. applications from people who are neither nominated nor sponsored but whose nominated occupation is listed on the CSL
5. applications from people who are nominated by a State/Territory government whose nominated occupation is not listed on the CSL
6. (i) applications from people whose occupations are listed on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) and
(ii) applications from people who are sponsored by family and whose nominated occupation is not listed on the CSL.
7. all other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

For the Subclass 485 (Skilled – Graduate) visa the following processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) apply:

1. Applications from people who have completed an Australian Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) at an Australian educational institution in Australia
2. Applications from people who have nominated an occupation on the CSL
3. Applications from people who have completed an Australian Bachelor degree and Australian Masters degree at an Australian educational institution in Australia
4. Applications from people who have completed an Australian Bachelor degree and Australian Honours degree (at least upper second class level) at an Australian educational institution in Australia
5. Applications from people who have completed an Australian Bachelor degree or Australian Masters degree at an Australian educational institution in Australia
6. All other valid applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

For Business Skills (Provisional) visas the following processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) apply:

1. Applications from people who are sponsored by the Commonwealth or a State/Territory government
2. All other valid applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

Q3 Which GSM visas are affected by priority processing?

The following GSM visas are affected by priority processing:

• Skill Matching Subclass 134
• Skilled – Independent Subclass 136
• Skilled – State/Territory-nominated Independent Subclass 137
• Skilled – Australian-sponsored Subclass 138
• Skilled – Designated Area-sponsored Subclass 139
• Skilled – Independent Subclass 175
• Skilled – Independent Subclass 176
• Skilled – Regional Sponsored Subclass 475
• Skilled – Graduate Subclass 485
• Skilled – Regional Sponsored Subclass 487
• Skilled – Independent Regional Subclass 495
• Skilled – Designated Area-sponsored (Provisional) Subclass 496
• Graduate – Skilled Subclass 497
• Skilled – Onshore Independent New Zealand Citizen Subclass 861
• Skilled – Onshore Australian-sponsored New Zealand Citizen Subclass 862
• Skilled – Onshore Designated Area-sponsored New Zealand Citizen Subclass 863
• Skilled – Independent Overseas Student Subclass 880
• Skilled – Australian-sponsored Subclass 881
• Skilled – Designated Area-sponsored Overseas Student Subclass 882
• Skilled – Independent Subclass 885
• Skilled – Sponsored Subclass 886

Q4 Which GSM visa subclasses are exempt from priority processing?

The following visa subclasses are exempt from priority processing:

• Skilled – Recognised Graduate Subclass 476
• Skilled – Designated Area – Sponsored (Residence) Subclass 883
• Skilled – Regional Subclass 887.

Applications for these visa subclasses will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Q5 Why have the processing priorities changed?

The priority processing Direction gives priority to people seeking to migrate to Australia who have skills or qualifications in one of the occupations on the current CSL. This directive responds to the needs of the Australian economy.

Q6 When did the changes to priority processing come into effect?

The changes take effect from 23 September 2009 and apply to applications lodged with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (the Department) on or after this date. The changes also apply to applications that had been lodged previously with the Department and have not been finalised.

Q7 Is there any difference in the processing priorities between onshore and offshore visa Subclasses?

No, priority processing applies to onshore and offshore applications equally, however, processing times between the two can vary.

Q8 What occupations or industries are affected?

Occupations that are not included on the CSL will not be given priority processing unless applicants are formally sponsored
by an employer under ENS or RSMS.

Q9 What will happen to those applications which are in the final stages of processing and where the Department has
requested applicants to provide health and character clearances?

The new arrangements apply to all visa applications, including those in the final stages of processing. Applications in lower priority groups cannot be processed further until those in higher priority groups are finalised in accordance with the priority processing Direction.

Q10 How long will it take for my application to be finalised if my nominated occupation is on the CSL?

If you have applied for an onshore or offshore GSM visa and your nominated occupation is on the CSL, it is estimated that your application will be finalised within 12 months from your lodgement date.

Q11 My application does not fall into one of the priority categories. When can I expect to have my application finalised?

If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL and you have applied for an offshore GSM visa or intend to apply for an offshore GSM before the end of 2009, it is unlikely that your visa will be finalised before the end of 2012.

If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL and you applied for an onshore GSM visa or intend to apply for an onshore GSM before the end of 2009, it is unlikely that your visa will be finalised before the end of 2011.

Your ‘nominated occupation’ is the occupation you nominated at the time you lodged your application and cannot be changed.

Q12 If my nominated occupation is not on the CSL can I still receive priority processing?

No. If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL your application will not be prioritised.

Please do not contact the Department to request your application be exempt from the priority processing Direction. Case officers must adhere to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship’s priority processing Direction.

Q13 What are my options if my application is unlikely to be finalised by the end of 2011 and I have applied for an onshore visa?

The options available are:
• to continue to live and work in Australia (if your visa allows) whilst you await a decision on your visa application,
• to consider your eligibility for an employer sponsored visa, or other substantive visa, or
• to withdraw your application and return to your home country.

Note: If you choose to withdraw your application you will not be entitled to a refund of your Visa Application Charge (VAC).

Q14 What are my options if my application is unlikely to be finalised by 2012 and I applied for an offshore visa?
The options available are:

• to continue to await a decision on your visa application,
• consider your eligibility for an employer sponsored visa, or
• to withdraw your application.

Note: if you choose to withdraw your application you will not be entitled to a refund of your Visa Application Charge (VAC).
Should you be in Australia after having applied for an offshore GSM visa, you will not be eligible for a bridging visa to remain in Australia while this application is being processed. You must apply for another visa or you will need to depart Australia.

Q15 I need to travel overseas but my visa application has not been finalised yet. What should I do?

If you were granted a Bridging visa A when you applied for your GSM visa you should be able to lodge an application for a Bridging visa B to allow you to travel and return to Australia (within a specified period). A Bridging visa B is generally not issued for greater than three months.

There is no need to contact the Department upon your return to apply for another Bridging visa unless you have further need to travel outside Australia.

Q16 I have been granted a provisional GSM visa and my spouse now wishes to join me, will they be able to do so?

Yes. Applications for subsequent entrants for provisional GSM visas will be processed in date of lodgement order.

Q17 I already have a State and Territory nomination, how am I affected?

All GSM applications, other than a Subclass 476, 883 and 887 are subject to the priority processing arrangements under the Minister’s Direction. Applicants who are nominated by a State or Territory and have nominated an occupation on the CSL receive the second highest priority. Applicants who are nominated by a State/Territory and have not nominated an occupation on the CSL will receive lower priority.

Q18 I am an Accountant with a score of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 7 in all four components of the test, am I eligible for priority processing?

Accountants who have scored a minimum of 7 (Proficient English) in all four components of an IELTS test are eligible for priority processing under the CSL.

All Accountants, including those who hold a current British, American, Canadian, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland passport must present an IELTS test of at least 7 in each test component if they wish to receive priority processing.
Note: The results must be from an IELTS test you sat no more than two (2) years before the day you made your application.

You will only be eligible for priority processing under the CSL once you provide evidence of your ‘proficient English’ IELTS results to the Department.

Q19 I am a Computing Professional with a specialisation on the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL), how am I affected?

Only Computing Professionals who have a specialisation listed on the MODL are eligible for priority processing in the order outlined at Q2.

Q20 Why are medical and police clearances still required for applicants applying for an onshore GSM visa who do not have an occupation on the CSL or State or Territory government nomination?

Under the Migration Regulations, you must provide evidence that you have made arrangements to undergo a medical examination and applied for an Australian Federal Police check when you lodge an onshore GSM visa application.

Visa applicants are required to undergo medical examinations in order to protect the Australian community from high health risks, costs, and overuse of scarce health resources. Similarly, to ensure that all visa applicants are of good character, an Australian Federal Police check is required.

You should not initiate any further medical or police clearances to update any clearances that have expired until you are requested to do so by your case officer.

Q21 My application is currently with the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT). If my application is remitted to the Department will I be subject to the priority processing requirements?

No. Applications remitted by the MRT to the Department are exempt from the new priority processing Direction. This means your application will continue to be processed by the Department.

Q22 I have applied for a Subclass 485 visa and have completed an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) III, IV or Diploma. How will I be affected by the priority processing Direction?

Applicants who have completed an AQFIII, IV, or Diploma do not receive priority processing. The priority processing Direction for Subclass 485 gives priority to applicants with post-graduate qualifications and those whose nominated occupation is on the CSL. This includes applications that have been partially assessed and those in the final stages of processing.

Q23 I do not wish to wait for my application to be processed. Can I withdraw my application and get a refund?

If you wish to withdraw your application, you may do so. All requests for withdrawals must be made in writing and signed by each applicant aged 18 years and over.

It is open to you to seek a refund, however legislation provides only limited circumstances in which refunds may be given. A Visa Application Charge (VAC) is usually only refunded when an application is deemed unnecessary or was made as a result of a mistake by either the applicant or the Department.

A refund will not be given in circumstances where an applicant considers a ‘mistake’ was made because they:
• changed their mind
• do not satisfy a criterion for visa grant or
• do not wish to proceed with their application because it will take longer to process than expected.

Q24 Am I entitled to compensation if my visa application is taking longer to process than expected due to the new priority processing direction?

Compensation is not available for delays in processing.

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Showing 23 comments

  • Shohan
    Reply

    Hi,
    I am Shohan
    My comment is the minister should consider about the
    applicants who lodged bofore his ridiculous change.
    Applicants spend thousands of dollars to apply knowing
    that their visa will be finalised with in a year or 18
    months.OR there should be a refund but the minister
    says that ther is no refund that means the minister has
    cheated the applicants.He can make his mistakes by giving
    a chance to the applicants who lodged before his change
    so the people who apply after 23rd September know that
    their visa will be finalised in 2013 and they will decide
    wether they apply or not.In Sri Lanka I dont think people
    will wait that much of time and I dont think that they
    will apply hereafter.

  • Vijeet
    Reply

    I totally agree with my aggrieved fellow applicants. If economic situation is the basis of these changes, then why did they keep open these visas for the past 1 year. The economic situation has worsened after Nov’08-Dec08. I have applied in Jan’09. One year thereafter I am not sure about what the situation would be in another 2-3 years. The australian govt has let us down badly. They are acting like someone has said above “fly by night” operators. If they are not processing visas other than CSL till 2012 then why keep them open for application? I have a close freind working in Aus. & he says that the eco. situation is better than any other industrialised country.I believe this is a political ploy as this minister as well as his party is eyeing the next general election there.

  • LINCOLN
    Reply

    I am agree with all of you my friends, the implementation of new rules degraded the value of australian nation. i never expect this thing from australia. I think immigration minister have to implement these rules on new cases or which are lodged after 23/09/2009. By implementing this rule to all those cases which are on the final stage, they lost the faith of all the applicants. Australia always fullfill the demand of skilled workers from overseas, i think after these new rules people will think hundred of times before applying for australia.

  • Maj
    Reply

    The new rules are so unfair. I almost finished my master’s in IT and now I’m about to apply. A few friends of mine are applying under the MODL and CSL only because they had 12 months of working experience sometime in the past 4 years. No matter what they’ve done they can easily tell their bosses to claim whether they were professional Java or SAP or data warehousing professionals, so they’ll easily be assessed and get the MODL and CSL points and eligibility. Their PR process would take 6 to 9 months but people like me who have been part-time experiences have to wait for at least two years. Let alone those who applied years ago. This is so silly. Even funnier than that is a civil engineer or even an accounting graduate can easily get a PR in less than a year. They don’t need to be experienced. If experience is required for CSL, all fields should be similar. If I knew this crazy rules, I could study something else. Just imagine how to live in Australia for two years on a bridging visa, while 90% of the employers want a PR and worst of all, every time you wanna leave the country, you have to apply for a visa and convince the case officer by providing logical reasons for your travel! I just hope things change. The Australian immigration process was one of the most organised ones in the world, and now they’re just making applicants more confused by introducing such complicated rules.

  • Bud
    Reply

    What Australia and its Govt is not understanding is …They are losing Good talented students and talented professionals to other countries like singapore,USA and China and Britain

  • zaman
    Reply

    all of the above mentioned remarks are extremely true. Actually Aus gov is playing with our luck. It’s very unfair. I already have spent entire savings for the purpose. If I would know before I never applied here. I would try canada or else.

  • mr escobar
    Reply

    Well guys, I came back after two years spent in Australia working and surfing and it was great and now I was really thinking to move there permanently with this famous P.R but I’m so confused, the Asutralian embassy here in Rome gives no many answer to me and anyway Mr Evans and his boss(Kevin Rudd) keep changing laws so often.

    At least you guys applied already sometime back in the future and read what is above doesn’t give much hopes…cause we’re talking about hope…I’m a noob about all this australian laws…but is there any possibility to get to the P.R thru studies at the TAFE as a skilled migrant!!

    Shit I hope one day will meet mr Evans walking in my neighbourhood in Rome at night alone…ahahaha would be so much fun

  • daniel
    Reply

    Very upsetting to know the inhuman news from austarlian govt. Can they imagine how hard it was to belive that we have to wait for another 2 years after waiting for nearly 2 years.I think i m just spoiling my future waiting for nothing and i have even rejected so many good offers reliying on austrialia thing. I think that was the height of patience and it is so frustrating to no about this when everything almost was done,medicals were done and we were expecting to go. Thanks to the austalian minister for making us cry!!!

  • Sebastian
    Reply

    Hi all, totally agree with you guys, I’m applying for a 475 to South Australia and with this regulation I’ll have to wait 3. 4 years? they are breaking are hopes and at the same time taking our money and time… that’s unfair, I’m very dissapointed and the only I can think about is that if this happened is for a reason, maybe God have for all of us applicants something better somewhere else…

  • Saj
    Reply

    Outrageous !!!

    They are losing there credibility, once if we migrate as well we cant trust them they will keep us on the run, is this what we hope from australia!! they say that free education free healthcare and stuff all this for this suffering …. which is what we are getting it from the start… u dont know where u will end when u migrate to australia. there might be someother rules..

    ridiculous and unprofessional, HIRE SOME STAFF AND GET ON WITH APPLICATION PROCESSING! LAZY GOOD FOR NOTHING …..

  • Thilina
    Reply

    Hi Guys,

    I am totally agreed with your comments. I have applied on july 2008. still waiting. how long do we need to wait?? very unfair for those who have already applied.pls do something mr.evens.

  • Paramjit Singh
    Reply

    Phew! This has really shattered me. I applied with DIAC in october 11, 2008 and I got the CO on August 18, 2009 and they asked to get police clearance from UK, India and FBI Record Request from USA because these were the countries I stayed and worked in the last ten years and they gave me 70 days to reply to their requirements. Since I am now living in India it took me month and a half to get the clearance from the three countries and when I prepared all my documents to send them they came up with this very strange rules. Nobody now has answer to my queries what is going to happen to my case. My deadline ends on october 27, 2009 and I am going to send the documents coming Monday (12/10/2009), I hope sense prevails with DIAC.

  • Steve
    Reply

    This is very unprofessional of them.
    Australian immigration isn’t fly-by-night shops, I expected much better of them!
    People applied based on the information provided then. Now the rules changed without recourse for those applied years back, this is very unfair to us.

    They should have exempted those who have already applied, and affect only those apply from the date this rule is changed.

    • javed iqbal
      Reply

      My name is javed iqbal I applied for GSM visa 136 skilled independent (43-1211 refrigeration air conditioner mechanic) already in (MODL) and (SOL) I already submitted all the required and requested documents (IELTS, Medical, Police clearance certificates etc) to A-S-P-C by on demand of my case officer, I received acknowledgment on 15 sep 2006.i already received phone verification from Australian high commission Islamabad a couple of months before.

      I must say that the DIMA.
      Changing the law in a very short period of time. Which is affecting the credibility of Australian immigration system.
      Which is totally unfair for the applicants who already applied since long time a go.
      As I applied in 2005 and I received acknowledgment on 15th sep 2006

      I am totally disagreed with dima. I have received acknowledgment on 15th sep 2006, still waiting. How long do we need to wait?? Very unfair for those who have already applied.pls do not discourage your applicants
      I submitted medical for second time by the demand of aspc in simple words my case is finalized.
      pray for better wish u best of luck
      yours javed iqbal

  • prasanna
    Reply

    this is heart breaking, can not imagine why they want to change regulation this often. it frustrates applicants & loose the credibility of Australia !. only wish is that minister himself change this soon by another wild guess!

    do not play with peoples hope!

  • Ronnie Kenzie
    Reply

    Hi there!I totally agree with all the comments above. A real mockery about it all..they just put a knife under your throat, like not leaving you a choice. If they cannot handle applications in the proper way, so, why keep saying to apply. It is very ridiculous, especially when it says that it is only the processing time which will change..what a change. Applied under gsm 175, on modl since June 2008 and not a word since then about it. Was supposed to take around 1 year. Now being said will not be before 2012, would be 4 years which is far from being around 1 year. Give us back our money if you cannot handle it!We do not believe in you anymore!

  • jains005
    Reply

    by introducing this the minister has put many in a trap and at a junture in life. he leave no way for the client to move on as adding professions in CSL is not in the clients’ hands. i would like to call this move inhumane.

    THOSE WHO WERE ABOUT TO GO TO AUSTRALIA HAVE NOW SUDDENLY TO PLAN SOMETHING ELSE TO MOVE ON THEIR LIFE. CAN THE MINISTER JUST FEEL THE TENSION IN THEIR MINDS…???

  • keivan
    Reply

    it was worst news which i got it, my agent is considering this, i,m so uncomfortable to look it on , i,m agree with raka and Marco, it will keep changing right away because everything has suddenly happend ,and this is unfair for a advanced country i mean australia,

    they will make review it,

  • raka
    Reply

    i totaly agree with marco.
    they r keep changing the law in a very short period of time.which is effecting the cradibility of australian immigration system.
    which is totaly unfair for the applicants who already applied since long time a go.

  • Marco
    Reply

    On of the unfair and ridiculous rules that I have ever heard.
    I applied in August 2007 and I have to wait for more than 5 years to
    get CO!!if nothing gets changed by then.

    Canada immigration rules used to be like that, however after
    years they found out it was mistake and they reduced the processing time to a year.It seems Australian government want to mock around people.
    Since Rudd government took the office, they keep changing the rules
    and it makes all the applicant confused.

    • Khz
      Reply

      I totally agree with Marco.
      The Minister has cheated all the applicants of their hard earned money and are jeopardizing the future of these applicants. How can a applicant keep on waiting for 5 years ? And the Minister says “No Compensation” and “No Refund”.
      Is their a tribunal where his special priority processing can be challenged ?? Now, DIAC not even bothers to explain why they are doing this… Is it the Economy ? Australian economy is doing just fine and the the rate of unemployment is around 5%.

      Minister Chris Evans policies will be detrimental for the economy of Australia.

    • vincent
      Reply

      same here I have lodge my application in April 2008. Don’t know how long should we wait.

    • Anand
      Reply

      Hi Marco,
      Add me to your list. I applied in sep 2007. Medical and PCC got over in nov 2008. I am still waiting for the PR visa. I have invested quite some amount on this and i am at cross roads.

      People who apply in 2009 will get it by 2012…we may get it earlier i guess so. God Save us

      Rgds
      Ana

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