On 10 May 2011 the Australian government announced the decision to implement a new way to manage Skilled Migration based on an Expression of Interest (EOI) and subsequent invitation to apply. The new program is called SkillSelect and will be introduced on 1 July 2012.
The changes to their skilled migration program are quite significant so If you wish to come under the current skilled immigration programme you should apply for a skills assessment as soon as possible.
According to the Australian Immigration website; SkillSelect will build upon and draw together the suite of reforms made 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.
SkillSelect will be an electronic system based upon a two-stage process.
Intending migrants 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 skilled, Family Sponsored skilled, State or Territory Sponsored skilled, or Business Skills programs will be required to receive an invitation in order to lodge a visa application.
After being invited, SkillSelect will ensure a match between the number of applicants and the number of available places. This will result in greater certainty for visa applicants and streamlined processing times.
Beginning 1 July 2012, all new prospective Australian skilled migration visa applicants will have to submit an EOI and wait for an invitation before they can lodge their visa application. For those who have lodged a visa application before that date, Australian immigration will process the application in accordance with any priority processing direction in effect at that time.
Australian visa applicants will be selected based on their points test score in a number of selection criteria. All prospective visa applicants will be required to meet the relevant English language requirements and obtain the necessary skills assessment prior to their EOI submission.
EOI and invitation process
Independent Skilled migration
SkillSelect will automatically issue invitations on a regular basis, with the first round of invitations likely to be issued in August 2012.
For intending migrants in the Independent skilled migration stream, invitations will be issued to the highest ranking EOIs in descending order, subject to occupation ceilings. The date and time of submission of the completed EOI may be used to separate those who score equally in any given invitation round in order to ensure that the number of invitations issued matches the available program places and processing resources.
Departmental officers will not be involved in the invitation issue process.
Occupation ceilings are a limit on how many people are selected for points tested skilled migration from an occupation group. This ensures that the migration program is not dominated by a narrow range of occupations.
The limit will be calculated and announced annually in the context of announcements on the size and composition of the next year’s Migration Program. When this limit is reached, no further invitations for that particular occupation group will be issued for that program year.
In the event that an occupation ceiling is reached, invitations would then be allocated to other occupation groups even if they are lower scoring.
State and Territory Sponsored skilled migration
State and territory government representatives will search SkillSelect for intending migrants. State or territory governments will be able to nominate intending migrants at any time using SkillSelect, subject to their State Migration
Plan sponsorship limit. Those nominated will receive an invitation through SkillSelect to apply for a visa.
The SkillSelect system will affect applicants for the following Australian skilled visas:
- Independent Skilled Migration (subclasses 175 and 885)
- State Sponsored Skilled Migration (subclasses 176 and 886)
- Business Skills (subclasses 132, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 890, 891, 892, 893)
- Employer Nomination Scheme (subclasses 121 and 856)
- Regional Sponsored Nomination Scheme (subclasses 119 and 857)
- Subclass 457 Temporary Business (Long Stay) visa (subclass 457)
Remember if you wish to apply for a skilled immigration visa you should start preparing now so that you are ready to submit your application before 1 July 2012.
Australian Skillset FAQ : Download