By invitation only – Australia’s Skill Select Programme explained
Once state nominated, the Department of Immigration will issue an invitation at the next monthly round. The first such round will not however occur until January 2013. Furthermore, SkillSelect will introduce an additional limitation known as the occupation ceiling. This sees a limit being placed on the number of people selected for independent migration from each occupation group. Once the relevant yearly cap is reached, no further invitations will be offered to those in that occupation.
Under existing regulations, there is no restriction on eligible applicants applying for and ultimately receiving permanent residency – although priority processing arrangements result in some applicants receiving their visas faster than others. This means that, currently, anyone who meets basic eligibility criteria and achieves at least 65 on the points test (the pass mark) is granted a visa.
The new SkillSelect system dramatically changes this by removing the freedom to apply. When SkillSelect is introduced, only specially selected candidates will be invited to lodge an application based on the number of points they achieve. In practice, this means that for most occupations a point score of 75 or more may be needed to qualify. For many (especially older) applicants such scores are simply unattainable. It also means that virtually all prospective migrantswill need to succeed on the IELTS English test in order to benefit from the additional points it provides. SkillSelect represents a significant tightening of visa regulations and will result in many people who used to be able to qualify losing their eligibility for permanent residency. The good news is that the current visa regulations (which do not include SkillSelect) apply to all skilled visa applications lodged before the 1 July 2012.
There could be sufficient time therefore in this interim period to obtain the necessary skills assessment and then directly submit your skilled visa application – without the need to lodge an EOI nor receive any invitation from the Department. However, as a number of months are required to successfully obtain a skills assessment and then prepare and lodge a skilled visa application, this window of opportunity to beat the introduction of SkillSelect is fast closing.
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