THE RECENT AMENDMENTS IN THE GENERAL SKILLED IMMIGRATION PROGRAMS IN AUGUST 2017 MAY LET CANDIDATES TO CONSIDER VARIOUS IMMIGRATION PATHWAYS

The recent developments in the General Skilled Immigration programs may prove to be beneficial for the candidates applying for the Immigration to Australia.

The developments that have been addressed are as follows:

  • Policy change for Graduate Diplomas in meeting the 2-year study requirement
  • Processing times
  • State Nomination Update
  • Occupational Ceilings/Skill Select Update

Graduate Diplomas – Policy Change for 2-Year Study Requirement

The Australian Study Requirement is usually referred to as the 2-Year Study Requirement. This requirement is applicable for the following visas:

Postgraduate Diploma certified candidate is considered to be eligible in assessing the 2-year study requirement. These candidates are not eligible for the 485 Post Study Work Stream, however it is now possible to use them for the points test and in order to apply for the 485 Graduate Work Stream.

The Department of Immigration policy document for the 2-year study requirement, that has recently been updated, stated that a Graduate Diploma would not be considered an Australian Study requirement.

One’s eligibility may be affected if a graduate diploma is obtained. One may need some professional assistance in establishing that you meet the Australian Study Requirement.

Occupation Ceiling and Skill Select Update

The Occupation Ceilings for General Skilled Migration which were released on 3 August by the Department of Immigration were revised 7 August.

In 2016, the Department initially raised the occupation ceiling for accountants which was then swiftly revised downwards to 2,500. This year, the ceiling has increased significantly to 4785 places. The ceiling has not been revised downwards till now, so the situation looks favorable for the accountants at the moment.

As per the statistics for the 12 July and 26 July invitation rounds, the required points for all occupations remain high (70 points minimum for a 189 invitation, with some occupations requiring 75). However, a decreasing trend has been seen in the waiting times, which determines that Immigration is working through a backlog of EOIs with 70 or more points and that required points for 189 invitations are expected to reduce.

The table below provides a summary of the following for pro rata occupations:

  • Points required for the two invitation rounds in July 2017
  • Points required in the 2016-17 program year
  • Percentage change in the occupation ceiling between 2016-17 and 2017-18
  • Likely points required for a 189 invitation in the 2017-18 program year

OCCUPATION

JULY 2017 POINTS 2016-17 POINTS CHANGE IN CEILING

2017-18 PROGNOSIS

2211 Accountants 75 70 91.4% Increase Points required likely to reduce to 70 or 65
2212 Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 75 70 6.1% Decrease Points likely to be 70-75 for 2017-18
2334 Electronics Engineers 70 65 No Change Points likely to reduce to 65
2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 70 60-65 41.5% Increase Points likely to reduce to 65
2339 Other Engineering Professionals 70 60-65 No Change Likely to reduce to 65
2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts 75 65 6.2% Increase Likely to reduce to 70 or 65 points
2613 Software and Applications Programmers 70 65 9.5% Increase Likely to reduce to 65 points
2631 Computer Network Professionals 70 60-65 7.6% Decrease Likely to reduce to 65 points

Longer Processing Times for General Skilled Migration

Processing times have been updated and for General Skilled Migration, the Department of Immigration is indicating a processing time of 6-11 months. The waiting times are now longer than the previous ones; however the allocation dates indicate that applications are being allocated quite quickly. Processing itself has slowed down, and this is possibly due to numbers for the 2016-17 filling early:

APPLICATION TYPE

75% FINALIZED WITHIN

90% FINALIZED WITHIN

Skilled Independent Subclass 189 8 months 11 months
Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 9 months 13 months
489 – State Nominated 8 months 14 months
489 – Family Sponsored 6 months 9 months
485 – Post-Study Work 79 days 4 months
485 – Graduate Work 4 months 4 months

State Migration Plans Updated for Most States and Territories

The states and territories in Australia have now updated their State Migration Plans for the 2017-18 program year, apart from NSW and NT.

One of the best states for states nomination, Tasmania, will be increasing their requirements in the coming months, such as, the amount of time required to work or study in Tasmania.

West Australia is one of the most difficult states; the reason being that their list is quite limited and minimum work experience and job offer are required.

Conclusion

The recent upgrade in the General Skilled Migration program makes it more important than ever to have a clear strategy in making your application. Instead of considering only one migration pathway, having a number of alternative options is certainly a good idea – for instance, state nominated or employer sponsored pathways. This will help an individual to work with confidence towards the objective of obtaining Permanent Residence in Australia.

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