The Department of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC) announced last week details of the new Australian “SkillSelect” system scheduled to be implemented from 01 July 2012.
SkillSelect will be a major change to the way Australia manages its General Skilled Migration program. Under SkillSelect, anyone wishing to emigrate to Australia as a skilled migrant will need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and then receive an invitation or offer of employment before they proceed with the next stage of the emigration process.
Please note: It will still be necessary for principal applicants for skilled visas to nominate a skilled occupation from the relevant Skilled Occupations List (SOL) and to meet the requirements for their English language ability and other specific visa requirements.
The good news for skilled workers considering immigration to Australia is that the SkillSelect system aims to significantly reduce processing timeframes and improve settlement / employment prospects for skilled migrants on arrival. This will occur through a system that will allow both state and territory governments and Australian employers to access the SkillSelect database. They will be able to identify applicants with skills in demand and contact candidates directly to discuss settlement & employment options.
When the SkillSelect website goes online from 01 July 2012, it will provide a portal for intending skilled migrants to submit their details so that they may be consider for a skilled visa.
Please note - that if you have already lodged your visa application you will not be affected by these changes and the information provided in this letter is for your reference only.
How the SkillSelect process will work:
- Skilled workers will provide information in their EOI, depending on the visa(s) they wish to be considered for, including: personal details; occupation (and skills assessment), work experience; education; English skills; and business and/or investment experience.
- Once the EOI is submitted, applicants will receive the potential points score and result of their EOI. EOIs will be ranked according to the results and applicants advised of their current ranking.
- Those applicants applying under a points tested visa will need to ensure that they meet the relevant pass mark when submitting their EOI or they will be ineligible to receive an invitation.
- The highest ranking EOIs will automatically be issued with an invitation from SkillSelect to proceed with the visa application process, subject to the limits set per occupation.
The number of applications available per occupation will be made available to view in the SkillSelect portal.
Applicants may also receive an invitation from a state or territory government, with an offer of nomination. Settlement prospects may be improved by indicating in the EOI that the primary applicant and accompanying family are willing to settle in regional Australia.
It is also possible that applicants will be contacted by an Australian employer to discuss a job opportunity. Those applicants may then be in a position to consider accepting an offer of skilled employment and will not need to obtain an invitation from SkillSelect to apply for an employer sponsored visa.
It will be important to submit the EOI only once the primary applicant is ready to support their claims, as there are specific visa requirements that must be met at the time of application. Intending skilled applicants should have obtained a positive pre-application skills assessment from the relevant skills authority in their nominated occupation, along with their English language test report (if applicable), as invitations to proceed may be received quickly and applicants will have only 60 days to complete and submit the visa application.
An applicant’s EOI will remain in the SkillSelect database for a period of two years from the date of submission. Applicants who do not receive an invitation from SkillSelect will be able to update their details and add any new qualifications, additional experience, or improved English language ability, which may increase their opportunities for selection. Applicants who do not make valid visa application after receiving two invitations will be removed from the SkillSelect database.
DIAC is careful to warn onshore applicants that an EOI is not an application for a visa and no bridging visas will be issued on the basis of an EOI. Those in Australia must ensure they hold a valid visa at all times and depart Australia prior to expiry of their current visa if they are unable to make a further visa application from within Australia.
For those applicants intending to submit their visa application prior to 1 July 2012, their application will be processed according to the current priority processing arrangements in effect at the time of processing. Priority processing arrangement can vary from the time of application to the time of processing.
For further details of what the new system means for you, please contact your migration consultant or your nearest Migration Bureau office.
The above information is based on the information released to date and further changes may occur prior to the implementation of the SkillSelect system.