The skill stream of Australia’s Migration Programme is specifically designed to target migrants who have skills or outstanding abilities that will contribute to the Australian economy.
The migration to Australia of skilled people with the qualifications and attributes to succeed helps address specific skill shortages in Australia and enhances the size and skill level of the Australian labour force.
There is a range of points-based skilled migration visa options for skilled workers who want to live in Australia. You can be nominated by a state or territory government agency, sponsored by an eligible relative or independently migrate (non-sponsored).
Independent migrants are selected on the basis of their skills, attributes and suitability for employment so they are in a position to contribute quickly to the Australian economy. They are not sponsored by an employer or relative in Australia.
Sponsorship by an eligible Australian relative or nomination by a state or territory government is also possible under points-based skilled migration.
There have been major changes recently in the Australian skilled migration program with the introduction of the SkillSelect Program from 1 July 2012.
SkillSelect changes the way prospective visa holders seek to migrate to Australia. Instead of applying for a visa, people submit an online Expression of Interest (EOI). The expression of interest (EOI) includes information on the applicant’s personal details, English language skills, occupation and skills assessment, work or business and investment experience. An Expression of interest is not a visa application. On the basis of the EOI qualifying applicants may be invited to submit an Australian visa application.
If such an invitation is received, than the applicant has 60 days to submit a visa application with all the required documents, or the invitation might be revoked.
To make an application for the point based skilled migration to Australia you must satisfy the following requirements:
- Invitation to apply: You can only apply for a visa if you have been invited to do so by the Department of Immigration and Citizenshipfollowing your Expression of Interest. You are to lodge your application no later than 60 days after you receive your invitation, or the invitation will lapse, and there is no guarantee that you will be issued an invitation in the future.
- Age: You must be under the age of 50.
- English language: The minimum requirement is competent English
- Nominated occupation: When you lodge your application you nominate an occupation which fits your qualifications. The nominated occupation must be listed on Australia’s Skilled Occupation List. You must provide details of a Skills Assessment relating to your nominated occupation in your EOI.
- EOI score: Your EOI is ranked and points are awarded based on the claims you make about your skills, experience &attributes. If you receive an invitation, your visa application will be assessed against the point system. In order to be granted an Australian visa you will have to meet the pass mark which is currently set at 60 points but is subject to changes according to the Australian labour market needs.
Before you receive an invitation, you must have had your skills assessed as suitable for your occupation by an assessing authority.
The criteria for skills assessment varies according to the occupation you have nominated. In most cases, the skills assessment will be based on the applicant’s qualifications and work experience, but in some cases English language proficiency and formal examinations are also required.
The following visa subclasses are available under the SkillSelect program, and they will be the only way to be able to apply through the GSM in Australia after 1 January 2013:
- Skilled Independent Subclass 189
- Skilled Nominated Subclass 190
- Skilled Regional Nominated or Sponsored Subclass 489