Chnages in Skilled Occupations List for 2016-17


The Minister of Immigration and Border Protection has announced the new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) which will come into effect 1 July 2016. The good news is that Accountants, IT and most of the Engineering occupations remain on the new SOL list. There have been no changes to the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL) which applies to employer and state sponsored visas. Occupations Removed from the SOL There are 9 occupations removed from the Skilled Occupation List, they are as follows: Mining Engineers ANZSCO 233611 Petroleum Engineers ANZSCO 233612 Metallurgist ANZSCO 234912 Environmental Health Officer ANZSCO 251311 Occupational Health and Safety Adviser ANZSCO 251312 Dental Hygienist ANZSCO 411211 Dental Prosthetist ANZSCO 411212 Dental Technician ANZSCO 411213 Dental Therapist ANZSCO 411214 Occupations Added to the SOL The following occupation have been added to the Skilled Occupation list: Orthotists and Prosthetists ANZSCO 251912 Audiologists ANZSCO 252711 Effect of Changes The new SOL will commence on or after 1 July 2016, it is applicable to the following visa subclasses: Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Visa Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489 visa - Family Sponsored only Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 Visa - Graduate Work Stream only More »

ACT Subclass 190 Skilled Nominations closed to overseas applicants


Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa – Closure of ACT nomination program to overseas applicants for 2015/16 Effective immediately - The ACT Migration program is closed to all overseas residents. If you are not in Australia, you will not be able to apply for ACT nomination of a Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa until the program reopens on 1 July 2016. Applications for ACT nomination submitted before 4pm today will still be processed in queue order. Please note, the current processing time is 3 - 4 months due to the large number of applications received post publication of the February 23 Occupation List. CANBERRA RESIDENTS This action does not affect Canberra based applicants. If you are living in Canberra the 190 ACT nomination program is still open if you meet the nomination criteria. The average processing time of applications from Canberra residents is 4 weeks.   More »

Self Sponsorship for 457 Visas Disallowed


Changes have been made to the policy document for 457 nominations which means that self-sponsorship is now very difficult. The changes are in relation to the "genuine position" requirement for the nomination. As a result, the nomination would be refused on the basis that the position has been created just to facilitate a visa application. Immigration has set out the following "risk factors" which could indicate the position is not genuine Visa applicant is a director or owner of the sponsoring business Visa applicant is a relative or personal associate of an officer of the sponsoring business Immigration will wish to see an ASIC historical extract with the application - this would give information on the company owners and directors, and so assist in establishing whether the visa applicant is associated with a company officer. Sponsors must also declare who the company officers and shareholders are in the application for sponsorship approval. The policy document specifically mentions that the application will be scrutinised if an overseas business is being used to "self-sponsor" a business owner to establish a branch in Australia. The stated reason is to prevent the 457 program from being used to circumvent the Business Innovation and Investment Subclass 188 program. One of the other risk factors mentioned is where the applicant is currently in Australia on a Working Holiday subclass 417 visa. This suggests that Working   More »

Engineers Australia - New English Language Test


From the 1st January 2016, Engineers Australia will be accepting the TOEFL IbT as an alternative English Language Test to address the English language competency element of the Migration Skills Assessment.   Applicants submitting their application on or after the 1st January 2016 will be able to provide either an IELTS test result form with a score of 6 or more in each of the 4 modules, or a TOEFL IbT result with the following minimal scores for each module:   Minimal Score TOEFL IbT Listening 12 Reading 13 Writing 21 Speaking 18   Applicants will need to upload the test results, as well as write their registration number.   TOEFL IbT results will be accepted up to 2 years after the test date. More »

SkillSelect Update October 2015


The reports on the 9 & 23 October SkillSelect Invitation Round has been released. The reports suggests that it is getting more difficult to obtain an invitation for Skilled Independent and Skilled Regional Family Sponsored visas. Below is our analysis of the required points score and waiting times for EOI invitations. Skilled Independent Subclass 189 In October a smaller number of invitations was issued compared to previous months. 2000 invitations were issued for 189 visas, whereas in the July, August and September there were 2300 invitations issued each month. The majority of applicants invited had a score of 60 or 65. The minimum point score for a 189 invitation was 60 points and approximately 425 applicants received invitations with this score. Based on the October rounds it would take about just over two months to receive an invitation if you have 60 points. If you have 65 points you should receive an invitation next round. Specific information on invitations for Pro Rata occupations for 189 visas is below: Accountants Only 50 accountants were invited in the October invitation rounds. The minimum point score was 70 for an invitation and approximate waiting time with this score was 8 weeks. ICT Business and System Analysts The minimum points to receive an invitation was 65 and the waiting time was approximately 11 weeks. Software and Applications Programmers The minimum points to receive an invitation was 65 also, if you have 65 points you   More »

Old System Skilled Visas to be Capped


People who have applied for 175, 176 and 475 visas will have their applications "capped and ceased" effective today. These applicants will receive a refund of their application fees, but their applications will be taken to have never been made. A refund is poor consolation to many applicants who have waited patiently for 5 years or more for their applications to be processed. Many of these applicants were eligible for the visa they applied for but are no longer eligible under the new General Skilled Migration program. Note that applicants who are in Australia will continue to be processed, as will applicants for onshore 885, 886 and 487 visas. Most 175 Skilled Independent applications have already been allocated and granted, and the most significant effect will be on those applicants sponsored by family members. This underscores the current government's policy to limit the number of family sponsored migrants. More »

Cessation of Australian visa labels


Australian visa labels will no longer be issued in the majority of cases from 1 September 2015. Holders of the Document to Travel to Australia (DFFTA) which include Refugee and Special Humanitarian visa holders and those who cannot obtain passports, will be issued visa labels until the roll out of the new Australian Migration Status (AMS) ImmiCard is completed.  Australian passports and the ImmiCard are electronically linked to the holder's visa records in a central database and are used to check travellers details.  Changes to passport details must be notified to prevent delays in travel. More »

2015-16 Occupational Ceilings for Skilled Migration Released


The Department of Immigration has released the occupational ceilings for the 2015-16 financial year. The occupational ceilings apply to Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Family Sponsored Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489 visas. Accountants and Auditors The biggest change is the reduction of the occupational ceiling for accountants and auditors by some 50%: This could have one of two possible effects: Places filling quickly - in this case, accountants should ensure they apply early in the program year; or A higher effective pass mark - Immigration may decide to limit the number of invitations issued to accountants each month. As a result, only the applicants with the highest points score will be invited Nursing The occupation ceiling for Registered Nurses was reduced by 8%. However, nursing still has the largest occupation ceiling of any occupational group, and as the ceiling was nowhere near being filled in 2015, this change should have negligible effect. IT Professionals Whilst the occupational ceiling for ICT Business and Systems Analysts has been reduced slightly, the ceiling for Software and Applications Programmers and Computer Network Professionals has been increased, with the result that overall slightly more places are available to IT professionals. In 2015, some IT occupations were filled and others close to being filled, so this is a potentially significant change: Engineers Overall, engineers have had a slight   More »

Visa application charge increases 1 July 2015


Following the release of the Federal Budget for 2015-16, the increases in visa application charges (VAC) have been announced today by the Department. While relatively minor changes have been made to many VACs in line with inflation or where sustained volume is expected, significant increases have been made for the Significant Investor Visa subclasses and also for offshore Partner visas. VAC increases include: 2.3% for GSM, Skilled Graduate, 457, Visitor and Student streams 5% for Temporary Short Term Business, Entertainment, Working Holiday, RRV, Retirement and Contributory Parent streams 10% for Remaining Relative, Carer and Aged Dependent Relative and non contributory Parent visas 50% for Significant Investor visas and Offshore Partner visas.    The full list of fee increases from 1 July 2015 for each visa subclass/class is available here More »

Average Band Scores Accepted for 485 and 457 Visa English Tests


Changes to the English language requirements for Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas and Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visas came into effect from 18 April 2015. For the first time, an average band score will be accepted for these visas. For example, an average band score of 6 in IELTS will now be accepted for 485 visas - previously, a minimum of 6 in each band was required. The requirement to provide a minimum score in each band in a single sitting of an English test was a source of enormous frustration to applicants seeking to apply for these visas. Many applicants sat for English tests repeatedly trying for the required minimum score in each band - the ability to provide tests meeting an average band score will be a great relief to many. Specific details of the new English requirements are below: Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 Visas The new English requirements for both the Post Study Work Stream and Graduate Work Stream are as follows: Hold a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand; or IELTS(Academic or General Training): overall average of 6 and at least 5 in each band; or Occupational English Test(OET): B Pass in each band; or Pearson(PTE Academic): overall average of 50 with at least 36 in each band; or TOEFL iBT(Internet Based Test): total score of 64, with at least 4 in Listening and Reading, and at least 14 in Writing and Speaking; or Cambridge (CAE): 169 overall average with at least 154 in   More »

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