Overview of the changes to
the Skilled Migration Program
MIA - Melbourne
10 March 2010
Labour Market Branch
KEY DRIVERS OF SKILLED MIGRATION POLICY IN
– Ageing population
– Declining labour force
– Supporting the move to a ‘demand driven’
– Dealing with the economic downturn and
positioning ourselves for the next peak
– Reform agenda
This is Australia’s first recession where migrant inflows
Pop increase due to NOM (%)
GDP growth (%)
1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
NOM rate GDP growth
Recessions bite harder on migrants
Source: ABS Labour Force data
Unemployment rate %
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Before 1985 1986 -1995 1996 - 2005 2006 onw ards Born in Australia
8 February 2010
Outcomes of a review of the Migration Occupations in
Demand List (MODL)
• The MODL is revoked from 8 February 2010
• The current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) will be replaced with a new
list of targeted occupations in mid 2010 at which time the CSL will be
• All offshore GSM applications lodged before 1 September 2007 will
have their applications withdrawn and the visa application charge
• Amendments to the Migration Act to cap and cease by selection factors
such as occupation
• The points test used to assess GSM applicants will be reviewed
• new priority processing arrangements for certain skilled migration visas
• State and territory-specific migration plans will be developed
Who do these changes to GSM apply to ?
Groups affected by the GSM changes Revocation of the New SOL in effect from mid
MODL from 8 February 2010
Current applicants No No
Subclass 485 visa applicants and No: provided they apply No: provided they apply for a
holders as at 8 February 2010 yet to for a permanent or permanent or provisional GSM
apply for a permanent or provisional provisional GSM visa by visa by 31 December 2012
GSM visa 31 December 2012
Higher Education, Postgraduate Yes Yes unless they apply for a
Education and VET sector student visa Subclass 485 visa prior to 31
holders as at 8 February 2010 December 2012.
People who are considering applying for
a GSM visa
Capping and Ceasing Pre–1 Sept 2007 Offshore
• On 8 February 2010, the Minister announced he would set
a maximum number of offshore GSM visa applications
made before 1 September 2007 that could be granted
• The cap is expected to be set shortly
• Once the cap is reached, all offshore GSM applications
lodged before 1 September 2007 will be ceased
• Refunds of the visa application charge (VAC) for these
applications will be processed by the Department
• Associated fees/costs incurred will not be refunded
New Priority Processing Arrangements
New priority processing arrangements for GSM visas came into effect on
8 February 2010. These apply to all GSM applications with the exception
of subclasses 476, 485, 883 and 887.
1. Employer sponsored under ENS and RSMS;
2. Nominated by a State/Territory government agency under a State
Migration Plan agreed to by the Minister;
3. Nominated by State/Territory government and CSL nominated
4. CSL nominated occupation
5. Nominated by State/Territory government and non-CSL nominated
6. (i) MODL nominated occupation and (ii) sponsored by family and non-
CSL nominated occupation
7. All others processed in the order in which they are received
State and Territory Migration Plans
• With the introduction of a more targeted SOL, the Department will look to
develop State and Territory Migration Plans to provide states/territories more
flexibility to sponsor applicants for a broad range of occupations which will not
be on the new SOL.
• The Plans will be in the form of Memoranda of Understandings between the
Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, and the relevant state/territory
• These plans will specify the number of applicants each state/territory
government can nominate, and which occupations they can nominate skilled
State and Territory Migration Plans
• State and Territory governments will identify occupations
which are in demand in their jurisdiction.
• Plans will provide states and territories with flexibility to
address specific skills shortages.
• These plans will be in place by mid 2010 to coincide with
implementation of the new targeted SOL.
• Under the current priority processing Direction, applicants
sponsored under a State or Territory Migration Plan are
given the second highest priority.
Job Ready Program
• Job Ready Program (JRP) commenced on 1 January 2010.
• Introduced to ensure applicants nominating a trade occupation are ‘job
ready’ and able to perform in their occupation
• DIAC is working with the assessing authorities to improve standards
and chances of success.
• Applicants for the Employer Nomination Scheme will not be subject to
• Students applying for 485 with a trade qualification only required to
complete step one of JRP (provisional skills assessment)
• 485 holders who wish to apply for permanent migration must continue
through remaining three steps
Subclass 485 applicants
• Subclass 485 holders should continue through the
remaining three steps of the JRP if they wish to apply for
permanent skilled migration.
• Subclass 485 visa holders who do not wish to remain in
Australia or apply for skilled permanent migration, are not
required to complete the JRP.
• Completion of step 1 of Job Ready (provisional skills
assessment) is only sufficient for the purposes of applying
for a subclass 485.
Trade applicants who hold an existing skills
• The Minister recently announced his intention to allow applicants who
hold a skills assessment predating 1 January 2010, to use this
assessment when applying for either a subclass 487, 885 or 886 visa.
• Mechanisms are currently being put in place to allow this to occur, and
are expected to commence shortly
• This means applicants with an existing skills assessment will not need
to be reassessed by Trades Recognition Australia (TRA).
Points Test Review
• The GSM Points Test Review is currently underway
• A discussion paper is available on the department’s
and open for public comment until 12 March 2010
Australia’s points test places most weight
on occupational targeting
Criteria Points awarded
Occupation, Age and English-language proficiency Up to 115 points are available
in the three threshold criteria.
Occupation 40 - 60
Threshold Age 15 – 30 The current pass mark for an
criteria independent skilled migrant is
English Language Proficiency 15 – 25
Australian Educational Qualifications 5 – 25 There are between 40 to 60
points for occupation.
Family Sponsorship 25
Migration Occupations in Demand 15 – 20
Australian Work Experience 10
Bonus Work Experience 5 – 10
State or Territory Nomination 10
Designated Language 5
Regional Study in Australia 5
Partner Skill Qualifications 5
Some Perverse Outcomes
• Reviewing standards
Australian Hairdresser O’seas Environmental Scientist
Skill – Do the current standards give good employment
60 points Skill 50 points
Age prospects in Australia?
30 Age 30
English 15 English 15
• Level of
Qualifications – Aust qualification
5 Qualifications – O’seas 0
Trade Certificate PhD
• Work experience
MODL 15 MODL 0
– onshore v offshore
Work exp (12 months) 10 Work exp (3 years) 5
– Professional year?
Pass Mark 120 points 135 PASS Pass Mark 120 points 100 FAIL
• Occupational specific English
Principles of a new Points Test
A revised Points test will:
• Select migrants who offer the most human capital and will make
an optimal contribution to Australia’s economy
• Not preclude very good applicants from offshore or those in
• Operate flexibly under both current arrangements and any
future arrangements for the selection of skilled migrants
• Enable applicants with high value attributes across a number of
area such as English language ability, academic qualifications
and work experience to achieve the maximum number of points
• Should not give undue weight to any one factor to avoid
distortions in the program.
Points Test Review – factors for consideration
• Should there be differentiated points for occupation or no points
awarded for occupation?
• Points for overseas qualifications?
• English language ability
• The age factor
• More points for higher degree qualifications?
• More points for a qualified partner?
• Sponsorship points
Future of Skilled Migration
… I have asked my Department to explore the feasibility of
introducing a new system where applicants initially put forward
their claim for skilled migration, and are then selected as
candidates by employers, by State and Territory governments, or
by the Commonwealth.
That way we marry demand with supply, the best outcome for all
concerned. That is what I mean by immigration being the job
matching agency for the nation, connecting employers to the
global labour market where skills cannot be sourced locally.
Senator Chris Evans
Changes to Australia's skilled migration program
8 February 2010
Australian National University