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					        Overview of the changes to
       the Skilled Migration Program
                       MIA - Melbourne
                        10 March 2010

Peter Speldewinde
Assistant Secretary
Labour Market Branch

– 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
                                                          have risen
                              1.40                                                                                  10.0

                              1.20                                                                                  8.0

                              1.00                                                                                  6.0
Pop increase due to NOM (%)

                                                                                                                           GDP growth (%)
                              0.80                                                                                  4.0

                              0.60                                                                                  2.0

                              0.40                                                                                  0.0

                              0.20                                                                                  -2.0

                              0.00                                                                                  -4.0
                                     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
                     Ministerial Announcement
                          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
  (VAC) refunded
• 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.
                                          Yes                       Yes
People who are considering applying for
a GSM visa
      Capping and Ceasing Pre–1 Sept 2007 Offshore
                      GSM Visas

• 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
  government minister.

• These plans will specify the number of applicants each state/territory
  government can nominate, and which occupations they can nominate skilled
  migrants for.
              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
  the JRP
• 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