Changes in skilled migration
Registered Migration Consultant
We have received the most dramatic change of all times in the
Australian migration program.
The change of points test was announced a fortnight ago and this is
still very new yet hard to absorb as it is not the most fantastic news
for Sri Lankans.
The State Government will be given
unprecedented powers in choosing their potential migrants
Changes to the point test was proposed amongst other changes on
February 8, 2010, where we heard there will be no more points for
occupations in demand, new skills occupation list, giving autonomy to
State and Territory governments over an independent migration scheme.
Why points test change
We should be thankful in a sense that this change did not happen
overnight, leaving thousands of applicants in state of panic.
As mentioned this was a proposed change and the Australian Government
has analyzed its economic needs while looking at the long-term prospects
for incoming migrants.
The proposed change and points allocations are very similar to the
system in Canada. The new points system will be officially executed in
The biggest change I see is; there are no more points allocated for
occupations. In the current system, in both lists of occupations
schedule 3 and schedule 4, points such as 60, 50, 40 are given to
occupations believed to be according to current demand in Australia.
Under the proposed system, we see emphasis is put on the qualification.
From July 1 next year, it is very unlikely one would qualify without
a formal, accredited and a recognized qualification.
This will be a disadvantage for professions such as IT, where under
the current system, applicants with long years of work experience will
qualify without formal qualification.
Analyzing the future
At a glance, it could be yet another panic stricken situation.
Applicants will find it difficult to score the required 65 points,
which is the new pass-mark.
Majority of professionals will come to a standstill at 60 points and
to obtain the 5 points required for a permanent visa will depend upon if
the applicant has long years of work experience, or has a qualified
spouse, can score points for Superior English, or is willing to do a
translator's exam and so forth. State Government will be given
unprecedented powers in choosing their potential migrants.
One significant, yet a considerable disadvantage for Sri Lankan
applicants, is the points given for their English language ability.
Under the current system, you are generously awarded 15 points if you
have six points each in the IELTS test, although the new system awards
nothing for fulfilling the same, and yet having six in each is mandatory
to qualify for a GSM visa.
Applicants who have proficient English (seven in each band in the
IELTS) and Superior English (eight in each band in the IELTS) will have
consecutive 10 and 20 points.
In my long years of experience in the industry, I have seen a very
minority of applicants having superior English.
Unlike some other changes, we see little advantage for applicants
from the subcontinent. However, the increase of age upto 50 years is
welcome although we cannot see an abundance in this category.
There is a long due change, to which we all must give credit to is
the change to points for work experience.
Now it is more the merrier, giving an advantage for applicants with
more work experience over others.
This change will have a considerable reduction of people qualifying
for migration to Australia from non-English speaking countries.
Applicants will have to put extra effort into obtaining higher marks
for IELTS if they are to qualify for an independent visa.
It will be rather easier to qualify for a state nominated visa and
temporary state sponsored visas will be common. It will not be welcoming
news to applicants who have blood relatives to sponsor them as they will
no longer qualify for PR visa.
These proposed changes will make a large number of applicants
ineligible who have commenced their process taking into account the
Therefore, it is utmost important that people who have entered into
the process, completing their lodgement of visas prior to July 2011.
It has become evident that Australia is determined to look for the
highly skilled with educated and well experienced professionals.
It is yet to be known if the proposed points test will assist
addressing the skills shortage in realistic terms.
It will be an interesting year ahead for professionals in the
migration industry as well as applicants.
The Australian Migration Centre held a seminar to educate the public
about the changes and its impact to potential applicants.