CHANGES TO GENERAL SKILLED MIGRATION PROGRAMME

As of 1 July 2017, there will be a number of important changes for people looking to apply for a skilled migrant visa, as follows:

Age Limit Requirements

Currently, applicants who wish to apply for a Skilled – Independent Visa (Subclass 189) need to be aged 49 years or less. From 1 July 2017, applicants will need to be aged 44 years or less.

At this stage, this change will not affect applicants for a Skilled – Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) or a Skilled – Regional Provisional Visa (Subclass 489), who can still be aged up to 49 years.

Occupational Requirements

There are a number of occupations presently contained on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), which list occupations that are eligible for skilled migration for various visa subclasses, that may be removed from a given list on 1 July 2017.

A complete list of these “Flagged Occupations” is accessible at the following address: https://www.education.gov.au/flagged-occupations-MLTSSL-2016-17

Notably, the flagged list of occupations includes many engineering, accounting, medical and legal based occupations.

Occupational Ceilings

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has “Occupation Ceilings” which limit the maximum amount of “Expression of Interest” invitations that can be issued to potential applicants for a Skilled – Independent Visa (Subclass 189) or a Skilled – Regional Provisional (Family Sponsored) Visa (Subclass 489).

There has been a lot of demand coming from accountants, senior corporate positions, some varieties of engineers and IT professionals, which has resulted in the required points score to receive an invitation to apply for these occupations to be significantly higher than the basic threshold of 60 points. Based on current statistics, an accountant, for example, requires a score of 80 points, and some IT professionals need a score of between 70-75 points.

New occupational ceilings are likely to be announced in July 2017. If these stay the same, certain occupations are likely to get more competitive.

Conclusion

The changes to take effect on 1 July 2017 will make it harder to qualify for general skilled migration. If you are eligible to apply now, particularly if you are aged over 44, you should lodge an application as soon as possible.

If you need more information on the changes outlined in this article, or wish us to assess your eligibility for other visa types, please contact us.

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