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New Australian visa system up and running

Now in effect since 1st July 2012, Australia’s visa selection process is up and running. The new selection register is known as SkillSelect.  In order to apply, applicants have to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). The SkillSelect works as an electronic two-stage process where prospective visa applicants first submit a claim for skilled migration through an online EOI. Following this, applicants may then be invited to submit an Australian visa application on the basis of their EOI.

This is a really significant change from the previous Australian immigration system. It is likely that fewer people will qualify under the new scheme because applicants will not only need to gain enough points but, in addition, Australia immigration will decide whether or not they will be allowed to submit an application. This is compared to the old system wherein if an applicant gained enough points under the particular visa scheme they were likely to get in.

From 1st July 2012, all new prospective Australian skilled migration visa applicants now have to submit an EOI and wait for an invitation before they can lodge their visa application. For those who have lodged a visa application before that date, Australian immigration will process the application in accordance with any priority processing direction in effect at that time.

Australian visa applicants will be selected based on their points test score in a number of selection criteria. All prospective visa applicants will be required to meet the relevant English language requirements and obtain the necessary skills assessment prior to their EOI submission. However, applicants will now have to also be approved by SkillSelect to obtain their visa. This brings in greater uncertainty compared to the old system.

The SkillSelect system will affect applicants for the following Australian skilled visas:

•Independent Skilled Migration (subclasses 175/now 189)
•State Sponsored Skilled Migration (subclasses 176, now 190)
•Regional Sponsored Nomination Scheme (now subclass 489)
•Employer Nomination Scheme (formally subclasses 121 and 856)

SkillSelect will begin issuing invitations to eligible applicants in August 2012. Invitations will be issued to the highest ranking EOIs in descending order. The date and time of submission of the completed EOI may be used to separate those who score equally. Australian immigration will also announce a cap for occupations to limit how many people are selected from a certain occupation group. This ensures that the migration program is not dominated by a narrow range of occupations.


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