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New Priority Processing for Australian Skilled Migration Visas

New priority processing arrangements for certain skilled migration visas, including new skilled visa subclasses introduced in the skilled migration reforms, have recently been set by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen MP.

The priority processing arrangements allow the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to consider and finalise visa applications in an order of priority that the minister considers appropriate. The new arrangements apply to visa applications for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and certain points based skilled migration.

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From July 1, 2012, processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) are applications from people who:

•are sponsored under the RSMS program
•are sponsored under the ENS program
•are nominated by a state or territory government agency
•have nominated an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List – Schedule 1 effective form July 1, 2012
•all other applications
Regional employer sponsored visas continue to be given the highest processing priority. Applications for visa subclasses 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, or 489 which are lodged through SkillSelect will be given the highest priority within each priority processing group.

According to the DIAC, the new arrangements are aimed at solving the needs of industry by targeting skills in demand across a number of sectors, while ensuring that the Skilled Migration Program is responsive to the current economic climate and the needs of the Australian economy. These arrangements do not change visa eligibility criteria.

The new priority processing arrangements apply to current applications, including those in the final stages of processing.


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