Latest Skilled Visa Invitation Round Shows High Points Threshold Needed

We find ourselves halfway through the 2017/18 program year for Australian skilled visas.  

What is the trend with visa invitations, what can those awaiting a skilled visa invitation reasonably expect, and what does this mean for those trying to work out a skilled visa strategy?

The latest skilled visa invitation rounds reveal the Department of Immigration is presently working to a relatively high points threshold when issuing invitations for subclass 189 Skilled Independent and subclass 489 Skilled Family Sponsored visas.

To recap, some time after lodging an Expression of Interest (EoI) for each of these visa types the Department of Immigration will issue an invitation to apply for a visa.

The amount of time from EoI submission to the issuing of the invitation to apply will depend on several variables, including:

  • The occupation being nominated
  • The points claimed – more points claimed on the EoI means a visa invitation is more likely to be forthcoming
  • The number of other EoIs lodged – where points claimed are the same EoIs lodged earlier will have preference

A key issue to remember is the need for points claimed to be sustainable, particularly in the context of skilled work experience.

Over claiming points for skilled work experience is not a sensible strategy, and in a worse case scenario can lead to a refusal of the visa application and the loss of all Visa Application Charges paid to the Department of Immigration.

The results from the last two invitation rounds are available here:

These show invitations only being issued to applicants with a minimum of 70 points .

The last invitation round where those with 65 points were invited to apply was on 18 October, 2017.

There have been no invitations so far during the current program year (which commenced  on the 1st of July 2017) to subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa applicants with 60 points.

By contrast, in the second half of the previous 2016/17 program year invitations were forthcoming in almost all invitation rounds to those with 60 points.

What can we reasonably conclude from this?

It appears that in the first 6 months of the program year the Department of Immigration is focusing on EoIs with 70+ points.

Once we get into a new calendar year EoIs with 60 and 65 points are far more likely to receive an invitation for a skilled visa under subclass 189.

Our recommendation to those who have an expectation of being granted 60 or 65 points in the skilled visa points test and who are looking at a subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa strategy is therefore to be in a position to lodge the EoI with the Department of Immigration in the next 3 to 4 months (if not lodged already), to allow sufficient time to receive a visa invitation to be issued and accepted before the end of the 2017/18 program year on 30 June, 2018.

Given applicants must have a Migration Skills Assessment in place before they lodge the EoI – and should have supporting documentation available to provide comfort as to the points being claimed (eg English language test results, skilled work experience documentation) now is the time to make progress on your skills assessment application and your English language test, if you are an intending subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa applicant, and don’t have them in place already.

Go Matilda Visas will be delighted to assist with your planned skilled visa application – please complete the enquiry form on this page if you think you might like the assistance of a professional firm of Australian visa advisors.

Our fees are fixed in amount, are agreed with you in advance, and can be paid in stages as your visa application progresses.

Victoria opens up sponsorship again for ICT professionals

Those with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) occupations can look forward to subclass 190 visa sponsorship from the Vic Government being available again, from the 1st of July, 2017.

The Vic Government will review and select the top ranking ICT candidates from SkillSelect who have indicated Victoria as their preferred State.

Candidates who are selected to apply will still be required to meet Victoria’s minimum eligibility requirements, including demonstrating employability and commitment to Victoria.

More information about the State Sponsorship application process for ICT professionals in Victoria is here.

Western Australia Skilled Occupations List – the WASMOL – Reduced Significantly

The much reduced Western Australia Skilled Migration Occupations List (the WASMOL) now contains only a dozen or so occupations, all of which are in the medical and health professions:

251214 Sonographer
251412 Orthoptist
252711 Audiologist
253111 General Practitioner
253316 Gastroenterologist
253323 Rheumatologist
253411 Psychiatrist
253513 Neurosurgeon
253515 Otorhinolaryngologist
253521 Vascular Surgeon
253913 Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
253918 Radiation Oncologist
254111 Midwife
254413 Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health)
254414 Registered Nurse (Community Health)
254415 Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
254422 Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
254423 Registered Nurse (Perioperative)

Applicants are required to provide evidence of a minimum one year full-time employment contract for all occupations on the WASMOL.

Clearly WA now has so many skilled workers available to fill skilled positions assistance from overseas is no longer needed.

Time will tell whether the WA stance is a correct one, and is one that will be repeated across the other States and Territories of Australia.

Changes to Skilled Migration – Reduction in Age Ceiling – Skilled Visa Pathway for New Zealand Citizens Announced

The Australian Government is making changes to the Skilled Independent subclass 189 visa from the 1st of July 2017:

  • Two separate pathways or “streams” will be available: a Points Tested Stream, and a New Zealand Citizen Stream.
  • The maximum age permitted to apply for a subclass 189 visa under the Points Tested Stream will be 44 – ie applicants must be aged under 45 when the invitation to apply for the visa is issued by the Department of Immigration.
  • The New Zealand Citizen Stream will facilitate New Zealand citizens who are already resident in and contributing to Australia to become permanent residents.
  • More specifically, the New Zealand Citizen Stream will be available to New Zealand citizens who:
    • Were usually resident in Australia on or before 19 February 2016; and
    • Since that time have continued to be usually resident in Australia for at least five years before applying for the visa; and
    • Have been contributing to Australia by earning a certain level of taxable income; and
    • Meet mandatory health, character and security criteria.

For New Zealand Citizen Stream applicants the total amount of the Visa Application Charge (VAC) payable to the Department of Immigration will be consistent with the VACs for the general skilled migration programme.  

However, concessional arrangements have been introduced to the New Zealand Citizen Stream, whereby 20 per cent of the VAC will be payable at the time of lodging the visa application, with the remainder of the VAC to be paid before the visa is granted.

For Points Tested Stream applicants the reduction in the maximum age requirement will only impact those applicants who are invited to apply on or after the 1st of July, 2017, or who been issued with a visa invitation before the 1st of July, 2017 and who have not accepted the invitation at that date.