Anyone who’s even just contemplating moving to Australia one day in the as-yet-to-be-defined-but-not-too-distant-future needs to be acutely aware of the fact that the visa rules for skilled migrants are changing in July. What this means is that you need to get your application in fast, if you want to avoid the annoying new rules!
Australia must feel overrun with skilled migrants because the new rules are quite frankly off-putting for many applicants. We can see how they will benefit Australia by ensuring they really do get the cream of the crop…but for applicants the process is likely to be even more drawn out and stressful. Some are even accusing Australia of adopting a very narrow-minded and even racist approach to immigration.
So, if you have emigration ‘down under’ even only half in mind, it’s time to get applying fast. You need to get your application into the system before July the 1st 2012 if you want to avoid the new rules…but don’t worry, once your application is (hopefully) accepted, you will still have 5 years in which to decide when and even whether you really do want to move to Australia.
The advice that many immigration consultants are giving is that you should apply now and think about it later – because after July the system will be less fair, more convoluted and drawn out, and perhaps even more worrying and stressful for applicants.
Currently those who want to emigrate to Australia under the skilled migrant visa programme have to meet the criteria of Australia’s points system, with points being awarded according to your age, language skills, qualifications and the trade you work in for example.
If you pass the points system you can apply for a visa. From July the 1st 2012 a number of key changes will come into effect, with more planned and proposed to come into effect next year.
From this July the model for visa applications will become an ‘expression of interest’ model, where those who first pass the points based system (which is also changing) will only be able to lodge an expression of interest for a visa. They will then be entered into a skills pool, from which immigration officials will choose who’s invited to proceed to apply for a visa. It’s thought that applicants could then wallow in this skills pool for up to 2 years before they are considered or rejected.
The points based system is going to incorporate various changes too. On a positive note the age limit for application will raise from 45 – 50…and on a controversial note more points will be awarded to those with fluency and high proficiency in English. What’s more, from now on more emphasis will be placed on encouraging those with high levels of qualifications to apply, rather than those with ‘just’ trade skills.
The message is quite clear – even if Australia hasn’t come out and said it! They want better-educated applicants who are skilled to work in higher-grade professions. This is reinforced by the fact that environmental health officer, pharmacist, barrister and health and safety adviser have been added to the skills required list, and the likes of panel beaters and car sprayers have been removed.
Naturally there are plenty of people up in arms about all this. There are those who are claiming that Australia’s being racist (again) and that it only wants clever, white, English-speaking people to apply…which may indeed be the case. But there is little any would-be applicant can do about it, other than ensuring they get their application in before July the 1st!
As stated, if you apply now and you’re accepted, you will have a five-year window of opportunity during which to accept the visa and relocate…so if you have any inclination to move at all, it’s best to get your application in before July the 1st if you want to avoid the new criteria, the new selection process and the new restrictions and limitations.