Recently, there have been a number of practitioners suggesting that it may be possible to change a nominated skilled occupation after a General Skilled Migration (GSM) application (eg subclass 175, 176, 885 or 886) has been lodged.
The issue has arisen with visa applicants who:
- lodged their GSM application before 1 July 2010; and
- were assessed as suitable for the skilled occupation of “Computer Professional nec” (ASCO code 2231-79) by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) prior to 1 July 2010; and
- nominated that skilled occupation in their GSM application.
Such applicants are asking whether it is possible to provide DIAC with a new skills assessment for an ICT skilled occupation listed on the new Schedule 3 list of occupations, in order to receive processing priority. This is despite the fact that there is no accepted correlation between the ASCO coded skilled occupation 2231-79 and any of the ICT ANZSCO coded skilled occupations listed on Schedule 3.
The existing law provides that a GSM applicant must nominate a skilled occupation at the time they submit their visa application and they must provide a positive skills assessment for that same occupation.
The law does not allow an applicant to change their nominated skilled occupation once their GSM visa application has been lodged. This interpretation of the law was recently upheld by the Migration Review Tribunal in 0906382  MRTA 2074 (22 September 2010).
This would suggest that there would need to be a change in the law, so as to allow applicants to change their nominated skilled occupation following GSM visa application lodgement.
The Department of Immigration has provided the following information in response to this issue:
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- An applicant cannot change their nominated skilled occupation once they have submitted their GSM visa application;
- The occupation of “Computer Professional nec” (ASCO code 2231-79) does not currently correlate to an ANZSCO occupation on Schedule 3 and therefore is not eligible to receive processing priority.
- Applicants should not apply for re-assessment to the ACS unless this position changes;
- If the above position were to change, DIAC will continue to process applications in the order of lodgement date.