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Changes to General Skilled Migration (GSM) skills requirements

The contents of this article are correct as at 22 December 2009

DIAC and the skills assessing bodies have announced changes to the permanent residency eligibility requirements that will come into effect on 1 January 2010. In this article we summarise these changes. These changes do not affect any application lodged on or before 31 December 2009.

We would be happy to assist with preparing and lodging your visa application, including addressing any enquiries arising from the summary below. Please click here to contact Visa Lawyers Australia.

Onshore GSM applications

Onshore GSM applications are lodged by overseas students who have recently completed 2 years’ study in Australia and who wish to remain in Australia while their application is being considered.  They include subclasses 885, 886, 887, 485 and 487.

(1) Successful Skills Assessment

From 1 January 2010, all subclass 487, 885 and 886 applicants must have a successful skills assessment at the time their application is lodged. This is a change from the current legal requirement that a person has applied for skills assessment at the time their application is lodged. The Graduate Temporary Visa (subclass 485) and Regional (subclass 887) are exempt.

(2) Generalist Occupations – New Skills Assessment requirements

Most of the 50 point occupations on the Skilled Occupations List are ‘generalist’ occupations. The minimum entry requirement for these occupations is usually a bachelor degree, but they are not specialized professions. They include, for example, human resources officer, marketing specialist, scientist, journalist, and senior administrative positions. Skills assessments for these occupations are provided by Vetassess.

From 1 January 2010, Vetassess will require a relevant Bachelor degree or higher qualification. This is a change from the current requirement of any Bachelor degree.

From 1 January 2010, Vetassess will also require work experience in the nominated occupation. The amount of work experience required will vary, depending on the occupation. This is a new requirement.

Overseas students who have recently completed 2 years’ study in Australia will be exempt from the work experience requirements, but will receive a provisional skills assessment valid only for an application for a 485 Graduate Skilled Temporary visa. A person wishing to apply for Australian permanent residency in a generalist occupation will need a full skills assessment from Vetassess.

Please also refer to our summary of changes related to Vetassess skills assessment.

(3) Trade Occupations – English

From 1 January 2010, onshore applicants nominating a trade occupation in a GSM application need to have competent English (i.e. 6 on each part of an IELTS test) at the time their application is lodged. This is an increase from the current requirement of vocational English (5 on each part of an IELTS test). This brings the onshore English language requirements for trades into line with the offshore English language requirements introduced in July 2009.

(4) Trade Occupations – Additional Skills Requirements

From 1 January 2010, onshore applicants nominating certain trade occupations will need to undertake a Job Ready test in addition to the existing skills requirements for GSM. The details of the Job Ready test have not yet been announced.

(5) Trade Occupations – New Skills Assessments

From 1 January 2010, onshore applicants nominating certain trade occupations need to provide a successful skills assessment that is dated 1/1/2010 or later. Skills assessment certificates with an earlier date will not be accepted.

Offshore GSM applications

Offshore GSM applications are lodged by people with qualifications from anywhere in the world, plus recent work experience. They are also lodged by overseas students who have recently completed 2 years’ study in Australia and do not need or want a bridging visa to remain in Australia while their application is being considered.  They include subclasses 175, 176, and 475.

(1) Generalist Occupations – New Skills Assessment requirements

The changes to Vetassess skills assessments also apply to Offshore visa applications. Please see Onshore GSM Applications, note 2, above.

(2) Trade Occupations – Additional Skills Requirements

From 1 January 2010, offshore applicants nominating certain trade occupations will need to demonstrate recent work experience in the skilled occupation they are nominating. This is change from the current requirements that the applicant has recent work experience in any skilled occupation.

We would be happy to assist with preparing and lodging your visa application, including addressing any enquiries arising from the summary belowWe would be happy to assist with preparing and lodging your visa application, including addressing any enquiries arising from the summary below. Please click here to contact Visa Lawyers Australia.