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Changes to Skilled Migration Effective from 1 January 2009

The contents of this article are correct as at 6 January 2009


The Minister for Immigration has announced that changes will be introduced to the Employer Sponsored Nomination Scheme and the General Skilled Migration Program as of 1 January 2009.  From 1 January 2009 permanent residency applications are to be fast-tracked if they meet certain criteria.

Employer Sponsored Nomination

All Employer Sponsored Nomination Scheme applications are to be fast-tracked.  The Minister has predicted the grant of 36,000 permanent residency visas in the coming year via the ENS pathway. 

General Skilled Migration
Under the General Skilled Migraton Program applications will only be eligible fo fast-tracking where applicants:

1.    Nominate an occupation which appears on the Critical Skills List;
2.    Have a job offer in the skilled occupation they nominate; or
3.    Are sponsored by a State or Territory Government

1. The Critical Skills List
The Critical Skills List (CSL) is a new list of occupations focusing on medical and key IT professionals, engineers and construction trades. Please click here for the list. Those who nominate an occupation on the CLS will have their applications fast-tracked.  Accountants are also on the CSL but they are only eligible for fast tracking if they have Proficient English, which is a score of at least 7 on each of the four components of an ILETS test.

It should be noted that the sole purpose of the CLS is to determine an applicant’s eligibility for fast-tracking. It is distinct from the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL), which will still determine whether an applicant is eligible for bonus points.

2. Job offer
Applicants who have not nominated an occupation which appears on the CLS but have a job offer in their nominated occupation will also be eligible for having their application fast-tracked. 

3. Sponsorship by a State or Territory Government
To obtain permanent residency under this scheme, applicants must first apply to the State or Territory government to obtain sponsorship.  Only once an applicant has been approved for sponsorship by a State or Territory government are they eligible to apply for skilled migration through the Department of Immigration.

Sponsorship by a State or Territory government will immediately make an applicant eligible to have their permanent residency application fast-tracked, regardless of whether the occupation nominated by the applicant appears on the CLS. 

Impact on existing applications
The changes will be effective from 1 January 2009 and will apply to applications which have already been lodged.  GSM applicants waiting to have their applications finalised may face longer processing times if they do not fall within one of the fast-track categories

Processing times
At this stage there is no indication of how quickly the fast-track applications will be processed, or whether processing times will vary depending on how the application has met the criteria for being fast-tracked.

If you would like us to assess your chances, in writing and for free, under General Skilled migration, please click here to complete our questionnaire. For more details about our free assessment please click here.

If you would like to discuss your prospects under the Employer Nomination Scheme, please click here to contact us.