The contents of this article are correct as at 20 April 2009.
As a result of the global financial crisis Immigration Department processing of certain General Skilled Migration visas has slowed down dramatically.
Despite the slowdown please note that this does not necessarily mean that chances of obtaining residency are reduced.
If your chances of obtaining the visa are good, then generally speaking your chances remain good.
The slow down means that applicants will need to wait longer for their visas to be processed.
It is becoming clear that these general skilled migration applications will now be processed in the following order of priority:
- Applications with successful State or Territory government nomination
- Applications where the nominated occupation is on the new Critical Skills List
- Applications for skilled occupations on the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL). Processing of these applications as well as all others ( see 4 below) will be delayed until after all (1) and (2) applications are finalised.
- All other skilled occupations
Please note that the processing of subclasses 485, 476, 487 and 887 are not affected by the above changes.
In addition to the longer processing times for these applications it appears that the Department may also grant less of these visas this current financial year. The Minister for Immigration, the Hon. Chris Evans, has announced that the 2008-09 skills stream of the migration program will be capped at about 115 000 places, down from 133 500 places.
The Immigration Department centres dealing with GSM applications have advised that current timelines appear to be:
- Processing of applications sponsored by a state or territory government will be processed commencing within 10 working days once the department has received and approved a nomination from a state and territory authority.
- Processing of applications for skilled occupations on the new Critical Skills List will occur in order of date of lodgement.
- Processing of applications for skilled occupations on the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) is not occurring at present and no indication has been given as to when processing will commence.
- Processing of all other skilled occupations is not occurring at present and no indication has been given as to when processing will commence.
Aside from these priorities, the two processing centres have indicated that in regards to specific visa applications already lodged the processing timelines are as follows: