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Skilled Visas

2009-2010 Australian Budget and impact on immigration levels

The contents of this article are correct as at 13 May 2009

The Australian Government has announced changes to Australia’s migration planning levels, with a further decrease to the General Skilled Migration Scheme (GSM) quota for the 2009-2010 financial year.

The Government has announced a reduction to 108,000 GSM places in the overall Australian migration intake as part of its 2009-2010 Federal Budget.

This takes the GSM quota back to levels seen in the 2006-2007 financial year.

Coupled with reductions to the GSM quote announced in March 2009, the budget reduction represents a 20 per cent decrease in GSM places from the 2008-2009 budget – a year which saw the largest annual increase in the overall migration intake since 1948.

At the time of writing, the requirements for GSM residency will remain unchanged for the 2009-2010 financial year. However GSM applications are now being processed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in the following order of priority.

  1. Applications sponsored by a state or territory government
  2. Applications for skilled occupations on the new Critical Skills List
  3. Applications for skilled occupations on the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL)
  4. All other skilled occupations

DIAC has ceased processing applications in categories 3 and 4, and will work through the backlog of lodged applications coming under categories 1 and 2 before it resumes processing categories 3 and 4. Although the eligibility criteria for skilled migration remains unchanged, the new processing prioritisation means that many skilled occupations will experience a dramatic delay in visa processing.

The General Skilled Migration scheme provides permanent residency for highly skilled and qualified young people with good English abilities. It encourages the migration to Australia of people whose skills are in demand in Australia and provides incentives for those willing to migrate to regional areas.

According to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, research has shown that the labour market participation for permanent skilled migrants is now over 90 per cent.

If you have qualifications and/or work experiences and are interested in applying for Australian permanent residency under the General Skilled Migration Scheme, please complete Visa Lawyers Australia Free Assessment Questionnaire for a free assessment of your prospects.