In July of 2012, the Australian Government made sweeping changes to the skilled migration program which allows people with skills and qualifications that fill a gap in the Australian workforce, to obtain visas allowing them to live and work in Australia on a permanent or temporary basis.

The new program is known as “Skill Select” and covers a range of available visas such as:

  • Employer sponsored Visas. Applicants for these visas must be sponsored by an employer.
  • GSM, otherwise known as the General Skilled Migration Program, is for professionals and other skilled migrants who are not sponsored by an employer but who have skills in particular occupations which are required in Australia. See here for the list of professions currently required in Australia. Please note that the Australian government places caps on many of the occupations shown to be available on these lists and quotas are often filled before the end of a migration year. Please consider also that occupations may be added to, or deleted from the lists in accordance with fluctuations in the Australian labour market.
  • Business Talent and Innovation Visa – business people can apply for a visa to conduct short business visits, or for more substantial visas permitting them to either manage an existing business, or to establish something entirely new in Australia.
  • Investment Visas- Want to retire in Australia? Investing in the economy may be a great way to do this.

SkillSelect works by allowing skilled workers and business people interested in migrating to Australia to lodge an Expression of Interest with the Australian Government by filling out an online form.

Expressions of Interest may then be made available to Australian employers, or State and territory governments who face skill shortages in specific occupational fields. Potential employers or State governments can then nominate applicants for skilled visas. Alternatively, and depending on the type of visa sought, the Australian Government may directly invite a potential applicant to lodge a visa application.

From 1 July 2012, all intending migrants interested in the points based skilled migration or business investment and innovation visa programs will be required to submit an Expression of Interest and receive an invitation before they will be able to lodge a visa application.

Skill Select and Points Based Skilled Migration

The majority of people interested in Skilled Migration to Australia will consider applying for a points based visa using one of the options made available by Skill Select.

Eligibility for these visas requires the potential applicant to have a certain level of competence in English; to be under the age of 50 on the date an invitation is issued; to have an occupation which is in demand in Australia; and to be able to pass the points test.

The points test allocates scores for age, English ability, education and work experience amongst other things. Potential applicants must score at least 60 on the test in order to be eligible to submit a valid Expression of Interest, (although the Government may change the score required at any time).

Determining whether or not you can pass the points test is only the first step in the application process. After this:

  • All potential applicants, unless they are found to be exempt, will be required to sit the IELTS exam and demonstrate a minimum level of competence in English.
  • All potential applicants must then have their skills assessed by the Australian Assessment Authority relevant to their occupation, which determines whether the standards of a certain profession in any given country, are equivalent to the standards in Australia.  Be aware that some professional boards in Australia require a higher competency in English than the Federal Government does for standard points based migration, and an applicant in that position must be able to meet the higher of the two standards.
  • Some applicants may also wish to apply for State Nomination before or after submitting their Expression of Interest, and again, it is important to note that individual States have individual criterion, and an applicant may be required to possess a higher competency in English than that required by the Federal Government.

Once all or some of these steps have been completed, the applicant can submit an Expression of Interest for consideration by the relevant bodies.

The process can be complicated and we understand that the Skilled Migration path can be difficult to navigate alone.  To eliminate all doubt and feel confident in your ability to submit an Expression of Interest, complete our assessment form, which will determine which visas, if any, are available to you, and what steps you will need to take in order to obtain them.