Australian immigration has decided to stop the processing of the main general skilled migration visas from 8 May 2010 to 30 June 2010. This temporary suspension includes all primary applicants for the following Australian general skilled migration visas:
- Subclass 175 – Skilled Independent;
- Subclass 176 – Skilled Sponsored;
- Subclass 475 – Skilled Regional Sponsored.
This is a surprising move by the Australian Government and will mean that any immigration applications in the above categories submitted on 8 May 2010 or later will be returned together with the Australian visa application fees. However, other expenses such as fees for medical examinations will not be returned.
Australian immigration feels that under the current immigration system the skilled occupation list does not properly reflect the needs of the Australian economy and labour market. The Australian Government feels that the new skilled occupation list to be announced in May 2010 will be more relevant to Australia's needs. There are also insufficient Australian visas available to meet current demand.
The current suspension on Australian general skilled migration visas will cause problems in a number of industries that depend on skilled migrants. Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison had the following to say about regional areas affected by the change:
"Particularly the hospitality sector in regional areas, the agricultural sector, those involved in the food processing industry, motor mechanics out in regional areas - I mean the list is very long and it's particularly in trade skill-based occupations."
Australian immigration has made a number of changes to the Australian immigration system over the last year. If you meet the requirements for a particular immigration category in Australia or another Country and wish to apply you should think about applying sooner rather than later for your visa. The economic downturn of about two years ago which fortunately did not affect Australia as much as many other Countries has meant that immigration policies have been reviewed and changed in many Countries around the World. This has meant that many people no longer qualify for immigration to the Country of their choice.