Immigration Minister Chris Evans had previously announced the revocations of the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) from 8 February 2010. Now following advice from the Independent body, Skills Australia a new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has just been announced. This is due to be implemented on 1 July 2010.
The new immigration reforms are intended to make sure that the Australian skilled immigration program will result in new immigrants who better meets the needs of the Australian economy and the skilled labour needs in Australia.
It is expected that there will be a reduction in the number of independent skilled migrant visas. There will at the same time be an increase in the number of employer sponsored skilled immigration visas. The number of occupations on the skilled occupation list has now been reduced from 400 occupations to 181 occupations. Australian immigration feels that the new list is in keeping with Australia's overall workforce development strategy which was developed with Skills Australia.
If you wish to gain entry to Australia on the new list you will find that the list is focused more on higher skilled level occupations requiring formal education and training. The occupations on the list include managerial, professional, associate-professional and trade occupations. The skilled occupation list will be reviewed on an annual basis. The Australian Government in their recent announcement has said that they are committed "…to a labour market demand-driven skilled migration program…".
The new skilled occupation list will apply to General Skilled Migration applications from 1 July 2010. The exception to this is GSM applicants who at 8 February 2010 come under the following transitional arrangements:
- If you held a subclass 485 (skilled graduate) visa or had a pending subclass 485 visa application and you apply for a permanent or provisional onshore GSM visa by 31 December 2012.
- On the date of the announcement you had a pending GSM visa application.
- If you are an international student who on 8 February 2010 held a subclass 572 (vocational education and training sector) or subclass 573 (higher education sector) or subclass 574 (postgraduate research sector) student visa you will not come under the new skilled occupation list. If you are a student in this situation you can apply for a subclass 485 (skilled graduate) visa using the current SOL as long as you lodge your subclass 485 application by 31 December 2012.
Australian immigration has commented that Australia has "…a well deserved reputation for the delivery of quality education and training…". There may still be opportunities for students to come to Australia and then remain as a permanent immigrant.
The Australian immigration changes mean that fewer people will qualify under the general skilled migration categories. Those that do qualify from 1 July 2010 for skilled immigration will need to have higher level skills or be sponsored by an employer.