Australia has many industries that are currently experiencing skills shortages. For this reason, the skilled migration program was created – to extend opportunities to competent, overseas professionals who meet the criteria set for skilled immigration to Australia. This type of visa type comes in two sub-categories; skilled independent and skilled nominated (applicants sponsored by family members or Australian State or Territory Governments) visas.
The Skilled Visa program, also known as the “General Skilled Migration program”, is for applicants and their families who are not sponsored by an employer, but who nevertheless have valuable skills in particular occupations, sought after in Australia.
Before formally submitting a visa application, applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) via the SkillSelect system. The EOI includes:
• Personal qualifications
• Occupation and work experience
• English language assessment
Once the EOI is submitted, state and territory governments can search the EOI register to nominate applicants with required and desirable skills. Invitations to apply for visas are issued monthly and the Australian Government publishes details of the invitations it expects to issue. Such parties are then invited to lodge a State Nomination Visa (see SC190). Private sector employers and the Australian Government can also invite people to lodge visa applications. An EOI is valid for acceptance for up to two years. Formal visa applications must be made within 60 days of the invitation being issued.
Please bear in mind:
- Skilled workers are highly valued. In fact – they made up MORE THAN 60% of the total number of migrants to Australia in 2014/15!
- Applicants with skills that can benefit the Australian economy are prioritised for visas.
- The skills required at a point in time depends on the skills shortages in the Australian job market, and on occupations needed for Australia’s long-term growth.
- Anyone applying for a Skilled Visa must apply via SkillSelect – which was introduced to simplify the GSM system and make it more fair and effective.
- SkillSelect has a points test that applicants must satisfy.
- The SkillsSelect points test effectively provides the ranking for the applicant’s priority and the minimum points threshold must be met for the visa application to proceed, even if the applicant has been nominated or invited to apply.
- The main focus of Skills Select is State Sponsorship, whereby various States are able to identify and select applicants they would like to sponsor from the SkillSelect database.
- SkillSelect also allows applicants to nominate whether they are willing to be located in a regional area, and if they are, their application will be put forward for regional sponsorship.
- Occupation ceilings: with the objective of avoiding a small number of occupations attracting the greatest number of invitations, the Australian Government has imposed ceilings to limit the numbers of invitations issued to various occupational categories.
- Expressions of Interest