On 17 December 2007, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, announced a number of changes to the general skill migration program. These changes will come into affect on 1 January 2009.
Under the changes preferential treatment will be provided to visa applicants who:
1. are sponsored by an Australian employer or a State or Territory government;
2. nominate an occupation on the Critical Skills List; see www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/critical-skills-list.pdf.
Where a visa applicant comes within one of the above 2 categories, their applications for general skilled migration will receive priority processing.
In his announcement the Minister indicated that while the government would maintain the existing number of general skilled migration visas that are made available during 2008/2009 program year, the number of visas that are granted in this program year may be below that limit, if the demand for skilled migrants from Australian employers and or State and Territory governments decreases.
If you are considering applying for general skilled migration you should give serious consideration to lodging your visa application as soon as possible. If the economic conditions in Australia deteriorate the Department of Immigration and Citizenship may move to further restrict the availability of the general skilled migration program especially to people who are not sponsored by an Australian employer or a State or Territory government or who do not have the skills to perform one of the occupations on the Critical Skills List.
At the moment the Critical Skills List does not contain occupations such as cooking, hairdressing and other occupations that have routinely been pursued as a means of obtaining permanent residency in Australia.
Craddock Murray Neumann is able to comprehensively advise you in relation to whether you are eligible for general skilled migration and, in the event that you are not eligible for general skilled migration, whether other avenues of migration are available to you. If you would like to discuss your circumstances please contact us on (02) 8268 4000.