The most common form of migration to Australia is the General Skilled Migration program. The aim of the program is to attract skilled, experienced and therefore employable people for migration to Australia.
On 14 December 2009 amendments were made to the Migration Regulations 1994, under the Migration Act 1958. These changes are written up under the Migration Amendment Regulations 2009 and specifically addresses the assessment of skills with regard to General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa applications.
From 1 January 2010, applicants applying for one of the following onshore GSM visa subclasses will be required to have obtained a suitable skills assessment prior to applying for migration, in order for the application to be valid and assessed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship - Onshore applicants in the following sub-classes are affected -
- 885 - Skilled Independent (Permanent)
- 886 - Skilled Sponsored (Permanent)
- 487 - Skilled Regional Sponsored (3-year provisional).
Several groups of people will be affected by the amendments. International students applying for further stay in Australia after completion of their studies usually apply under these specific categories. They will have to address the modified visa requirements. However, graduate students applying under subclass 485 "Graduate Skilled" are not affected, as this is the 18-month temporary residence visa available to students studying in Australia for at least 2 years. International students with skills assessments completed prior to 1 January 2010 may need to get their skills reassessed ahead of applying for their long stay skilled visa.
In the above categories, all applicants making a visa application from 1 January 2010 must provide a suitable skills assessment at the date of lodging their application. This is different to past processes, wherein it was sufficient to lodge the visa application with evidence that the skills assessment had been applied for, provided the skills assessment was positive by the time the visa application was assessed by the Department of Immigration.
Those applying under a skilled trade, are also affected. Applicants are required to provide a skills assessment which has been completed on or after 1 January 2010.
Work experience requirements have been changed for the following offshore applications:
- 175 - Skilled Independent (Migrant)
- 176 - Skilled Sponsored (Migrant)
- 475 - Skilled Regional Sponsored (3-year provisional)
Applicants under these categories must, from 1 January 2010, show recent work experience in their selected occupation to demonstrate that they are "job ready".
The Job Ready Program has been developed by the relevant assessing authority, Trades Recognition Australia (TRA), specifically for this purpose. It includes a workplace assessment by a TRA approved assessor. Previously known as the Job Ready Test, this new job ready requirement does not affect subclass 485 and 887 visa applicants, who are still required to obtain a suitable skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority before a visa can be granted.
For accurate advice on how these amendments will affect your application for a student or worker visa, it is prudent to talk to a recognized, professional solicitor.