Important new details relating to the new Australian skilled migration points test that is set to come into operation on 01 July have been released by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
The skilled migration points test determines which skilled workers will be eligible to emigrate to Australia with a skilled visa and has been radically overhauled.
The changes cover issues such as points awarded for recognised qualifications, the need for English tests, the recognition of degrees that are unrelated to the job being applied for and how work experience points are awarded.
Skilled personnel such as accountants, nurses and IT professionals are set to be awarded 10 points for diplomas and other qualifications which have led them to becoming a member of a recognised authority.
A number of key occupations have been added to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) including pharmacist, barrister, solicitor, and environmental health officer. Many others though have been removed, including optometrist, orthoptist, panel beater and vehicle painter.
The points awarded for work experience have changed. Instead of a limited bracket assessment the new points test will simply look at the last 10 years of work experience. Experts said that this would benefit those, for example, who have worked in the UK, then worked for a few years in Australia, returned to the UK and now want to work in Australia again. Under the old system people in this position would have been awarded no points despite working consistently in their profession in both Australia and overseas.
Under the new system applicants required to provide an English test would have to take the test before they apply for their visa as it is no longer possible to submit a visa application and then sit the test.
Degrees unrelated to the job being applied for will now be taken into account. Therefore, a nurse who studied history at University and then took nursing qualifications, can submit the first degree for assessment.
There is still some confusion over some of the changes ahead of the new points system being introduced as new details are still being finalised. Anyone applying for a visa in the near future is advised to take advice.
For example, it originally it was stated that the Skilled Family Sponsored (subclass 176) visa was being abolished. But this is not the case although it will be granted in only rare cases and applicants will not receive any points for permanent family sponsorship, meaning there is technically no benefit in applying for this visa over other categories such as the Skilled Independent (subclass 175) visa in terms of the points test.