Visa allocations in Australia for a number of skilled jobs in the computing and engineering professions are now closed until July as the allocation for the current programme has now been met.
It means that those in these occupations wanting to apply for a visa will have to wait to be invited to make an application until the new migration programme for the 2017/2018 year starts on 01 July.
The categories affected are computer network and system engineer, network administrator, network analyst, aeronautical engineer, agricultural engineer, biomedical engineer, engineering technologist, environmental engineer, and naval architect.
During each year an occupation ceiling is set in terms of the number of places allocated to a particular occupation and this limits the number of invitations issued to applicants in each occupation group seeking a skilled independent visa or family sponsored skilled regional visa.
But there are plenty of occupations which have received nowhere near their allocation limit, For example there are 9,345 places allocated to electricians for the current migration year but only 153 of these places allocated so far.
Other occupations with lots of place still available include actuaries, mathematicians and statisticians, child care centre managers, medical laboratory scientists, school teachers, optometrists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, GPs, surgeons and midwives.
According to migration experts the categories where the allocations are now full will probably experience a backlog when the new round opens in July. Unless occupational ceilings are increased, they expect minimum points or waiting times for invitations to increase when the programme reopens.
When the new occupational ceilings are published in July 2017 the number of points needed for a visa application can change. There is also currently a waiting list for the computing and engineering categories as they have received more applications than places actually available.
There are also state wide variations. For example, Western Australia suspended its state nomination programme in March for review and although it has now re-opened it is only for certain medical practitioners and sonographers. A revised list is due to be released in late May 2017.