The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Australia has reduced skilled migration passmark


Is it a real change?
This change is probably one of the unexpected changes, after a complete overhaul of the General Skill Migration (GSM) Program. From July 1, the cutoff mark, so called the passmark will be 60 points. Since the migration legislations were changed in July 2011, applicants were required to score 65 points to qualify to lodge a visa application under the GSM program. Prior to that, the point test stood at 120 points, and this system differs largely to the existing system, and no way could be considered as the points were reduced from 120 to 65. Since the change in July 2011, statistics reveal a drop in applications received, and this could be interpreted as the changes had a negative impact on the number of qualifying people.  Nevertheless, the reduction from 65 points to 60 is welcoming news for all potential candidates. The difference of 5 points could make a huge impact to an application, where most people will qualify for a Permanent Residency (PR) visa under the new system.  Therefore, this change will open up tremendous opportunities and options for applicants considering migration to Australia.

Who will be benefited?
In the past 12 months, applicants qualifying for Australia under trades occupations (mechanics, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, A/C technicians) had a considerable drop, particularly from Asia. This was due to an unreal score of IELTS 7 being the essential for trades people to qualify.  Under the new laws to be implemented from July 2012, trades applicants could qualify with 6 in each band. Not only this benefit of qualifying from a lesser IELTS score can be enjoyed by trades applicants, it will be common to all applicants.  It is anticipated this change will lift in numbers substantially, particularly bringing back the lost opportunity for trades people.

Brand new application process
From July 1, further to the reduction of the passmark to 60 points, the processing system will change into a brand new e-system.  Skills Select will allow applicants to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) prior to lodging a visa application. Depending upon the criteria set by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), applicants will be invited to lodge a visa application. This new system has much in common with the current New Zealand system of processing skilled visas.

Complications in the new system
You may wonder how am I to access this new system to lodge a visa application to Australia. Prior to lodging an EOI, you must assess your skills, and your IELTS scores required must be available. Once you are convinced the needed 60 points are there, an EOI application can be submitted. There will be considerable number of state sponsored applications, and it is said the state will allocate a nomination through the electronic system, but the mechanisms are not known.  It is anticipated all occupations will be subject to a quota, and it is assumed that criteria can change from occupation to occupation and the actual demand. It is not confirmed yet if the quota is over, if the EOI will roll over to the next financial year, although it is said the EOI will remain in the system for two years.  With the more unknown than known and existing complications, it is always best if advice is sorted out from a registered migration agent. The Migration agent’s registration authority (MARA), lists out all the current practicing licence holders, on www.themara.gov.au

Seminar on 7 July
Australian Migration Centre is holding an information session on the GSM changes on 7 July 2012 at Cinnamon Grand Hotel from 10:00 AM a repeat session at 2:00 PM. Two renowned migration practitioners, Mr. Hemantha Punchihewa MARN 0209063 and Mrs. Surani Punchihewa 0426579 will be delivering information about new changes.  Please call 2818833 to reserve a seat for either session.

- Surani Punchihewa

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