On July 1, 2011, the Australian Government introduced a new points test for certain skilled migration visas in which a comprehensive assessment of the attributes of an applicant is made, taking into account the applicant’s English capabilities, skills, qualifications and the age of the individual applying for skilled migration visas. Applicants must meet the requisite number of points in order for their visa to be successful.
What visas are affected by the new points system?
The visas that the new points test applies to are as follows:
• Subclass 475 Skilled Regional Sponsored
• Subclass 175 Skilled Independent
• Subclass 176 Skilled Sponsored
• Subclass 487 Skilled Regional Sponsored
• Subclass 885 Skilled Independent
• Subclass 886 Skilled Sponsored.
Although, the new changes no longer grants points for specific occupations, applicants will still need to nominate an occupation when making an application, with an assessment will still carried out in relation to the person’s qualifications, and its connection with their nominated occupation.
What are the general eligibility requirements?
The new points system does take in a broader range of criteria, however, there are still a few general threshold requirements that need to be met for an application to be successful. An applicant must:
• be under 50 years of age at the time of submitting an application
• meet the minimum requirement for English competency
• submit and hold a skilled assessment for an occupation that falls under the Skilled Occupation List
• demonstrate that they have recently undertaken the nominated skilled occupation or have completed an Australian study requirement.
A skilled migration applicant is adjudged to have met the Australian study requirement after undertaking a course of study that has spanned at least two academic years (92 weeks), and was completed in Australia. Furthermore, the Australian study requirement must also closely align with the nominated occupation in the person’s visa application.
Age: generally speaking, the younger a visa applicant is, the more desirable they are deemed to be for migration purposes. So for instance, in Australia, if a skilled migration visa applicant is between the ages of 18 -24, they would be awarded more points when compared to an applicant between the ages of 45 – 49.
English: an applicant meets the minimum competency level for English skills if they score six points in each of the components of the English Language Testing System Test, or any other test that the Minister deems appropriate. However, valid passport holders and citizens from the UK, Canada, New Zealand, the USA and Ireland, will automatically be considered as meeting the minimum competency level for entrance into Australia. Alternatively, all applicants are awarded additional points if they can demonstrate a superior level of English, and fulfilling the necessary requirements in order to be successful in demonstrating their superior levels of English.
Employment: the basic rule of thumb in terms of the employment skills requirement, is that the longer a person has remained in their nominated occupation in the previous 10 years, the greater the points. Additionally, an applicant must have worked a minimum of 20 hours a week in their occupation in order to fulfil the employment criteria.
Education: in order for an applicant to gain points for an overseas qualification, the relevant assessment authority in most cases must recognise that the degree or certificate, obtained overseas is comparable to the same level of qualification that can be obtained in Australia.
This article is a broad overview of how the new skilled migration visa points system operates. Anyone who is seeking more specific information, should always direct their enquiries to the appropriate entities.