Both the Victorian and Queensland Governments have announced that they are no longer accepting new Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) or Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 489) nomination applications due to a high volume of applications in the system causing a backlog.
Also, in South Australia (SA) there will be changes to General Skilled Migration (GSM) requirements and Regional Certifying Body (RCB) advice applications for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 visa - Direct Entry stream.
Changes in Queensland
Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BMSQ) has stated that the freeze on issuing new invitations for skilled occupations will be lifted from 1st July 2018. In order to be considered for skilled state nomination, applicants will have to lodge a new Expression of Interest (EOI) in July 2018. BSMQ have stated that they will not assess EOIs lodged prior to the re-opening.
Changes in Victoria
In a statement, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources in Victoria said there was a “very high volume” of applications for visa nominations for skilled migration and “to help us manage this demand…we are not accepting any new Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) or Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) nomination applications at this time.”
The Victorian Government will continue to assess all nomination applications received prior to 15 May 2018, however decisions may be delayed.
The suspension is only a temporary measure until the high volume of current applications are reduced, however a timeframe for lifting the freeze has not been provided. The department advises prospective applicants to check its website in the coming weeks for information on when applications reopen.
Business and investor visa nomination applications will not be affected.
Changes in South Australia
Work Experience changes
Immigration SA has revised its requirements for accessing the work experience waiver for international graduates of SA. Instead of the usual requirement for at least one year of skilled work experience in the past three:
- Graduates in SA will now be required to have been working for the last 3 months in a skilled occupation at the time of the application. This allows Immigration SA to compile proper data to validate applicants’ current employment in South Australia and ensure that good employment outcomes are taking place. Please note: some occupations have additional work experience requirements for international graduates of SA - see the occupation lists for further details.
- The changes will apply to all applications submitted after 28 May 2018.
- Immigration SA can request further evidence if they have concerns about the accuracy of the work experience being claimed (this may include salary level and genuine need for the position). Immigration SA wants to ensure all employment outcomes are genuine.
Effective from 1 July 2018, listed below are the changes to Immigration SA’s chain migration pathway to ensure that this remains an option for migrants wanting to join an immediate family member in South Australia.
- The pathway will now be offered for the provisional 489 visa only. It is important that migrants in this pathway are genuinely settling with or near their family member and not using this as a pathway to settle in other states.
- The existing family member in South Australia will need to have lived in South Australia for at least 24 months, rather than 12 months. This ensures closer ties and commitment to South Australia.
- The existing family member in South Australia will be able to be a South Australian State nominated provisional visa holder (489 visa), not just a permanent resident or Australian citizen.
- Chain migration applicants must thoroughly consider their prospect of achieving skilled employment, as they are being nominated mainly based on their family links. It is expected that the existing family member will be able and willing to provide considerable settlement support as required.
Regional Certifying Body (RCB)
New priority processing arrangements for RCB advice applications
Immigration SA will be priority processing applications for positions in country SA regions and positions with a salary over $141,000 per year.
Once an application is received, Immigration SA will assess whether it requires priority processing. Priority processing does not have to be specifically requested by the applicant.
The RSMS changes implemented by the Department of Home Affairs in March 2018 have resulted in some RCB advice changes.
RCB’s are now required to advise the Department of Home Affairs on the following:
- Whether the applicant would be paid at least the annual market salary rate for the occupation*
- Whether there is a genuine need for the applicant to be employed in the position, under the direct control of the nominator.
- Whether the position can be filled by an Australian Citizen or Australian permanent resident who is living in, or would move to, the local area concerned.
*The Department of Home Affairs will assess whether the occupation is above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) - currently $53,900.
New requirements for RCB advice
As a result of the changes listed above, the following change applies to RCB advice applications submitted to Immigration SA.
- Positions advertised in print media will also need to be advertised online on one of the recruitment sites listed in the RCB advice checklist in order to demonstrate that an extensive recruitment process was used to attract suitable Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents willing to move to the local area for the position.
- When a position is vacant due to resignation, Immigration SA may request additional documentation regarding the previous staff member’s employment.
All documentation in support of an application must be uploaded in the online application form. From 7 May 2018, any documents emailed separately will not be considered in the assessment process and will be deleted.
Multiple documents can be scanned and saved as one attachment in the application form. There is also an additional upload button in the ‘recruitment activity’ section of the application form.
Immigration SA will only provide RCB advice once per employer nomination application lodged with the Department of Home Affairs (applications for the same position with the same nominee).
If Immigration SA provides “not-satisfied” advice for an application, the applicant must provide any further information or documentation addressing the “not-satisfied” advice directly to the Department of Home Affairs.
Comment from Principal Migration Agent and Lawyer Chris Johnston
There may be more changes to State and Territory requirements for nomination, as we approach 30 June 2018. The States and Territories have to make the most of any possible nomination numbers they may have.
From 1 July 2018, the States and Territories will have their full year quotas of occupations to sponsor.
This will mean if you want to apply for State or Territory sponsorship, then you should be getting the following completed:
- English testing
- Applying for a skills assessment for your skilled occupation on the relevant skilled lists.
Do you need help with an Australian visa application?
At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas, Partner and other Family Migration visas as well as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.
If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:
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