Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
The number of Britons applying for Australian visas has increased recently, anticipating changes in Australian immigration rules, according to Visafirst.com, a visa agency. Changes are to come into effect on July 1, when Australia introduces the new Skillselect system, which is designed to ensure that immigrants can contribute more to the Australian economy. The changes are set to lengthen the application process and will make it overall more difficult to obtain permanent residence.
Skillselect – The New Australian System
Skilled Migrant Selection Register (Skillselect), the new Australian visa programme represents a significant change to the Australian immigration system. It is based more directly on Australia’s economic needs, and will enable the Australian Government to better manage who is able to apply for skilled migration, when they can apply and on what basis. Skillselect is an online system where skilled workers interested in moving to Australia will first have to record their details and express their interest in obtaining a skilled visa through an Expression of Interest (EOI). Following this, applicants may be invited to submit a visa application or they may be nominated for skilled visas by Australian employers or state governments.
In the current visa system, if you gain enough points under a particular visa scheme, you are invited to submit your application. Under the Skillselect system, you will not only have to gain enough points, but Australian immigration can decide whether or not you can submit an application.
Whilst the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship
maintains that the changes are designed to benefit the Australian government, it also emphasises that it expects to “significantly reduce the time taken to process an application and improve the settlement and employment prospects of skilled migrants.”
On the other hand, once the new system takes effect, it is expected that the whole application process will take longer, that the number of immigrants will be more limited than currently and that the process will be more selective. Even if you meet the specific criteria, there will be no guarantee that you’ll be invited to apply for a visa. As Edwina Shanahan, director of Visafirst.com commented: “The immigration process is going to be a lot more selective, based on those who score the highest number of points. The Australian government will also be setting quotas on the number of skilled workers from each sector – carpenters, for example – in the pool at any one time.”
The prospect of these changes has already resulted in an increase in visa applications since the beginning of the year. Britannia Movers International would recommend that if you are thinking of moving to Australia, it is best to start the visa application process as soon as possible. There is a five-year window for relocating once your visa has been granted, so applying for a visa soon might be a good idea even if you are not planning to relocate right away. Skills that are in demand tend to vary from state to state, but engineering, IT, tourism, construction, trade and nursing are in demand in many areas.
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