17 May 2010

New SOL welcomed but calls for the accompanying Points Test to be announced

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The announcement of the new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is a step forward, but the new Australian Points-Test for general skilled migration still needs to be delivered, the Migration Institute of Australia said.

On 8 February 2010, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced an overhaul of Australia’s General Skilled Migration program, including a tightening of the desired occupations. The new SOL is a critical linchpin in the overhaul but the Australian Immigration department delayed its announcement, expected on 30 April 2010.  

The Migration Institute of Australia has welcomed the new SOL .
“I am glad to see this list has finally been released for the relative surety it provides for many thousands of potential applicants and employers,” said Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia.

“Unfortunately, this List is just one element of coming GSM changes by the Commonwealth. We are still waiting on a new Points Test to accompany it.”

The new SOL is just under half the size of the old list, down from 408 to 181, with principally medical occupations (around 40 per cent), engineering classifications (around 20 per cent) and construction-related trades (around 15 per cent).

“The purpose of this new list is to make a significant impact on the number and makeup of migrants to Australia,” said Horder. “And it will.”

“It significantly impacts potential migrants, significantly impacts our higher education sector and significantly impacts areas across Australia suffering from acute skills shortages,” she continued.

“What we don’t know yet is how negative that impact will be. In the meantime, the Migration Institute of Australia calls upon the Minister to bring compassion, flexibility and transparency to the process of handling those already in Australia or who are applicants in the system.”

The Migration Institute of Australia is seeking an immediate lifting of the suspensions of applications offshore, which was put in place earlier this month.

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