20 April 2005

Changes to Australian skilled regional visa

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The Australian Government has announced significant changes to its skilled regional visa scheme. By working with state and territorgovernments and regional authorities, DIMIA is trying to help each state/region access the particular skills they need.

To supplement the range of mechanisms already in place, the Australian Government will be taking a range of further measures described herein.

Skilled Designated Area Sponsored Visa

From mid 2006 the Skilled Designated Are Sponsorde Visa will be modified to improve its effectiveness in helping participating area of Australia to access he skilled migrants they nee. Skilled migrants sponsored by families living in designated area will from mid-2006 enter on a three year temporary visa. They will be eligible to apply for a permanent visa after living in the same designated area as their family sponsor for a minimum of two years an working in the same designated area for at least one year.

These two stage visa arrangements will give states and territories greater assurance that people sponsored under these arrangements will settle in the same area as their sponsor, in line with the objectives of their visa.

Skilled Independent Regional (SIR) visa access for Working Holiday Makers

Working Holiday Makers and Occupational Trainee will be allowed from 1 November 2005 to apply for and obtain a Skilled Independent Regional (SIR) visa without leaving Australia. The applicant must be sponsored by a state government agency or regional authority or regional authority an meet the current passmark of 110 points.

This measure will significantly expand the pool of people avaible for sponsorship by state governments and regional authorities under the SIR visa and have the additional advantage of attracting people who already have work experience in Australia.

More points awarded to Skilled Independent Regional (SIR) visa applicants

From 1 July 2005, people who apply or the SIR visa will be granted and additional 10 points. This means state governments and regional authorities will have access to a wide range of potential skilled migrants. The current passmark is 110 points.

Skills Recognition and Licensing web portal

DIMIA will wok with DEST, DEWR and the states to develop a web portal which will provide simple, comprehensive and up-to-date information for migrants who are seeking recognition and licensing for their occupations in Australia.

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