27 March 2009

Further changes for those emigrating to Australia through ACT and NT skilled-sponsored visa programs

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Prospective skilled migrants emigrating to Australia using state-nomination programs in the ACT and the NT need to check if their occupation is now considered in demand, as the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT) governments recently made amendments to their skilled occupations lists.

After removing five occupations earlier this week, the ACT has removed a further two occupations and added another.  Prospective migrants emigrating to Australia through the ACT skilled-sponsorship program as a fitter, metal machinist, metal fabricator, welder first class, sheet metalworker, surgeon or speech pathologist will at this point of time no longer be able to lodge an application through this programme.  Pressure welders can now participate.

A comprehensive shortage list can be found on the ACT Skilled Migration website:

http://www.business.act.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0003/124986/ACT_Skills_in_Demand_List_March_2009.doc

While only five occupations were initially removed from the ACT's Skills in Demand List this week, the NT removed 51 occupations from its Baseline List of Occupations and added 32 new occupations.  To make matters more complicated, the NT has now reinstated 50 of the removed occupations (speech pathologist was not reinstated), and added 35 new occupations-in-demand.  This means that more people now have a chance of applying through the NT skilled-sponsored program. 

While it is possible that the NT experienced technical problems during the week when amending their skills list online, the Territory's migration department has now confirmed that their list has been updated for people emigrating to Australia and that the next changes to its Occupations Lists "will probable occur in May/June 2009 depending upon the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship changes to MODL and the Commonwealth Department of Education, Education and Workplace Relations changes to their state/territory occupation lists".

A comprehensive skills shortage list can be found on the Northern Territory Business and Skilled Migration website:

http://www.migration.nt.gov.au/documents/NT_BaselineList_%202009.pdf

The Australian skilled-sponsored visa program entitles each State/Territory to nominate Australian temporary residents or prospective migrants for an Australian skilled visa, if they have skills recognised as being high in demand in that State/Territory.  While the visa obtained is a permanent Australian visa, the holder has undertaken to live and work in the nominating State/Territory for the first two years of that visa.

This nomination reduces the required pass-mark for Australian skilled migration from 120 points to 100 and an extra 10 points for the nomination, so those applicants who only score 90 on their points test find the pathway useful. 

The vacillating nature of the skills lists is a stark reminder for people emigrating to Australia that the Australian skilled migration programme is responsive to the economic climate and open to changes.  Any person who wishes to migrate to Australia through the skilled migration programme should keep up-to-date with the latest changes if they want to use the best pathway possible.


The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.


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