01 July 2009

Changes for skilled migrant assessments effective today

Starting today, trades people applying to live and work in Australia permanently will require increased English language skills.

Trades people skilled migration

Trades peoples who are applying for skilled migration visas for Australia must pass new assessments.

The change will mean that those applying for General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas overseas will have to pass a test showing they have competent English. Competent English means the effective use of a language.

In the past, the pass mark was vocational English which is a lower standard, and only a partial command of the language.

Trades people lodging skilled migration visa applications overseas will be required to meet the new English language level under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

Trades people and related occupations will then be in line with the English language level required for all other occupations on the Skilled Occupation List.

The minimum salary levels for Temporary Skilled Overseas Workers (subclass 457 visas) will increase by 4.1 per cent from today, consistent with the change in average employees' total earnings since the level was last reviewed in August 2008.

Australia requires all visa applicants to satisfy the criteria for the granting of their visa and  Temporary Skilled Overseas Worker visa (subclass 457) applicants must satisfy certain skills requirements.

Where necessary for safety or to prevent fraud, Australia will undertake more extensive skills assessments to confirm skills claimed by applicants. Australia is improving its skills assessment processes to provide for formal skills testing of some trade occupations.

The pilot of this arrangement will commence today and will be extended as capacities are increased.

Changes have also come into effect that require employers of temporary skilled overseas workers to attest they have a strong record of and demonstrated commitment to employing local labour and non-discriminatory employment practices.

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

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