19 July 2018

Is migrating to Australia becoming more challenging?

The dramatic visa changes that have taken place in 2018 indicate that Australian migration has become more challenging than previous years. Having an understanding of these changes and seeking professional advice can help you with your Australian visa application.

Australian migration in the news

Migration continues to be a topical issue among Western countries. As the majority aim to control immigration, it is not surprising that Australia is limiting its intake of migrants. Headlines reveal that major Australian cities are struggling with overcrowding, putting pressure on public services such as transport and education. Consequently, migration law is changing as the Government attempts to manage the situation.

The dramatic visa changes and reforms that have already taken place this year makes it difficult to deny that migration is more challenging than previous years.

Introduction of TSS Visa

In March 2018, the 457 Employee Sponsored Visa was replaced by the 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa. This reform saw a significantly condensed occupations list, tighter English language requirements, and overall more difficult criteria for the applicant to meet. Furthermore, Australian employers face tougher restrictions with the introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund and Labour Market Testing.

In turn this has created more expense and administration for Australian employers wishing to sponsor overseas workers, arguably making it a less attractive option. Recruiters and job applicants are advising that it is proving very difficult to find an Australian employer willing to sponsor an applicant through the TSS visa pathway.

Increased points score for skilled migrants

The 1 July 2018 saw the beginning of a new migration year, and with it came a major change to the General Skilled Migration pathway. The points score required for skilled migration increased from 60 to 65, leaving many applicants ineligible for the 189 Skilled Independent Visa.

Whilst there are other skilled visa options available, these rely on securing State Sponsorship. The State Governments have individual occupation lists and criteria which an applicant must meet to apply for sponsorship. Common requirements include showing evidence of employability within the State of application, proving your financial capacity, significant work experience, and licensing in your nominated occupation. To determine your eligibility for a State you should visit the individual State Government websites.

When applying for State Sponsorship under the 190 or 489 visa, it is important you are aware of your obligation to live and work for a minimum of 2 years in the State that sponsors you. The purpose of State Sponsorship is to distribute migrants to areas where their skills are in demand and where there are employment opportunities.

A decreasing immigration rate

'The Australian has confirmed that tougher vetting rules imposed by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton have cut 21,000 from the annual intake, returning it to levels last seen in 2007.' (Benson, 2018).

By introducing further restrictions and tougher criteria, applying for an Australia visa has become more challenging. Moreover, the amount of visas being granted has reduced.

With the number of applicants exceeding the spaces available, simply meeting the criteria for an Australian visa does not guarantee you will be invited to apply for a Skilled Visa. Realistically, an applicant requires a minimum of 70 to 75 points to secure an invitation to apply for a Skilled Independent 189 Visa. Having more points than the base requirement is also beneficial when applying for State Sponsored as the competition for places is high. State Sponsorship is not guaranteed.

Can I still apply for an Australian Visa?

Whilst Australian migration has become more challenging, there are still viable pathways for many applicants. If you are determined to relocate to Australia then it's important you seek professional and trusted advice. The rules are constantly changing and it is not enough to rely on expat advice online.

It is undeniable that migration to Australia requires both financial and emotional commitment. Using the professional services of an experienced Registered Migration Agent can save you stress, time and money when applying for an Australian visa.

You can find out about your visa options by completing our free online assessment:

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