Changes to the new MODL review
could have an enormous effect on
the Australia visa program.
We received a notification today that the Australian Government has released issues papers for, and called for comments to, the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) review.
While full details will not be released until later in the year, there is every sign that this latest MODL review will result in serious, lasting changes to the Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) program which is why we are advising all our clients to lodge their visa applications as soon as possible.
Why is the MODL being reviewed?
Since its introduction in 1999, amendments to the MODL have not been uncommon. They typically take place approximately every 6 months and result in occupations being both added and removed from the list (with the number of occupations added usually outweighing the number of occupations removed).
However, it has been almost 18 months since the last MODL review. In that time, the Government has instead concentrated on introducing other methods of further targeting the skill needs of Australia, such as the launch of the Critical Skills List (CSL) in January, 2009.
However, on the back of the CSL being introduced, the Government sent clear signals that this new MODL review would be significant, due to the general feeling that the MODL was no longer sufficiently responsive.
What changes can be expected to come from this MODL review?
The details of the review are still being decided upon, but due to such factors as the current economic climate, the need for the GSM program to respond to future skill needs and the desire for a more integrated migration process, we anticipate that some (or possibly all) of the following changes will take place:
Occupations will be removed from the MODL.
The Critical Skills List will remain in place while the review is in progress and then be phased out following the implementation of any recommendations flowing from the review.
The MODL will be integrated with the CSL and possibly the points test too, creating one, all-encompassing migration tool that will determine exactly which occupations will be most in demand, the points allocation for these occupations and the according processing timeframes.
The older ASCO (Australian Standard Classification of Occupations) will be replaced by the ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations).
When will the MODL review be decided upon and the changes introduced?
The results of the review are scheduled to be handed to the Australian government in October, 2009 but it’s currently impossible for us to say how quickly the changes will then be put into action. Given that the nature of the project is to make the MODL more immediately responsive though, we can assume that once the changes have been agreed upon, they will be implemented sooner rather than later.
What does Visa Bureau advise applicants to do at this time?
At a time of such uncertainty, speed is of the essence, especially for clients whose occupation is currently listed on the MODL.
Also, while the ANZSCO mirrors the ASCO fairly closely in terms of its depth of classification, it can’t be guaranteed that every occupation will be accounted for when the replacement is made (providing another good reason for applicants in more specific jobs to move quickly before the MODL review takes place).
Further information will be announced on our blog as and when we receive it, but for now, the message that all visa applicants should take is to work quickly towards lodging their visa application, if they have not already done so.
- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.
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