Australian Visa Update: Victoria reveals State Migration Plan

Victoria has become the first Australian
state / territory to reveal their approved
State Migration Plan.

Today, Victoria became the first Australian state to reveal their approved State Migration Plan. The Victorian state government website was updated this morning with an announcement regarding the State Migration Plan being signed, along with a new list of occupations the Victorian government is offering to sponsor along with associated eligibility requirements.

What are State Migration Plans?

State Migration Plans (or SMPs) are set to play a critical part in the future of the Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, as they have been developed by State/Territory governments to essentially determine which applicants will be eligible for state sponsored visas on the basis of their occupation.

However, as each SMP has been needed to be approved by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship before it can be implemented, there has been a considerable wait for them to come into action, and as of 1 November, 2010, Victoria's is the only one to have been announced as approved. 

How many sponsorship places will be available under Victoria's State Migration Plan?

Details of Victoria’s cap of allocated sponsorship places have been made public, with the state allocated a total of 4,500 sponsored visa grants by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). The state government has also indicated that within this cap is a quota limiting the number of sponsorship grants to be given to each occupation on their occupation list. However, there are already certain occupations for which the planning level has been already reached for the 2010/11 program year.

What will the benefits be to being sponsored under a State Migration Plan?

One of the main benefits of being sponsored under a State Migration Plan is how it will affect Australian visa processing timeframes. Applicants who appear on Victoria's new list of occupations will be moved to Priority Group 2, according to the current processing directive. This means that these applicants should see their applications finalised within 12 months.

However, we are currently in contact with the Victorian government to ascertain whether existing sponsorship holders in an occupation for which the state quota has already been reached, are to be included in the migration plan and attain greater priority.

When can applications for sponsorship under Victoria's State Migration Plan be made?

Applications for sponsorship will be accepted from 3 November, which could be taken as an indication that other SMPs may be revealed on or before that date. Further updates will be covered on the Visa Bureau blog.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.