DIAC begin processing Priority Group 5 Australia visa applications

Applications for skilled migration to Australia are currently categorised into one of five priority groups. Each group has an associated processing timeframe set as per a Directive drawn up by the minister for immigration and citizenship, Chris Bowen. The Australia visa application will then wait in that priority group until it is allocated to a case officer, who will then begin assessment of the information and documents provided.

The processing groups and their corresponding criteria are as follows:

Processing Priority Group 

Group Criteria 

Priority Group 1 

Employer sponsored under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) programme or who have applied for a Skilled – Regional (subclass 887) visa

Priority Group 2 

Employer sponsored under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) programme 

Priority Group 3 

Nominated by a state or territory government agency for an occupation specified on that agency’s state migration plan 

Priority Group 4 

Applicants who have nominated an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) – Schedule 1
See: Skilled Occupation List 

Priority Group 5 

All other applications, including state sponsored applicants that have not be sponsored under a State Migration Plan

Applicants within Priority Group 5 have been informed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for some time that their application will progress once all higher ranked applications have been assessed. However, the DIAC have just released a new update explaining that, as they have received less applications in other priority groups than planned, they intend to begin allocating some Priority Group 5 applicants to case officers for assessment and processing. 

The DIAC have indicated on their Allocation Dates for General Skilled Migration Applications page that state sponsored applications should be allocated a case officer by 31, May 2012.  As some applicants within Priority Group 5 have been waiting for considerable amounts of time to be allocated for assessment, we regard this as an extremely positive announcement. 

While this brings specific news for state sponsored applicants, the DIAC have indicated that they will release further information about the allocation of remaining Priority Group 5 applications at a later date.  David Stewart, the Program Director of the General Skilled Migration Program has informed the Migration Institute of Australia that he expects other visa types (within Priority Group 5) to be allocated to case officers throughout the 2012-2013 programme year which runs from 1, July, 2012 to 30, June, 2013. 

Priority Group 5 applicants who are state sponsored should expect to be contacted by a DIAC case officer sometime before 31, May, 2012.  Typically a request to complete police and medical checks is issued once an application is allocated to a case officer although, in a limited number of circumstances, a request for additional documents may be received.  We encourage non-state sponsored Priority Group 5 applicants to continue checking the Allocation Dates for General Skilled Migration Applications page of the DIAC website for updates on allocation dates and processing information. However, Visa Bureau clients will be updated as soon as important information which is relevant to their move to Australia is released.  

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau