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Immigration News

Immigration News

03-Mar-2018

AUSTRALIA SKILLSELECT MORE COMPETITIVE IN 2017-18

Presently getting a SkillSelect invitation for Australia is much more difficult for the year 2017-18 compared to previous years. This situation is for most occupations across the board, not just popular professional occupations such as accounting, IT and engineering.  This information is more looked at SkillSelect moments for 2017-18.  

THE SKILLED INDEPENDENT SUBCLASS 189 VISA:  The Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa is a permanent visa which an applicants can qualify for based on their  own qualifications, work experience and English language ability. It does not require sponsorship or nomination by a relative, employer or state/territory government and so is an attractive option for many applicants.

An applicant cannot apply directly for a Skilled Independent visa – the applicant must first lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect and receive an invitation to apply. Invitation rounds are conducted every 2 weeks and the "best" applicants based on their score on the General Skilled Migration points test receive an invitation each round and thus an applicant qualifies. 

To lodge 189 visa, an applicant must nominate an occupation on the Independent and Family Sponsored Occupations List (IFSOL). Occupation ceilings are set at the beginning of the program year, which specify a maximum number of EOI invitations for each occupation on the IFSOL. 

The program year goes from 1 July to 30 June every year.  Some occupations are very popular and receive far more eligible EOIs than the occupational ceiling. These occupations are called "pro rata" occupations - a maximum number of invitations is set each round and so the required points may be higher or waiting time longer for these occupations.

Most other "non-pro rata" occupations don't get anywhere near the occupation ceiling each year, and hence have a lower required points score for an invitation.

GENERAL TRENDS FOR SKILLED INDEPENDENT SUBCLASS 189:  For all previous years that SkillSelect has been in operation, 60 points has been sufficient to receive an invitation for a 189 visa, unless your occupation was on the pro rata list. The required score has been at least 65 and for some rounds it has been 70 points for non-pro rata occupations.
When looking at the overall number of invitations, there have been 10,375 invitations for 189 and 489 family sponsored visas issued, versus 12,021 to the same point last year. This is a reduction of 1,646 places or 13.6%. We understand that this may be due to places being reserved for the newly introduced New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent 189 visa.

There's only a small change in the number of invitations issued for pro rata occupations (a reduction of 121). Most of the reduction in places is flowing directly through to non-pro rata occupations. So far in 2017-18, there have been 2,896 invitations issued to non-pro rata occupations, versus 4,421 to this point last year - this is a decrease of 1,525 places or 34%.
The lower number of available places makes the invitation process for non-pro rata occupations much more competitive.

Applicants are required to have at least 75 points to receive a 189 invitation in 2017-18 versus 70 points last year. 

  • In the 20 September 2017 round, applicants required 85 points for an invitation as an accountant. 
  • In the 4 January 2017 round, there were approximately 350 invitations issued to applicants with 70 points or more. 
  • In the 18 October 2017 round, there were around 900 invitations issued to people with 70 points or more. 
  • About 525 applicants were invited with 75 points or more versus 115 or so last year. 

There has been huge no. of applications processed and no. of applications applied have increased.

POINTS FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE ABILITY (PTE / IELTS): Many applicants are nowadays taking up  Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) in particular and getting the points for superior English compared to International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Perhaps the most important reason for the increase is that applicants are claiming more points are from the English language ability. It was previously unusual for applicants to claim full points for having superior English. The language ability points for the applicant plays an important role for the selection process.   Therefore, it is very important that an applicant takes effort to prepare well before the applicant takes up the English test which inturn plays an important role for an application to be selected. 

POINTS FROM OTHER SOURCES:  Even with superior English, most applicants would obtain only 70 points. So many applicants are claiming extra points also from other sources – that may help including:

  • PROFESSIONAL YEAR:  This is only available for applicants who have completed studies in Australia in Accounting, IT or Engineering
  • NAATI ACCREDITATION AS A TRANSLATOR OR INTERPRETER:  Applicants can possibly sit for an examination through NAATI as a translator or interpreter. If an applicant pass NAATI and can claim 5 additional points for his application.
  • SPOUSE SKILLS:  An applicant’s spouse or partner also passes skills assessment and meets the basic threshold for English, the spouse / partner can contribute 5 points for the application.

OVER-CLAIMING POINTS:  From the number of applications lodged we see applicants over-claiming points when they lodge their EOI and this may result in an invitation being issued, but to be granted a visa, an applicant would need to be able to prove each of the points they  have claimed and therefore failure to do so will result in refusal of the visa application.   At the same time there's nothing stopping applicants from "spamming" SkillSelect with EOIs which claim high points while lodging the application. EOI applicants over-claiming points seems to have remained the cause of the high minimum score required for accountants in recent selection process.  Immigration has conducted a number of "manual" rounds for accountants to ensure this does not persist, but there is the possibility that over-claiming is still happening in other occupations.

LODGING MORE THAN ONE EOI:  Another possibility is that a single applicant may be lodging more than one EOI and since no cost in lodging an EOI, and applicants can lodge as many EOIs as they wish till the application is selected. If the applicant has high points, they may be invited more than once. This will "use up" a number of places in the occupation ceiling which will then no longer be available to others.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR APPLICANTS AT SKILLSELECT: As SkillSelect is more difficult to be selected for the coming year, we would recommend that applicants aim for as high a points score as possible. This would include:

  • English Language Ability:  Make sure the applicant looks at aiming Superior English that is required for many occupations to have a good chance of being invited from the pool.
  • Other Points: Spouse contribution through Skills assessment, Language test results, Professional Study in Australia and NAATI accreditation are some other points where the applicant can claim points.
  • State Nomination:   Applicants can lodge an application nominated by a state under subclass 190 and 489 visas which are not subject to occupation cap and 60 points is sufficient to qualify for these visa types. Getting state nomination may require a long-term plan but it is a good way to avoid the now very competitive subclass 189 visa. We have recently had some very good success stories with the 489 visa. Getting a state nomination for a 489 visa may be easier - and faster - than for other visa subclasses.

CONCLUSION:   The 2017-18 program year is by far the most competitive one yet for SkillSelect for an applicant to be selected.  These days, obtaining a SkillSelect invitation is the most challenging part of the General Skilled Migration application process.

Using a migration agent / MARA Representative may give an applicant rightful information to lodge a strong and a fully-loaded application which has the option of getting the applicant and his family the need of getting their permanent residence visa.

Bilimoria & Associate is specialised in Immigration visas to Australia with over 22 plus years of experience and will be able to guide applicants to lodge successful visa application based on their eligibility.

Bilimoria & Associate liaisons with Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) and Member of Migration Institute of Australia (MIA).  

Applicants can forward their resume to assess their eligibility towards obtaining successful family Immigration visa to Australia.

You can write to us to assess your eligibility at:  neville@bilimoriaassociate.com  (or) contact us +91 44 2822 7222 2823 9229 / 4350 8191 between Monday and Saturday, 10.30 am to 5.30 pm to guide you and assist you in your visa application to Australia.

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