Latest Visa News Update: July 2018

Simon Earles MARA AgentThe following content has been written by Simon Earles, a MARA registered migration agent that I have been working closely with on this website since March 2014. Simon has already helped hundreds of my readers to move to Australia through our Visa Assessment Service.

This is the second of his regular updates on all the latest news with regards to visas, options and eligibility. The Australian government can change the rules at any time, so these updates will appear as and when required.

We hope you find this service useful.

1. Current SkillSelect pass mark

The most recently published SkillSelect pass-mark is 75 points. This means that while you can lodge an EOI (subject to meeting the Pool mark) you will not receive an invitation for a skilled independent SC189 visa unless you have at least 75 points or whatever the current score is.

Even if you do have a qualifying score, whether you will receive an invitation will largely depend upon how many other applicants either have the same points and how much longer they have been in the system than you, or indeed have a higher score. Highest scores (as high as 85 in the last published round) will receive invitations first no matter when the EOI is submitted.

Scores noted on the Department of Home Affairs website are 2 invitation rounds behind (current round was conducted on the 11 July 2018) so they provide no real indication of the current entry score required. There has been some recent anecdotal evidence though that the SkillSelect score may be softening as some invitations have been recently made to applicants with 70 points.

Some occupations (referred to as pro-rata occupations) may require a higher score than the published SkillSelect score, for example Accountant – 80 points, and as such invitations will be based upon a pro-rata basis to ensure availability of invitations across the program year.

2. New pool mark across point-tested visa categories as at 1 July 2018

As at the 1 July 2018, the government has increased the Pool mark (eligibility level) to 65 points (up from 60 points).

The competitive SkillSelect score will always be above the pool score, but the impact will be felt by the 2nd tier Skilled Nominated SC190 visa and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) SC489 visa, which were fall-back options for many applicants.

Accordingly, since 1 July 2018, the minimum points score to qualify for an automatic invitation (arising from a state or territory nomination) is now 65 (including nomination points).

3. States and territories up-dating their skills shortage lists for nomination purposes

Most states and territories have now up-dated their skill shortage list so if you were disappointed by the number of nominations available in the last quarter of the 2017-2018 program, the picture may look a little brighter with the publication of new lists.

Pressure is however increasing on all visa categories due to social and political pressure running up to a national election, so we suggest that if you qualify now – for any of the visa categories and at the higher entry score of 65 for the nominated and sponsored visas – then you should consider applying sooner rather than later.

There is no guarantee it will stay at 65. The higher scores required for the Skilled Independent SC189 visas have funnelled people into the state and territories, so there will be increased competition for places.

Some states already have an internal culling process to invite applicants with the best scores to apply for state nomination and we believe more states and territories will do this to seek to gain the best applicants – even though the actual invitation from the department is triggered at 65 points.

4. Partner visa proposed changes

There are changes mooted for the partner visa program similar to those proposed but ultimately shelved last year. These proposals involve requiring the sponsoring party to be pre-approved before being able to sponsor a partner locally or from overseas.

There is no published time-table for these proposed changes and as usual the regulations haven’t been passed so details are fairly sketchy, but the same principle applies as to the previous section, which is to say, if you qualify now, then you should consider applying now, and perhaps gain the benefit of the current rules.

A sponsor must currently be able to prove financial capacity to support an incoming partner, but that is different to a preliminary or formal step (which can be failed) before sponsorship.

5. Proposed Citizenship changes

Similarly, the government is intending to re-introduce citizenship changes it proposed last year, in the 2018 year, and a change in the English test is almost inevitable. No time-table has been set and the regulations don’t appear to have even been drafted, however like last year, the government quite possibly could suspend applications retrospectively from a particular date.

There are something like 80-90,000 unprocessed applications from the last suspension of citizenship processing in April 2017, so what will happen is unknown.

If a retrospective processing suspension is imposed, for example, from 1 July 2018, this is outside any applicant’s power, but you may still be better off applying under the old rules despite the department processing policy because retrospective processing is not a given.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Azza July 19, 2018, 6:24 pm | Link

    Hi Bob, onto another subject, I read all your blogs and you and Robson Green are my favourite English (expats?) when is the WC blog coming out? You being football mad and all? Or is it too painful as you got your hopes up? Want to hear from a Pom in Oz perspective, I personally thought it was a bridge too far with the cattle they have, maybe in 4 yrs if it’s not too hot ?lol 😆 Also what about the Optus debacle and the SBS coverage? Thoughts? You probably not doing a weather challenge as London is actually having a summer, and Brissy a winter for once, so it’s a foregone conclusion? Anyway there’s some ideas if you weren’t already onto it , look forward to your upcoming (sport related? ) blogs.

    • BobinOz July 19, 2018, 8:35 pm | Link

      Yeah, but who do you prefer out of Robson Green on me? Just kidding 🙂

      Well, a WC blog would have a lot of long and very quiet spells, and then go mad two months every four years. Not for me.

      I have Optus, I like it, never had a problem, but I have the Fetch TV box and all the problems are with the mobile apps. I think they did the right thing, handing over to SBS, at least they put the football fans first. Good for them I say.

      As for England, definitely a step too far. Let’s face it, they didn’t beat anybody any good, they didn’t even beat Columbia in 120 minutes, they needed penalties. I thought they were unlucky against Croatia; foot high for their equaliser? I’ve seen them given.

      All that said, it was a hugely encouraging performance for the future, way better than we’ve done for a long time. Certainly beats getting knocked out of the Euros by Iceland.

      I think this team will grow stronger and stronger, I’m already looking forward to the next two major tournaments.

      As for the weather comparisons, pretty sure I said when I did the last one that it would be the end of the series. England won it 6-4, shame they didn’t do that in the football 🙂

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