The 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.
- Click here if you would like to read the Previous Visa News Update: May 2018
Need professional assistance?
Simon is ready and available to help you with any migration issues related to these points of interest or any other, through our Visa Assessment Service.
To get started immediately, visit our Visa Assessment Service page, purchase an assessment and follow the instructions. As soon as you have completed your questionnaire and returned it to Simon, you will have direct access to him and he will be able to assess your options. In a follow-up Skype or telephone call, Simon can answer any relevant questions you might have.
Full details of the service are available on the page.