MODL and ENS/RSMS applications

DIAC has just issued a FAQs information sheet which states that it will no longer allow nominators or applicants to seek exceptional circumstances because the nominated occupation was previously on MODL.

Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) revoked on 8 February 2010

The MODL was revoked on 8 February based on findings that the MODL was not effective in delivering a General Skilled Migration (GSM) program that meets the future skill needs of the Australian labour market.

Frequently asked questions

Q1 What are the implications for Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)?

As of 8 February 2010, ENS and RSMS will no longer allow nominators and/or applicants to seek exceptional circumstances because the nominated occupation was previously on MODL.

a)      For applicants who have turned 45 and claim exceptional circumstances under the ‘age’ criterion:

When assessing claims of exceptional circumstances under the age criterion for either ENS or RSMS, references to MODL will be taken to be references to the Critical Skills List (CSL).

b)     For applicants who do not have three years work experience:

For new ENS applications received on and after 8 February 2010, applicants who have a skills assessment but do not have three years work experience; exceptional circumstances apply if:

i)                    The applicant completed a qualification of diploma level or higher in Australia in the six months prior to lodging the applicant AND

ii)                  The nominated occupation is on the CSL.

Q2 What if a student visa holder is nominated for an occupation which is not on the CSL?

Applicants who recently obtained Australian qualification and nomination of an occupation previously on MODL will generally not be regarded as sufficient to constitute exceptional circumstances. Applicant needs to make a submission explaining why there are exceptional circumstances. This generally includes a statement demonstrating that the nominated position is so unusual or highly specialised that it is unlikely a suitable person with at least three years work experience could otherwise be found to fill the vacancy.

Q3 What about the new MODL which was gazetted on 8 February 2010?

A new MODL was introduced on 8 February to apply to a limited number of visa sub-classes in the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program. This MODL represents a transitional arrangement for that caseload. It is intended to apply only to these specific visa sub-classes and has no applicability to ENS or RSMS sub-classes.

Q4 When do these changes take effect? Which cases are affected?

The new policy approach, as described above, will apply to all applications lodged on or after 8 February 2010. Cases lodged prior to this date will consider under the old policy, with consideration given to applicants nominating an occupation which was on the MODL in effect at the time they lodged their application.

Legislative Instrument IMMI 10/001, which revoked the MODL, specified a new MODL (the same as the previous one) which is solely for those people who at 8 February 2010:
• hold a Skilled-Graduate (subclass 485) visa, or had a pending subclass 485 visa application and had not yet lodged an application for a provisional or permanent GSM visa and who make an application by 31 December 2012, or
• have a pending GSM visa application.

MODL points can still be claimed by people, who at 8 February 2010 were:
• holders of a subclass 485 visa granted before 8 February 2010
• applicants for a subclass 485 visa lodged before 8 February 2010, or
• applicants for a GSM visa lodged before 8 February 2010.

Changes to the current Skilled Occupation List

Q 1 Why has the Australian Government decided to change the Skilled Occupation List?
The government is replacing the current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) with a more targeted list of occupations to better meet the medium and long-term future skill needs of the Australian economy. The new SOL will be based on advice from ‘Skills Australia’ and it will deliver a General Skilled Migration (GSM) Program more focused on high-value skills across the professions and trades.

Q 2 What is ‘Skills Australia’?
Skills Australia has been established by the Australian Government to provide expert and independent advice to the deputy prime minister on matters relating to Australia’s current, emerging and future workforce skills and workforce development needs.

Q 3 Which occupations are going to be listed on the new SOL?
Skills Australia will identify skilled occupations of high value to the economy that align with its national workforce development strategy. It is expected to include managerial, professional, technical and trade occupations.

Q 4 When will the new SOL come into effect?
It is expected that the new SOL will be announced by 30 April 2010 and placed on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website and take effect from mid-2010. Publication of the new SOL in advance of it taking affect is designed to assist clients.

Q 5 What is the effect of removing an occupation from the SOL?
The new SOL will have a more targeted list of occupations designed to meet the medium to long-term needs of the Australian economy. Applicants for GSM visas that are not state/territory government nominated will have to nominate an occupation on the new SOL if
they apply after mid-2010.

Employers and state and territory governments will still be able to sponsor applicants who have nominated an occupation that is not included in the new SOL to meet the needs of a particular employer or state/territory if the occupation is included in a state migration plan.

Transitional arrangements
Q 6 Who will the new SOL apply to?

The new SOL will apply to all new GSM applicants from mid-2010, except those applicants who, at 8 February 2010:
• hold a Skilled—Graduate (subclass 485) visa, or had a pending subclass 485 visa application and had not yet lodged an application for a provisional or permanent GSM visa and who make an application by 31 December 2012, or
• had a pending GSM visa application.

Q 7 Does the new SOL apply to Skilled—Graduate (subclass 485) visa applications made after the new SOL commences in mid 2010?
Yes, unless the applicant held a student visa on 8 February 2010 in any of the following subclasses:
• Vocational Education and Training Sector (subclass 572)
• Higher Education Sector (subclass 573)
• Postgraduate Research Sector (subclass 574).
These subclass 485 applicants will not be subject to the new SOL, instead, the current SOL in effect on 8 February 2010 will apply to these visa applicants. However they will be subject to the new SOL if they apply for a permanent or provisional GSM visa. A subclass 485 visa enables former international students to gain valuable work experience in Australia and provides them with the opportunity to secure an
employer or state and territory government sponsorship.

Q 11 What are my options if my occupation is not on the new SOL?
If your nominated occupation is not on the new SOL you may wish to consider your eligibility for a permanent employer sponsored visa under the Employer Nomination Scheme, or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

Q 12 If I apply for a GSM visa in April 2010, will I be subject to the new SOL?
No, as the new SOL does not commence until mid-2010.

DIAC
February 2010
http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/faq-sol.pdf

SOL FAQ – Onshore international students

Q 1 Is my application for a Skilled—Graduate (subclass 485) visa affected by the changes to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) announced by the government?
No. If you lodge your application for a subclass 485 visa before the new SOL commences in mid-2010 your application will not be affected. Your application will be processed under the arrangements and legislation in place at the time you applied.
Yes. If you apply for a subclass 485 visa after the new SOL commences in mid-2010 and you were not holding a student visa subclass 572, 573 or 574 on 8 February 2010, your application will be subject to the new SOL.

Q 2 I applied for a subclass 485 visa before 8 February 2010. When it is granted, can I apply for a permanent General Skilled Migration visa?
Yes you can apply for a permanent General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa and nominate an occupation which is on the SOL at 8 February 2010.You will not be subject to the new SOL provided you apply for a permanent GSM visa prior to 31 December 2012.

Q 3 I applied for subclass 485 visa on or after 8 February 2010. When it is granted, can I apply for a permanent General Skilled Migration Visa.
Yes. If, however, you apply for a permanent GSM visa after mid-2010 you will need to nominate an occupation that is included on the new Skills Occupation List (SOL). If your nominated occupation is not on the SOL then you may wish to seek sponsorship from an employer and
apply under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa categories.

Q 4 When will I know if my occupation is on the new SOL?
The new SOL will be announced by 30 April 2010 and will take effect in mid-2010.

Q 5 Do I have to leave Australia when my subclass 485 visa expires?
Yes, unless you hold another visa to remain in Australia.

Q 6 Can I get a new skill assessment in a different occupation from the occupation I nominated in my subclass 485 visa so I can lodge my permanent GSM application?
Yes. You can nominate a different occupation in your permanent GSM application from your subclass 485 visa. You must also ensure that you meet all other requirements for the visa class for which you made an application. It is important to note that your qualifications obtained in Australia must be closely related to your new nominated occupation and you obtain a skills assessment in your new nominated occupation.

Q 7 When applying for a permanent GSM visa, can I change the nominated occupation stated on my current subclass 485 visa as this occupation is not on the new SOL?
Yes, however, your qualifications obtained in Australia must be closely related to your new nominated occupation.

Q 8 I’ve just started studying in Australia, will I still be able to apply for a GSM visa when I finish my studies?
You will be able to lodge a Skilled—Graduate (subclass 485) visa application when you complete your studies if your nominated occupation is on the SOL that existed before mid-2010, provided you satisfy other visa criteria and you hold a:
• Vocational Education and Training Sector (subclass 572) visa
• Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa, or
• Postgraduate Research Sector (subclass 574) visa, and
• apply before 31 December 2012.
If you wish to apply for a permanent or provisional GSM visa after you complete your studies you must meet the criteria applicable at the time you apply. Requirements for particular visa classes change from time to time and it is important that you ensure you meet all criteria before you lodge your application.

Q 9 After completing my studies in Australia, can I go offshore and get work experience and then apply for an offshore GSM visa?
Yes, if your nominated occupation is on the new SOL you can apply for an offshore GSM visa; however, you will need to satisfy all other criteria to be granted a GSM visa.

Q 10 Can I change my course of study as the occupation I intended to nominate is not on the new SOL?
Students are encouraged to undertake study in a field they intend to work in once they graduate. It is strongly advised that you do not undertake studies with the sole purpose of obtaining a migration outcome. The student visa process is an entirely separate process to skilled migration and there is no guarantee that a student will be eligible for skilled migration purely on the basis of having undertaken a course related to an occupation on the SOL. The SOL can, and does, change in light of labour market needs in Australia. There is no guarantee, therefore, that if a student switches courses now, their new nominated occupation will remain on the SOL at the time they complete their studies.

The Australian Government wants a targeted, high-value, demand-driven, skilled migration program that is responsive to the needs of the Australian labour market. As these needs change rapidly, the skilled migration program will be adjusted accordingly.
Students who wish to change their course of study before they have completed six months of study of their principal course may need to obtain a letter of release from their education provider. Students are therefore advised to discuss any plans to transfer courses with their education provider in the first instance.

Q 11 I was planning to study in Australia, what do these changes mean for me?
The changes to the GSM program announced by the Australian Government do not affect the requirements a student must meet to study in Australia. On completion of your study in Australia you may wish to apply for a visa to enable you to remain in Australia and work. This is an entirely separate process from your student visa arrangements. If you wish to remain in Australia after you complete your studies you will need to be granted another visa. Please be aware that you must satisfy the criteria for this latter visa that exists when you make your application.

Q 12 I applied for an onshore GSM visa prior to 1 September 2007. Will my application be subject to the capping and ceasing arrangements announced by the minister on 8 February 2010?
No. If you lodged an application for a GSM visa prior to 1 September 2007 your current application will not be affected. Your application will be processed under the arrangements and legislation in place at the time you applied, however, it will still be subject to the current priority processing arrangements.

DIAC
February 2010
http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/faq-onshore-student.pdf

English test for migration revamp to favour doctors, nurses and teachers

FOREIGN doctors, nurses and school teachers who speak good English and have jobs already organised will be Australia’s top priority migrants under a major overhaul of immigration policy.

The changes, to be unveiled by Immigration Minister Chris Evans today, are expected to target professionals with university degrees who are sponsored by employers and discourage self-nominating migrants such as cooks, hairdressers and accountants.

The new policy will axe the Migration Occupations on Demand List, which lists 106 occupations in demand.

Only half the migrants entering Australia with skills on the MODL actually end up employed in their field and one-third end up unemployed or in a low-skill job, Senator Evans said.

It will be replaced by a new Skilled Occupations List of high-value professions and trades drawn up by Skills Australia.

More than 20,000 foreigners who applied to migrate to Australia before September 2007 under outdated rules that allowed lower English skills will have their applications withdrawn and their $1500-$2000 applications fees refunded under the changes.

This is because the system that allocates potential migrants points based on their qualifications and skills will be restructured.

“The current points test puts an overseas student with a short-term vocational qualification gained in Australia ahead of a Harvard-educated environmental scientist,” Senator Evans said. The new system is likely to give potential migrants more points if they are qualified in certain high-value professions and trades, went to a prestigious university, have more experience and display excellence in English.

The Immigration Minister will get the power to set a maximum number of visas that may be granted in any one occupation and the states will be able to prioritise skilled migrants.

Senator Evans said the changes would shift our immigration system from a supply driven model to a demand driven system in which migrants sponsored by an employer would get priority.

While Australia’s hospitals need nurses and doctors there are 12,000 foreign cooks waiting to come to Australia under the existing system, he said.

Under the existing system 40,000 unsponsored visas were issued to accountants over the past five years yet a shortage of accountants persists because most did not get work in the profession.

“Australia’s skilled migration program has been delivering self-nominated migrants from a narrow range of occupations with poor to moderate English language skills who struggle to find employment in their nominated occupation” Senator Evans will tell an Australian National University demography institute today.

About 170,000 people applied to migrate to Australia last year.

 Sue Dunlevy
The Daily Telegraph
February 08, 2010 8:44AM
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/english-test-for-migration-revamp/story-e6freuy9-1225827615513?from=public_rss

Skills shortage expected to worsen as economy improves

Australia’s shortage of skilled labour will worsen as the economy improves, according to a survey by the Australian Institute of Management.

The Victorian and Tasmanian branch of AIM surveyed 2163 executives over October and November, with most responses from Victoria and Queensland.

Seventy-six per cent of the executives said their organisations had a workforce skills gap.

“The size of the skills gap identified in our survey will escalate as economic conditions improve, and that means an increasing number of Australian organisations face the risk of underperforming,” the chief executive of AIM in Victoria and Tasmania, Susan Heron, said on Tuesday.

Ms Heron said 40 per cent of organisations were experiencing a negative impact upon profits and performance as a result of the skills shortage.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents said the skills gap was putting more stress on employees, and 52 per cent said it was hurting staff morale.

Managers were under increasing pressure to perform and to work long hours to try to bridge the skills gap.

“This situation is unsustainable because you can’t expect employees to keep over-performing indefinitely,” Ms Heron said.

Consequently, organisations would need to boost their investment in training and development and increase efforts to attract and retain talent.

Ms Heron said organisations were taking corrective action, predominantly through investment in training and development.

Forty-seven per cent of respondents identifying a skills gap said that skills in the current workforce did not match changes in company strategy, goals, markets or business models.

Forty-two per cent said there were too few qualified candidates when hiring for jobs, and 24 per cent said there was no long-term commitment to employee learning and development.

A higher percentage of large organisations of more than 200 employees reported a skills gap compared to small organisations of fewer than 50 employees.

Survey respondents said the biggest deficiency of skills was in “leadership”, followed by professional or industry-specific skills, process and project management skills, managerial skills, and communication/interpersonal skills.

The leadership skills gap was ranked highest in the public sector and lowest in private limited companies.

Departments identified with the biggest skills deficiency were sales and customer relations; followed by manufacturing and production; marketing and corporate communications, information technology and engineering.

Fifty-one per cent of survey respondents said middle managers had the most significant skills gap, followed by customer service employees and senior managers.

Survey respondents said the skills gap was smallest amongst chief executives, board directors and business owners.

AIM said there was a gap between the views of chief executives and directors, and lower-level management when assessing why there was a skills gap in their organisations.

Five per cent of business owners and 12 per cent of chief executives and directors believed that a reduced training budget was responsible for the skills gap, compared to 21 per cent of middle managers and 23 per cent of team leaders/supervisors.

The Australian Institute of Management is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with more than 25,000 professional members.

 AAP
15/12/09
http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/managing/skills-shortage-expected-to-worsen-as-economy-improves-20091215-kt49.html

Changes to VETASSESS Assessments

VETASSESS conducts assessments for over 200 occupations for people applying to migrate to Australia under the Commonwealth Government’s General Skilled Migration (GSM) and Employer Nomination Schemes (ENS). From the 1st of January 2010, VETASSESS will be changing the requirements for assessment against these “Generalist Occupations” which are managerial, administrative, professional and associate professional occupations. The new assessment process will help to ensure that applicant’s who meet the requirements under the new process are job ready and have the relevant skills and qualifications for employment in Australia in their nominated occupation. From 2010, in order to receive a positive assessment, you will need:

  • to hold a qualification which is assessed at the required educational level in a highly relevant field of study to the nominated occupation and
  • at least one year of relevant employment for all occupations. For some occupations, if your qualification has a shortfall in content relevance either one or two additional years of employment is required

Vetassess
28/10/2009
http://www.vetassess.com.au/migrate_to_australia/assess2_my_qualifications.cfm

Visa Application – Priority Processing QnA

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, has set new priority processing arrangements for certain Skilled Migration visas. These arrangements are designed to better address the needs of industry by targeting skills in critical need across a number of sectors. The current priority processing Direction commenced on 23 September 2009.
The Direction applies to applications in the pipeline that have not been finalised, and to applications lodged with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, on or after 23 September 2009.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is priority processing?
Section 51 of the Migration Act 1958 gives the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship powers to consider and finalise visa applications in an order of priority that the Minister considers appropriate. Departmental officers must follow this Ministerial direction, which applies to both new applications and those applications awaiting a decision.

Q. What are the changes to the Skilled Migration visa processing priorities?
The Minister has set priority processing arrangements which apply to the following visas from 23 September 2009:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
  • General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas except for:
    o Skilled – Recognised Graduate Subclass 476
    o Skilled – Designated Area – Sponsored (Residence) Subclass 883
    o Skilled – Regional Subclass 887.

Under the Ministerial Direction, the following processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) apply:

  1.  Applications from people who are employer sponsored under the ENS and the RSMS.
  2. Applications from people who are nominated by a State/Territory government and whose nominated occupation is listed on the Critical Skills List (CSL).
  3. Applications from people who are sponsored by family and whose nominated occupation is listed on the CSL.
  4. Applications from people who are neither nominated nor sponsored but whose nominated occupation is listed on the CSL.
  5. Applications from people who are nominated by a State/Territory government whose nominated occupation is not listed on the CSL
  6. (i) Applications from people whose occupations are listed on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL). and
    (ii) Applications from people who are sponsored by family and whose nominated occupation is not listed on the CSL.
  7. All other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

For the Subclass 485 (Skilled – Graduate) visa the following processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) apply:

  1. Applications from people who have completed an Australian Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) at an Australian educational institution in Australia.
  2. Applications from people who have nominated an occupation on the CSL.
  3. Applications from people who have completed an Australian Bachelor degree and Australian Masters degree at an Australian educational institution in Australia.
  4. Applications from people who have completed an Australian Bachelor degree and Australian Honours degree (at least upper second class level) at an Australian educational institution in Australia.
  5. Applications from people who have completed an Australian Bachelor degree or Australian Masters degree at an Australian educational institution in Australia.
  6. All other valid applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

For Business Skills (Provisional) visas the following processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) apply:

  1. Applications from people who are sponsored by the Commonwealth or a State/Territory government.
  2. All other valid applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

Q. My application does not fall into one of the priority categories. When can I expect to have my application finalised?
If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL and you have applied for an offshore GSM visa or intend to apply for an offshore GSM before the end of 2009, it is unlikely that your visa will be finalised before the end of 2012. If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL and you applied for an onshore GSM visa or intend to apply for an onshore GSM before the end of 2009, it is unlikely that your visa will be finalised before the end of 2011. Your ‘nominated occupation’ is the occupation you nominated at the time you lodged your application and cannot be changed.

Q. If my nominated occupation is not on the CSL can I still receive priority processing?
No. If your nominated occupation is not on the CSL your application will not be prioritised. Please do not contact the department to request your application be exempt from the priority processing Direction. Case officers must adhere to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship’s priority processing Direction.

Q. What are my options if my application is unlikely to be finalised by the end of 2011 and I have applied for an onshore visa?
The options available are:

  • to continue to live and work in Australia (if your visa allows) whilst you await a decision on your visa application,
  • to consider your eligibility for an employer sponsored visa, or other substantive visa, or
  • to withdraw your application and return to your home country.

Note: If you choose to withdraw your application you will not be entitled to a refund of your Visa Application Charge (VAC).

Q. I have applied for a Subclass 485 visa and have completed an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) III, IV or Diploma. How will I be affected by the priority processing Direction?
Applicants who have completed an AQFIII, IV, or Diploma do not receive priority processing. The priority processing Direction for Subclass 485 gives priority to applicants with post-graduate qualifications and those whose nominated occupation is on the CSL. This includes applications that have been partially assessed and those in the final stages of processing.

Q. I am an Accountant with a score of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 7.0 in all four components of the test, am I eligible for priority processing?
Accountants who have scored a minimum of 7.0 (Proficient English) in all four components of an IELTS test are eligible for priority processing under the CSL. All Accountants, including those who hold a current British, American, Canadian, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland passport must present an IELTS test result of at least 7.0 in each test component if they wish to receive priority processing. If you have already met the time of application criteria (by holding an eligible passport or you have IELTS 6.0) and now wish to submit an IELTS test to access priority processing, you may submit the results from an IELTS test undertaken after you lodged your application. Please note that the results must be from an IELTS test you sat no more than two years before the day you made your application. You will only be eligible for priority processing under the CSL once you provide evidence of your ‘proficient English’ IELTS results to the Department.

DIAC
29/10/2009
http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/whats-new.htm#k