From time to time, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship changes the rules for permanent visa applications, based on the country’s changing demand for professional skills. Most of these changes relate to the General Skilled Migration Program, which allows the migration of professionals who are not sponsored by an employer in Australia, but who have professional skills in a particular area for which there is demand.
As the Government encourages migration of professionals with skills in certain areas, visa applications for workers in these areas also increase. Once the visas have been granted, the demand for these professionals on the Australian market decreases. The purpose of these changes, which have been taking place since the program was launched, is to minimize the problem of a lack of skilled professionals in Australia and contribute to the ongoing development of the country.
The Government believes that these skilled migrants not only add knowledge and experience to the workplace, but also make a positive contribution to the Australian economy, as they bring their own assets to the country and often come with young families.
To apply for the General Skilled Migration Program, the applicant needs to understand the needs of the Australian economy. The changes to the program instituted by the Government reflect increased interest in professionals with previous experience overseas. The most recent Skilled Occupation List (SOL) reflects the Australian demand for professionals with various levels of qualification. In addition to having a degree, the recent changes to the program now stipulate a higher level of English language skills than previously.
On the other hand, the age restriction has been lowered. The changes in age requirements are based on the ability of migrants to make tax contributions, be successful in the market, and share their skills with other workers.
Despite these changes, the Government continues to give greater support for the development of regions of low population density. These regions are not necessarily rural areas, but have a higher demand for skilled professionals who can contribute to regional development. Besides being given more points in the visa application, the process is usually deemed high priority, resulting in shorter application times.
The General Skilled Migration Program has other plans for the future. It is believed that soon the Australian Government will start adopting the “pre-application” system used in New Zealand. The so-called Expression of Interest is the first phase of the application and will help the Department of Immigration determine whether the candidate is eligible, based on previous determined factors. In the New Zealand system, only candidates who meet the minimum requirements are pre-selected to apply for the visa.
The new system is not designed to make the application process harder. On the contrary, it is expected that pre-application will shorten the processing time, so that visas can be given more quickly to applicants who meet the stipulated criteria.
To see the Demand List go to: www.immi.gov.au.
By André Albuquerque/ Translation: Sofia Pulici
Source: Falamos Portugues Magazine
Published on 10/11/2011