BSMQ Update to QSOL: temporary removal of some occupations

BSMQ Update to QSOL: temporary removal of some occupations 21 August, 2017 By Official BSMQ

Please note that due to high numbers of EOIs for the occupations listed below, BSMQ will not be accepting any further EOIs from 22 August 2017 for the below occupations until further notice:

221111 Accountant (general)
261311 Analyst Programmer
263111 Computer Network & Systems Engineer
262111 Database Administrator
261312 Developer Programmer
261111 ICT Business Analyst
313112 ICT Customer Support Officer
263211 ICT Quality Assurance Engineer
262112 ICT Security Specialist
263212 ICT Support Engineer
263213 ICT Systems Test Engineer
261313 Software Engineer
261314 Software Tester
262113 Systems Administrator
261112 Systems Analyst
313113 Web Administrator
312111 Architectural Draftsperson
611211 Insurance Agent
232511 Interior Designer
221112 Management Acct
233512 Mechanical Engineer
225311 Public Relations Professional
251511 Hospital Pharmacists
251513 Retail Pharmacist

Please note that the removal of these occupations also apply to the PhD pathway.

Posted in GSM

State Nomination Update August 2017

State Nomination is very beneficial when applying for General Skilled Migration.

Even though the State Migration Plans only reopened in July 2017, there have already been some changes announced by various states and territories.

This article explains some of the recent changes

ACT Offshore Program Closed

Effective 23 August 2017, the ACT offshore program will be more limited.
If you are living overseas, you will need to show “close ties” to the ACT – this could be either:

A job offer in your nominated occupation in the ACT; or
Close family living in the ACT for the last 12 months and who are Australian permanent residents or citizens.
People who are resident in the ACT can still apply for ACT nomination, as can people who have completed a PhD within the last 2 years from a University in the ACT.
Queensland Suspends Processing State Nominations in 24 Occupations

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) announces on 21 August that they would temporarily suspend processing of nominations in 24 occupations.
The suspension will be until further notice, so it is not yet clear if processing will recommence at some stage during the 2017-18 program year.

Occupations were removed in the following fields:

Hospital and Retail Pharmacists
Mechanical Engineers
Public Relations
Interior Designers
Insurance Agents
It is not yet clear if the suspension also applies to PhD graduates from Queensland.

South Australia Program Filling Fast for Popular Occupations

South Australia has been very active in nominating applicants. There are a number of IT specialisations which are now on the “Special Conditions Apply” list – this means that they are only available if you have close ties to South Australia:
261111 ICT Business Analyst
261112 Systems Analyst
261313 Software Engineer
263111 Computer Network and Systems Engineer
Other occupations which are now on the “Special Conditions Apply” list include:
224712 Organisation and Methods Analyst
232311 Fashion Designer
312211 Civil Engineering Draftsperson
312912 Metallurgical or Materials Technician

Dandenong, Victoria visa office to close

The Dandenong Regional Office at 76 Thomas St, Victoria, is closing soon ahead of the building lease expiry. The office will cease serving the public from 4 pm, Thursday 31 August 2017.

This closure takes place as we continue to transform our online services – providing you self-service access to our visa, citizenship, customs and trade information and services anywhere, at a time that suits you.
Our improved website has new features and information that make our visa services easier to understand and use.
Clients who have been asked to attend an appointment with the Department will be seen at our recently refurbished front office at 2 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.

SkillSelect Update: July-August 2017

The first 3 SkillSelect invitation rounds for the 2017-18 program year have been very different to last year.

We are seeing fewer invitations issued and a higher points score required for a 189 invitation compared to last year, even though occupation ceilings have increased for a number of key occupations.

This article looks at the last 3 invitation rounds in detail and gives an indication of what to expect in future rounds for the most popular occupations. It also looks at recent statistics for state nominations.

Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Invitations

Compared to the 2016-17 program year, much fewer invitations have been issued so far in 2017-18 for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa.
Only 1,000 189 invitations have been issued each round in July and August 2017 for a total of 3000 invitations so far this program year. After the first 3 rounds of 2016-17, 4,450 invitations were issued – almost 50% more than this year.

Table 1: 189 Invitations – 2016-17 versus 2017-18 Program Year

Round 2016-17 2017-18
Round 1 2,202 1,000
Round 2 848 1,000
Round 3 1,400 1,000
Total 4,450 3,000

The lower than usual invitation numbers along with a large backlog of EOIs in pro rata occupations largely explain the higher than usual points score to receive a 189 invitation – 70 in each round so far. Last year, the number of 189 invitations issued in the beginning of the program year was quite high for each round – 2,202 in Round 1 and 1,400 in Round 3. This had the effect of quickly clearing out the backlog of EOIs.

Immigration’s planning level for 189 invitations remains at 1,000 for the invitation rounds in August, so it appears this year the backlog will remain longer than last year.

Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 – Family Sponsored

More 489 family sponsored invitations have been issued so far compared to last year – 343 versus 300 for last year.
Table 2: 489 Family Sponsored Invitations – 2016-17 versus 2017-18 Program Year

Round 2016-17 2017-18
Round 1 100 110
Round 2 100 110
Round 3 100 123
Total 300 343

Waiting times are very low for the 489 family sponsored stream and 60 points is sufficient to obtain an invitation.

We suspect that pro rata occupations are receiving invitations for 489 family sponsored visas – this was rare last program year.

Non-Pro Rata Occupations

The number of places being issued to non-pro rata occupations is much lower than last year. So far this year, only 475 invitations have been issued in occupations outside the pro rata list. Last year after 3 rounds, 1,515 invitations had been issued in non-pro rata occupations – more than 3 times what we have seen this year.
Table 3: Pro Rata vs Non-Pro Rata Occupations – 2017-18 Program Year

Round Non-Pro Rata Pro Rata Total % Pro Rata
Round 1 144 966 1,110 87%
Round 2 144 966 1,110 87%
Round 3 187 936 1,123 83%
Total 475 2,868 3,343 86%

Table 4: Pro Rata vs Non-Pro Rata Occupations – 2016-17 Program Year

Round Non-Pro Rata Pro Rata Total % Pro Rata
Round 1 547 1,755 2,302 76%
Round 2 557 391 948 41%
Round 3 411 1,089 1,500 73%
Total 1,515 3,235 4,750 68%

Last year, 60 points were sufficient to receive an invitation in a non-pro rata occupation for 189 visas. So far this year, 70 points have been required. This is not surprising given the limited number of places available to such occupations.

The high score for non-pro rata occupations is also driving the minimum scores required for pro rata occupations. It is not possible for pro rata occupations to have a lower required score than non-pro rata occupations. A shortfall in 189 candidates with over 70 points in pro rata occupations might be resulting in 489 family sponsored invitations to reach target invitation numbers.

We are, however, seeing waiting times reduce significantly in the last few rounds for non-pro rata occupations. We expect that the required score for non-pro rata occupations to reduce to 65 points in the next couple of rounds.

Pro Rata Occupations

For pro rata occupations, the number of invitations issued each round appears to be 5% of the occupational ceiling. This will most likely mean that the ceiling for pro rata occupations will fill after 20 rounds (9-10 months).
The lower total number of invitations means that pro rata occupations are making up an higher proportion of total invitations compared to last year. Last year after 3 rounds, invitations in the 6 pro rata occupations made up 68% of total invitations. So far this year, pro rata occupations represent 86% of all invitations issued.

Below is a summary of results for pro rata occupations by occupational category:

Table 5: Number of Invitations by Occupation – 2017-18 Program Year
Occupation Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Non-Pro Rata 144 144 187
Accountants 239 239 239
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 66 66 66
ICT Business and System Analysts 78 78 78
Software and Applications Programmers 310 310 310
Electronics Engineer 50 50 20
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 108 108 108
Other Engineering Professionals 50 50 50
Computer Network Professionals 65 65 65
Total 1,110 1,110 1,123
Table 6: Points Required by Occupation – 2017-18 Program Year
Occupation Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
189 – Non-Pro Rata 70 70 70
489 Family – Non-Pro Rata 60 60 60
Accountants 75 75 75
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 75 75 75
ICT Business and System Analysts 75 75 70
Software and Applications Programmers 70 70 70
Electronics Engineer 70 70 70
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 70 70 70
Other Engineering Professionals 70 70 70
Table 7: Waiting Times by Occupation – 2017-18 Program Year
Occupation Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
189 – Non-Pro Rata 4 2 1
489 Family – Non-Pro Rata 0 0 0
Accountants 13 8.6 6.6
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 15.1 11.6 10.1
ICT Business and System Analysts 6 0.1 16.9
Software and Applications Programmers 11.4 4.7 0.7
Electronics Engineer 3.7 1.7 0.6
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 3.7 1.6 1
Other Engineering Professionals 14 7 4
Computer Network Professionals 14.3 4.1 0.6

Accountants and Auditors

So far this year, 75 points have been required for an invitation as an accountant or auditor.
Waiting times have been reducing but are still over 6 weeks for accountants and over 10 weeks for auditors with a score of 75. Whilst the occupation ceiling has increased significantly for accountants for the 2017-18 year, we expect that the required score will remain at 75 for a few more rounds for these occupations.

IT Professionals

The required score for all IT occupations has been 70 so far this year, apart from ICT Business and System Analysts. For ICT Business and System Analysts, the required score was initially 75 but has reduced to 70 in the latest round.
Waiting times for Software and Applications Programmers and Computer Network Professionals are now under 1 week, so we expect to see the required scores for these occupations drop to 65 in the next round or two.

The occupation of ICT Security Specialist is not on the pro rata list. The ceiling of 2,391 for the occupation is quite generous so it is possible that the occupation may not be pro rata this year.


Engineers require 70 points for the first three rounds of 2017-18. In terms of pro rata occupations, waiting times for Electronics Engineers and Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers are now under 1 week, so we expect these occupations to reduce to 65 points in the next few rounds.
Other Engineering Professionals still have a waiting time of over 4 weeks, so this occupation may require 70 points for a few more rounds.

State Nomination

State nomination numbers for July 2017 are available. Insights from these are as follows:
ACT: small number of 190 nominations approved.
NSW: large number of 489 nominations approved, but only a small number of 190 nominations. NSW has not yet released its state migration program, so we expect 190 nominations increase in number after this
Northern Territory: nominations for both 190 and 489 visas being issued. Still to update their state migration plan
Queensland: very large number of 190 and 489 nominations being issued
South Australia: large number of 489 nominations being issued compared to 190. Last year, there were about 50% more 190 nominations were issued as compared to 489, so suggests a change in policy by SA
Tasmania: large number of nominations. More 489 than 190 but that is consistent with last year
Victoria: very large number of 190 nominations issued – no 489 nominations.
Western Australia: zero state nominations issued – consistent with WA tightening their program after the recent state election

Table 8: State Nominations by Visa Type and State – July 2017
Visa subclass 190 489
ACT 14 0
NSW 9 63
NT 19 14
Qld 96 26
SA 66 314
Tas. 30 58
Vic. 185 0
WA 0 0
Total 419 475
Posted in GSM

The voice behind the 1980s ‘Grim Reaper’ ads warning Australians about AIDS will be used in new TV ads cautioning the nation over immigration

Entrepreneur Dick Smith is launching a $1 million advertising blitz to convince Australians of the hazards of overpopulation, and why the company tax rate should be drastically hiked.

The ads will start rolling out from tomorrow across TVs and will feature the voice artist behind the 1980s ‘Grim Reaper’ ads warning Australians about AIDS.

“It’s a frightening ad that shows what’s going to happen if we have endless population growth – it’s going to destroy Australia as we know it today,” Mr Smith told ABC radio on Monday.

But the businessman said he was angry at having to spend so much on the anti-immigration ads, saying the money should be going to charities instead of wealthy TV station owners.

Citizenship requirement changes pass lower house


The Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says he makes no apologies for setting high expectations in the national interest as he prepares for his proposed citizenship changes to be put to the senate.

The Turnbull government used its numbers in the lower house to pass the bill there on Monday night.

“Australian citizenship should be highly valued and the government’s changes will ensure that it is a privilege obtained by only those who’ve demonstrated the most sincere commitment to Australia, our values and respect for our laws, as it should be,” Mr Dutton said in the chamber.

“Regrettably, Australia faces a real and increasing threat from people who embrace violence as a means to pursue extremist beliefs and ideology and therefore reject the values fundamental to Australia, and we should have the necessary levers to ensure such individuals do not benefit from the great privilege that is Australian citizenship.”


Partner Visas 10 Little Known Facts

Whilst partner visas may seem straightforward, the applicable legislation is complex and there are many subtleties most applicants will not be aware of.
This article goes through 10 of the lesser known facts about partner visas.

We highlight some of the potential pitfalls and opportunities to make your application quicker and more straightforward.

1. Lodging Before Marriage

For offshore partner visa applications (subclass 309), it is possible to make an application on the basis of an intention to get married. Providing you are married by the time your application is assessed, you should be able to meet visa requirements.
This is not possible if you are lodging an onshore subclass 820 visa. In this case, you must be married prior to lodgement if relying on legal marriage for grant of the visa.

2. Relationship Register – More Complex than it Looks

Many applicants are aware that registering your relationship can enable you to establish a de facto relationship and being granted a partner visa even if you have not lived together for 12 months.
However, the Relationship Register option can be more complex than it seems – for instance:

If you register your relationship, you still need to provide other evidence of your relationship. For instance, if you have no evidence that you are living together, you are unlikely to be successful even if you have registered your relationship
Some states and territories have a residence requirement for one or both parties before the relationship can be registered
It can take 6 weeks or more for states or territories to process relationship registration applications and provide a certificate of registration
Evidence of registration can be provided at any time up to a decision being made.
3. Financial Interdependence

Whilst cohabitation is the most critical factor, financial interdependence is also very important. Many applications are weak in this area and can be delayed or refused due to insufficient documentation. Here are some tips on the financial interdependence requirement:
Details of a joint bank account are often provided, but this is essentially useless unless both partners are actively using it. You may consider having your salaries paid into the accounting and having joint bills paid out of it.
Joint leases are good evidence of financial interdependence. It is not always possible to add your partner to the lease, but you should still be able to add them to the bond
Joint insurance policies – particularly vehicle insurance – are good evidence
4. Statutory Declarations from Friends and Family

When applying for a partner visa, you will be asked to provide two statutory declarations on Department of Immigration form 888. These are critical documents and here are some little known facts:
They must be provided by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ citizen. 888s done by temporary residents or non-residents will not be sufficient
The 888s must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or other eligible authority
It is best to provide at least one 888 from the sponsor’s parent. If the sponsor’s parents are not aware of and supportive of the relationship, this can count against you in your application
5. Online Lodgement

Lodging online is generally better than lodging a paper application. For instance, paper applications will require all your documents to be provided as certified copies, whereas colour scanned documents can be provided for online applications. However, you should note the following about online applications:
You should upload all documents as soon as possible after lodgement – if this is not done, it can result in refusal of your application
Maximum limits apply to the size of attachments – these should be compressed to reduce size, whilst still being legible
There is a limit to the number of attachments you can provide – you need to be organised to ensure that you provide enough documents for a successful outcome within this limit
6. Decision-Ready Applications

Previously, Immigration has processed partner visa applications in the order in which they were received.
In the last few months this has been changing. Instead, applications which are considered “decision ready” are allocated and processed more quickly.

As processing times for partner visas can be 18 months or more, this makes a “decision ready” application more important than ever.

A decision ready application would normally include comprehensive documentation on:

Supporting documents on the relationship – including cohabitation, financial interdependence and social interdependence
Health checks
All required police clearances
7. Character for Non Visa Applicants

Most people are aware that any family members aged 16 or over included in the partner visa application will need to provide police clearances.
Many are not aware that others may also need to provide police clearances, including:

The Sponsor: if the sponsor has previous convictions, this can lead to refusal of the visa application.
Non-Migrating Dependents: if you have children who are between 16 and 18, they will be considered dependents and will need to provide police clearances, even if they are not included in your partner visa application
8. Applicants on 457 Visas

If you currently hold a 457 visa, you can be in a difficult situation if you cease employment whilst awaiting the outcome of your partner visa application.
Whilst you will receive a bridging A visa on lodgement of an onshore partner application, this will not come into effect until your 457 visa ceases

Partner visa applications lodged onshore can easily take 18 months to be processed

If your 457 visa has a long time to run, you may remain on your 457 visa for some time. Whilst on a 457 visa, you cannot work for another employer unless they are an approved sponsor and transfer your employment by lodging a 457 nomination

If you cease employment for more than 2-3 months, Immigration would normally look at cancelling your 457 visa. If your 457 visa is cancelled, this would also result in the cancellation of your bridging visa, in which case you will become unlawful

If you depart Australia, you can consider voluntary cancellation of your 457 visa – this may be a good option for some applicants

9. Permanent Partner Stage

When making a partner visa application, you will be lodging a combined application for both a temporary partner visa and a permanent partner visa. Generally, the permanent partner visa can only be considered for grant 2 years after the initial application. Here are some lesser-known facts about the permanent partner stage:
The permanent partner stage can be lodged online, even if you lodged a paper application in some cases
You no longer need to wait for an email from Immigration to lodge the permanent stage. You can lodge an online application for the permanent partner stage as soon as you reach the 2-year mark
Processing of the permanent partner stage is currently taking 12 months or more
10. Citizenship for Partners of Australian Citizens

You can look at Australian citizenship once you have your permanent residence. Here are some facts about applying for citizenship as a partner visa holder:
Under the current legislation, you will need to have lived in Australia for the last 4 years, with a maximum of 12 months overseas. Time spent on your temporary partner visa can count towards this requirement, meaning that you may only need to hold a permanent partner visa for 12 months to be eligible for citizenship
Proposed changes to the residence requirement for Australian citizenship will mean that you will need to have to hold your permanent visa for 4 years. As it may take 3 years from the date of lodgement to get your permanent partner visa, this may result in a considerable delay in lodging your citizenship compared to current requirements
Partners of Australian citizens may be eligible for a concession when applying for citizenship. They can count time spent outside Australia as a permanent resident towards the Australian residence requirement. However, they still need to have recently lived in Australia and show a close connection to Australia to be eligible

Abolition of the RMA profession? Part 2


The bill: Migration Newsletter 630 discussed how the unfair Migration Amendment
(Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2017 could be part of a long-term plan to
abolish the RMA profession.That discussion implied that only some RMAs would be immediately impacted upon
by the bill. Actually, most RMAs could well be immediately impacted upon.
Here is why. Lawyers would no longer be subject to the Code of Conduct for RMAs (Code).
As a result, many lawyers could well be tempted to freely unfoundedly market
themselves as providing superior immigration assistance compared to RMAs.
Even lawyers with no experience in migration law could well be so tempted.

Changes to migration rules will reduce the annual migration intake significantly

A story written by Adam Creighton and published in The Australian on 9 August
2017 reports on claims by a researcher that changes to migration rules will reduce
the annual migration intake significantly.
The research was conducted by Bob Birrell – a long term opponent of the migration
An extract from the article:
The study, by the Australian Population Research Institute, suggests such a move
could ease congestion and house price growth. Demographer Bob Birrell says the
number of Australia’s permanent employer sponsor visas will plummet by “at least
two-thirds” and the number of temporary 457 visas issued will fall by “up to half”,
particularly as the government’s changes from March 2018 make it harder for foreign
students to stay on after their studies. The report says the number of permanent employer-sponsored visas will fall by twothirds,
given 250 occupations would in effect no longer be eligible. Employers will be
less interested in sponsorship, too. “They will have to pay additional visa costs and
training levies and they will have to provide evidence that they have labour-market
tested,” the report says, referring to minimum salaries of $53,000 for visa holders.
A link to the full report:


General Skilled Migration Update August 2017

The article looks at recent developments in General Skilled Migration such as:

Policy change for Graduate Diplomas in meeting the 2-year study requirement
Processing times
State Nomination Update
Occupational Ceilings/SkillSelect Update
Graduate Diplomas – Policy Change for 2-Year Study Requirement

The Australian Study Requirement (usually referred to as the 2-Year Study Requirement) is relevant for the following visas:
Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas
General Skilled Migration – awarding points for Australian study
Postgraduate Diplomas are listed in the Migration Regulations as being an eligible qualification in assessing the 2-year study requirement. Whilst they are not eligible qualifications for the 485 Post Study Work Stream, it has previously been possible to use them for the points test and applying for the 485 Graduate Work Stream.
The Department of Immigration policy document for the 2-year study requirement was recently updated, and it indicates that a Graduate Diploma would not count towards the Australian Study requirement.

If you are completing a Graduate Diploma you must be aware that your eligibility may be affected.

Policy would appear to be in conflict with the Migration Regulations in this matter, and you may need some professional assistance in establishing that you meet the Australian Study Requirement.

Occupation Ceiling and SkillSelect Update

The Occupation Ceilings for General Skilled Migration were released by the Department of Immigration on 3 August and were revised on 7 August.
Last year, the Department initially gave an increased occupation ceiling for accountants which was then hastily revised downwards to 2,500. This year, the ceiling has increased significantly (to 4785 places). Thus far, the ceiling has not been revised downwards, so the situation looks positive for accountants for the time being at least.

We now have a ceiling number for ANZSCO 2621 Database and Systems Administrators and ICT Security Specialists. This will be good news for ICT Security specialists with an allocation of 2391 places for 2017-18.

We now have statistics for the 12 July and 26 July invitation rounds. Required points for all occupations remain high (70 points minimum for a 189 invitation, with some occupations requiring 75). However, we see waiting times reducing, which suggests that Immigration is working through a backlog of EOIs with 70 or more points and that required points for 189 invitations will reduce over time.

We can see that about 10% of the occupation ceiling was used up for pro rata occupations, which suggests that Immigration may be allocating up to 5% of the ceiling for these occupations each invitation round.

The table below summarises the following for pro rata occupations:

Points required for the two invitation rounds in July 2017
Points required in the 2016-17 program year
Percentage change in the occupation ceiling between 2016-17 and 2017-18
Likely points required for a 189 invitation in the 2017-18 program year
Whilst it is impossible to give any certainty on the points required for an invitation, we have made a prediction based on the occupation ceilings and number of EOI lodgements remaining stable.

Occupation July 2017 Points 2016-17 Points Change in Ceiling 2017-18 Prognosis
2211 Accountants 75 70 91.4% Increase Points required likely to reduce to 70 or 65
2212 Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 75 70 6.1% Decrease Points likely to be 70-75 for 2017-18
2334 Electronics Engineers 70 65 No Change Points likely to reduce to 65
2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 70 60-65 41.5% Increase Points likely to reduce to 65
2339 Other Engineering Professionals 70 60-65 No Change Likely to reduce to 65
2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts 75 65 6.2% Increase Likely to reduce to 70 or 65 points
2613 Software and Applications Programmers 70 65 9.5% Increase Likely to reduce to 65 points
2631 Computer Network Professionals 70 60-65 7.6% Decrease Likely to reduce to 65 points

Processing times have been updated and for General Skilled Migration, the Department of Immigration is indicating a processing time of 6-11 months. This is longer than was previously the case, but allocation dates would seem to indicate that applications are being allocated quite quickly. It appears that processing itself has slowed down, and this is possibly due to numbers for the 2016-17 filling early:

Application Type 75% finalised within 90% finalised within
Skilled Independent Subclass 189 8 months 11 months
Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 9 months 13 months
489 – State Nominated 8 months 14 months
489 – Family Sponsored 6 months 9 months
485 – Post-Study Work 79 days 4 months
485 – Graduate Work 4 months 4 months

State Migration Plans Updated for Most States and Territories

All states and territories have now updated their State Migration Plans for the 2017-18 program year, apart from NSW and NT.

Tasmania is one of the best states for state nomination, but will be increasing their requirements in the coming months (for instance, amount of time required to work or study in Tasmania).

West Australia is one of the more difficult states as their list is quite limited and minimum work experience and job offer requirements apply.