Proposed Skilled Migrant Selection Model (the Model)

The following information relates to the government’s decision to implement a new skilled migrant selection model based on an Expression of Interest (EOI) and invitation to apply. The proposal is in an early stage of development and consultation. Although the key features are settled, further changes are possible and the following must not be taken as a final description of how the new selection model will operate. In particular, no action of any kind should be taken on the basis that this will be the final model. The minister may recommend to the Governor-General in-Council amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 to give effect to the final model.
The Skilled Migrant Selection Model
The Australian Government has decided on a major reform in the way Australia selects skilled migrants, the Skilled Migrant Selection Model (the Model). The Model will build upon and draw together the suite of reforms to the skilled migration program over the past three years. In doing so it will deliver the skills Australia needs by matching the best and brightest migrants to the available places in the migration program.
The Model will be an electronic system based upon a two-stage process. Prospective applicants first submit claims for skilled migration through an online EOI and subsequently may be invited to make a visa application. This is a significant change from the current situation, as applicants for independent or state/territory sponsored migration will be required to receive an invitation in order to lodge a visa application.
Once invited, the Model will ensure a match between the number of applicants and the number of available program places. This will result in streamlined processing times.
Foundations and benefits of the Model
The fundamental principle underpinning the Model is that the skilled migration program is determined by the economic needs of Australia. As such, it is necessary for the Australian government to manage who is able to apply for skilled migration, when they are able to apply and in what numbers, on the basis of this need. It is proposed that the Model will allocate all places in the independent skilled migration program to the prospective migrants, those who score highest on the points test, in each eligible occupational group.
A key benefit of the Model is the ability to address regional skill shortages. The Model allows prospective migrants to nominate their willingness to live and work in regional Australia. This will be of particular benefit to employers experiencing regional skills shortages and state and territory governments attempting to settle migrants in regional Australia.
The Model will connect state and territory governments and Australian employers with potential skilled workers through a central database of prospective skilled migrants. This will help state and territory governments maximise the benefit derived from their state and territory Migration Plans. From the perspective of employers, the Model would assist in the resolution of skills shortages through quick and easy identification of prospective workers with the requisite skills and attributes, reducing advertising and recruitment costs to businesses.
Implementation of the Model
The Model is proposed to commence on 1 July 2012. As of this date, new applicants for independent, family or state/territory sponsored migration would need to submit an EOI and be issued with an invitation before lodging a visa application, unless eligible for transitional arrangements. The first round of invitations is expected to occur in January 2013.
Transitional arrangements currently apply to certain people who, on 8 February 2010, held or had applied for a Skilled – Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This group is able to apply for a permanent skilled visa under the previous system, until the end of 2012. There are no additional transitional arrangements in relation to the Model.
Visa subclasses affected by the Model
The visa subclasses which will be affected by the Model are:
•Skilled – Independent (Migrant) subclass 175
•Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) subclass 176
•Skilled – Independent (Residence) subclass 885
•Skilled – Sponsored (Residence) subclass 886
•Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) subclass 475
•Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) subclass 487.
All prospective applicants for these visas will need to submit an EOI and receive an invitation before they can apply.
Prospective applicants interested in employer sponsorship would not be required to submit an EOI if they already have a sponsor. However, submitting an EOI allows employers to view their details and contact prospective applicants to discuss sponsorship opportunities. It would also allow prospective migrants who are sponsored on a temporary basis to be invited for either independent skilled migration or state/territory sponsored migration if eligible.
For those who have already lodged a visa application prior to the implementation of the Model and are pending processing, the department would process this application in accordance with any priority processing direction in effect at that time. A prospective migrant who has already lodged a visa application may want to submit an EOI in order to be connected to an employer or state/territory government.