On 8 February 2010 the Australian Minister for Immigration & Citizenship announced major changes to the General Skilled Migration Program (GSM). 

The GSM is the mechanism whereby independent applicants are permitted to apply for Australian permanent residency. 

The Minister has announced the following:

  • the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) has been abolished immediately – i.e. as at 8 February 2010.  Accordingly, it is no longer possible for visa applicants to obtain additional points on the GSM points test for working in an MODL position. 
  • GSM applications lodged before 1 September 2007 that have not finalised will be immediately cancelled. 
  •  The Department of Immigration will refund lodgement fees. 
  • We understand 20,000 people will now have their applications immediately cancelled.  
  • A new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) will be announced soon (we understand in April 2010) to have effect from mid-year (we understand from 1 July 2010). 
  •  The new SOL will replace the current MODL and Critical Skills List
  • A new points test will be announced soon (we understand in April 2010) to have effect from mid-year (we understand from 1 July 2010)
  • Changes to priority processing schedule – see http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/priority-processing.pdf.  Employer Sponsored residency applications are the number one priority of the Australian Government.

PLG | KGNM Notes:

  • It is still possible to lodge GSM applications now.  What is important to note is that as the MODL has ceased MODL points are no longer available.  Accordingly, an applicant will be required to satisfy the passmark without including MODL points.
  • We understand in April 2010 a new Skilled Occupation List will be announced together with details of a new points test.  We expect some occupations to be removed from the SOL,  a higher emphasis on visa applicants obtaining sponsorship by an employer or State/Territory Government and a higher emphasis on English language abilities.
  • We understand that from 1 July 2010 the Minister may cap numbers of visas granted according to nominated occupation.  Occupations in demand will obviously have a higher cap.
  • It is clear the Australian Government’s priority is for reisdency applicants to have a guaranteed job offer in Australia.  The Employer Nomination Scheme is the recommended visa category if possible for those seeking permanent residency

PLG  | KGNM Australia provided the information contained in the above report.