May 19, 2010

New Skills Occupation List (SOL) Announced

The Migration Institute of Australia announced the long-awaited new Skills Occupation List (SOL) for General Skilled Migration (GSM) this week. The new SOL takes effect from 1 July 2010. The 457 list and the ENS (company sponsored migration) list have not changed and therefore the majority of our corporate clients will not be affected. A summary of the changes follows.

Note that although the new SOL indicates approved occupations for General Skilled Migration categories, additional relevant details (such as the new passmark) have not yet been released.

The SOL has been reduced from 408 listed occupations to just 181, in line with the Australian government’s policy of keeping immigration strictly in line with specific labor market needs.  Pending applications for occupations which are no longer on the SOL will not be affected.

Some of the occupations which are no longer on the SOL include: Cook, chef, Hairdresser, Pharmacist, Graphic Designer.

Some of the retained occupations include: Accountant, Architect, Engineers, medical professionals, Motor Mechanic, and many building trades. 

Temporary Skilled Migration Categories Suspended 

The announcement of the new SOL follows the suspension of certain General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa applications, announced on 7 May 2010 (and posted on our blog shortly thereafter) and effective immediately on that date.

The suspension is now anticipated to remain in place until 30 June 2010 and is another clear signal that, at a time when economic unease is ongoing, Australia is keeping tight controls over immigration levels and a keen eye on the conditions of its local labor market.

The temporary suspension applies only to primary (main) applicants for the following visa subclasses:

  • Subclass 175 – Skilled Independent (Migrant) visa
  • Subclass 176 – Skilled Sponsored (Migrant) visa
  • Subclass 475 – Skilled Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa.

Re-Jig of Permanent Migration Planning Levels 

Also announced this month was a re-jig to Australia’s permanent migration program planning levels.

As part of the Australian government’s planned migration program, the federal government allocates places each year for people wanting to migrate permanently to Australia.

The re-jig gives an additional 9150 places to the employer-sponsored migration program, which will be balanced by a cut of 3600 general migration places. An additional 200 visas in the business skills category will also be offered in 2010/11.

The changes, announced in the budget on Tuesday, will see the overall skilled migration intake boosted by 5750 places, which will be balanced by a cut in number of family migration places by 5750. Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the reforms were aimed at delivering a more demand driven skilled migration program.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS 

The changes announced in this Global Brief are unlikely to affect the majority of our corporate clients; however, where a case is affected, your Pro-link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist will advise accordingly.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.

Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG |KGNM Correspondent Office in Australia to provide this Global BRIEF alert to you.