Anyone applying for, or researching visas to Australia over the past year will know that the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) performed a major overhaul of its visa processing system this summer. The new system, ‘SkillSelect’, was rolled out on 1 July with DIAC promising a reduction in the myriad of existing visa categories and a significant streamlining of the application process.
SkillSelect requires applicants to first lodge an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) whereby the skilled migrant enters their personal and professional information into the SkillSelect system and then choose the visas they wish to apply for. This information can then be viewed by individual states, registered employers and the Australian government itself who can decide to make an ‘Invitation to Apply’ to a suitable applicant. Only then can the applicant make their online visa application.
So Far So Good
Our experience of SkillSelect has been very positive for the most part. The majority of EOIs lodged by us on behalf of our clients have been for the State Sponsored (subclass 190) skilled visa. Before these applicants can receive an Invitation to Apply they must apply for sponsorship separately with their state of choice. Our experience has been that once the state offers state sponsorship and updates the applicant’s EOI to that effect, the Invitation to Apply comes through in less than two weeks.
The Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa allows applicants to settle permanently in any part of Australia. The Australian government chooses who they invite based on its demand for particular occupations and the invitee’s score in the points test. The first results of invitations for the 189 visa were released on 27 August, with 75 points being the lowest score to receive an invitation. By September the lowest points score was down to 70. DIAC has not released any figures since but we have observed the points requirement continue to drop over the past few months as the first wave of applicants made its way through the system and several clients of ours were invited to apply in November for skilled independent visas with just 60 points.
It is in this area that SkillSelect has really proven itself with applications being processed with great efficiency. One client of ours received their 190 visa in October a mere 34 days after lodging their application! Several others have got their visas within 6 weeks. The above examples obviously shouldn’t be read as definitive – visa applications can hit road bumps, but SkillSelect has run very smoothly. Take a look at our testimonials page to read about our clients experiences.