Victoria has recently announced several changes to their state nomination program. Canberra has provided an update on their temporary suspension of 190 nomination programs for 'closed list' occupations. Here's our easy-to-read summary, completed with some advice from our migration experts.
WHEN: 10 September 2018
WHAT: 3 changes have been introduced:
Streamline processing for 457 visa holders removed: 457 visa holders can still apply for Victoria state nomination, but will no longer be able to access streamline processing and will need to go through the regular process, which brings us to change #2.
'Invitation only' procedure expands to 457 visa holders: Following on from expanding this procedure to engineering and building, and nursing occupations in July 2018, the 'invitation-only' procedure has now been expanded to 457 visa holders. Previously, 457 visa holders could apply for EOI and lodge their state nomination application straight afterwards, under the streamline processing method. Now, 457 visa holders applying for VIC state nomination for high-demand occupations will also need to submit an EOI and wait for Victoria to issue an email invitation before applying for Victoria state nomination.
International PhD pathway remains with extended processing time: International PhD students can still access streamline processing. However, average processing time has increased from the fast-tracked 2 weeks to the regular 12 weeks.
You are exempt from this new application process if you have an offer of employment in your nominated occupation in Victoria, or meet the streamlined 457 or PhD/recent graduate pathways
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
If you are a 457 visa holder, echoing the advice we gave back in July, you will need to prepare to face some uncertainty and longer processing times. Previously, as long as you met the requirements for 457 visa streamline processing, the state nomination is generally a fairly quick process and had a high chance of success. Now, for 457 visa holders and those with high-demand occupations, VIC state nomination invitations are more competitive and less certain. It may not be enough to simply meet the minimum nomination requirements, other factors influence if or how quickly you receive your nomination, such as your immigration points score, your occupation, etc.
If you are an international PhD student, you aren't subject to this uncertainty. It is a more simple matter of waiting longer for your nomination to be processed.
FAQ: What is the current time to receive an invitation?
According to the Victorian government: "SBMP will continue to periodically invite eligible, high calibre applicants in these industry groups". Back in July they also explained: "There is no set timeframe to expect an invitation after submitting an EOI. Invitations are not guaranteed. If selected, an email invitation to apply for Victorian visa nomination will be sent to your email address used for the EOI".
TIP FROM OUR EXPERTS:
Once again echoing the advice we gave in July, to be on the safe side, try to aim for at least the current 189 visa points cut-off for your nominated occupation as published on SkillSelect. The more immigration points you have, the more likely you will receive your invitation, and more quickly.
ACT - Update
ACT's suspension of the 190 nomination program to Canberra residents with an occupation on the 'closed list' is still active. A consultation workshop was held last Thursday, 13 September, by the ACT government to consult with migration agents and other stakeholders around how to best and most fairly manage demand, prioritise applicants and select applicants.
The ACT government is still in the process of reviewing their nomination program. Some ideas posed in their discussion white paper include: separate occupation lists, caps, temporary closures, revised eligibility criteria (particularly around where the applicant has lived/worked/studied to assess commitment to continue residing in ACT), prioritising via applicant ranking, and a score-based matrix to determine the applicants’ suitability of skills, employability and commitment.
It was confirmed that this blanket suspension is a "temporary restriction...in place until decisions are made".
TIP FROM OUR EXPERTS:
We always recommend our clients to avoid making decisions purely based on speculation, otherwise you may find yourself having moved to a different state, just to have the policies changed again. At this stage, the best thing you can do is to understand what is happening so you can be prepared and have your plan A, plan B, plan C ready.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like any help with your migration planning process.