New priorities for the processing of the Australian Skilled Migration Visas

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New priorities in the processing of the Australian Skilled Migration Visas were announced by the minister of Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen on July 1.

The implementation of the new rules means that the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship will consider and process all visa applications in an order of priority that the minister considers appropriate.

The new regulations for the priority of visa processing apply to all applications for the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS), Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) and certain points based skilled migration.

After July 1, 2012, all of the applications for the abovementioned types of visas will be processed according to the following level of priority

  1. Applicants, who are sponsored under the RSMS program
  2. Applicants, who are sponsored under the ENS program
  3. Applicants, who are nominated by a state or territory government agency
  4. Applicants who have nominated an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) – Schedule 1 in effect from 1 July 2012
  5. All other applications

People, who have applied through the new Skill Select system for the subclasses 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, or 489 will be given the highest priority within each priority processing group.

The new regulations are necessary because the immigration system should respond to the economic situation in Australia by targeting people with professional skills, education and experience that are needed in the country. The priority processing for the Australian visas is therefore subject to change in response to Australia’s economic situation.

It should be noted that any changes to priority processing arrangements do not have any reflection on visa eligibility criteria. The new priority processing regulations will apply for all of the current visa applications including those, which have already been lodged even if they are in the final stage of processing.

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