On 3 August 2017, the Department released the Occupation Ceilings for General Skilled Migration. The Occupation Ceilings are the upper limit on the number of invitations that can be issued to apply for the following visas:
- Skilled independent visas
- Skilled regional sponsored visas
- Skilled or business state or territory sponsored visas.
The ceilings are intended to ensure the skilled migration program is not dominated by a narrow group of occupations.
Invitation process and cut offs
The highest ranked applicants based on points score are invited to apply for the relevant visa. For clients who have equal points scores, the time at which they reached their points score for that subclass (referred to as the visa date of effect) determines their order of invitation. Expressions of Interest with earlier dates of effect are invited before later dates.
Results of the 12 July and 26 July invitation rounds have been released by the Department of Immigration.
The minimum points score remained high in those invitation rounds (70 points minimum for a 189 invitation, with some occupations requiring 75), due to the closure of the program at the end of the 2016/17 immigration year.
We expect that minimum scores required to receive an invitation to apply for a General Skilled visa will stabilise as the Department works through the backlog.
Pro Rata Occupations
Due to the continuing high numbers of Expressions of Interest received, invitations for these occupations are issued on a pro rata basis in each monthly invitation round over the 2017/18 program year.
SkillSelect first allocates available places to Skilled – Independent (subclass 189) visas and then remaining to Skilled – Regional (subclass 489) (Provisional – Family Sponsored) visas. If all places are taken up by subclass 189 visas then there will be no invitations issued for subclass 489 visas.
There have been increases in the occupation ceiling for the following pro rata occupations – it is quite possible that the required points score will reduce compared to the 2016-17 program year:
- Software and Applications Programmers: Increased by 540 places to 6202
- ICT Business and Systems Analysts: Increased by 92 places to 1574
- Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers: Increased by 639 places to 2178
- Accountants: Increased by 2285 places to 4785
The following occupations had a reduced occupation ceiling, meaning that fewer invitations will be issued to these occupations in 2017/18. As a result the required points to receive an invitation or waiting times between lodging an Expression of Interest and receiving an invitation may increase:
- Computer Network Professionals: Decreased by 108 places to 1318
- Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers: Decreased by 86 places to 1327
Ceilings for the following occupations are unchanged:
- Electronics Engineers: 1000 places
- Other Engineering Professionals: 1000 places
A minimum score of 70 points was required for all non-pro rata occupations in the 26 July round. Waiting times were 2 weeks with this score.
The following occupations have experienced significant decreases in their occupation ceilings:
- Bricklayers and Stonemasons: Decreased by 480 places to 1271
- Chefs: Decreased by 179 places to 2675
- Engineering Managers: Decreased by 252 places to 1155
- Solicitors: Decreased by 993 places to 4161
- Other Medical Practitioners: Decreased by 315 places to 1000
- Metal Fitters and Machinists: Decreased by 1347 places to 5330
- Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics: Decreased by 274 places to 1427
- Social Workers: Decreased by 221 places to 1562
- Special Education Teachers: Decreased by 126 places to 1000
- Carpenters and Joiners: Decreased by 750 places to 6968
- Medical Laboratory Scientists: Decreased by 115 places to 1487
- Electronics Trades Workers: Decreased by 115 places to 1878
Longer Processing Times for General Skilled Migration
The Department have also updated the processing times for General Skilled Migration, indicating a processing time of 6-11 months.
The current processing times as at August 2017 are set out below:
Points-tested visas can be complex and the program settings change frequently. If you require further advice about your General Skilled visa to Australia and how you can maximise your chances of receiving an invitation, please contact us on email@example.com or phone (02) 8896 6056.