New points test for STEM qualifications

refugee talent

Changes to the points test for STEM qualifications

The Australian Government is amending the points test for the skilled migration programme.  The changes are part of an initiative under the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) to help Australia attract the skilled, talented people needed to drive prosperity in Australia through innovation and science.

From 10 September 2016, five additional points will be available for students from Australian institutions with doctorate-level and masters by research qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and information and communication technology fields.

These changes come at the back of recent findings of the Australian Bureau of Statistics which showed that STEM skills jobs such as scientists, ICT professionals and engineers, grew about 1.5 times the rate of other jobs in between 2006 and 2011. While the demand for ICT workers is increasing, the number of students completing tertiary studies in STEM and ICT courses is declining significantly.

The change to the points test is relevant to permanent visas including:

  • Subclass 189 (Skilled-Independent)
  • Subclass 190 (Skilled-Nominated)
  • Subclass 489 (Skilled-Regional (Provisional))

The new provisions allow extra points to be awarded under the General Skilled Migration points test to applicants who have achieved Australian qualifications at a higher level in fields where shortages have been identified in Australia.

Field of Education: 

The fields of education qualifications will be outlined in a legislative instrument. Fields of Education proposed to be accepted under this new measure and are defined by the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS):

  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Natural and Physical Sciences
  • Other Natural and Physical Sciences
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Other Information Technology
  • Aerospace Engineering and Technology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Technology

A qualification at Doctorate or Masters by Research-level in a field of education listed above will be eligible for five additional points towards the points test.

Graduates should check whether their qualification is eligible for visa purposes by searching the CRICOS website.

Further reading: New Entrepreneur Visa

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