General skilled migration program points test review
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, has released a discussion paper to seek public comment on a review of the points test used to assess General Skilled Migration applicants.
Under the current points test, potential skilled migration applicants who are not sponsored by an employer need to accumulate up to 120 points based on their qualifications, skills and proficiency in English in order to be eligible for a visa.
However, the application of the current points test has not always led to outcomes that are consistent with the objectives of selecting skilled migrants with high value skills to meet Australia's economic needs.
For example, the current test puts an overseas student with a short-term vocational qualification and one year's work experience gained in Australia ahead of a Harvard-educated environmental scientist with three years relevant work experience.
The test should select those most likely to quickly secure skilled work on the basis of their qualifications, skills and experience, and proficiency in English to ensure Australia gets the best and brightest migrants.
The review will consider issues including whether some occupations should warrant more points than others, whether sufficient points are awarded for work experience and excellence in English, and whether there should be points for qualifications obtained from high quality overseas universities.
The following principles will underpin a new points test:
- it should contribute to the selection of applicants who offer the most human capital and will therefore make the optimal contribution to Australia's demographic and economic future;
- it should not preclude very good applicants from offshore or in Australia, including former international students;
- it should be able to operate flexibly under both current arrangements and any new arrangements for skilled migrant selection;
- it should enable applicants with high value attributes across a number of areas such as English language ability, academic qualifications and work experience, to achieve the maximum number of points; and
- it should not give undue weight to any one factor, so as to avoid distortions in the program arising from applicants seeking to meet that factor.
The discussion paper has been developed on the basis of initial discussions with key Commonwealth, State and Territory Government, industry and union stakeholders. It is now being provided for broader public comment.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship will report to Government on the outcomes of the review in May 2010.
The points test review is one of the key reforms to the permanent skilled migration program announced by the Rudd Government last week. The reforms will deliver a demand rather than a supply driven skilled migration program to meet critical needs in sectors and regions where there are shortages of highly skilled workers, such as healthcare, engineering and mining.
Last update: 01 July 2010 at 15:52 AEST