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Frequently Asked Questions – Proposed Skilled Migrant Selection Register (SkillSelect) The following FAQs relate to the government’s decision to implement a new skilled migration selection register based on an Expression of Interest (EOI) and invitation to apply. The proposal is in an early stage of development and consultation. Although the basic features are settled, further changes are possible and the following must not be taken as a final description of how the new selection register will operate. In particular, no action of any kind should be taken on the basis that this will be the final register. The minister may recommend to the Governor-General in-Council amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 to give effect to the final register.

What is SkillSelect? The Australian Government has decided on a major reform in the way Australia selects skilled migrants, the Skilled Migrant Selection Register, SkillSelect. SkillSelect will build upon and draw together the suite of reforms to the skilled migration program over the past three years to deliver the skills Australia needs. SkillSelect will be an electronic system based upon a two-stage process. Prospective applicants will first submit claims for skilled migration by an online EOI and subsequently be invited to make a visa application if they have the skills and qualifications needed in the Australian labour market. This is a significant change from the current situation, as applicants for independent, family or state or territory sponsored migration will be required to receive an invitation in order to lodge a visa application. Once invited, SkillSelect will ensure a match between the number of applicants and the number of available program places. This will result in streamlined processing times. What is an EOI? An EOI is an online expression of interest for skilled migration to Australia. It is how prospective applicants will register their interest in applying for a skilled visa. Prospective applicants would provide basic biographical and other information such as occupation, details of work experience and level of English language ability on the online EOI form. Those expressing interest in independent, family sponsored and/or state or territory sponsored skilled migration would need to submit their claims against the points test. Prospective applicants submitting an EOI are able to indicate whether they want to be considered for independent or family, state or territory and/or employer sponsored migration (on either a temporary or permanent basis). A prospective applicant may register interest in one or more visa program depending on their eligibility and personal preferences. How will SkillSelect work? Stage one Prospective applicants express their interest in applying for a skilled visa through an online EOI form. They will be required to indicate categories of skilled migration they are interested in. These details would be stored in a database, which would be accessible by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (the department). State and territory governments and approved employers will only be able to access the details of those who have nominated interest in those respective migration categories. July 2011


Step 1a

Step 1b

Step 1c

Prospective applicant lodges an EOI.

Independent/ family sponsored EOIs are electronically ranked according to points test score.

Independent/ family sponsored The system automatically issues invitations.

Employers Search the database manually and contact prospective applicants directly. State and territory governments Search the database manually.

State and territory governments The system automatically issues invitations to prospective applicants selected by state or territory governments by the database.

Step 2 Invitees/ prospective applicants lodge visa applications, which is then processed as normal.

Stage two Selected EOIs would be invited to lodge an application. Prospective applicants may be selected by the department for Independent or Family sponsored migration; or state or territory government agencies for state sponsored migration or a state sponsored regional provisional visa. Alternatively, employers may contact prospective migrants to arrange sponsorship for permanent employer sponsored migration or a subclass 457 visa. The EOI database will provide a central repository of prospective migrants. This would enable employers to easily identify, compare and establish contact with potential skilled workers. State and territory governments would select prospective migrants from the database if they have available places in their State or Territory Migration Plan approved by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. Employers will be able to sponsor a prospective migrant, including one identified through SkillSelect, at any time using the current application process. Would I need to submit an EOI? It is proposed that all prospective skilled migrants seeking an independent, family sponsored or state or territory sponsored visa will need to submit an EOI and be issued with an invitation in order to lodge a visa application. Prospective skilled migrants seeking employer sponsored visas may want to submit an EOI if they have not yet found an employer to sponsor them. This is not a mandatory requirement if they already have an employer sponsor. The following table provides a summary: Independent or Subclass 457 Family Sponsored Yes - EOI compulsory

No - EOI optional

Employer Sponsored No - EOI optional

State or territory Sponsored Yes - EOI compulsory

Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Yes - EOI compulsory

Who will be able to submit an EOI? Any prospective skilled migrant would be able to submit an EOI provided that, at the time of submission of the EOI, they believe they meet the necessary visa requirements. An applicant must meet certain requirements including the minimum pass mark under the points test to receive an invitation to apply for an independent or family or state or territory sponsored visa. If invited to apply for a visa, an applicant must either be outside Australia, or be lawfully in Australia to make a valid application. July 2011

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Could I submit an EOI in Australia? What requirements would I have to meet? An EOI may be submitted at anytime from anywhere in the world. However, if submitting an EOI in Australia it is important to note that: •

the EOI is not a visa application, and you would not be granted a bridging visa

if you are invited to lodge an application you must meet the requirements to be granted a visa

one of these requirements is that you must be in Australia lawfully.

How would I submit an EOI? Expressions of Interest would be submitted online through the department’s website. Would I need to provide a statement expressing my interest? No, submission of the mandatory details requested in the EOI would be sufficient to express your interest. The EOI is comprised of objective criteria such as English language ability, age and years of skilled work experience. Will there be a form I can post in? No. Under SkillSelect, it is intended that all EOIs and any subsequent visa applications will only be made electronically. Who will have access to the details in the EOI database? As part of the EOI process, all prospective skilled migrants would be asked to select the skilled visas they are interested in. By expressing interest in either a state or territory or employer sponsored visa, prospective applicants would be consenting to state or territory governments and/or employers accessing their details from the database. Information visible to these parties would be highlighted as part of the EOI form. Applicants who express interest solely in independent or family sponsored migration would have their information visible only to the department. Would I have to attach documents? No. Documents are not required when submitting an EOI. At the point of the EOI process, the claims you would make as part of your EOI would not be verified. If you are invited to lodge an application for a skilled visa, you must upload documents as part of the application process. Would I have to complete the job ready program before I submit an EOI? If your occupation and circumstances require you to complete the Job Ready Program, you should satisfy this requirement prior to lodging an EOI. It is proposed that you would be required to lodge your visa application within two months of the date of invitation. If you did not lodge a visa application within this time period your invitation would be considered null and void. Your EOI would remain in the database for the remainder of the two years from the date you submitted your EOI and you may be eligible for selection in a subsequent invitation round during this period. July 2011

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Would I have to complete a skills assessment and/or an English language test before I submit an EOI? Yes. Your EOI will need to be based upon facts as they stand at the time you express interest in migrating. If you are invited to submit a visa application, it is envisaged that you would have two months to finalise all necessary documentation and to lodge your application. The invitation would expire at the end of two months. How long would my EOI stay on the database? An EOI would generally remain in the database for two years after submission. An EOI would be removed prior to the expiry of this period if a permanent or provisional visa has been granted. The below table summarises the period of time an EOI would remain on the database: Granted a 457 visa

Granted a permanent employer sponsored visa

Invited for a state or territory sponsored visa

Invited for an

EOI would not be removed from the database until either:

EOI would be removed from the database upon visa grant.

EOI would be removed from the database upon visa grant, even if granted a provisional (regional) visa.

EOI would be removed from the database upon visa grant.

- the two year expiry period elapses*

Not invited

Independent or family sponsored visa

or - you are subsequently invited for and granted a permanent residence visa.

EOI would be removed from the database two years after submission.

Prior to the expiry of the two year period, applicants could elect to renew their EOI.

What if my circumstances change after lodging my EOI? If your circumstances change after lodging your EOI and before you are invited to lodge a visa application, you would be required to update your information in the database. Updates to your skills would ensure that any documentation you submit in respect of a visa application is consistent with the information on the database. This may increase your score on the points test, therefore improving your chance of being issued with an invitation to lodge a visa application. If the details you provide in your visa application do not match those contained in your EOI, you may not be granted a visa even if you meet the threshold criteria.

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Ranking and selecting in SkillSelect How would EOIs be ranked? EOIs for points tested visas would be ranked in accordance with the points achieved on the skilled migration points test, a mechanism that assesses a skilled migrant’s level of human capital by their age, level of qualifications, English language ability and work experience. In this regard, the prescribed pass mark for a points tested visa category will only represent the minimum standard required. This will ensure that the best applicants in each occupation are identified and selected first. More information on the Points Test is available. See: www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/whats-new.htm To ensure that every EOI has a unique ranking, equally scoring EOIs would be separated by time of submission. Ranking is an objective and automatic process, conducted by SkillSelect system with no intervention by the department’s staff. The ranking would be made on the basis of the information you provide in the EOI.

How would I find out where I am ranked? Applicants who submit an EOI would be aware of the points they have claimed on the points test, but would not be able to view their ranking position. The department would however, publish the lowest score of a successful EOI for each occupation after each invitation round. This will provide an indicative benchmark of the attributes needed to be issued an invitation. For example: Construction project manager (ANZSCO 133111): 65 points. EOI submitted 01.09.2012 02:16:57 Project builder (ANZSCO 133112): 65 points. EOI submitted 15.12.2012 14:44:06 What is the proposed occupation ceiling? SkillSelect will contain a mechanism to ensure the Independent category of the skilled migration program delivers the occupations that are most in need. This mechanism is known as the occupation ceiling. In simple terms, the occupation ceiling is intended to be a limit on how many people could be selected for independent migration from a particular occupation group. Its purpose is to prevent the Independent category being dominated by a narrow range of occupations. Once the limit is reached each year, there would be no further invitations for migration from a particular occupation group. Program places would then be allocated to other occupation groups, even if they are lower scoring. Who decides which EOIs would be invited? Independent Skilled Migration For independent and family sponsored skilled migration, all selection decisions would be made electronically, based on the Selection and Invitation diagram below. Selection is an automated process and is based on objective criteria. Departmental staff will not be involved in the selection process.

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Selection and Invitation of Points Tested EOIs First ranked EOI

Has nominated occupation reached ceiling?

Second ranked EOI

Third ranked EOI

Has nominated occupation reached ceiling?

Has nominated occupation reached ceiling?

NO

Invited

YES

Not invited

NO

Invited

YES

Not invited

NO

Invited

YES

Not invited

Repeat until the specified number of invitations have been issued

State or territory government and employer sponsored visas It is proposed that state or territory governments would be able to nominate prospective applicants at any time to apply for a state or territory visa as part of a State or Territory Migration Plan. Nominated prospective applicants would then receive an invitation to apply at the same time as the selection round for independent migrants. Employers could also access the database and contact a prospective applicant to arrange sponsorship.

Invitations to Apply for Skilled Migration within SkillSelect Who would decide who is invited to apply for a visa? For independent and family sponsored skilled migration, all selection decisions would be made electronically, based on the ranking and selecting rules. Delegates from state or territory governments decide whether to nominate prospective applicants and would access the database directly to make selections at any time. Prospective applicants then receive an invitation. Employers may contact prospective migrants directly to arrange sponsorship. How often would selection take place? After the initial selection round scheduled for January 2013, it is intended that invitations for migration under the points tested visa categories would be issued at regularly scheduled intervals after that. State or territory governments will be required to use SkillSelect to select prospective migrants for provisional or permanent migration as part of State or Territory Migration Plans. Nominations may be issued at any time but invitations to apply for migration would be issued in accordance with the scheduled rounds of invitations to apply. It is proposed that employers may access and search the database to locate and contact skilled workers who may meet their needs. Following this, employers could sponsor skilled workers using the existing processes for temporary and permanent employer sponsored visas. As per the current arrangements, this can take place at any time.

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How long would I have to lodge an application if I am invited? If you are invited to apply for independent or family, or state or territory sponsored skilled migration, it is intended that you lodge your application within two months of the date of invitation. If you do not lodge a visa application within this time period your invitation would be considered null and void. Your EOI would remain in the database and you may be eligible for selection in the next or a subsequent invitation round. What would happen if I am in Australia when I lodge my visa application? If you are in Australia, it is important to note that submitting an EOI or being issued with an invitation to apply will not be grounds for being issued a bridging visa. A bridging visa would only be considered once a valid visa application is actually lodged. Therefore, if the visa you hold is about to expire before you apply for a skilled visa, you would need to apply for another visa if you want to remain in Australia. If you do not meet the requirements for grant of another visa, you would need to depart Australia before your visa expires. What would happen if I don’t get invited? Your EOI would remain in the database for potential selection for two years from the date that it was submitted. During this time, you may be selected in a subsequent invitation round. You must update your details if your circumstances change. Additionally, if you have expressed interest in an employer sponsored visa, you may be contacted by an employer directly to discuss sponsorship. If you have indicated interest in state or territory sponsorship you may be contacted by a state or territory government delegate to discuss sponsorship. If more than one state or territory wants to sponsor you, the invitation to apply for migration would be issued against the first state or territory to nominate you. If I am not invited to lodge a visa application, would I be entitled to review rights? As an EOI is not a visa application, you would be unable to access merits review by the Migration Review Tribunal. The review process is only afforded to eligible persons whose visa application has been refused or cancelled. For more information regarding merits review, please visit the Migration Review Tribunal website. See: www.mrt-rrt.gov.au/ Following each selection process, details would be published in relation to the score, occupation and date of EOI for the lowest ranked invitations issued for each occupation. This would demonstrate the transparency of the selection process and ensures the decision on who is invited to make a visa application is open and objective with no discretion applied. Should you want to express concerns to the department regarding the selection process, you can access the department’s feedback form. See: www.immi.gov.au/contacts/forms/services/ If I am not invited could I be reimbursed for the skills assessment and English language test? There is no guarantee that submitting an EOI would result in an invitation to apply for a visa. Prospective applicants are not entitled to reimbursement of any costs incurred in preparing an EOI. July 2011

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