Late News New Skilled Migration Points Test
Late News New Skilled Migration Points Test
New skilled migration points test
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, today announced a new points test to assess independent skilled migrants as part of the Gillard Government’s ongoing commitment to reforming the skilled migration program to deliver the skills Australia needs.
Mr Bowen said the new points test will emphasise the importance of English, work experience and high level qualifications, and is designed to ensure no one factor guarantees migration. These changes to the points test are an important next step in the series of reforms to the skilled migration program announced by the Government in February this year, Mr Bowen said. The new points test is proposed to take effect from 1 July 2011, subject to passage of supporting legislation through the Parliament. It will apply to anyone lodging an application from 1 July 2011.
The new test will have a mixed impact: some prospective migrants will do better under the new test, while others will do worse. Past revisions to the test have resulted in a spike in applications as some people seek to bring forward their application if they feel they may be disadvantaged by the new test. The Government will closely monitor application patterns in the coming weeks and months, and will take corrective action as necessary should a spike occur.
There are some significant changes:
– Under the existing points test, points are awarded on the basis of an applicant’s occupation. Under the new points test points will no longer be awarded on the basis of occupation. Applicants will still be required to nominate a skilled occupation and provide a satisfactory skills assessment from the relevant Australian assessment authority for that occupation. The equal weighting of occupations will have the added benefit of not distorting the study choices of international students.
– The new test will give greater weight to higher level qualifications as part of its focus on human capital. Under the current test, points are not awarded for overseas qualifications – regardless of the quality or level of the qualification.
Under the new test, approved and recognised overseas qualifications will be treated as equivalent to Australian qualifications. In recognition of the additional benefit that study in Australia brings, applicants who have studied in Australia will receive five points towards the new pass mark of 65 points. People who have studied in regional areas will receive an additional five points.
– Another change goes to the treatment of the age of applicants. The philosophy in the old points system of placing a premium on youth was developed many years ago and is still valid today. Younger migrants can help offset Australia’s ageing population and boost participation rates. The new test, however, also recognises the contribution made by people of different ages, and takes into account how age interacts with qualifications and work experience factors. The new points test proposes two important changes regarding age. Firstly, the maximum points available for age will now accrue to those between 25 and 32 years, compared with 18 to 29 years in the current test. This age range is most likely to maximise lifetime earnings, and recognises that it is often difficult to assess the full potential of someone who has had little time to prove themselves in the workforce. It is also consistent with the average age of employer sponsored migrants. The second, and related, change is that the age threshold will be extended from 45 to 49 years in recognition that slightly older and highly talented specialists still have much to offer.
– Under the old test points were given for IELTS 6.0 with maximum points given for
IELTS 7.0. Under the new test no points will be given for IELTS 6.0, 10 points will be given for IELTS 7.0 and 20 points will be given for IELTS 8.0.
English Australia member colleges will also be interested to note the following in Minister Bowen’s speech:
“I’m a strong supporter of the efforts of Australian universities and institutions to attract foreign students. It is not only good for the budget bottom line of the higher education sector, it is an important part of Australia’s international engagement. For example, educating the future leaders of our regional partners can make an important contribution to our diplomatic efforts long into the future. The Minister for Higher Education, Senator Evans, and I will be having more to say about the interaction of our higher education and immigration policies in the not too distant future.”
EA looks forward to hearing more from both Ministers on this topic.