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At the meeting with David Wilden at Australia House today, we were told as follows:

All the applications in hand from people in Categories 1 – 4 as listed in the FAQ of 23rd September 2009 are now under control.

DIAC estimate that there are about 3,500 applications in Category 5 – that is, State sponsored but the main applicant’s occupation is not on the CSL. Mr Wilden has been told that DIAC are now in a position to make a start on processing the Cat 5 applications.

Mr Wilden said as follows:

  • Roughly 3,500 is the number of actual visa applications, not the number of people involved. (I checked this with him specifically and he was definite about it.)
  • They will start to process the Cat 5s according to the dates when the visa applications were lodged and they will deal with the oldest applications first.
  • They will make no distinctions between the different visa subclasses – first come, first served means what it implies in a situation where the occupation is not on the CSL but the applicant does have State sponsorship.
  • There is no foundation to the rumour that tradies may be excluded from Cat 5 processing – the tradies are to be treated identically to people whose occupations are in ASCO Groups 1-3.

Mr Wilden said that we have had him up late at night and out of bed before the birds in order to phone his colleagues in Australia to discover exactly what the plans are for the Category 5s because he had seen from Poms in Oz that everyone is particularly worried about this question in particular.

Mr WIlden stressed that he cannot say how long it will take to clear the backlog of about 3,500 Cat 5 applications. As & when they receive further applications from people with greater claim to priority, the applications with greater priority will be dealt with first.

The Famous Five were all PiO members (DanB1, Floater, Gollywobbler, RonnieRocket and Watneyni to put us in alphabetical order.) We were all sitting round the same table with Mr Wilden and we all heard him say exactly the same things. (Needless to say we repaired to a London hostelry afterwards to compare notes – thanks very much indeed to Watneyni for very kindly buying a round of drinks for us all.)

We were joined unexpectedly by a very helpful young man called Andrew. He has worked at the ASPC for a while but he is now in the UK, working with John Adams RMA at Immigration2Oz.com Andrew is not a PiO member [yet] but I am trying to encourage him/twist his arm! Andrew was involved with this part of the discussion so he heard Mr Wilden as well.

That they can’t say how long it will take to clear the 3,500 or so Cat 5 applications is reasonable enough. Mr Wilden promised to find out how many of the 108,100 skilled PR & Provisional visas for 2009/10 have been granted as at 30th November 2009 and he said he will let us know as soon as he knows. Once we have that figure it will probably be possible to start making reasonably sensible guesses.

After the meeting the Famous Five agreed that this information is probably the most significant piece of info from today and that we would get it onto the forum with all possible speed, in its own thread to make it stand out.

Cheers

Gill

Source  :  http://www.pomsinoz.com/forum/migration-issues/73648-category-5-news.html

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A new report has found Australia’s migration program is more effectively meeting the needs of employers with a 60 per cent increase in the number of employer-sponsored skilled migrants to Australia in 2008-09 compared with the previous year.

The Report on Migration Program 2008-09 shows that the Rudd Government’s targeted approach to overseas workers is helping to fill critical skills gaps in the healthcare, engineering, financial services and IT sectors.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said that changes introduced in January including the Critical Skills List (CSL) of high value occupations and prioritising employer-sponsored or state/territory-sponsored skilled migration visa grants were having a significant impact.

Overseas workers who were sponsored by employers comprised 33 per cent of the 2008-09 skill stream compared to 22 per cent in 2007-08 and 17 per cent in 2006-07.
“A properly targeted migration program will ensure we have the right sized and appropriately skilled labour force to meet Australia’s needs now and into the future as our economy recovers and grows.”

The Government cut the 2008-09 permanent skilled migration intake in March 2009 by 14 per cent from 133 500 to 115 000 and reduced planning levels for the permanent skilled migrant intake in the overall 2009-10 migration program to 108 100 places.

“This is in direct response to the economic slowdown and represents an overall drop of almost 20 per cent on previous planning levels,” Senator Evans said.

“The migration intake in the coming year reflects the economic conditions while ensuring employers can gain access to skilled professionals in industries still experiencing skills shortages such as healthcare and engineering. “The reduction is being achieved through a cutback in places in independent skilled migration rather than in the high-demand employer-sponsored category or in areas in which Australia has critical skills shortages.”

Across all permanent skilled visa categories, the top three occupations for successful applicants were accountancy (6238), computing professionals (3879) and registered nurses (3355) while the top three countries of citizenship under the skill stream were the United Kingdom (23 178), India (20 105) and China (13 927).

“Australia’s migration program is better targeting the needs of Australian employers who are still experiencing skill shortages,” Senator Evans said.

Source  :  www.manmonthly.com.au

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Migration Agents – Migrant numbers need to increase to support infrastructure projects

The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) has warned the government that work on infrastructure projects will be difficult to accomplish following the decision to put australian-immigration-construction-workers restrictions on the skilled migration program.

While the MIA welcomed the Australian immigration ministers decision to increase the number of humanitarian and family reunion Australian visas for the 2009/10 Migration Program, they were less than impressed with the decision to remove a number of trade-level occupations from the skilled occupation list.

“The MIA awaits with great interest to see how the Government proposes to administer the new job-readiness criteria for trade occupations. It’s hard to imagine a one-size-fits-all assessment system of employability,” said Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia.

The Government reduced the Australian skilled migration program at the turn of 2009, when the recession was starting to take effect. The planning level for the remainder of the 2008-09 financial year was reduced from 133,500 to 115,000 skilled migration visas and the Critical Skills List (CSL) and priority processing order were both introduced so that the Government could target the skills it needed most.

As of the 01 July 2009, the Australian skilled migration planning levels will be further reduced to 108,100 visas, and the CSL and priority processing order will remain as guidelines for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s visa processing officers. This means that sponsored visas and independent visas with skills nominated in the health, engineering and IT sectors will constitute a major part of Australian visa approvals during the start of the next financial year.

Fortunately, the Australian skilled migration program remains flexible to the needs of the Australian economy. While states/territories and employers have been given greater power to target the skills they need, the Immigration Minister Chris Evans also has the ability to extend the planning levels for the Australian skilled migration program and amend the CSL so that certain nominated trades can have priority for processing, if the economy needs a boost in skilled workers.

Senator Evans said in a recent statement that the Government is committing itself to “a long-term planning framework for migration as a key component of the current reform agenda” and that their extension of the family migration scheme is testament to its perception of the importance of family.

“We are recognising the importance of family through this boost which will benefit Australians who seek to have their parents, partners or children join them to live here permanently,” Senator Evans added.

The family stream of the Australian migration program has had 2,500 places added to the Spouse and Fiancée Visa program, 1,000 places to the Parent Visa program, and 300 to the Child Visa program.

Source www.gettingdownunder.com

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