SkillSelect – Important Changes of the General Skilled Migrant Program

In line with the roll-out of the new skilled migration program, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) recently unveiled its new online portal. Many people may have been advised by their agents about new policy being introduced from 1 July 2012 to the General Skilled Migrant Program. The main changes are the way that prospective applicants make applications. Under the new system you can no longer make an application and can only express your interest to be considered for migration.

The site is intended to be used by applicants for the submission of an expression of interest (EOI) in the new system. At present the system is not live and instead it currently hosts static content rather than a submissions portal – it is offering a range of information on how the new initiative will operate.

DIAC Advises:

SkillSelect is an online system that enables skilled workers interested in migrating to Australia to record their details to be considered for a skilled visa through an Expression of Interest (EOI). People intending to migrate to Australia may be found and nominated for skilled visas by Australian employers or state and territory governments, or they may be invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application.
SkillSelect will be implemented on 1 July 2012. All intending migrants interested in the independent skilled, family sponsored skilled, state or territory sponsored skilled, or business skills programs will be required to submit an EOI and receive an invitation in order to lodge a visa application.

In the section dedicated for Skilled workers there is a section on frequently asked questions about the EOI, what it is and how to make an EOI.

In addition, the site takes great care to point out that an EOI is not the same thing as a visa application and as such no bridging documents will be issued by the DIAC and you will not have access to the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) if you are not invited to make an application.

SkillSelect is also being used as a portal for Australian employers to be able to access and contact skilled workers (under certain conditions) and possibly offer employment and sponsorship under the Employer Sponsorship Program. Business owners who are unsure if the program is right for them can easily access additional information on subjects such as how to search for candidates and what to do when one is identified.

The site also makes it clear that employers are free to pursue their own channels of international recruitment – however it does list a number of advantages that come with using the program.

According to the DIAC:

Employers will benefit from using SkillSelect as it will enable them to quickly and easily identify potential skilled workers with the essential skills and attributes needed. This will reduce overseas advertising and recruitment costs to businesses, and assist in resolving skills shortages.
Another benefit of SkillSelect is the ability to address regional skill shortages. SkillSelect allows skilled workers to indicate whether they are willing to live and work in regional Australia. Employers can search SkillSelect and find skilled workers who have indicated a willingness to work in specific regional areas.

In addition, DIAC advises that the SkillSelect system is in its infancy, only key features have been decided, that further changes are possible and that this information must not be taken as a final description of how SkillSelect will operate. DIAC advises that further changes are likely and that you are advised not to take any action on the basis of the information provided.

If you have questions regarding SkillSelect and General Skilled Migration please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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