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‘Visa bombshell’ to affect skilled visa seekers

Visa applicants in skilled migration program will face another hurdle after the federal government announced significant changes in the point system effective from 1 July 2018.

Australia’s skilled migration program is a points-based system designed to attract highly qualified and experienced professionals to best meet Australia’s skills needs.

There are a number of skilled migration visas that require applicants to score a minimum number of points to qualify for permanent skilled migration.  

The government today announced that the points threshold will now be increased from 60 to 65 for skilled – independent, nominated and regional sponsored visa categories.

Following this amendment, a number of prospective applicants say they will now struggle to meet the desired criteria.

Sharing his disbelief, Ramandeep Singh told SBS Punjabi that he moved to Canberra last year to get extra points but this change will now affect his plans to permanently settle in Australia.

“I can’t believe it. I applied as a skilled migrant after I secured 60 points. But now I understand that it’s still not sufficient,” says Mr Singh.

“I came to Australia in 2008 on a student visa. Following my studies in hospitality management, I secured 457 visa. But unfortunately, the business that sponsored was shut down at the last moment leaving me to apply again.

“I am in Canberra from last one year to get an approval through regional sponsored visa. But following today’s announcement I understand that I can’t do that anymore.

“This is not an announcement but a bombshell, which will make lives of many applicants even more difficult.”

“I know many Indian applicants who are here to settle permanently in Australia. But, they‘re struggling as government’s frequently changing its visa policies...More often, retrospectively.” 

Melbourne based migration agents Rohit Mohan and Ranbir Singh told SBS Punjabi that the recent change could be attributed to the high calibre of prospective applicants who express their interest in the General Skilled Migration program. 

“It’s heartbreak for many applicants who thought 60 points is enough for their bid to PR [Permanent Residence],” said Mr Mohan.  “But given the competition and fewer places available it’ll get even tougher for the current and new applicants.”

“To gain extra points, some applicant will now have to rely either on NAATI or a score of 7 each in English proficiency test IELTS.”

The federal  government claims that an increase in pool and pass mark to 65 points reflects the high level of interest in skilled migration to Australia.

The department announced that this decision was made after consultations with the Department of Jobs and Small Business.

The change is the current point system commences on 1 July 2018.

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