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State sponsorship under skilled migration

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Atty. Imelda Argel 

As you may be aware, a new points test took effect on 1 July 2011. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has again announced that from 1 July 2012 we should expect changes to the legislation, which will require visa applicants to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and receive an invitation before you can apply under Skilled Migration.

If the Australian Government does not invite you to apply, then even if you meet the pass mark and all criteria, you may not apply.

If your nominated occupation is in Schedule 1, but you would like an automatic invitation to apply, consider state sponsorship so that you will then automatically be given an invitation to apply. If you apply for an Independent or Family Sponsored visa but do not score well over the pass mark among those in your nominated occupation, you could be at the bottom of the invitations list and may not be invited at all because invitations will be first issued automatically to the highest ranking EOIs, subject to occupation ceilings.

If your nominated occupation is in Schedule 2 of the SOL, you will need to apply for State or Territory government sponsorship, even if you have an eligible relative in Australia who is willing and able to sponsor you or who may even live in a designated area. In this case, you must first obtain a State or Territory government sponsorship approval before you lodge your visa application.

To determine whether a particular State or Territory will consider sponsoring you, your occupation must be listed under its State Migration Plan (SMP) or its “off list”, if any.

If so listed, you must research on your employability, living conditions, and criteria for sponsorship in the sponsoring State or Territory, to ensure that you are able to satisfy their requirements. It is proposed that the new skilled state sponsored visa that will take effect from 1 July 2012, will allow the visa holder to live and work anywhere in Australia.

The criteria for sponsorship are separate, often more demanding and are in addition to the visa requirements in the following categories:

  1. Financial requirement for settlement
  2. Minimum IELTS test
  3. Work experience
  4. Particular specialisation within an occupation
  5. Job offer for particular sponsorships

You can check each State Migration Plan (SMP) through the link from my website, www.iargel.com.au. Requirements vary from State to State and their guidelines may change depending on their current needs as at a certain period of time. Some features are:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – requires sufficient financial resources to settle in the ACT while seeking employment; has an “off list” nomination which generally favours Canberra residents currently employed in Canberra and overseas residents who have an offer of employment in Canberra from an ACT employer or have a close family member in Canberra.

New South Wales (NSW) – usually requires IELTS score of 7 or 8 per component depending on the nominated occupation; Except for actuary, most occupations require three (3) or five (5) years relevant work experience. It has no off-list.

Western Australia (WA) – requires sufficient funds to settle in WA for the first three (3) months; has off-list nomination requiring evidence of job prospects

South Australia (SA) – requires sufficient funds to settle and live in SA upon arrival; requires minimum score of IELTS test above DIAC requirement for most occupations. Has an “off list” nomination but limited to recent SA international graduates.

Victoria (VIC) – requires predetermined financials which increases with more dependents; usually requires two (2) to five (5) years of relevant experience depending on nominated occupation; requires an offer of employment if not currently a resident of Victoria.  Off-list nominations are not available.

Northern Territory (NT) – requires evidence of financial capacity to resettle based on predetermined minimum value of assets; must demonstrate employment prospects.

Queensland (QLD) – requires sufficient funds in cash to cover potential long periods of unemployment not just for settlement. It has no off-list.
This information is of a general nature and should not be taken as authoritative legal advice for specific cases. Australia has a scheme that requires persons who give immigration assistance to be registered as migration agent. Contact Atty. Imelda Argel (MARN 9682957) on info@iargel.com.au.

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