Significant changes to Australia visa application process make moving Down Under easier

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The Australian immigration system has recently undergone significant changes which are intended to make the process of moving to Australia a much easier and more straightforward system while allowing the Australian government to benefit the most from new migrants. However, as always with a new system there are kinks to be worked out but the Australian Visa Bureau is on hand to make sure you can avoid common pitfalls.

Australia visa

The Australian immigration system has recently undergone significant changes which are intended to make the process of moving to Australia a much easier and more straightforward system.

Moving to Australia is a long process and while SkillSelect makes it easier, applicants should be careful not to make mistakes as opportunities to rectify any can be limited.

The new Australia immigration system is based on an online database known as SkillSelect. With the new system, potential applicants begin the process of moving to Australia by registering an Expression of Interest (EOI).

An EOI is not the same as an Australia visa application and only requires an applicant nominate their desired occupation from the Skilled Occupations List (SOL), register their personal details, professional experience, education and English language proficiency.

Once an EOI is lodged, it will be ranked alongside other EOIs in the same occupation and kept on file for two years.

During this period, an applicant may be invited to apply for an Australia visa and continue their application. Whether an applicant is invited will depend on how many professionals in a particular occupation are required and where the application is ranked.

If an applicant is invited, they will have 60 days to lodge their visa application. If this period is missed, they will eligible for a second invitation, but no more.

As this is not the first time Australia has made changes to its immigration system, the government is maintaining a cautious approach and is not rushing into processing applications already lodged on the system, despite receiving as many as 5,000 applications within the first month. Instead, the government has issued invitations to just 100 for the Skilled Independent - subclass 189 and Skilled Family Sponsored (Provisional) subclass 489 applicants to gauge how the system will respond.

The Australia Visa Bureau understands that many more invitations will be issued in September and as a result, many applicants are rushing to lodge their EOIs as soon as possible to maximise their chances.

Lodging an EOI for a General Skilled Migration Visa is free but requires an applicant to have a successful Skills Assessment and evidence of at least a competent level of English language ability (sometimes higher if claims for a higher level of English is made).

It is extremely important that the claims made in your EOI in relation to work experience, Skills Assessment, English language ability, among others are able to be verified as any subsequent visa application linked to the EOI will be subject to scrutiny.

The Australian Visa Bureau recommends this approach as it is highly likely the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will cross check any previous EOIs submitted across all fields and refuse any applicants found to have previously submitted applications with unsubstantiated claims.

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, says SkillSelect is a great new system but warns against using it lightly.

“Moving to Australia is a long process and while SkillSelect makes it easier, applicants should be careful not to make mistakes as opportunities to rectify any can be limited.

“If you are serious about moving to Australia, it is better to ensure you have everything properly prepared and organised before beginning the process.”

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Tom Blackett
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