March 2014 Update

In this issue:-

  • Changes to SkillSelect effective March 2014
    – The Department of Immigration and Border Protection have announced changes to the way invitations are issued under SkillSelect.
  • Annual update of the Skilled Occupation List
    – What occupations are being removed and which are here to stay?
  • 457 Visa Review Panel
    – The Assistant Minister for Immigration has announced a review of the popular “457 Visa” program.  What’s changing?

Changes to SkillSelect effective March 2014

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection have released the following information regarding SkillSelect on their website:


In late 2013, the department conducted an evaluation of occupational ceilings to assess how they have operated to date and to consider changes to ensure they are performing their intended function.

Based on feedback received as part of the evaluation, the following changes will be in place from 1 March 2014:

  • State and territory nominated visas will no longer be subject to occupational ceiling limitations
  • The minimum ceiling for each occupational group will be 1000 invitations.

However, this news does not provide any help for those seeking an invitation for certain IT and Engineering occupations, which are now being issued on a pro rata basis.

The following table displays the latest results (10 March 2014) for the SkillSelect invitation rounds for pro-rata occupations.  As we can see, the Points score required is 65, with the last invitation being issued to an EOI with a date of effect as early as 26 September 2013, almost 6 months ago.

ANZSCO Group Description Points Score Visa date of effect
2331 Chemical and Materials Engineers 65 5/12/2013 4.45 pm
2334 Electronics Engineers 65 6/02/2014 5.49 pm
2339 Other Engineering Professionals 70 16/12/2013 6.29 pm
2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts 65 26/09/2013 2.00 am
2613 Software and Applications Programmers 65 13/02/2014 12.01 am
2633 Telecommunications Engineering Professionals 65 23/01/2014 4.33 pm

Compare this information with the invitation cut off for other occupations:

Visa Type Points Score Visa date of effect
Skilled – Independent (subclass 189) 60 28/02/2014 10.08 am
Skilled – Regional Provisional (subclass 489) 65 27/02/2014 6.57 pm

We will keep monitoring the situation, especially as July is a popular time for the DIBP to introduce changes to their immigration policies.  Make sure you Like us on Facebook or Follow on Twitter for news.

Annual Update of the Skilled Occupation List

It is widely anticipated that the new Skilled Occupation List will be unveiled in coming months, with an anticipated start date of 1 July 2014.

As a guide, the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency has published the list of occupations “which were borderline in terms of their inclusion on the SOL”.  This list includes professional accountants, actuaries, engineers (various specialisations) and dental allied health professional such as Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists.

AWPA advises that “these occupations may be removed in future years subject to monitoring of the labour market, education and migration data and evidence from stakeholders in relation to future oversupply issues, migration outcomes and areas of specific need.”

> View AWPA List of Flagged Occupations

If you are concerned that your occupation may be removed from the SOL which may affect your migration options, get in touch with us today for assistance.

457 Visa Review Panel

The following information has been released by the Hon Senator Michaelia Cash


The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, has today announced an independent review into the Subclass 457 visa programme.

Minister Cash said given the importance of the 457 programme in supporting employers in industries and regions which are experiencing skill shortages, and the potential of the 457 programme to contribute to productivity growth in the Australian economy, a review of the integrity of the programme in light of these reforms is warranted.

‘The review will aim to provide recommendations on how to maintain the integrity of the 457 visa programme, while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business,’ Minister Cash said.

‘This is in line with the government’s commitment to evidence based productivity reform.’

The independent panel will provide the final report to the Assistant Minister by mid-2014.

The panel members include John Azarias of Deloitte Australia (former public servant), Peter McDonald of Australian National University, Katie Malyon of Ernst and Young and Jenny Lambert of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The CFMEU released a press release questioning the independence of the review, stating that

The so-called “independent” review of the 457 Visa program announced today by Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator Michaela Cash leaves many questions unanswered, according to the CFMEU.

CFMEU National Assistant Secretary, Dave Noonan said that the union welcomes any genuine review of the 457 Visa program.

The review will be asked to examine non-compliance by employers, the costs to employers, necessary sanctions, and the scope for deregulation while maintaining the integrity in the visa program.

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