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Assessment changes for skilled migrants from July 1

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Senator Chris Evans

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Assessment changes for skilled migrants from July 1

Trades people applying to live and work in Australia permanently from July 1 will require increased English language skills under changes introduced by the Rudd Government.

The change will mean that people applying for General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas overseas will have to pass a test showing they have competent English. In the past, the pass mark was vocational English which is a lower standard.

People with competent English generally have an effective use of the language while a migrant with vocational English generally has a partial command of the language.

Trades people lodging skilled migration visa applications overseas will be required to meet the new English language level under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

This change will bring trade related occupations in line with the English language level required for all other occupations on the Skilled Occupation List. Research has shown that migrants who are proficient in English have better employment outcomes once they arrive.

The minimum salary levels for Temporary Skilled Overseas Workers (subclass 457 visas) will increase by 4.1 per cent from July 1, consistent with the change in average employees’ total earnings since the level was last reviewed in August 2008.

The minimum salary level was put in place to enhance the integrity of the subclass 457 visa program.

Australia requires all visa applicants to satisfy the criteria for the granting of their visa. This means that subclass 457 visa applicants must satisfy certain skills requirements.

Where necessary for safety or to prevent fraud, Australia will undertake more extensive skills assessments to confirm skills claimed by applicants. Australia is

improving its skills assessment processes to provide for formal skills testing of some trade occupations.

The pilot of this arrangement will commence on 1 July and will be extended as capacities are increased.

Changes have also come into effect that require employers of temporary skilled overseas workers to attest they have a strong record of and demonstrated commitment to employing local labour and non-discriminatory employment practices.

See: Index of Media Releases

URL: /media/media-releases/2009/ce09063.htm Last update: 01 July 2009 at 15:38 AEST