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Important changes to General Skilled Migration.



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Media Release

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and Training

The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Education, Science and Training

Important changes to General Skilled Migration

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP and Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP today announced details of reforms to Australia’s General Skilled Migration (GSM) programme.

“These important reforms, which take effect from 1 September 2007, will ensure higher standards of English are attained by students coming to Australia to study,” Ms Bishop said.

“Students wishing to apply for a GSM visa will now be required to have a good understanding of the English language and undertake relevant work experience,” Mr Andrews said.

The English language threshold requirement for all GSM visas will increase.

The points test will be adjusted to benefit applicants with advanced Australian tertiary qualifications, Australian skilled work experience and strong English language skills.

“The changes are important for students and our education providers as it creates greater certainty that international students will have the language proficiency to gain the full benefit of their studies. This also assists in maintaining the strong reputation of our education sector as a provider of high quality education to international students,” Ms Bishop said.

The changes also include major structural reforms, in which the 11 skilled migration visa categories will be collapsed into just four, the 15 skilled migration visa subclasses will be collapsed into nine, creating a more efficient visa system and all GSM visas will be able to be lodged through the internet.

A temporary visa will be created to enable overseas students already studying in Australia to remain in Australia while they gain skilled work experience, improve their English language or undertake a professional year. A new temporary visa will also be created for recent graduates from recognised overseas institutions with key skills in demand in Australia.

The changes would lead to better labour market outcomes for all General Skilled Migration applicants and help deliver the skills Australian employers need,” said Mr Andrews.

Media enquiries

Kate Walshe 0421 588 794 (Andrews) Murray Hansen 0417 886 155 (Bishop)

Additional Information

New English language threshold requirement for GSM visas

• Applicants with skills in professional, technical or managerial occupations will be raised from an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 5 (vocational) to 6 (competent) • Applicants with recognised trade skills applying for General Skilled

Migration will be required to meet the current threshold of IELTS 5

New Onshore students - Skilled - Graduate (Temporary) Visa

• New visa category for overseas students who are unable to immediately qualify for GMS on completing their studies • 18 month visa • No work or study restrictions • Main applicant must be under 45, have met the two year study

requirement in the last 6 months, have a suitable skills assessment in their nominated occupation, meet the English language threshold • Not points tested • Can apply for a permanent or provisional GSM or an employer sponsored visa at any time

New Offshore Graduate - Skilled - Recognised Graduate (Temporary) Visa

• New visa aimed at addressing ‘niche’ shortages in the labour market • 18 months visa • No work or study restrictions • Main applicant must be under 30, have completed a degree in a specified

discipline from a specified educational institution in the last 12 months and meet the English language threshold • Not points tested • Can apply for a permanent or provisional GSM or an employer sponsored visa at any time

For more information about these changes visit http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/topics-of-interest.htm