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Changes to pass marks for migrant points test

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, has announced an increase in pass marks for points-tested categories in Australia's Migration Programme.

"These measures were foreshadowed in my announcement on the Migration Programme intake on 3 July 1996," Mr Ruddock said.

From 1 August 1996, the pass mark for the Independent category * will rise to 115 from the current 110 points.

Changes to the Concessional Family category * will take place on 1 November 1996, when additional points to recognise English language and multilingual skills will be included in the points test for the first time. The pass mark for Concessional Family will also rise to 115 points, while the pool * mark will rise to 110 points.

"The increase in the pass marks is consistent with the Government's commitment to maintain high standards of entry in the skills-tested categories and to address a significant pipeline of applicants," Mr Ruddock said.

A number of subclasses within the non-points tested Preferential Family * category will be capped for 1996-97. (see attachment)

"The capping is necessary to ensure the planning level of 36,700 in this category is not exceeded in 1996-97. Spouses, dependent children and aged parents will be exempt from capping at this stage. Legislation to allow for capping in all categories will be introduced as soon as possible," Mr Ruddock said.

"It is possible that it will also be necessary to cap the Independent and Concessional Family categories later in 1996-97.

"The changes to the passmark and the capping will assist the Government in restoring a proper balance between family and skilled migration. The announced changes mean the programme for 1996-97 will be virtually the same as the 1994-95 programme under the previous Government."

The Minister warned that the length of processing times for Concessional Family migrants, meant that most people now applying in this category would be assessed against the increased pass mark in place on 1 November.

"Applicants should study the self-assessment migration application papers very carefully to determine their chances of success under the new pass mark before applying," he said.

CANBERRA

MEDIA INQUIRIES:

Steve Ingram, 0419 278 715; 06 277 7860

* Categories:

Preferential - for close family members, including spouse, fiance, de facto, interdependency, dependent or adopted child, and parents. There is no points test for applicants in this category, but applicants must be sponsored by a relative.

Concessional - for non- independent children, parents of working age who do not meet the balance of family test, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. Applicants must be sponsored by a relative.

Independent - for people who have skills that will benefit Australia.

Pool mark: if an applicant does not achieve the pass mark, the pool mark is the total points an applicant must score to have their application held in reserve for up to 12 months after it has been assessed in case a new, lower pass mark is set.

PREFERENTIAL FAMILY CATEGORY SUB-CLASSES TO BE CAPPED IN 1996-97

Subclass: Maximum number of visas granted

103 (Parent) ** 4900

104 (Preferential Family) 1100

110 (Interdependency) 100

300 (Prospective Marriage) 1500

806 (Family) 800

826 (Interdependency) 200

** Aged parents are exempt