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Changes to skilled Independent category.

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Immigration, Multicultural Affairs


Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock MP


Changes to skilled Independent category


MPS 27/98


The Government's refinements to skilled migration will allow a more flexible approach in the points-tested Independent category, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said today.


Changes introduced by the Government have increased employability of skilled migrants and enhanced their chances of quickly becoming contributing members of our community.


The changes include:


• an expansion in the list of Occupations Requiring English (ORE);

• adoption of a revised system for identifying acceptable skilled occupations;

• stricter application of skills recognition;

• matching skill needs in regional Australia with suitably qualified migrants.


"These initiatives have raised skill levels significantly and obviated the need to maintain existing pass marks in the Independent category," Mr Ruddock said.


"A new pass mark of 110 out of a possible 120 points will take effect for applications decided from tomorrow, however minimum standards will ensure that migrants entering through this category are young, professionally skilled and fluent in English. The previous pass mark was 115 points out of a possible 120."


To achieve the new pass-mark, migrants will have to score highly in professional skills, be under 35 years of age and in most cases, have vocational level English skills.


"Research has shown that Independent category migrants have a positive impact on the economy and the Budget, creating more jobs than they take," Mr Ruddock said.


Applicants who don't quite achieve the pass-mark, can be placed into a pool for 12 months, before their application lapses. A new Pool Mark of 95 points will ensure an appropriate number of applicants is available for skill matching through the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme and the State/Territory Nominated categories.


Migrants entering under these categories will still have to meet minimum standards in relation to age, skill and English language ability.


The change in the pass-mark will not affect the planning level of 14,700 places for Independent category migrants, nor will it affect the overall number of migrants visaed in 1997-98


At this stage, there will be no change to the pass mark for the Skilled Australian Linked category. This will be considered after the report of the Review of the Points Test currently being undertaken.


3 March, 1998

Media contact: Brad Robinson 0419 278 715