In July 2012 the Australian Government implemented a key reform in a bid to better align the skilled migration program to Australia’s labour market needs. The Select Skill program is designed to control the number of skilled migrants interested in living or working in Australia. It achieves this by requiring visa applicants first to submit their information to the new Skill Select database before they can get an invitation from the Australian government to apply for a skilled visa.
If you intend to migrate to Australia on a skilled visa, it is vital that you understand the workings of the Select Skill program to improve your chances of getting an invitation to apply for an Australian visa.
How does Skill Select Work?
As an intending migrant, you are required to record your details, skills, and qualifications, by lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI). This is the first step towards being considered for an Australian visa. An EOI is, however, not a visa application.
Depending on the visa you want to be considered for, you will be asked to provide information such as:
- Basic personal information
- Work experience
- Nominated occupation
- Level of education and English skills
- Details of a skills assessment,
- Investment and business experience.
A skilled migrant or business person who is registered with the database can then be identified and nominated for skilled visas by Australian employers or state and territory governments. They could also be invited to lodge a visa application by the Australian Government.
Which visas can one apply for?
After successfully submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect you must apply for these five visas:
- Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132)
- Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188)
- Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
- Skilled – Nominated visa (subclass 190)
- Skilled – Nominated or Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 489).
The three visas below can be applied for after the applicant receives an invitation by a SkillSelect-approved Australian employer:
- Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)
- Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187).
Skilled migrants who register on the Skill Select database are free to express their interest in more than one skilled migration category on the same EOI.
Can you submit a Skill Select EOI without an English Language Test, Skills Assessment or Job Ready Program?
If you submit an EOI for a visa which requires English language competency or completion of a positive Skills Assessment or Job Ready Program, then you will need to have completed these before lodging an EOI. It isn’t necessary to attach any documents to an EOI; however, it is important to ensure that all the information included in the EOI is accurate and tallies with the information presented in the supporting documents.
NOTE: There is no reimbursement for charges incurred while obtaining a Skills Assessment if an EOI is unsuccessful and an invitation to make a visa application isn’t forthcoming.
Using a migration agent to submit your EOI
It is vital to get professional advice from a registered Australian immigration agent before submitting your EOI for a skilled visa to avoid incurring losses from rejected applications as well as the resulting disappointment. Immigration agents ensure that your EOI is complete, accurate and meet the threshold required to get an invitation to lodge an Australian visa application.
What happens once an EOI is lodged in the Skill Select database?
Upon lodging an EOI in the Skill Select database, the system provides a “points score” and ranks your results depending on the claims made in the EOI. The applicant can see their points score from the database, although they are not able to view their ranking position (this keeps changing as other applicants lodge their EOIs).
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) then calls upon the highest ranked applicant in the Skill Select database to lodge their visa application based on the number of slots available for a specific immigration stream. As a potential migrant, you can take comfort in the fact that the ranking process is an automatic and objective process, free of any interference from the DIAC personnel.
You can also update your EOI at any given time, and if your points score changes as a result of the update, your ranking is also automatically updated.