Australia has announced changes to its independent skilled migration point’s test which will go into effect on 1 July 2012. The new immigration point system will put increased emphasis on work experience and high level educational qualifications.
Points will continue to be awarded for study in Australia, regional study, community languages, partner skills, and for completing an approved Professional Year. However, points will no longer be awarded for a particular occupation, but an applicant must still nominate an occupation on Australia's Skilled Occupation List (SOL)
The news points test will only apply to the following visas:
- Subclass 189 Skilled Independent
- Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated
- Subclass 489 Skilled Provisional
One significant change to the points test is that people aged 46 to 49 will now be able to apply, although no points can be earned under age for applicants from 45 to 49 years of age. The age related points will be as follows:
- Age 25-32: 30 Points
- Age 18-24 and 33-39: 25 Points
- Age 40-44: 15 Points
- Age 45-49: 0 Points
Moreover, points can be earned for English language proficiency above Competent English, which is a minimum score of 6 on each of the four components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Points earned for higher levels of English language proficiency are as follows:
- Superior English (a score of at least 8 in each of the four components of the IELTS): 20 Points
- Proficient English (a score of at least 7 in each of the four components of the IELTS): 10 Points
The pass mark for the points test is expected to be set at 60 points.
The new points test will only affect skilled independent immigration and not employer-sponsored immigration. Anyone lodging an application after 1 July 2012 will come under the new points test.