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Major changes proposed for skilled migration to Australia

18 October 20160 comments

Reducing age limits and giving more points for secondary adult applicant or spouses’ skills and traits are among changes to Australia’s skilled migration policies put forward by the Productivity Commission.

The changes could significantly change the way Australia chooses its migrant intake and are outlined in a recently submitted report to the federal government.

In its report titled Migration Intake into Australia, the commission has recommended a series of measures to re-calibrate permanent skilled migrants coming to Australia.

The commission has recommended that the Australian Government should consider reducing the age limit of 50 years for permanent migration under the skill stream and provide greater weight in the points based system for younger immigrants.

WorkersBut it wants the Australian Government to maintain the existing capacity to provide exemptions to the age rule for particularly skilled applicants.

The commission has also suggested that the Australian Government use the Skilled Occupations List as the sole basis for determining skill requirements for the different streams of the permanent skilled immigration program, including for those using the Temporary Residence Transition visa.

It also recommends undertaking a small pilot scheme that tests the merit of supplementing the Skilled Occupations List with a more granular treatment of some occupations that cannot be easily allocated between the different skill levels; and also the inclusion of particular, well defined, skill sets that are not occupationally specific.

The commission has also recommended that primary applicants without dependents be given the maximum level of extra points.

But is also says the government should significantly increase, up to a given maximum, the contributing points to a primary applicant based on the skill and other traits of the adult secondary applicant.

The commission’s report recommends the adoption of a common points system for the entire permanent skill stream, but in doing so points should be added to a visa application by a primary applicant who has been nominated by an employer.

Currently, the selection criteria is different for skilled migrant intake and ’employer-sponsored’ applicants.

Under the commission’s plan, partners and adult children would be assessed on their English ability, work skills, age and education in addition to the assessments currently made of the primary visa applicants.

According to the commission, almost half of visas issued under the skilled migration stream are for secondary applicants. The commission says there’s significant scope to use those applicants to raise the overall calibre of the intake.

The federal government has said it will respond to the commission’s report in due course but it is rare that all recommendations put forward by Productivity Commission on a particular issue are adopted in full.

Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist