The immigration department allots visas to skilled professionals as per applications received from the SkillSelect. But, in 2013 many occupations are in so much demand that they have reached their occupation level.

Professionals Immigrating Under GSM Face Tough Assessment Score as Many Professions Hit Occupation Ceiling

The immigration department had sought changes in the General Skilled Migration (GSM) category and the changes were implemented from July 01, 2013. A certain number of prospective skilled immigrants from each occupation were decided. However, within just a few months, many occupations hit the occupation ceiling. As a result of this condition, skilled people, especially in IT and engineering sector will have a tough time to get visas under the GSM.

Getting Skilled Visas under GSM
Each year a revised immigration program is created, which starts from July 01 to June 30. The number of skilled migrants for each occupation is decided before the program is released. Based on applications filed through the SkillSelect, meritorious skilled people are granted a visa under the GSM for a particular occupation.

Once the number allotted for a particular occupation is reached, no more visas can be given under that category. In other words, the occupation has reached the occupation ceiling.

Types of GSM Visas
Visas under the GSM can be permanent or provisional in nature. Only a certain number can be allotted under each occupation each year. The visas are:

  • Skilled Independent Subclass 189 – where an applicant, who does not have a sponsorship from a state government or a relative, is granted a permanent visa.
  • Skilled Sponsored Subclass 190 – where an applicant is given a permanent visa only after a sponsorship is received from a state government.
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489 – where an applicant is given a provisional visa for 4 years only after a sponsorship is received by a state government or relative living in Australia.

Tough Competition for Remaining Places
In 2013, many IT and engineering occupations have nearly reached its occupation ceiling. As a result, the immigration authorities have decided to allot visas under the GSM category for the said occupations under pro rata basis. The assessment levels have also been increased immensely.

Those securing high assessment points will be granted a visa. Consequently, the pass marks for the assessment levels will rise from the usual 60 points to as high as 70 points. The occupations which have been affected are chemical and materials engineering, electronics engineering, software and applications programming, and telecommunications.

What Happens Once Ceiling is Reached
Once the occupational ceiling is reached for a particular occupation, candidates of this category can still apply for a visa to work in Australia. These visas are under the:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme – where a permanent employer sponsored visa is allotted to the applicant.
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – where a permanent visa is offered only when the applicant acquires a job in a regional area.
  • 457 Temporary Worker (Skilled) – where a provisional 4-year employer sponsored visa is allotted.

Do you still have a question regarding visa applications under the GSM category? Write to our visa counsellor for suggestions and tips.


SkillSelect: Making Visa Processing Easier
Skilled foreigners who want to migrate to Australia can record details of their visa formalities in an online system, SkillSelect. The details include data that are needed for applying for any of the skilled visas that require an Expression of Interest (EOI).

How does SkillSelect Work
Once the details of the individual are registered in the online system or SkillSelect, the Australian employers, state or territory government, or Australian government can examine the data, and select and nominate the prospective immigrant for any of the skilled visas. The government can also invite the selected individual to lodge a visa application.

Benefits of SkillSelect
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) introduced SkillSelect to manage the skilled migration program. It helps to identify:

  • The need for skilled immigration as per economic requirements in the country
  • People who can apply for skilled visa
  • An opportunity when the prospective immigrants can apply for skilled visa
  • Numbers of applicants necessary for immigration under skilled migration program
  • Skill shortages in regional areas
  • Skilled immigrants who are willing to move to the regional spots in the country to pursue their work

Through SkillSelect, the employers in regional Australia and administration will be able to attract those immigrants who can settle in regional spots in the country.