General Skilled Migration news: January 2021
Australia has started with skilled migration invitations and nominations for the 2020-21 migration programme.
You may be aware that there are far less spots available for the 189, 190 and 491 visas in this programme year. This fact is going to make for an interesting – and perhaps frustrating – year for skilled migrant applicants.
You can find the latest skilled migration news below. We’ll continue to monitor all state and territories and we’ll update this article as developments happen.
1. Quarterly invitation rounds for the remainder of the 2020-21 programme year
The Department of Home Affairs will run quarterly invitation rounds for the remainder of the 2020-21 programme year. The next invitation round is happening this month, January 2021.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Australian government is closely monitoring migration and visa settings to ensure that they are consistent with public health measures, are flexible and do not displace job opportunities for Australians. As such, invitations are targeted.
The visas affected by this measure are the Skilled Independent (subclasses 189) visa and the family-sponsored stream of the Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) visa.
2. The ACT critical skills list was updated on 11 January 2021
The Australian Capital Territory reviewed and updated their critical skills list earlier this month. You can find the updated list on the ACT Government website.
The list will undergo a review and updated every four months. This strategy is to ensure that the ACT Migration Programme adapts to the evolving critical skills needs of the ACT economy.
There is a cap on occupations
ACT has said that they may place a monthly cap on the number of nominations for each occupation on the critical skills list. This means that ACT will stop issuing invitation once a cap is reached.
No nominations for overseas applicants for the 491 and 190 visas
Unfortunately, ACT is only nominating Canberra residents who meet all the eligibility requirements for the 491 and 190 visas in the 2020-21 migration year.
3. The Tasmania Nominated Skilled Migration Program will reopen on 29 January
Good news if you want to live in Tasmania – this island state’s migration programme reopens on 29 January 2021 at 1pm (AEDT). The programme will have updated criteria and compulsory documents.
The number of allocated visas for the subclass 491 and 190 visas are as follows:
- Subclass 491: 1,400 places
- Subclass 190: 1,000 places
Tasmania has also received 45 places for business migration.
It is still unclear whether Tasmania is going to make nominations available for occupations that are not critical for Australia’s COVID-19 recovery. It is also unclear if Tasmania will reopen to applications from offshore.
4. The Queensland skilled program re-opens to onshore applicants on 1 February
Queensland has announced that it’s re-opening its skilled program to onshore applicants on 1 February 2021.
Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ), the state nominating body for Queensland, is asking that applicants do not submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) until 1 February, as it will not be picked up until this date.
It is unknown at this stage which occupations BMSQ will be seeking. It also unknown when Queensland will start nominating offshore skilled migrants.
5. New South Wales is opening its skilled program early February
Regional Development Australia (RDA) offices will begin assisting NSW Treasury manage the subclass 491 visa in early February.
Each RDA office will accept and assess applications, and determine eligible occupations for their respective regions. The nomination criteria, however, is consistent across all regions.
RDA offices will focus on nominating applicants who are undertaking skilled work in critical sectors to support Australia’s economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
At least one RDA has so far made their requirements for the 491 regional NWS nominations public and they are excluding offshore applicants from it as borders are closed.
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