Fact Sheet 24 – Overview of Skilled Migration to Australia
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The Skill Stream of Australia's Migration Program is specifically designed to target migrants who have skills or outstanding abilities that will contribute to the Australian economy.
The migration to Australia of skilled people with the qualifications and attributes to succeed helps address specific skill shortages in Australia and enhances the size and skill level of the Australian labour force.
The 2010 –11 Skill Stream outcome of 113 725 places accounted for 67 per cent of the total Migration Program. The planning level for the Skill Stream of the 2011–12 Migration Program was set at 125 850 or 68 per cent of the total Migration Program. The planning level for the Skill Stream of the 2012-13 Migration Program is 129 250 places which also represents 68 per cent of the total Migration Program.
In the Skill Stream, priority processing is currently given to applicants who are migrating to a regional area, sponsored by employers or nominated by a state or territory government under a State Migration Plan.
See: Fact Sheet 24a – Priority Processing for Skilled Migration
SkillSelect is an online system that enables skilled workers interested in migrating to Australia to make an Expression of Interest to be considered for a skilled visa. Under SkillSelect, intending migrants may be sponsored for skilled visas by Australian employers or nominated by state and territory governments, or invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application. More information on SkillSelect is available on the department’s website.
There are four main skilled migrations categories:
- Point based skilled migration
- Permanent Employer Sponsored program
- Business Innovation and Investment program
- Distinguished talent.
There is a range of points based skilled migration visa options for skilled workers who want to live in Australia. Applicants can be nominated by a state or territory government agency, sponsored by an eligible relative or independently migrate (non-sponsored).
Independent migrants are selected on the basis of their skills, attributes and suitability for employment so they are in a position to contribute quickly to the Australian economy. They are not sponsored by an employer or relative in Australia.
Sponsorship by an eligible Australian relative or nomination by a state or territory government is also possible under points based skilled migration.
Points based skilled migration visas are subject to a points test. More information about the points test is available on the department’s website.
The permanent employer sponsored program consists of the following:
- Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).
The program allows employers to nominate foreign workers for permanent residence to fill genuine vacancies in their business.
Within each of these visa subclasses there will be three streams:
- The Temporary Residence Transition stream is for subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for their employer for at least the last two years in the nominated occupation and the employer wants to offer them a permanent position in that same occupation
- The Direct Entry stream is for applicants who are untested in the Australian labour market and have not held a subclass 457 visa for at least the last two years or are applying directly from outside Australia
- The Agreement stream is for applicants who are being sponsored by an employer through a tailored and negotiated labour agreement or regional migration agreement.
Further information is available on the department’s website.
The Business Innovation and Investment Program is designed to increase entrepreneurial talent and diversify business expertise in Australia. It is positioned to target migrants who have a demonstrated history of success in innovation and business and are able to make a significant contribution to the national innovation system and to the Australian economy.
See: Fact Sheet 27 – Business Innovation and Investment Program
This is a small category for distinguished individuals with special or unique talents of benefit to Australia.
The profiles of people who have been successful under this category generally include sports people, musicians, artists and designers, all of whom were internationally recognised as outstanding in their field.
Further information is available on the department's website.
The department also operates a national general enquiries line.
Telephone: 131 881
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Recorded information is available outside these hours.
Fact Sheet 24. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra.
Last reviewed July 2012.
© Commonwealth of Australia 2010.