NEWSLETTER No. 35 – June 2011

AUSTRALIA – THE NEW POINTS SYSTEM HAS ARRIVED

Recently, major new changes to the Australian points system have been introduced and will be effective on 1st July 2011. The changes DO NOT affect those who have already applied.

These changes introduce a new method of calculating points, a new Pass Mark and other different criteria.

Perhaps the biggest change is that the previous system of awarding points according to your occupation (i.e. 60, 50 or 40 points) has now been removed. Now, all occupations on the Skilled Occupation List are on an equal footing with no points awarded for occupation. However, as a basic entry requirement – an applicant must have a skills assessment and relevant experience in an occupation on the list.

The points for age have been changed with different age brackets introduced. The upper age threshold has now been increased from 45 to 50 years.

More points are available for English language with a distinction between “Proficient” and “Superior” English language ability.

For the first time – points are awarded for qualifications – such as a degree, diploma or trade qualifications.

Work experience points are now more important than under the previous system. Points are awarded for Australian and overseas work experience of up to 8 years.

Points are still awarded for state sponsorship, partner skills, Australian study etc…

A new Pass Mark has been set at 65 points – but obviously no direct comparison can be made with the old Pass Mark of 120 points, as the new points system is completely different.

These changes reflect the most radical development in skilled migration to Australia for many years. The new system will obviously produce winners and losers.

It will be vital to undertake a proper eligibility assessment for each applicant. If you are interested in moving to Australia, then please complete the Online Assessment form on our website so we can see if you qualify on the new system.

UNITED KINGDOM – “SETTLEMENT LINK” TO BE SCRAPPED?

A major new consultation has been launched by the Immigration Minister, the content of which makes disturbing reading for many migrants in the UK.

The main proposal is to break the link between temporary migration and permanent migration (i.e. settlement). Migrants in the UK on a work permit or Tier 2 visa can currently apply for UK settlement after 5 years. The government proposes that this shall be removed and that it shall allow only the “brightest and best workers to stay permanently”.

This would involve re-categorising work permits and Tier 2 visas as “temporary” visas. The proposals also suggest that high earners or those in shortage occupations would be able to retain a right to settlement.

This would involve a system where some Tier 2 visa holders could stay and others would not be able to do so. Tier 2 visa holders that do not have a right to settlement would only be allowed to stay for a maximum period of 5 years.

It is important to remember that these proposals are only part of a consultation at this stage. It is also likely that the government would not be able to introduce these changes to migrants who have already been in the UK accruing time towards settlement on a work permit / Tier 2 visa.

Nonetheless, the proposals are very specific and do reflect current government thinking – breaking the link between “temporary” and “permanent” migration was a key Conservative policy pledge in the last General Election. As we have seen since the General Election, Liberal Democrat influence on government immigration policy is minimal.

The consultation closes on 9 September 2011. We will of course keep you informed on any changes through our newsletter.

NEW EUROPEAN ECONOMIC NATIONALS (EEA)
FREE EEA GUIDE

Please see our dedicated webpage on all EEA applications – EEA Family Permits, Residence Cards, Permanent Residence.

You can also obtain your FREE EEA GUIDE (emailed directly to you) providing detailed information on making applications, supporting documents and specialist advice.

See our EEA webpage at

* EEA info page with free Guide on EEA applications

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