I am a qualified accountant looking at applying for a permanent skilled migration visa. I see there are options for state-nominated or independent visas.
Is there any advantage in applying via state nomination? Which is the better option?
July 2012 saw the introduction of the Skill Select System and major changes to the rules around the points-tested independent and state-nominated visa system.
The Skill Select System now requires applicants to have at least 60 points to make an “expression of interest” (EOI) application for their preferred visa
Some positives for state nomination are that an extra five points are available for the nomination, this in itself may be critical to some applicants meeting the 60-point minimum
Also, lodging an EOI with state nomination approval means that so long as you have at least 60 points, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) invites you to apply for the visa right away. This is a real advantage if you are in Australia on a visa that’s expiring soon or wish to move here in the shorter term.
One possible negative is that you must commit to living in the nominating state for the first two years of the visa, so research your chosen state well.
New South Wales is sponsoring accountants and has not imposed any additional criteria over and above DIAC requirements.
Other states may have specific requirements such as minimum or specialised experience and sometimes look to see you have access to significant relocation funds.
Anyone lodging an EOI without a state government nomination has to wait for the DIAC invitation to apply for the independent stream visa.
The invitation is based on the highest point-scorers in the various occupational categories.
Every month, DIAC sweeps the expressions of interest for an independent visa, picking the highest point-scorers first.
Although the independent system favours high point-scorers, recent DIAC reports show many EOI applicants with 65 points or above being picked to apply for visas.
This pick system can mean waiting several months to find out if you will be invited to apply for a visa and unlike the state nominated applicants, there is no guarantee of receiving an invitation to apply for a visa.
To make the free EOI application a migration skills assessment and English language test are needed as these determine the points score and eligibility.
So although there is no fee to make the EOI, you will have a significant cost to get to the point of EOI.
The good news is that once invited to apply for and pay for the visa, DIAC processing is reasonably quick at about four to six months.
Bridging visas are also granted to anyone applying for the visa from within Australia.
Be prepared, getting the required skills assessment can take from four weeks to four months depending on your occupation.
Also allow four to six weeks to obtain English language test results.
Understanding how your personal profile meets the points and eligibility is critical so consider asking a registered migration agent for a detailed personal assessment before starting any of these applications.
Send your visa questions to email@example.com