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01 April 2004
Today the Australian Government announced an increase in the pass mark for the General Skilled-Independent visa category for migration to Australia from 115 to 120 points. This will increase the skills of migrants who intend to come and work in Australia on a permanent basis. The last time the pass mark was increased was in July 2002, from 110 to 115 points.
This change is intended both to increase the skills and the numbers of migrants coming to Australia and will in particular try to attract migration to regional Australia.
The increase will come into effect on 15 April 2004. Therefore, those potential migrants who have had a successful skills assessment done for their nominated occupation should rush to submit their application before this date if they only qualify for 115 points. After 15 April the new pass mark will be applied to all General Skilled Independent visa migration applications.
However, the new pass mark will not apply to foreign national students currently studying in Australia who intend to apply for permanent residency under the Skilled-Overseas Student categories. For such applicants, the new pass mark will only come into effect in April 2005.
The good news is that an additional 5,000 places have been allocated to the Skilled independent visa programme. This increase will help regional States and Territories to match migrants to specific skill shortages and economic needs in those low-growth regions of Australia.
States who are looking for certain skill in migrants will be able to sponsor them under a special type of two-stage migration visa.
There will also be an increase in the number of doctors coming to Australia. The revised program specifically for doctors allows an additional 1,000 places for doctors and their families in 2004/05.
In 2004/2005 the Department of Immigration expects to approve the greatest amount of Skill Stream visas in Australia's history at around 77,000 individuals. In 2003/2004, 70,000 visas under this Stream will be granted.
Contact our Australasian department on (0)207 842 0800 to see if you qualify for a Skilled migration visa, or see our points calculator.