The biggest flood in recent years that Australia has experienced in January affecting mostly Queensland and Victoria, will not turn the visa landscape into a desert.
There remain oases of visa eligibility including sponsorship by any of Australia's eight (8) states and territories. Also, if you have a qualified relative in Australia, and such relative lives in a designated area, you get substantial number of points towards the total needed to qualify for residency or migration as a Skilled Migrant.
But you must decide now if you stand a better chance of qualifying as an Independent Skilled Migrant or as Skilled Sponsored now, or on July 1, 2011 onwards, when Australia's new points system takes effect. There will be transitional arrangements for "people who, on 8 February 2010 held or had applied for a Temporary Skilled Graduate visa (subclass 485). Until the end of 2012, this group is able to apply for a permanent skilled visa under the points test in effect as at 8 February 2010."
Key elements of the Points System, Now and Later
|Factors||Current||From July 1, 2011|
|Age||44 below||49 below, but no points for 45 up|
|English language as shown on IELTS Exam score||
IELTS below 7.0 = 15
IELTS 7 = 20
IE.LTS below 7 = 0
|Experience||10 for at least 3 years in occupation||10 for at least 5 in past 7 years|
|Education/Qualifications||1 yr. post-secondary/td>||Bachelor's degree = 15 pts.|
|Sponsorship by State/Territory of Relative in a Designated Area||
10 for State/Terr.
25 for Relative
5 for State/Terr.
10 for relative
The fact sheet issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) states that skilled migrant applicants must nominate an occupation that is on the Skilled Occupations List, which are called Schedule 3 (for Skilled Independent) and Schedule 4 (for Skilled Sponsored). The list is considered as "more targeted" leading to the removal of awarding of points based on the nominated occupation. It is still not clear whether an applicant (on or after July 11, 2011) will still need to have his or her skills assessed by the specific organization for the occupation.
To determine whether you should apply now or later, you may call the Immigrant Visa Center at (02) 634-8717.