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Australia Launches New Skills In Demand Visas – Apply Now Before it’s Too Late

Big news for skilled workers! Australia is revamping its immigration system, and that means a brand new visa option for talented individuals like you. Here’s everything you need to know about the Skills in Demand Visa, your potential pathway to living and working Down Under.

Why the Change?

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In December 2023, Australia announced major reforms to its immigration system. They want to make it easier for skilled workers to come to Australia and fill the many open jobs the country has.

Right now, there are over 800,000 job vacancies in Australia! That means if you have the skills they’re looking for, you’ve got a great chance of landing your dream job in Australia.

Introducing the Skills in Demand Visa

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The Skills in Demand Visa replaces the old Temporary Skills Shortage (Subclass 482) visa. It’s a three-tiered system that tailors the visa to your experience and earning potential.

This new visa stream offers several benefits for skilled workers:

  • Easier Path to Permanent Residency: The Skills in Demand Visa makes it clearer how you can eventually become a permanent resident of Australia. Working for an approved employer can count towards your permanent residency application. There are also options for independent skilled workers to pursue permanent residency without an employer sponsor.
  • More Flexibility: You won’t be tied to one employer for your entire visa stay. If you lose your job, you’ll have 180 days to find a new sponsor who can keep your visa active.
  • Faster Processing: The Australian government aims to have a median processing time of just 21 days for Skills in Demand visa applications!
  • Simplified Labour Market Testing: The old system required employers to advertise jobs before sponsoring a foreign worker. This is changing – the focus will be on a list of occupations with proven skill shortages, making it easier for you and your employer.

The Three Pathways of the Skills in Demand Visa

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There are three different pathways within the Skills in Demand Visa program, each designed for a specific skill level and salary range. Here’s a breakdown of each:

1. Specialist Skills Pathway

This is the top tier, designed for highly skilled professionals in niche fields. Here’s what you need to know:

  • No Occupation List: There’s no set list of jobs that qualify for this pathway. They’re looking for truly specialized skills that aren’t readily available in Australia.
  • Limited Spots: Only 3,000 visas will be available per year through this pathway.
  • High Salary Requirement: You’ll need to be earning at least AUD $135,000 per year (and this amount will go up each year).
  • Super Fast Processing: Expect a decision on your visa application in just 7 days!

2. Core Skills Pathway

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This is the middle tier, aimed at skilled workers in occupations with a critical shortage in Australia. Here’s the key information:

  • Core Skills Occupation List: The government will publish a list called the Core Skills Occupation List (CSOL) that shows which jobs qualify for this pathway.
  • Focus on Shortage: This pathway targets occupations where there just aren’t enough qualified Australians to fill the open positions.
  • Mid-Range Salary: You’ll likely need to be earning somewhere between AUD $70,000 and AUD $135,000 per year to qualify (this meets the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold or TSMIT).

3. Essential Skills Pathway

This pathway is still under development, but it’s intended for workers in essential occupations who may not meet the salary requirements of the other two pathways. Here’s what we know so far:

  • Details Still Emerging: We don’t have all the details yet, but the government is still finalizing the specifics of this pathway.
  • Lower Salary Focus: This pathway likely targets workers in critical jobs who may earn less than AUD $70,000 per year.
  • Industry-Specific Requirements: There might be specific requirements for each industry, with a stronger focus on regulations and support from Jobs and Skills Australia (a government agency).

How to Apply for a Skills in Demand Visa

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The exact application process will be finalized soon, but here’s the general idea:

  1. Choose Your Pathway: Figure out which of the three pathways (Specialist, Core, or Essential) best suits your skills and experience.
  2. Apply Online: The Australian government will set up an online application system.
  3. Gather Documents: You’ll need documentation to prove your skills, experience, qualifications, and income level. This might include things like diplomas, certificates, payslips, and references.

Pay the Fee:

There will be a visa application fee, but the exact amount hasn’t been announced yet.

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Important Note: While the Skills in Demand Visa offers a clearer path to permanent residency, the application process for immigration to Australia can still be complex. Given the recent changes, it’s highly recommended to seek professional guidance from a registered migration agent to ensure a smooth and successful application.

The Future of the Skills in Demand Visa

The Australian government is continuously looking for ways to improve the immigration system. One area under consideration is how the Training Australian Funds (TAF) are collected from visa holders. Currently, it’s a one-time lump sum payment. The government is exploring the possibility of collecting it in smaller installments, like monthly or quarterly payments, to make it more manageable for visa holders.

Is the Skills in Demand Visa Right for You?

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If you’re a skilled professional with experience in an in-demand field, the Skills in Demand Visa could be your chance to live, work, and build a life in Australia. With its focus on flexibility, faster processing times, and a clear path to permanent residency, this new visa stream offers exciting opportunities for skilled workers worldwide.

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