Making the law work for you

General Skilled Migration Program - part 1

The General Skilled Migration Program (GSM) as a pathway to Permanent Residency

The General Skilled Migration Program (GSM) as a pathway to Permanent Residency (PR) can be very daunting at the best of times. The complexity which includes understanding Skill Select, Expression of Interest, Points Test and English language requirements require a proper analysis to not encounter in potential pitfalls which can be detrimental to your dream of relocating to Australia.

In this issue and the following issue of Segmento, we will provide an overview of the GSM program by providing the top 10 tips we believe will assist in obtaining PR in 2017. 

  1. Know How Skill Select Works

General Skilled Migration is now an “invitation only” visa – you must first receive an invitation to apply through the Skill Select system following the lodgement of an Expression of Interest (EOI).

  1. Improve your Points Score

In certain occupations 60 points is not enough for an invitation. Improving your points score will improve your chances of getting the all-important invitation. The most important ways of doing this are as follows:

  • Improving your English Score
  • Skilled Work Experience in Australia
  • State Nomination
  • Further Studies
  • Professional Year

There are also other options such as:

  • Spouse Skills: if you are married or have a de facto partner, they may be able to contribute points. They would need to show competent English, pass skills assessment and be 18-49 years of age to contribute points
  • NAATI Translator or Interpreter Test: if you pass the NAATI translator or interpreter test, this will give you another 5 points. You only need to translate in one direction – paraprofessional level is sufficient for points
  1. Maximise your English Points

English is the single most important factor in the Skilled Migration Points Test. You can score up to 20 points for English and it is the one factor you have more ability to influence than any other.

Some important factors to bear in mind with English:

  • There are a range of alternative tests of English- some applicants find certain tests easier than other
  • English tests are valid for 3 years – it’s never too early to get started
  • You need to achieve a minimum score in each band in a single sitting – this is much more difficult than meeting an average band score
  • Doing well in the English test is often more about understanding how the test works rather than your communication skills in English. If you are not getting the score you expect, you may consider English courses or one-on-one tutoring
  • You will need to factor in that some skill-assessing authorities have higher levels of English required or don’t accept all types of tests
  1. Choose the Right Occupation for Skills Assessment

In many cases, there may be more than one skilled occupation which we could use for skills assessment. Once your application is lodged, you can’t change your nominated occupation, so choosing the right one is critical. This can depend on:

  • Skills Assessment requirements– these vary widely depending on your occupation
  • Competitiveness of Skill Select– some occupations are more difficult than others when it comes to getting a Skill Select invitation
  • State Nomination Opportunities– each state has its own state nomination list, and its own criteria. Choosing the right occupation may open up a range of state nomination opportunities
  1. Get your First Professional Job in Australia

Getting your first professional job in Australia not only pays the bills, it opens up a range of migration opportunities. These include:

  • Various employer sponsored visas- an employer can sponsor you for temporary and permanent visas
  • You can get points for Australian work experience – up to a maximum of 20 points
  • Many states require you to have worked in Australia before they will nominate you

Getting your first professional job can be challenging – some hints for doing this:

  • Make the most of your networking opportunities – university careers centres organise a range of activities – be the person who shows up to these!
  • Meet some locals – this will expose you to local customs and attitudes and improve your Australian English
  • The Professional Year is available for Accounting, IT and Engineering students – as this includes an internship, you may get a job offer after this if you perform well
Elizabeth Wisser
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