Why is Skill Select More Competitive in 2017-18?
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In comparison to earlier years, it was surveyed that the immigration invitation under SkillSelect was much more arduous this year. Such equation is similar across all the sectors and not just for pro rata jobs in the industry like IT, Engineering and Accounting. The following news looks into the trend followed under SkillSelect and basic reasoning behind the increase in the level of difficulty to garner the invitation and also to increase the chances of gaining one.

Skilled Independent Visa Subclass 189

This visa subclass comes under Permanent Visa wherein the applicant needs to be eligible on the basis of his own qualification, followed by work experience and then the language eligibility (English language). It does not require sponsorship or nomination by a relative, employer or state/territory government and so is an attractive option for many applicants.

Applicant cannot directly go forward for this visa (Skilled Independent Visa). Initial step is to apply an EOI (Expression of Interest) and then receive an ITA (Invitation to Apply). This ITA is sent once every two weeks in a month after the appointed official has gone through all the test results provided under General Skilled Migration Points and the score is provided for it.

For the 189 visa subclass, applicant must nominate an occupation under IFSOL (Independent and Family Sponsored Occupations List). Occupation range are decided for in the beginning of the year for the program, which entails a maximum number of EOI invitations for each occupation in the IFSOL. The program year generally goes from 1 July to 30 June the next year.

Some occupations are very popular and receive far more eligible EOIs than the occupational ceiling. These occupations are referred to as “pro rata” occupations – a maximum number of invitations is set each round and so the required points may be higher or waiting time longer for these occupations. While the other “non-pro rata” occupations don’t get anywhere near the occupation ceiling each year, and hence have a lower required points score for an invitation.

Overall Trends for Skilled Independent Subclass 189

For all previous years that SkillSelect has been in operation, 60 points has been sufficient to receive an invitation for a 189 visa, unless your occupation was on the pro rata list. This year, the required score has been at least 65 and for some rounds it has been 70 points for non-pro rata occupations. As per a survey conducted for number of ITA issued in the year 2017-18 as opposed to year 2016-17 and thus easily explains why the required points score has increased for current year following observation were made:

Pro Rata Occupations – Accounting

The overall number of invitations issued to pro rata occupations has not changed much, however there is an increase in the difficulty to garner an invitation under the same. Accounting is one of the most competitive pro rata occupations and is a good illustration of what is happening.

There was a 91% increase in the occupation ceiling for accountants in 2017-18 – normally we would expect the required points for an invitation to reduce this year.

Applicants are Claiming Higher Points

One point to keep an eye on is the distribution of invitations by points score when compared to the last year program. In accordance with the survey conducted it is quite clear that there are a lot more EOIs with higher points scores than last program year. On the date 4 January 2017 round, there were approximately 350 invitations issued to people with 70 points or more, while under the round conducted on 18 October 2017 round, there were around 900 invitations issued to people with 70 points or more. About 525 people were invited with 75 points or more versus 115 or so last year.

Points for English Language Ability

One of the most powering reason behind this increase in the competitiveness is that more and more applicants are acquiring high score under English language ability. It was previously unusual for applicants to gain full points for having top notch English. Many applicants are sitting for the Pearson Test of English Academic in particular and getting the points for superior English.

Points from Other Sources

Even with superior English, most applicants would obtain only upto 70 points. So many applicants are claiming extra points from other sources which includes:

Even so, the increase in people claiming 75 points over the course of 2017 is staggering. This in turn points towards other factors at play.

Over-Claiming Points

One possibility is that people are over-claiming points when they lodge their EOI. This may result in an invitation being issued, but to be granted a visa, you would need to be able to prove each of the points you have claimed. Failure to do so will result in refusal of the visa application, but there’s nothing stopping applicants from “spamming” SkillSelect with EOIs which claim high points. EOI applicants over-claiming points appears to have been the cause of the high minimum score required for accountants in the 20 September 2017 round. Immigration has conducted a number of “manual” rounds for accountants to ensure this does not recur, but there is the possibility that over-claiming is still happening in other occupations.

Lodging More than One EOI

Another factor that can be possible is that a single applicant might be opting to apply for EOI more than one chance. As there is no money needed to be paid while lodging for EOI, it is quite possible for applicants to apply for more than one EOI. This can garner more invitation for applicant which will further result in less number place left for other applicants.

Recommendations for Applicants

Because SkillSelect is more competitive this year, it is recommended that prospective applicants aim for as high a points score as possible, which would include:

Conclusion

It is concluded that garnering ITA for SkillSelect under the year 2017-18 program is going to be  quite difficult for any prospective applicant. It has become one of the toughest part of acquiring a SkillSelect invitation through General Skilled Migration process. It is imperative thus to keep up with any new information updated under the same process. So stay tuned with us to remain on top of any details required.

If you would like advice on the options available to you, please book a consultation with one of our advisors and we can give you an immigration roadmap clearly explaining your options.

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