CCIWA has welcomed as a “smart decision” the scrapping of the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), saying it should result in faster visa processing times at a time of backlogs and critical skills shortages.
Under a new Ministerial Direction, which came into effect on October 28, the Federal Government changed the processing priorities for skilled visa applications.
As a result, the PMSOL, which was established during the COVID-19 pandemic and which CCIWA has argued since April this year was no longer needed, and other previous prioritisation measures, have been discontinued.
Skilled visa applications will now be processed in the following order of priority:
- Visa applications in relation to healthcare or teaching occupations (specific occupations are specified here).
- For employer sponsored visas, visa applications where the applicant is nominated by an Approved Sponsor with Accredited Status.
- Visa applications in relation to an occupation to be carried out in a designated regional area.
- For permanent and provisional visa subclasses, visa applications that count towards the migration program, excluding the Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa.
- All other visa applications. These are assessed in order of date of lodgement.
Within each category above, for provisional and permanent skilled visa applications, priority is given to visa applications where the primary applicant is located outside Australia at the time the visa application is made.
The Direction said applications with occupations that were on the PMSOL or in critical sectors “will continue to be processed efficiently given the improvements in visa processing since the Government committed additional funding and staff to reduce processing times”.
Speed up processing
It said it would “help small businesses seeking to recruit overseas workers” by speeding up processing for all occupations and making the process less complicated”.
“This change will allow more applications to be processed faster, particularly for the critical Temporary Skill Shortage visa, which is designed to respond quickly to labour market needs,” it said.
The Department of Home Affairs has finalised over 2.78 million visas since June 1, 2022. This includes over 43,000 temporary skilled applications and over 47,000 permanent skilled visa applications.
CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell said: “The scrapping of the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List is a smart decision that should result in faster visa processing, at a time of backlogs and critical skills shortages.”
“The Government deserves credit for making the change,” he said.
“This list passed its use-by date back when COVID border restrictions were removed. Since then, it has only added complexity and competing priorities to the visa system.
“WA’s gaps and shortages span many sectors and skillsets, and businesses want processing of skilled visas to be as efficient and streamlined as possible, and prioritised by the date of application.”
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