The Points Test is next in line for an overhaul

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The Points Test, which plays an important role in Australia's migration system, is being recalibrated for better outcomes.
Australia Immigration
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A key component of the government's Migration Strategy for Australia released last year, is an update of the 'Points Test', which has not been updated since 2012.

The Points Test plays an important role in Australia's migration system. Almost two-thirds of permanent skilled migrants are selected through the Test. It determines who comes to Australia permanently and who will become Australia's future citizens.

The points test objectively compares candidates' skills sets and attributes needed to succeed in the Australian labour market and society. The current general points categories are:

  • Age
  • English language proficiency
  • Employment experience, both overseas and in Australia
  • Educational attainment, including specialist qualifications and study in regional Australia
  • English language proficiency of the migrant's partner.

The points test applies to the following visa programs:

  • Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189) visa – for migrants with high levels of human capital
  • Skilled Nominated visa Subclass 190 visa – for migrants that have secured a nomination from an Australian State or Territory Government, and
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa – for migrants nominated by a state or territory government agency, or sponsored by an eligible relative and intending to live and work in regional Australia.

Recalibrating the Points Test is a key focus of the government's drive to deliver better outcomes from Australia's skilled migration policy.

A recent Migration Review, found that the Points Test is "not designed to identify applicants with the best potential to contribute to Australia over the long term." It said a recalibrated Points Test should "form the core of a future permanent skilled migration program".

The Migration Review found that a reformed Points Test should:

  • Focus on characteristics that are associated with migrants successfully finding skilled work
  • Better target the skills Australia needs now and in the future
  • Give applicants a realistic sense of the likely success of their application and not drive 'permanent temporariness'
  • Reflect that younger migrants will spend more years contributing to Australian workplaces
  • Better recognise the potential contributions to Australia from partners.

Minister for Home Affairs Clare O'Neil said, "we're focused on making sure that a smaller migration program is bringing in people who have the skills we need to build Australia's future. That's where the Points Test really matters."

The government has released a discussion paper and is inviting submissions to this phase of consultation that will close on 24 May 2024.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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