The 2022-23 Migration Program planning levels were recently announced, showing a welcomed increase in places available for skilled visas in comparison to the previous migration year.
In-line with the 2022-23 Federal Budget, the Department of Home Affairs has allocated more visas in order to boost Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery and to support familial reunification. General Skilled Migration, specifically, has seen dramatic increases, with the Skilled Independent stream increased by 250%.
The Department of Home Affairs has provided the following planning levels for this migration year:
|Visa Stream||Visa Category||2021-22||2022-23|
|Business Innovation & Investment||13,500||9,500|
|Global Talent (Independent)||15,000||8,448|
Just as the above statistics were announced, unscheduled invitations for the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa were released in the last week of August 2022. While this is a positive response to the above increases, many of those who were invited were caught off-guard and held an expired skills assessment when they received their invitation. This can lead to several issues with the invitation, and an individual’s eligibility for the subsequent visa application.
In the case of Thapa v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs  FCCA 686 (12 April 2021), it was held that individuals holding an expired skills assessment can provide an updated skills assessment (subject to the result reflecting that of the expired skills assessment) within 60 days of receiving the invitation. This is because of the requirement for the skills assessment to be valid during the period of the “time” of the invitation, which is specified as 60 days from the date of the letter.
While this is not a blanket case that can apply to all situations, this provides some relief for applicants who have not renewed their skills assessment and Expressions of Interest (‘EOI’) Applications. Regardless of this decision, applicants are strongly advised to ensure their EOI Applications and documents remain up to date in anticipation of upcoming invitation rounds.
If you have been caught off-guard with the recent General Skilled Migration invitation rounds, and you would like some more information, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Migration Law team for assistance.