More skilled migrants look set to fulfil their dream of living in Australia if they consider moving to regional area….
Thousands of UK families dream of relocating to Australia, and for
good reasons – job opportunities, an efficient healthcare system, fantastic
weather, excellent education services, unspoilt nature and a laid-back lifestyle, to name only a few. Unfortunately, for many, the dream of living Down Under turns into a long, complicated waiting game.
The majority of British migrants come to Australia through the skilled migrant
pathway. At first, it seems like a straight forward process: (1) check your eligibility; (2) submit an Expression of Interest (EOI); (3) wait for an Invitation; and (4) apply for your visa.
For some, it is that easy, but just as many people are discovering that waiting on an invitation that may never come is crushing.
Skilled Migration visas are by far the most common migration pathway to Australia. These visas allow foreign nationals who are successful in their respective occupations to live in Australia as permanent residents.
To be eligible for a skilled visa pathway, you must meet certain criteria. For
instance, your occupation must be on one of the skill shortages lists, and you must thave scored a minimum number of points. Points are based on age (and they decrease the older a person is), qualifications, work experience, an English test and a state-based points system, depending on the kinds of skilled workers each state requires.
From July 2018 the “pass mark” increased from 60 to 65 points. In
addition to this, the number of applicants and the competition from this, means that for many, it is unlikely that they will get an invitation unless they have over 70 points.
Perth-based migration agent Cyrus Mistry says that getting enough points is
particularly difficult for older people with trade skills, which he said are the
occupations most in-demand in some areas of Australia. He regularly sees UK applicants on waiting lists for up two years.
❛ The number of applicants means that it
is unlikely that they will get an invitation
unless they have over 70 points❜
Anthony Kelly from Northern Ireland was one of these people. Anthony says that he had enough points to apply for an EOI back in August 2017. He lodged his EOI, and in his mind, he would be in Australia by August 2018, and he could not have been more wrong. Anthony had 60 points, which were the minimum back in 2017. He received an email last month (August 2019) from the Australian Skill Select department telling him that his EOI had expired.
Unfortunately, thousands of people who lodge an EOI receive this email after waiting two very long years. Fortunately for Anthony, he is now in
Australia as he had a regional 489 visa granted through the Northern Territory January 2019. Anthony says that he wanted to be in Perth, Western Australia, as his brothers and their families are located there, but when he realised he might never get an invitation he decided
to look at other options. Anthony says that he considered giving
up on Australia entirely and was going to try for New Zealand, but he was advised him to apply for the Northern Territory. Anthony lodged his EOI to the Northern Territory Government September 2018; he received an invitation October 2018 and his visa was granted January 2019.
The 489 visa is a provisional visa for four years, and provided Anthony meets the conditions of living in the Northern Territory for one year, and working in the state for two years he can then apply for permanent residency. Anthony says that he is happy at the outcome, and as he
sees it, he could be still in the UK waiting for an invitation, but he is in
Australia and has nearly completed his first year in the Northern Territory.
The current Australian Government is tackling the impact of increasing
population in its biggest cities, like Sydney and Melbourne, by promoting
Regional Australia as a more assessable migration option. Designated Area
Migration Agreement (DAMA) applications have increased, with the
Northern Territory, the Western Australian Goldfields, Victoria’s Great
South Coast, the city of Adelaide and Regional South Australia, the Orana
region of New South Wales and Far North Queensland all having DAMAs
❛A DAMA labour agreement is between
the Government and endorsed
employers within an eligible region❜
Cyrus Mistry says that a DAMA labour agreement is between the Australian
Government and endorsed employers operating within an eligible region.
Under DAMA, employers in the designated areas experiencing skills and
labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers.
The Goldfields region in Western Australia currently has an active
DAMA agreement covering 73 occupations. The City of Kalgoorlie-
Boulder, which is located just under 600 kilometres from Perth, want migrants to come and live in their community.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder offers a family orientated, small-town “old-school
Australian” lifestyle. According to John Walker, the CEO of the City of
Kalgoorlie-Boulder, the town has an estimated 1,500 job vacancies in a range of industries, including mining, engineering, construction, childcare,
hospitality and healthcare, among others. Earlier this year, the Australian
government announced two new regional (provisional) visas. The Subclass 491 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa will have 14,000 places to allocate each year and the Subclass 494 Skilled Employer- Sponsored visa will have 9,000 places to allocate each year. These will come into
effect November 2019.
Anthony Kelly says that people should not be discouraged by regional Australia but see it as an opportunity to fulfil their dream of living in Australia.
He said: “I am nearly one year in and it has gone so quick. After two years, if I want to, then I can go back to Perth.”
Fiona Ward, who migrated to Kalgoorlie-Boulder from the UK eight
years ago, said that she thought she would prefer Sydney o r Melbourne, but they were too big and fast-paced. She has made Kalgoorlie her home and runs a successful construction company with her husband,who is also from the UK.