2023: General Skilled Migration Program Update

In much welcomed news for international students, the Australian Government have this week announced their allocations of on-and-offshore applications for each Australian State and Territory in 2022/23 as part of the General Skilled Migration Program (GSM).

In positive news for graduates, we’ve seen the allocations greatly increase with Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland notably uplifting their number year-on-year.

As widely reported, Australia is calling out for skilled migrants due to major skills shortages across all industries, hence it is the right time apply for it. Based on these updates, applicants will still need to complete relevant skills assessments and tests to qualify as normal but can take reassurance that the need is there and appears to be ever increasing.

To ensure you understand the lay of the land, we’ve put together a quick run-down on the 2023 General Skilled Migration Program:

How does it work?

The General Skilled Migration (GSM) Program is designed to attract skilled migrants to critical occupations where no Australian workers are available and make a significant contribution to the Australian economy.  Every year, all states and territories receive quotas from the government, based on which each jurisdiction nominates skilled and business migrants for the Skilled Nominated visa Subclass 190 and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa Subclass 491.

The program plays an important role in development through providing skills and labour which can’t be sourced locally, as well as encouraging investment and promoting local spending.

What has happened in the past?

With flow-ons from COVID and closed borders, the last quotas were challenging for graduates due to limited allocations and invitations, which were largely for only ‘target’ sectors.

Importantly, we’ve seen State and Territories Skilled Nominated Visas increase substantially since 2021, with an initial planning level of 11,200 allocations in 2021-22 that increased to 20,000 in 2022-23.

More essentially this figure swelled to just shy of 50k allocations (49,160 to be exact) announced this week as part of the GSM program update.

What does this mean?

As mentioned, it’s great news for those wanting to apply for skilled migration visas! We’ve seen the allocations greatly increase with Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland uplifting their number year-on-year.

In my opinion, we’ll see the movement of graduates between states and territories decrease after such significant movement in previous years, as Victoria and NSW’s quotas are now the largest. This was previously relevant in Victoria and NSW with graduates moving to other locations in Australia to obtain their Subclass 190 or 491 visas and achieve permanent resident (PR) in Australia due to limited quotas.

For specific details on the allocated GSM quotas for each State and Territory in 2023 refer to: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/what-we-do/migration-program-planning-levels

How can I secure a place?

Due to the high volume of applicants, it’s always about taking the extra steps to get ahead and set your application apart from the crowd.

I will flag, to be consider for a place the minimum required points for Expression Of Interest (EOI) is 65 points (amongst other criteria), but the reality is due to the volume submitted in each jurisdiction, to be invited applicants generally need more points than the minimum 65.

Having a job in your field of study will continue to be very important for applications thus graduates should explore all opportunities to make this a reality. A professional year is an excellent way to enhance employability skills and get the foot in the door with companies via an internship that could lead to a job offer.

Stay focused on overall employability outcomes with both PY’s and visa applications as it will be critical in helping you achieve the end goal of staying in Australia permanently.

Keep in mind there are reports that migration caps could be further increased due to the skills shortages across the country – we’ve got our fingers crossed as this would be a tremendous result for graduates, as much as it would be for Australian businesses, who are crying out for the help!

As always, for more information regarding the GSM Program, please refer to the Home Affairs website or consult a Registered Migration Agent for specific/tailored advice on your own situation.

Jose Ponce
Head of Strategic Partnerships, Gradability
MARN 2014926

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