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Help with Immigration Rule Changes

RDANI Senior Project Officer, Kim-Trieste Hastings
RDANI Senior Project Officer, Kim-Trieste Hastings

Drawing on skilled migrants to address skills shortages throughout the region is an option for many industries facing the challenge of finding a suitable workforce and help is at hand for employers and visa applicants wanting to find out more, said Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson. “From chefs and tradesmen to health professionals and accountants, our region is experiencing vacancies across a number of sectors. Skilled Migration programs, administered locally by RDANI, may be a viable option for many employers, when they cannot source the labour they need locally. It’s important we provide information on how these programs can be accessed”, he said.

“Major immigration criteria changes will be implemented from 1 July and our Senior Project Officer, Kim-Trieste Hastings and the Immigration Department’s Regional Outreach Officer, Rhett Henkel, will be conducting two seminars to help the region's employers and visa applicants come to terms with the upcoming changes,” Mr Axelsson said.

The first seminar will take place at the Community Centre in Tamworth on Wednesday, 6 June. The second seminar will be in the RDANI office, 2nd floor 175 Rusden St. Armidale, on Thursday, 7 June. Both of these free seminars will run from 1-4pm.

Ms Hastings said these seminars are extremely timely and important for the region. "The Regional Employer Sponsored Visa Scheme has seen considerable demand and means a great deal to the region's economic development. The seminars are a great opportunity to listen, ask questions and seek clarification on any issues relating to the upcoming changes,” she said.

"At RDANI, we processed 55 Regional Employer Sponsored Visas in just 12 weeks this year. We continue to receive financial support from NSW Trade and Investment to promote the skilled migrant option and this is a reflection of the NSW Government’s strong focus on increasing the State’s share of skilled migrants."
Migration laws are constantly being amended but Ms Hastings advises that these changes will be significant, especially for visa applicants, as criteria for the Scheme are brought into line with similar permanent residency visas offered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. "The English language requirements for this visa will increase from an overall score of 4.5 to 6 in each of the four test categories, with an emphasis to be placed on Australian qualifications. The age limit will also be increased from 45 to 50 so employers will be able to source more mature-aged workers from overseas and benefit from their experience," she said.

People should also attend these seminars if they would like to learn more about the Immigration Department's new 'Skills Select' process, which also takes effect on July 1. "It will change the way that applicants lodge their visa, meaning an expression of interest will be required to ensure eligibility before Immigration invites them to lodge a full application," Ms Hastings said. The idea behind this is to encourage employers to recruit skilled applicants who meet the Government's criteria and are awaiting an employment offer."

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