The Australian Migration Program sets the total visa places available in each financial year which runs in Australia from 1st July to 30th June. In the current 2017-2018 year, commencing on 1st July 2017, visa numbers have been capped at 190,000 places, including 128,550 places available for the Skilled Stream and 57,400 places available for the Family migration stream.
Applicants applying for certain visas, such as Skilled Migrant (subclass 189, 190 and 489) as well as Business Skills ( subclass 188 and 132) require an invitation to apply through SkillSelect. SkillSelect is a service whereby prospective migrants express their interest in applying (via Expression of Interest (EoI)) for the relevant visa subclass based on their attributes such as age, qualifications, work experience, language skills and others factors. Invitations to apply for the visa are held on various days as advised by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. At the moment, invitations are held twice a month. Not all intending migrants will be issued an invitation to apply as the selection process is based on several factors such as points test score, occupational ceilings and EoI ranking for certain visa subclasses.
Occupational ceilings are in place to ensure a proportionate number of migrants with various skills can fill skills shortages in certain occupations. The occupational ceilings set a number of invitations that can be issued for the relevant occupation groups in each financial year to address the local employment and economy demands. The scheme also prevents oversupply of migrants in one specific occupation group.
As a result some occupations are subject to pro rata arrangements, including occupations in the following groups:
2211 Accountants (including Accountant (General), Management Accountant, Taxation Accountant)
2212 Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers
2334 Electronics Engineers
2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers
2339 Other Engineering Professionals
2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts
2613 Software and Applications Programmers
2631 Computer Network Professionals
Occupation ceilings do not apply to State or Territory Nominated, Employer Sponsored or Business Innovation and Investment visa subclasses. Due to the high demands for certain visa subclasses, only the highest point scoring applicants will be invited.