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The current pass mark for points-tested skilled migrants who plan to come to Australia to work will be reduced by five points from July 1 – the same date the new SkillSelect register comes into effect. An announcement made today (June 15) by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has revealed that the pass mark will be lowered from 65 points to 60 in an effort to attract “a broader range of people with the skills and attributes needed in Australia”.

This is an important change for migration agents to be aware of, as it is the latest in a series of reforms to Australia’s migration system that have been undertaken by the federal government since 2008.

According to a spokesperson for the DIAC, the change will ensure Australia’s skilled migration program is “responsive and demand-driven”.

“The cornerstone of this migration reform package will be the introduction of SkillSelect from July 1.”

Under the new SkillSelect scheme, any skilled migrants who do not have an employer sponsor but wish to live and work in Australia will need to complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) online.

These migrants will then be assessed on their skills and attributes and will be allocated a score on the points test. Migrant scores can then be ranked against other Expressions of Interest and high-ranking migrants may then be invited to make a skilled visa application.

SkillSelect will also streamline the existing Employer Nomination Scheme, as well as the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, into one single migrant selection register, which will allow for a more flexible migration process that better meets Australia’s changing demands, the department asserts.

This differs from the previous system, according to the DIAC, which placed a heavy emphasis on employer-sponsored skilled migration, as well as a bank of individuals making skilled migration applications. The changes to the points-based system are the latest in a number of migration reforms planned for the beginning of the new tax year.

From July 1, 457 visa holders will no longer be eligible to apply for the Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA), while other changes include a fast-tracked pathway to permanent residency for temporary sponsored workers already living in Australia.

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