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24/08/2017

SkillSelect Update: July-August 2017

The first 3 SkillSelect invitation rounds for the 2017-18 program year have been very different to last year.
We are seeing fewer invitations issued and a higher points score required for a 189 invitation compared to last year, even though occupation ceilings have increased for a number of key occupations.
This article looks at the last 3 invitation rounds in detail and gives an indication of what to expect in future rounds for the most popular occupations. It also looks at recent statistics for state nominations.

Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Invitations
Compared to the 2016-17 program year, much fewer invitations have been issued so far in 2017-18 for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa.
Only 1,000 189 invitations have been issued each round in July and August 2017 for a total of 3000 invitations so far this program year. After the first 3 rounds of 2016-17, 4,450 invitations were issued - almost 50% more than this year.

Table 1: 189 Invitations - 2016-17 versus 2017-18 Program Year
Round 2016-17 2017-18
Round 1 2,202 1,000
Round 2 848 1,000
Round 3 1,400 1,000
Total 4,450 3,000

The lower than usual invitation numbers along with a large backlog of EOIs in pro rata occupations largely explain the higher than usual points score to receive a 189 invitation - 70 in each round so far. Last year, the number of 189 invitations issued in the beginning of the program year was quite high for each round - 2,202 in Round 1 and 1,400 in Round 3. This had the effect of quickly clearing out the backlog of EOIs.
Immigration's planning level for 189 invitations remains at 1,000 for the invitation rounds in August, so it appears this year the backlog will remain longer than last year.

Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 - Family Sponsored
More 489 family sponsored invitations have been issued so far compared to last year - 343 versus 300 for last year.

Table 2: 489 Family Sponsored Invitations - 2016-17 versus 2017-18 Program Year
Round 2016-17 2017-18
Round 1 100 110
Round 2 100 110
Round 3 100 123
Total 300 343
Waiting times are very low for the 489 family sponsored stream and 60 points is sufficient to obtain an invitation.
We suspect that pro rata occupations are receiving invitations for 489 family sponsored visas - this was rare last program year.

Non-Pro Rata Occupations
The number of places being issued to non-pro rata occupations is much lower than last year. So far this year, only 475 invitations have been issued in occupations outside the pro rata list. Last year after 3 rounds, 1,515 invitations had been issued in non-pro rata occupations - more than 3 times what we have seen this year.

Table 3: Pro Rata vs Non-Pro Rata Occupations - 2017-18 Program Year
Round Non-Pro Rata Pro Rata Total % Pro Rata
Round 1 144 966 1,110 87%
Round 2 144 966 1,110 87%
Round 3 187 936 1,123 83%
Total 475 2,868 3,343 86%


Table 4: Pro Rata vs Non-Pro Rata Occupations - 2016-17 Program Year
Round Non-Pro Rata Pro Rata Total % Pro Rata
Round 1 547 1,755 2,302 76%
Round 2 557 391 948 41%
Round 3 411 1,089 1,500 73%
Total 1,515 3,235 4,750 68%

Last year, 60 points were sufficient to receive an invitation in a non-pro rata occupation for 189 visas. So far this year, 70 points have been required. This is not surprising given the limited number of places available to such occupations.
The high score for non-pro rata occupations is also driving the minimum scores required for pro rata occupations. It is not possible for pro rata occupations to have a lower required score than non-pro rata occupations. A shortfall in 189 candidates with over 70 points in pro rata occupations might be resulting in 489 family sponsored invitations to reach target invitation numbers.
We are, however, seeing waiting times reduce significantly in the last few rounds for non-pro rata occupations. We expect that the required score for non-pro rata occupations to reduce to 65 points in the next couple of rounds.

Pro Rata Occupations
For pro rata occupations, the number of invitations issued each round appears to be 5% of the occupational ceiling. This will most likely mean that the ceiling for pro rata occupations will fill after 20 rounds (9-10 months).
The lower total number of invitations means that pro rata occupations are making up an higher proportion of total invitations compared to last year. Last year after 3 rounds, invitations in the 6 pro rata occupations made up 68% of total invitations. So far this year, pro rata occupations represent 86% of all invitations issued.
Below is a summary of results for pro rata occupations by occupational category:

Table 5: Number of Invitations by Occupation - 2017-18 Program Year
Occupation R1 R2 R3
Non-Pro Rata 144 144 187
Accountants 239 239 239
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 66 66 66
ICT Business and System Analysts 78 78 78
Software and Applications Programmers 310 310 310
Electronics Engineer 50 50 20
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 108 108 108
Other Engineering Professionals 50 50 50
Computer Network Professionals 65 65 65
Total 1,110 1,110 1,123


Table 6: Points Required by Occupation - 2017-18 Program Year
Occupation R1 R2 R3
189 - Non-Pro Rata 70 70 70
489 Family - Non-Pro Rata 60 60 60
Accountants 75 75 75
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 75 75 75
ICT Business and System Analysts 75 75 70
Software and Applications Programmers 70 70 70
Electronics Engineer 70 70 70
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 70 70 70
Other Engineering Professionals 70 70 70
Computer Network Professionals 70 70 70


Table 7: Waiting Times by Occupation - 2017-18 Program Year
Occupation R1 R2 R3
189 - Non-Pro Rata 3.7 1.6 0.6
489 Family - Non-Pro Rata 0.1 0.1 0.0
Accountants 13.0 8.6 6.6
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 15.1 11.6 10.1
ICT Business and System Analysts 6.0 0.1 16.9
Software and Applications Programmers 11.4 4.7 0.7
Electronics Engineer 3.7 1.7 0.6
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 3.7 1.6 1.0
Other Engineering Professionals 14.0 7.1 4.3
Computer Network Professionals 14.3 4.1 0.6


Accountants and Auditors
So far this year, 75 points have been required for an invitation as an accountant or auditor.
Waiting times have been reducing but are still over 6 weeks for accountants and over 10 weeks for auditors with a score of 75. Whilst the occupation ceiling has increased significantly for accountants for the 2017-18 year, we expect that the required score will remain at 75 for a few more rounds for these occupations.

IT Professionals
The required score for all IT occupations has been 70 so far this year, apart from ICT Business and System Analysts. For ICT Business and System Analysts, the required score was initially 75 but has reduced to 70 in the latest round.
Waiting times for Software and Applications Programmers and Computer Network Professionals are now under 1 week, so we expect to see the required scores for these occupations drop to 65 in the next round or two.
The occupation of ICT Security Specialist is not on the pro rata list. The ceiling of 2,391 for the occupation is quite generous so it is possible that the occupation may not be pro rata this year.

Engineers
Engineers require 70 points for the first three rounds of 2017-18. In terms of pro rata occupations, waiting times for Electronics Engineers and Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers are now under 1 week, so we expect these occupations to reduce to 65 points in the next few rounds.
Other Engineering Professionals still have a waiting time of over 4 weeks, so this occupation may require 70 points for a few more rounds.

State Nomination
State nomination numbers for July 2017 are available. Insights from these are as follows:
  • ACT: small number of 190 nominations approved.
  • NSW: large number of 489 nominations approved, but only a small number of 190 nominations. NSW has not yet released its state migration program, so we expect 190 nominations increase in number after this
  • Northern Territory: nominations for both 190 and 489 visas being issued. Still to update their state migration plan
  • Queensland: very large number of 190 and 489 nominations being issued
  • South Australia: large number of 489 nominations being issued compared to 190. Last year, there were about 50% more 190 nominations were issued as compared to 489, so suggests a change in policy by SA
  • Tasmania: large number of nominations. More 489 than 190 but that is consistent with last year
  • Victoria: very large number of 190 nominations issued - no 489 nominations.
  • Western Australia: zero state nominations issued - consistent with WA tightening their program after the recent state election



Table 8: State Nominations by Visa Type and State - July 2017
Visa subclass 190 489
ACT 14 0
NSW 9 63
NT 19 14
Qld 96 26
SA 66 314
Tas. 30 58
Vic. 185 0
WA 0 0
Total 419 475


Conclusion
Last program year, a backlog of EOIs was quickly reduced by issuing more invitations in the first few rounds.
This year, the number of invitations issued have been lower - 1,100 for most rounds - and the proportion of non-pro rata occupations has also been lower. This has meant a higher minimum score for a 189 invitation than last year (70 points), but we expect this to reduce to 65 points for many occupations in the next few rounds.
 


Source : Acacia