Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ), as with Australia’s other State and Territory Governments, are yet to be handed down their nomination allocations for Skilled 491 and 190 Visas. As such, most skilled migration programs have remained closed until further notice.
The current pandemic has already had a substantial impact on Australian – albeit global – immigration policy. Border shutdowns have made it increasingly difficult to source some supplementary information for health and character checks. This additional delay sparked by the Department of Home Affairs is only placing further pressure on skilled migrants who have been waiting for the nominations, originally anticipated to open on the 1st of July.
The pandemic has no doubt reshaped which critical sectors will be prioritised under state nomination programs. Applications with the highest prospects of success are likely to be those seeking visas in the health profession. In addition to the health sector, accounting and IT will be key sectors to look out for as Australia fights to rebuild.
The delay appears, prima facie, to represent a prioritization of an Australian task force in response to rising unemployment levels. However, it is limiting the support and expertise that skilled migrant workers can and have brought to Australian industries. This is particularly relevant in rural and remote regions where Australian workers have been unable to fill the gaps.
The delay by Home Affairs in publicising nomination allocations will likely see off-shore visa applicants worst off. Whilst those seeking work in regional areas, and on-shore applicants, are likely to be prioritised when nominations re-open.
Nomination allocation is usually publicised in correlation with the start of each financial year. With the current delay, each skilled migration program in Australia – and each prospective skilled migrant seeking security as to the prospect of their future in Australia – currently awaits the determination by Home Affairs as to what will happen next.