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London, United KingdomTue Nov 21 09:46pm
Migration Matters News

Date: 2004-07-01


Legislation Change - 1 July 2004 - Skilled (Independent) Regional visa

Client summary
On 1 July 2004, the Skilled-Independent Regional (SIR) (Provisional) visa will come into effect. This temporary visa has been developed in consultation with State and Territory governments to address skill shortages that may exist in regional areas and encourage a more balanced dispersal of Australia's skilled migrant intake.

The legislative amendments will provide a two-stage visa arrangement of temporary residence followed by permanent residence for people with needed skills, and members of their family unit, who are willing to live and work in regional Australia

Technical details
The visa aims to attract skilled migrants who wish to live in a regional or low population growth area in Australia but are unable to meet the pass mark for an Independent Skilled visa. In order to attract people to the SIR visa, the pass mark for the SIR visa is less than that for the Independent Skilled visa.

The SIR (Provisional) visa allows the visa holder to remain in Australia for a period of 3 years during which time they must live and work in regional Australia. After living in regional Australia for at least 2 years AND being employed (including self-employed) for at least 1 year, SIR visa holders are eligible to apply for permanent residence through a range of existing regional visas.

Holders of the SIR visa will also be able to apply for a Partner visa only if they have adhered to a number of obligations associated with the SIR visa.

At the expiry of the SIR visa, holders of a SIR visa may also be eligible to apply for another SIR visa. They may choose to do this in circumstances where they are unable to satisfy the criteria for the grant of a permanent visa. Generally, only one additional SIR visa can be granted to an applicant and if granted will be valid for a further 12 month stay.

Certain applicants who meet additional requirements at the time of application will be eligible to remain in Australia after making the application for the SIR visa until that application is finalised. Other applicants must be outside Australia in order to be granted a SIR visa.

Additional information: A critical criterion that must be satisfied by SIR visa applicants is sponsorship from an authorised State or Territory government or their appointed Regional Certifying Body.

Applicants are also required to meet the basic criteria for General Skilled migration; that is, be under 45 years of age, have vocational standard English, have the skills to be recognised in an occupation listed on the Skilled Occupation List, and have the required recent work experience or are eligible for a waiver of this criterion.

Transitional arrangements: The SIR visa will commence on 1 July 2004.

Forms: Applicants for the SIR (Provisional) visa will use the existing form for General Skilled migration; that is, form 47SK. "Pooled" applicants who have been invited to apply for the visa will not be required to complete a new application form. They must, however, lodge the letter of invitation and acceptance advice with the department within 6 months of receiving the invitation.

Instructions: Policy guidelines on the new visa (both Schedule 1 and Schedule 2) have been drafted and will be included in PAM3.

Effect on delegations: Nil.

Effect on systems: Applications will be processed at the Adelaide Skills Processing Centre in Adelaide. ICSE has been updated to process these applications.

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