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September 2007 GSM Legislative Changes

September 2007 GSM Legislative Changes - Impact on Overseas Students

Some of the recent changes to General Skilled Migration from September 1st 2007 particularly impact overseas students in Australia.

One such change is that from 1st September 2007 overseas students who have a 50 point occupation will be able to apply for GSM in Australia provided they meet other threshold requirements.

English Language Ability

The other major change which will effect Overseas Students is the tougher English language ability requirements.

From 1 September 2007, the English language threshold for GSM visas increased from Vocational English (minimum score of 5.0 in each of the four components of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS)) to Competent English (minimum score of 6.0 in each of the four components of an IELTS exam).

Applicants who can attain a score of at least 7.0 in all elements of an IELTS test can claim 25 points for Proficient English language ability (as opposed to the previous maximum of 20 points that were available on the basis of English language competency of 6.0 in all elements of an IELTS test or proof of Native English Speaking ability).

Applicants considered by DIAC to be "Native English Speakers" are no longer awarded maximum points for English Language ability. Indeed without undertaking an IELTS test, native English speakers are limited to claiming only 15 points for English language ability.

Applicants who can attain a score of at least 6.0 in all elements of an IELTS test can claim 15 points for Competent English language ability.

Recent Work Experience

Overseas Students will still be required to submit their application for GSM within 6 months of completion of eligible studies.

Overseas Students are still eligible for the exemption to the Recent Wrok Experience requirement (which itself has been amended) provided they meet all other Basic Requirements.

Applicants with a "No Further Stay" Condition attached to their Student Visa can apply to have the "No Further Stay" Condition 8534 waived if they have completed the course for which their Student Visa was granted and have made an application for an onshore GSM visa. The waiver application is at the front of the new application form, Form 1276.

Overseas students should also be encouraged to undertake additional eligible study in AUstralia above and beyond the minimum required to satisfy the "2 year Study Rule" as the Points Test factor for Australian qualifications has been tweaked with additional points awarded for completion of a Phd and also Masters degrees in certain circumstances.

In addition a new Skilled Graduate Subclass 485 Visa has been created to allow overseas students who are unable to immediately qualify for an onshore GSM visa upon completing their eligible studies. This visa is not points tested and also has no work or study restrictions and may provide a clear pathway to permanent residency.