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  • DISCUSSION PAPER | I

    DISCUSSION PAPER

    Program Review

    ACT Skilled Nominated Sub Class 190 Visa

    Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

    September 2018

  • II | Program Review – ACT Skilled Nominated Sub Class 190 Visa

    Accessibility

    The ACT Government is committed to making its information, services, events and venues as accessible as possible.

    If you have difficulty reading a standard printed document and would like to receive this publication in an alternative format, such as large print, please phone Skills Canberra on +61 2 6205 8555.

    If English is not your first language and you require a translating and interpreting service, please phone 13 14 50.

    If you are deaf, or have a speech or hearing impairment, and need the teletypewriter service, please phone 13 36 77 and ask for Skills Canberra on +61 2 6205 8555.

    For speak and listen users, please phone 1300 555 727 and ask for Skills Canberra on +61 2 6205 8555.

    For more information on these services visit https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/enterprise-canberra2/skillscanberra

    © Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, September 2018

    Publication No 18/1135

    Material in this publication may be reproduced provided due acknowledgement is made.

    Produced for the Skills Canberra, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, by Publishing Services.

    Enquiries about this publication should be directed to the Skills Canberra, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, ACT Government, GPO Box 158, Canberra City 2601

    Telephone: +61 2 6205 8555

    Email: skills@act.gov.au

    https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/enterprise-canberra2/skillscanberra mailto: skills@act.gov.au

  • DISCUSSION PAPER | III

    CONTENTS Introduction 1

    Context 3

    Issues 5

    Prevailing Practices 8

    Consultation 13

    Glossary 14

  • IV | Program Review – ACT Skilled Nominated Sub Class 190 Visa

  • DISCUSSION PAPER | 1

    INTRODUCTION The Australian Migration Program has shaped the country’s population for the past 20 years and will continue to do so for economic and social outcomes. The joint research entitled ‘Shaping A Nation: Population growth and immigration over time’ by the Australian Government was released in April 2018. It states:

    Migrants, particularly Skilled stream migrants, who account for almost 70 percent of Australia’s migrant intake, contribute to the total GDP and GDP per person by offsetting Australia’s ageing population, improving labour force participation and productivity, and help businesses to source skills that are difficult to develop at short notice.

    The Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa is a points tested permanent skilled visa for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory because their occupations are in demand in that jurisdiction. In 2016-17, the total national permanent migration level set by the Department of Home Affairs was 190,000, for which the skilled stream outcome was 123,567 (67.4 percent) 1. The Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa is a small part of the broader migration program. Out of the total nomination places planned for 2018-192 by the Department of Home Affairs, the state and territory and regional ceiling is set at 17,300 nationally, leading to a likely allocation of up to 800 nomination places for the ACT – contributing 4.6 percent of the national allocation in this category.

    The demand for ACT nominations for 190 visas has increased rapidly since 2015-16 as other pathways for skilled migration have become increasingly rigid, accompanied by stricter regulations imposed by the Department of Home Affairs and other jurisdictions. This has resulted in the ACT pathway becoming more attractive for people intending to live permanently in Australia. The ACT Government is reviewing the program to ensure the policy and program settings are able to manage the increased demand.

    This Discussion Paper provides context for the consideration of new options for the administration of the ACT Skilled Migration program (visa subclass 190 stream) and how applicants are selected for nomination by the Territory. Drawing on the processes followed by other jurisdictions for their 190 nomination skilled migration programs, the Discussion Paper will provide background information on ACT’s past and current practices and emerging issues related to eligibility and the assessment process. The Discussion Paper provides a platform to stimulate conversations with stakeholders on potential changes to current practices.

    1 https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/statistics/report-on-migration-program-2016-17.pdf

    2 https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/20planning

    https://cdn.tspace.gov.au/uploads/sites/107/2018/04/Shaping-a-Nation.pdf https://cdn.tspace.gov.au/uploads/sites/107/2018/04/Shaping-a-Nation.pdf

  • 2 | Program Review – ACT Skilled Nominated Sub Class 190 Visa

    CONTEXT a. The ACT Economy Being the nation’s capital city is a key advantage in attracting and retaining national and global talent to Canberra. The Chief Minister’s Statement of Ambition recognises that, “we must continue to open and diversify our local economy building on the strong position we have as one of Australia’s longest serving knowledgebased cities”. The Statement elaborates that “Canberra is competing with, and exceeding the offer of other Australian cities. With its economy coming from a knowledge base, Canberra is well positioned to lead and attract the talent that is needed. Research and development already adds more than $2.7 billion per annum to our local economy through our higher education and research institutions, and we are ahead of the pack positioning ourselves in key 21st century industries such as the space economy and cyber security sectors. While our aim is the urban renewal and economic diversification of Canberra, at the core of our vision is a Canberra that is an inclusive, welcoming society, open to diverse talents and determined to help everyone reach their fullest potential.”

    We must attract and retain the talented people that can help make our city great

    -‘Canberra: a Statement of Ambition’

    The ACT economy is one of the strongest in the country and among the fastest growing of all states and territories, showing a 13.6 percent economic growth3 in the last three years. The 2018-19 Budget continues to invest in programs and initiatives that will bolster this growth and diversify our jobs base to benefit all Canberrans.

    Tertiary education is now the ACT’s leading services export at $880 million per annum, with our tertiary and research sector contributing well over $3 billion to the economy. Our strong partnerships with local universities, research institutions, and the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) are strengthening Canberra’s appeal as a leading place to study.

    Canberra is a diverse and inclusive city, shaped by people moving here from more than 180 different countries around the world. The 2018-19 Budget4 makes new investments to increase the visibility and inclusion of Canberrans from diverse backgrounds, including investment of $247,000 to highlight and promote community participation, cultural diversity and inclusion in the ACT, and $89,800 for the Work Experience Support Program to support culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans to enter the workforce. It has also delivered additional funding for a job brokerage service to help refugees find jobs, and expanded access to English language programs to help new Canberrans improve their language skills.

    3 Economic growth is the increase in a country’s productive capacity, conventionally measured as the percent rate of increase in real gross domestic product (GDP), or real GDP.

    4 https://apps.treasury.act.gov.au/budget/budget-2018-2019/budget-in-brief

  • DISCUSSION PAPER | 3

    DISCUSSION POINT Determining who should be the main beneficiaries of the ACT 190 nomination program e.g. long term Canberra residents; international students; temporary work (457/482) visa holders sponsored by an ACT employer; overseas applicants with occupations in demand and overseas applicants with close family ties in Canberra.

    b. The Department of Home Affairs Criteria Skilled workers interested in migrating to Australia cannot apply directly for a skilled migration visa unless they are invited by the Australian Government. Applicants applying under the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa stream also need to be nominated by a state or territory government. Subclass 190 visa nomination requires intending migrants to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the Department of Home Affairs’ ‘SkillSelect’, an online service that helps Australia manage its skilled migration program. State and territory governments can then nominate an intending migrant if they meet the relevant jurisdictions’ 190 nomination criteria.

    The Territory Migration Agreement with the Australian Government provides the ACT Skilled Migration Program, managed by Skills Canberra, with an avenue to address skills shortages, labour market needs and entrepreneurial investment through the state and territory nominated streams. These are the Skilled Nominated 190 Stream, the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) 187 Stream and the Business Innovation and Investment Progr