Australia Calling!

Rov Meetei *

Australia Map and flag

I was thinking does it make sense to write such kind of articles which has no scope for creativity or thought provocation. It could have been prepared just like an advertisement or just a piece of bulletin information. But then, looking back at my own situation it ponders me and at the back of my mind insisted that sharing any valuable information, whether people like it or not, is a kind of justice in writing. When I was preparing for coming to this country, I was literally struggling to get the most filtered information pertaining to Australia. It was not about the paucity of information, rather about the right information at the right time.

I may be wrong or may be my lack of knowledge or information to reckon that my fellow Manipuris who have settled and lived in different countries of the world could have shared first hand information about education and immigration or any information that could be beneficial back to our homeland. This is very significant considering the fact that a lot of young Manipuris could excel in any field in any part of the world and eventually pull Manipur out of its cocoon for better.

Have you ever thought why Punjabis as a community is a worldwide phenomenon? Leaving all the possible answers to ones imagination, one thing is very crystal clear that they recklessly share information from abroad to their community members back at home and provides opportunities for people to widen their views and directions. I am told by my friends that they have in Punjab even tutorial centres that provide map reading practices of many metropolitan cities of the world to many prospective students and migrants.

You must be wondering why it is so. Many students who come here in Australia for study and then driving part time taxi is a very normal affair and taxi jobs are definitely not hard to find. Well, coming down to the point, this article intends to share some information about Australia and its current immigration practices particularly the new online tool called 'SkillSelect'. Tonnes of information are available in print and web sources for prospective students and immigrants toward this direction.

If you are thinking of migrating and settling down in a foreign soil, Australia could be one of the best possible options available at present for considerations to any prospective migrants. Why Australia? Well, people normally don't want to live and settle in an alien environment which has more or less the similar features and characteristics with his or her home country. The proverbial 'greener pastures' will always have a bearing significance in this regard.

I think Australia is very attractive in many ways like many of the first world countries do. A very welcoming environment, low population, social, cultural, natural and technological, great educational institutions, many most liveable cities, free spirits and great lifestyles and what not. The Australian economy remains one of the most sophisticated standout performers of the developed world, with solid growth, low unemployment (5.30 percent in October of 2012), contained inflation, strong public finances and enormous investments in its abundant natural resources which is boosting their economy to a stratospheric magnitude and from the reliable statistical sources clearly indicates that this trend may continue well for decades. Well, then, how to come and settle in this country?

This article is not an authoritative migration advice and the author is not a migration agent rather it is reminiscent of a personal experience recollected from the exposure to the new system. Australian immigration system is one of the most advanced and complex systems of the world and it keep on changing constantly to cater to its own socio-political and economic conditions of the country.

The changes that have been taking place since 2008 onwards is simply mindboggling and it keeps me thinking that their system is getting more and more refined and simplified in many ways although getting a specific visa depends on one's own personal circumstances. The changes in Points system in 2011(Link) and subsequent introduction of SkillSelect in 2012(Link) is a hallmark of the current Immigration System.

SkillSelect is online application system for processing Skilled Migration applications. The system allows one to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) (link) for considering a particular visa and get invitations for final submissions of the visa application after cross verification on the Points System. The current Points System provides lots of hope and opportunities for overseas migrants.

The new system takes into consideration of the overseas qualifications and work experiences into greater weight and indeed it is a kind of fresh air for many overseas applicants. The pass mark (Link) in the current system stands at 60 in SkillSelect and I think it should not very difficult for one to score this point provided he or she has enough credibility in education and work experiences. The only bottleneck in reaching the right score, everyone whinges, is getting overall band score of 7 or 8 in each category in IELTS or similar score in TOEFL or specified English exams.

A score of 6 or 6.5 in each category fetch no point in the new Points System. This whole IELTS affair can be overcome by meticulously preparing in all the categories of the exam which includes Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The most important thing in preparing for this exam is practice, practice and more practice.

I think you can prepare, write and score it while staying in India by contacting some IDP or British council testing centres (Link or Link). It is much more economical to write this exam in India than Australia. Here in India, normally, you will fork out for about Rs 8000/ test whereas the same testing will cost you about A$ 350 and the exchange rate at the moment is about Rs 54/ Australian Dollar. Take it seriously as scoring of 7 points in each band category will give you 10 points in the Migration Points System or if you could manage to score 8 points it will fetch you 20 points which can guarantees you for a favourable response in the SkillSelect application.

For your perusal we can make a rough estimate here, say, you have a Masters or PhD qualification, you get 15 or 20 points, 3 years of overseas work experience,5 points, your age is below 32, you get 30 points and your IELTS score is 7 or 8, you fetch 10 or 20 points. Now you can total up and see how many points you have. Probably you might have already 60 to 65 points which means you can submit an EOI in the SkillSelect confidently.

Before you decide to submit an EOI, there are many considerations that have to clearly taken care of. First you have to nominate an occupation that is listed in the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) (Link) of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Link) and must assessed it for its relevance and equivalence to its Australian qualifications. One must also check and familiar with the occupational ceiling of the current program year.

An occupational ceiling is basically a limit on how many EOIs can be issued for skilled migration from a particular occupation group. That means there is a limit on how many engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers or human resource professionals and so on can be taken into Australia as skilled migrants during that program year. Skilled qualifications assessments are largely done through relevant assessing authorities (Link) in Australia.

Likewise the same has to be done for the work experiences assessment also. Most of the assessments are done in 10 weeks provided you have included all the required and specified documents. You need to pay a fee for these services and you can check the exact amount to be paid in their respective websites of the assessing bodies. The second step is, once you have received all the positive outcomes of the assessment and IELTS test report form, you are ready for submitting an EOI.

Make sure that you have done all the relevant assessments of qualifications and work experiences from the relevant assessing bodies as you do not have much time left once you submitted your EOI. Invitations may come sooner than one expected. Once you received the invitation, you have only 60 days to submit the final application form for skilled migration.

Submitting an EOI is very easy as it is pretty much like filling an online application form but you can't go wrong here as what you fill in the form will decide your points. Well, even if you think the whole process of immigration to Australia is complex and hard to understand, you can still seek the advice of many registered migration agents ( who are always ready to hear from you. But they are not free of cost. You may find their charges from reasonable to expensive depending on the complexity of your visa matter. So the best thing you can do at home is try your best to understand each and every terms and conditions in advance involved in whole skilled migration process.

I think half of the migration homework can be done through by reading the following two booklets, download advisable. (Link and Link)

You can also watch the featured video if your time permits.

* Rov Meetei wrote this article to
The writer is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and a resident of the city of Melbourne, Australia and can be contacted at throvin(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on January 02, 2013.

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