IMMIGRATION outreach officers will visit Beaudesert, Warwick and Stanthorpe this week to discuss imminent reforms to the skilled migration program.
The changes, being introduced on July 1, include a new online service connecting Australian employers with potential skilled migrants and streamlining the pathway to permanent residence for people already working in Australia on temporary skilled 457 visas.
The department's regional visits program enables employers in communities outside capital cities to attend information sessions and to sit and talk directly with an immigration officer about specific issues they may face.
The employer nomination scheme and the regional sponsored migration scheme will be integrated with the new skilled migrant selection register SkillSelect.
A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said the online SkillSelect system was a new expression of interest approach to skilled migration, allowing skilled workers interested in migrating to Australia to record their details to be considered for a skilled visa through an EOI.
"These new arrangements are designed to better respond to labour market demands and form part of ongoing reform of the skilled migration program," he said.
"Intending migrants will be found and nominated for skilled visas by Australian employers or state and territory governments, or they could be invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application.
"This will give the government greater control and flexibility to adjust to changes in the economy. Sponsors must also demonstrate they have a genuine need for the workers and that the skills required cannot be found in their region."
From July 1, there will also be a fast-tracked pathway from the 457 visa to permanent residence under the employer-sponsored visa program, enabling skilled migrants to settle and work in regional and metropolitan Australia.
The departmental officers visiting Beaudesert, Warwick and Stanthorpe will conduct a seminar and also be available for brief individual appointments with employers and employees to answer their questions about skilled migration.
"Our officers will be available to provide a range of information on temporary or permanent employer-sponsored visa options and the concessions available for regional applicants," the spokesman added.
- The Beaudesert seminars will run on Tuesday, May 8 from 5.30-7pm with individual appointments available from 2-5pm at The Centre, 82 Brisbane St.
- The Warwick seminars will run on Wednesday, May 9 from 5.30-7pm with individual appointments available from 2.30-5pm at Warwick Library, 49 Albion St.
- The Stanthorpe seminar will run from 5.30-7pm on Thursday, May 10 with individual appointments available from 2-5pm at Stanthorpe Council Chambers, 61 Marsh St.
To attend a seminar or book an appointment, email outreach officer Libby Quinn on firstname.lastname@example.org.