Migration Program planning levels and priority processing arrangements

Every year the Australian Government sets the number of places, otherwise known as planning levels, in the permanent migration program. The number of places allocated takes into account the current economic climate and feedback from consultations with the Australian community.

Within the skill stream of the permanent migration program, there are a number of different visa categories targeted to meet the diverse needs of Australia’s labour market.  The government also allocates annually a set number of visa places to each of the following categories:

  • skilled independent
  • skilled Australian sponsored
  • employer sponsored, and
  • state and territory sponsored

The planning levels can be varied by the government in response to economic and other factors. Delivering the migration program requires careful management. This is where it’s important to understand the relationship between the planning levels and priority processing arrangements  for skilled migration visa applications.

Priority processing is a tool, available to government, to assist managing the order in which applications are granted. We have blogged previously about the government’s priority processing direction, where visa applications are placed in one of five priority processing groups.

Applications in priority group 1 are allocated before applications in priority group 2, and so on, until the set planning level for each specific skilled visa category is met.

In the situation where set annual planning levels are met in a particular skilled migration category within a 12 month period, the department is obliged to temporarily suspend allocating applications in this category until the next program year, irrespective of where applicants are placed in the priority processing direction.

For example, in this (2011-2012) program year there has been a lower number of applications lodged under a state migration plan (priority group 3) than anticipated when government originally set the planning levels. To meet the set levels for this part of the program we have allocated some of the priority group 5 applications in greater numbers.

These are the priority group 5 applications that were lodged by onshore and offshore applicants who were nominated by a state or territory government before state migration plans were introduced. These applications are placed in priority group 5 as they do not have a nominated occupation on the skilled occupation list.

It may also be necessary to limit the allocation of visa applications in the skilled Australian sponsored categories this program year, because there are only a few places remaining in this visa category. We will continue to update the allocation dates for skilled visa applications on the department’s website and encourage applicants to regularly check the page, which is updated fortnightly. We have also updated information on our website about the processing of priority group 5 applications.

If you have any questions or comments please post below.

119 thoughts on “Migration Program planning levels and priority processing arrangements

  1. Hi,
    Is there any priority processing for 485 visa applicants as some people require this visa so that they can apply for another visa before 1st july 2012.

    • Yahya

      Thanks for your question – subclass 485 visas are not subject to priority processing and they are allocated to case officers in order of receipt. You might be interested to know that we are currently processing these visas within our published service level of 12 months.

      In relation to the 1 July 2012 introduction of SkillSelect, there will be a period of overlap where people in Australia can continue to apply for the existing points-tested skilled migration visas. The 885, 886 and 487 visas will stay open for applications for six months until the end of 2012. People already in Australia who want to apply for a skilled migration visa during this period, including those eligible for transitional arrangements, can apply for a 885, 886 or 487 visa and/ or submit an EOI for one of the new visas in this period if they wish.

  2. I checked the table updated today. I only saw 885 been processed till 27 Jan 2009. Does that mean they will continue to allocate 885 , priority 5 application and have put hold on other application subclasses like 487 and 886 till 31 May 2012.

    Please clear it? as i m May 2009, 885 ? Any chances of my application been allocated ?

    • Mohit

      The allocation of subclass 885 applications will continue throughout the program year. We can’t confirm when your application will be allocated because it depends on how many applications are received in higher priority groups. The best place to keep up to date as to when your application will be allocated is our website.

      There is limit in the allocation of Skilled Australian Sponsored cases because of the low number of available visa places remaining in this program year.

  3. Hi

    What I would like to know is whether 496 designated area sponsored application comes under skilled Australian sponsored. What are they chances of 496 category 5 being processed in this financial year. If they are not going to process this year will they process next year.

    • Rahul

      The allocation of Skilled- Designated Area Sponsored – subclass 496 applications has ceased for the remainder of this program year. This is because of the limited number of visa places available for this visa category. While it is likely that processing will recommence in the next program year, the number of visas processed in this category will depend on the size and composition of the migration program, as well as the number of applications received in higher priority groups.

  4. Hi Karin ,

    I am a little confused. This recent fortnightly update relates to a major change in processing of GSM Subclass 886. Does this mean the processing for Suclass 886 will be further delayed? I lodged my application in 3 march 2009. If there has been a limit applied, does that mean they will suspend processing or will they still process? Can you please shed some light on the number of applications which will still be processed in program 2011-2012 for Subclass 886??

    Thanks
    Chitra

    • Hi Chitra

      Within the skilled migration program there are a number of different visa categories, and each of these have a set number of places allocated by the government.

      In the situation where set annual planning levels are met in a particular skilled migration category, the department is obliged to temporarily suspend allocating applications in this category until the next program year. This has happened in the Skilled Australian Sponsored category, where we have nearly reached the limited number of places available within the migration program planning levels. This means we will need to stop allocating these visas for the remainder of the program year.

      I appreciate this is disappointing news for you and other applicants affected by this update, but ultimately the skilled migration program is designed to meet the needs of the Australian economy. While we can’t give you a specific timeframe as when your application will be allocated, we will continue to provide you and other applicants as much information as possible via the allocation page on our website.

  5. silly question, but do you have any idea of the anticipated planning levels for skilled Australian sponsored intake for 2012/13 program year? May we hope it increases, or at least stay the same? Thank you for your time. Marianne

    • Hi Marianne – not a silly question at all. Migration Program planning levels are usually announced as part of Australia’s annual Federal Budget announcement. The Federal Budget is set to be delivered on Tuesday 8 May 2012.

  6. Sir/Madam,
    With due respect,
    I am waiting for Designated area sponsored – skilled (496) visa class since Aug 2007. I was looking at today’s update. And could not understand what is there for us? Designated – Area Sponsored – Skilled(496) applicants. Well, is there any qouta for us during this financial year.
    With best Regards,
    Jaspreet Singh Bajwa

    • Hi Jaspreet

      The Australian Government sets planning levels for the migration program, including a set number of places within specific categories. The allocation of Designated Area Sponsored Skilled(496) applications have ceased because there is a limited amount of visa places in this category. Have a look at some of the other comments and responses I’ve posted today for some more information.

  7. Thanks for info.

    Are you in a position to give number of applicants with state sponsorship in PG-5 (offshore)?

    And

    How many applicants processed to reach 24k in 2011-2012?

    Thanks

    • Thanks for your question. As at 20 April 2012 there were approximately 900 unfinalised Priority Group 5 state and territory sponsored cases lodged outside of Australia. There are approximately 2100 applicants in these cases.

      As you know, there are 24,000 state and territory sponsored places in the 2011-12 migration program. At the end of March we had processed over 18 000 applications.

  8. I don’t know why DIAC love to tease applicants by changing the goal post time to time. Now DIAC’s bad state sponsership number planning will be a boon to some but a curse to relative sponsered applicants who are already here, some are well settled, they and their relatives are paying hefty taxes in-spite of living in limbo. Govt need to understand the problems of onshore applicants. In Nov-11 DIAC’s statement was different from today’s statement. Please don’t make someone’s life a number game. Life is real, some onshore applicants are away from their kids some have lost their parents in their country of origin while waiting for visa in AU. I think DIAC should not give bad taste to relative sponsored applicants because it could lead to mental trauma to their australian brothers and sisters who have sponsored them. It is also not in favor of current govt either. Suppose I have sponsored my brother :
    1.Will I vote to current govt for my whole life as my brother and his family’s future stayed in prolonged limbo?
    2.Will my own life be stress free and hundred percent productive in AUif my sponsored  brother’s future is on stake.  
    3. Why govt don’t like to see family reunion?
      I know the importance of planning but it should be flexible up to some extent.

    • Raj

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on this blog. We are certainly aware that any changes to the allocation and processing of visas affect our applicants, which is why we are providing as much information as possible via our website and in forums like this blog and facebook.

      It does need to be clear, and this has been stressed a number of times on this blog, that the skilled migration program is run to benefit Australia. It is a highly targeted program, with different categories within the program to meet the diverse labour market needs of the Australian economy. While individuals are affected by changes to the program, ultimately the program is designed to meet labour market needs. The program requires careful management, and needs to be responsive to meet the government’s migration planning levels.

  9. hello karin.
    reffering to all information given by diac till now, there is no clear information of what going to happens for applicants in category5 (familly sponsored)
    will those application will be process after july 2012, or will family sponsored applcation will be continued to be pushed at the bottom of the line?
    as there no clear information about this category of apllicants… should we stay in the same limbo as we were for 4 years now? or sholud we “consider other options”?????
    daniel

    • Hi Daniel

      You may not have seen my response to a similar comment made on this blog post.

      Where set annual planning levels are met in a particular skilled migration category, the department is obliged to temporarily suspend allocating applications in this category until the next program year. This has happened in the Skilled Australian Sponsored category, where we have nearly reached the limited number of places available within the migration program planning levels. This means we will need to stop allocating these visas for the remainder of the program year.

      The skilled migration program is run to benefit Australia. Skilled migration is therefore a selective process to meet the needs of the Australian economy. While we can’t give you a specific timeframe as when your application will be allocated, we will continue to provide you and other applicants as much information as possible via the allocation page on our website.

  10. Relative sponsoreds:
    . Most of them are here for over four years and got their relatives to support them.
    . Majority of them are well settled in AU, but can’t plan their future due to lack of PR.
    . Why DIAC is not considering that they got edge over new arrivals while setting priorities groups.
    . Living in limbo is an ongoing frustration for applicants, and for their kids if any and especially for their relatives who have sponsored them.

    Suppose I have sponsored my brother and his application is being pushed further and further by DIAC just to show that their planned numbers are absolutely correct:
    a) Will my life be stress free while my brother’s future is in limbo in AU?
    b) Will I be hundred percent productive while my brother and his family’s future is in limbo?
    c) Will I be happy if we have to pay $20k international student fees for my brother’s two kids?
    d) Will I be happy if my brother is being penalized because I was his sponsor?
    e) Will I be happy in AU if my nephew and niece’s study is being impacted by this number game?
    I want to request that please revisit relative sponsored places for coming FY, too. It does not look enough places and this can cause more agony to relative sponsored applicants and their relatives who have sponsored them.

    • Raj
      I won’t address all of your points, as I posted a response to one of your earlier comments, though I would like to explain how the migration program planning levels are set. The Australian Government sets the number of places, otherwise known as planning levels, in the permanent migration program. Next years program levels will be based on the current economic climate and feedback from consultations with the Australian community.

  11. I am so happy to see that offshore Priority Group 5 is processing. I applied in October 2008 under Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) subclass 475 online – family sponsored. When will they start family sponsored 475 subclass? Since case officers will be allocated for others before May, will it start in June?

    When this is granted, can I live in Melbourne? Because I am on student visa at the moment, in Melbourne. My relative who sponsored me also live here.

    thanks

    • Hi Eua,

      Thanks for commenting on this blog.

      Allocation of Skilled Independent and Skilled Australian Sponsored Priority Group 5 cases lodged outside of Australia has not yet commenced.

      While specific timeframes as to when your application will be allocated can not be given, we will continue to provide you and other applicants as much information as possible via the allocation page on our website.

      If you are being sponsored by an eligible relative, both you and your sponsor must usually be a resident in a designated area of Australia at the time of the sponsorship. All of Victoria is considered as a designated area for this visa. Here is a link to the areas http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/designated-areas.htm

  12. Hi,

    I find the transition arrangements a little bit confusing. I started studying in Australia before 8 February 2010. Somewhere after July I want to apply for a skilled independent visa. I was checking the Changes to Points Tested Skilled Migration Visas document and there it says that the 885 visa will be replaced with the 189 visa by the end of this year. Does that mean that after July I can still apply for the 885 visa under the old procedure or would I have to apply for the 189 visa using the new procedure with the SkillSelect requirement?

    Thanks

    Michael

    • Hi Michael

      The 885 visa will be replaced with the 189 visa with the introduction of SkillSelect. While the new visas (189, 190 and 489) will be introduced from 1 July 2012, there will be a period of overlap where people in Australia can continue to apply for the existing points-tested skilled migration visas. This means you can still apply for the 885 visa under the existing framework until 1 January 2013.

  13. If possible, please let us know how many onshore and offshore relative sponsored applications are outstanding at present.

    It looks strange that relative sponsored yearly quota is only 4k when significant numbers of Australians are born out of AU.

    It is also strange that one visa class but two different yearly quota: relative sponsoreds and state sponsereds.

    Will DIAC restart allocations in the last quarter of F13 if there will be any leftover places after using for prior categories, or relative sponsoreds allocations will start from day one of F13?

    I hope you well understand the pain and frustration behind this prolonged wait.
    Thanks and kind regards!

  14. Hi Karin, thanks for your post
    I noticed that there is a significant drop at new applications rate because of the new points test, if this situation stil lasts after this July, what would diac deal with larges number of remaiming places of Migration Program 2012–2013? Will diac lower the minimum pass mark to new applicants or give these places to large numbers of G5 applicants which most are cooks and bakers? If DIAC would give these substantial places to G5 rather than lower the pass mark, how can it deliver the skills Australia needs by matching the best and brightest prospective migrants to the available places in the migration program?

    • Hi Dong

      Thanks for your questions. These are questions that have to be balanced in delivering a migration program. You have referred to pass marks which are determined by the Minister. This is one of a range of tools available to Government to manage the program size and composition. When decisions are made to use these tools, we publish information about them on our website.

  15. Hey, I am one of the people who were affected by the recent allocation of group 5 cases as we (my wife and I) have lodged an offshore 475 ( SA sponsored) visa back in 2009 but since then our circumstances have changed. We entered Australia on a student visa as I was studying for my master degree. I graduated and then lodged an onshore independant skilled application (885) with my occupation now not on the new sol which placed me in priority no.5. We have been living in Melbourne since then on a bridging visa and both of us have jobs in our nominated occupations. We were contacted by a co recently for the 475 visa which is great but puts us in some sort of hardship as if granted the visa we would need to quit our jobs which we are doing really well at, terminate our rental agreement early incurring financial losses and travel overseas to await the decision of the visa, and, since my wife is 35 weeks pregnant also make the move with a baby with no income.Is there any possibility of requesting my 885 visa be processed sooner taking into consideration our circumstances?

    • Dear Khalil

      Thanks for your question. We are unable to comment on specific cases on this blog, and as always, if you have concerns regarding your 475 case, you should contact your case officer.

      Case officers are not able to respond to requests to process individual cases outside of the order set out in the Minister’s processing priority arrangements.

      Please continue to check the allocation dates for your 885 on our website.

  16. Hi,
    I checked the table every 2 weeks and Skilled – Sponsored (Residence) subclass 886 online- not been updated since 2 weeks ago. ( 22 Dec 2008 )
    I applied 886 online on 21Jan 2010, because of the low number of available visa places remaining, is this mean I would not get a case officer this yeear?
    thanks

    • The allocation of Skilled Australian Sponsored cases lodged in and outside Australia has been limited due to there being a low number of available visa places remaining this program year.

      Check out some of the other responses I’ve posted recently for more information and keep an eye on the allocation page on our website.

  17. I want to ask a generalized question that how much time DIAC takes after medicals and PCC for grant of visa for skill independent subclass 175 visa for Pakistani applicants. Please provide me some information as I have been waiting for 6 months after submitting my medicals and PCC. Thanks

    • Hi Shahid,

      Every case is different. The department may still need to undertake other checking in respect of a case that may delay a decision. Case officers will make a decision when all information is at hand and according to how many places are left in specific visa categories.

  18. I am confused with this “number of places within specific categories” under 886 visa. so if I apply for 886 under state sponsorship later this year and my occupation is on SOL 1 (which means priority group 3), does this mean my application wont be allocated to a case officer this year? but it says case officer will be allocated within 4 weeks of lodgement on your website. would this mean its better to apply for an 885 priority 4 instead? could you please clarify me
    thanks

  19. Hi Karin, first of all thanks for helping us out here providing this precious information,
    I applied July 2009 886 family sponsored and now according to this blog n the diac website they r putting hold on this particular subclass.
    Can u help me by proving some info such as
    • are they going to process my application in the new financial year 2012-13.
    • how many 886 family sponsored gsm are waiting since 22 dec 2009?
    Much appreciate for your help and support

    • I think there is typo in your last question, is in it should be 22 Dec 2008 instead of 2009.

    • Thanks Leo

      We can’t confirm when individual cases will be allocated because this depends on when you applied and how many applications are received in higher priority groups. The allocation page will continue to be updated, and if you’ve been looking at the page regularly you would have seen that the reforms to skilled migration have gone some way in addressing the issue of the long wait times for those of you in Priority Group 5.

      In relation to your other question about the number of 886 Family Sponsored applications are waiting to be allocated – we are not in the position to run this data based on particular points in time, but you should have a look at the update provided on our website which has useful information: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/gsm-priority5-processing.htm

  20. Hi Karin,

    A short question for you,

    When does the program year 2012-2013 start and when does 2011-2012 program year end?

    Thanks
    Chitra

    • Hi Chitra, I just like any blog reader and not from the department. But i m pretty sure that it is from july’12 to july’13…and same evry year as it is called financial year…

    • Thanks Mac – you are correct. The new program year will start from 1 July 2012 and runs until 30 June 2013.

  21. Karin can you also shed some light upon the number of Independent Skilled ( 885 & 175 )sub class applications processed so far.

    Thanks

    • Hi Sam

      As at the end of March 2012, approximately 11,710 Subclass 885 and 15,680 Subclass 175 Skilled Independent visa’s had been granted in the 2011-2012 migration program.

  22. Dear Karin,

    I am 885 cat 5 sept 2009 applicant and unfortunatly married at this stage of waiting.The multi- million dollar question is any idea ,when i will get processed.For god sake please dont give me general answer .
    I would really appreciate your kind response in this regard.Because there are lots of changes going on and my mind is going into the negative thinking (like Cap And Cease Of priority 5 885 applicant)

    PLEASE HELP

    • Hsingh

      We are not in the position to give you specific information about your application – the timing of processing depends on how many future applications we receive at a higher priority level. I appreciate this is frustrating, but please understand that our efforts to communicate with you via this blog and the department’s website are so we can provide you with as much information as possible. The allocation table has been published on our website specifically so that applicants can see the progress we have been making in allocating the priority 5 applications.

  23. I am 176 (Family Sponsored) applicant. I applied my visa on 31 January 2011. I was allocated CO on 21 Sep 2011 and my security checked initiated in the same month according to my case officer.

    My question is would my visa decision be effected???? or i can get grant in this year?

    • Thanks for your question. Cases will be decided based on the numbers of available places in particular visa categories.

      If the set annual planning levels are met in a particular skilled migration category the department is obliged to suspend granting these visa categories until there are available places in the following program year.

  24. Hi Karin,
    I received my VIC SS only recently. It is valid for four months. The communication from VIC states that the sponsorship will be honoured even if there are any DIAC changes. My query is – suppose the SOL 2012 removes my occupation, can I still use my state sponsorship to apply under 190?

  25. hello Karin.
    I know that my previous question was a little hard or too confused to answer.
    I know that diac can understand how it is difficult to remain in a state of waiting for four years.
    I would request this information in the name of all persones who are in the same as me.
    I would like to know whether the applicants in Subclass of 176 family sponsored “offshore” who is already waiting for over four years now, will be process next Financial year or Will There Be a very long wait still ahead?
    And when diac say’s “The allocation of Priority Group 5 applications lodged outside Australia is expected to continue in general date of lodgement order throughout the 2012-13 Migration Program year in line with available Migration Program places in the specific GSM visa categories.”
    Does this mean that” as from july 2012 all onshores and offshores applicant in category 5 in all subclasses Will be processs on the same level of equality which mean “been process in date of logement order!”
    because itis published that “Priority Group 5 applications lodged outside Australia is expected to “continue” in general date of lodgement order throughout the 2012-13 Migration Program”
    it is a bit confusing when we read “is expected to continue in general date of lodgement order “as we know it havent start in general date of logement!
    thanks for taking time to give some clarification, every information is very usefull for us, it can somehow help us in our wating situation.
    thanks

    • Hi Daniel – the information we provide is to try to inform you as much as possible about how visa processing works. We just can’t confirm when individual cases will be allocated because this depends on when you applied and how many applications are received in the future in higher priority groups. The allocation page will continue to be updated, so that’s the best place to check for updates.

  26. Hi, I am interested to know Is there any priority processing arrangement for 885 visa applicants under cat 4. How long will it take to finalise 885 visa applications for students under transitional arrangements. Thanks

  27. Hi Karin,

    First of all thanks for bringing up one of the most (if not the most) important topic for prospective Migrants. I appreciate steps taken by DIAC last year that really helps applicants to have some tentative visibility on how & when their application will be allocated (allocation dates for skilled visa applications).

    Now my question is about applicants who are already processed/assessed and have all required documents checklist MET (including PCC), Medical finalized but only waiting for so called ‘Security Checks’ outcome. For example, while I am a Priority group 3 applicant in September 2011 still waiting for ‘Security Check’ outcome, I have seen lately most of the Priority group 4 applicants (from where I come) who applied as late as November 2011 (CO allocated in April 2012) already getting grants. This shows Priority Group processing is not applicable in so-called ‘checks’ outcome.

    So my concern is, as we near the end of annual planning level numbers, what will happen to Priority Group 3 Applicants who are only just waiting for Security checks outcome. Could you comment if those ‘Decision-ready’ Priority Group 3 applicants (with all checklist MET, Medical finalized) who are only waiting for ‘Checks’ outcome are taken into account as ‘processed’ application ? If not, can we expect to get some benefit of Priority Group in processing of Checks outcome as well. I know checks outcome will be Positive one, sooner or later.

    Thanks

    • Thanks for your question.

      The priority processing arrangements relate to the order in which a visa application is allocated to a case officer. Individual applications are then processed, and depending on the information provided (and the individuals situation) some applications will be finalised ahead of others.

      Sometimes, a decision cannot be made because we are waiting for further information. Once this information is received by the department, the processing of your application will continue.

    • Hi Karin,

      Thanks for your response. Very much appreciated.

      Do you have number of un-finalized State/Territory sponsored Application (till April 2012).

      If I understood correctly:
      Planned level of State/Territory sponsored 2011-12 is: 24k
      Processed (=Finalized upto March 2012) is: 18k
      PG 5 State sponsored (being allocated) is: 3k (including 900 off-shore)

  28. Dear Karin

    I and my family members have applied in December 2009 under subclass 176 (family sponsored) at DIAC office, Adelaide itself and now transferred in Priority List-5, please let us know by when this case would be finally taken care off as the waiting period is almost taking so long and becoming frustrating.

    Hoping for an early and favorable revert from your goodself.

    Thanks
    Manju Bala and family
    India

    • Manju

      This blog post was written to inform people that we would need to limit the allocation of visa applications in the skilled Australian sponsored categories this program year because there are only a few places remaining in this visa category. I think the blog post and some of the other responses explain why this has occurred. This will affect your subclass 176 family sponsored application and unfortunately we just can’t confirm when your individual case will be allocated. This will depend on when you applied and how many applications are received in the future in higher priority groups. The allocation page will continue to be updated, so that’s the best place to check for updates.

  29. Hi,

    I am in process of applying for my 886 (state/territory nominated) visa. My question is, for application made prior/after July 1, 2012, will the state/territory nomination lose its Priority Processing Group 3 category?

    Or will it be pushed down, as PG5 is being processed with a higher priority due to lack of applications in the PG3 for the program year 2011-2012.

    This might seem a silly question. Please respond.

    Thanks.

    • Arin, not a silly question at all. If you apply for a subclass 886 visa and you are nominated by a state or territory government, your application will be allocated ahead of the lower priority groups. At the moment these applications are being allocated within four weeks of lodgement.

  30. Hi! I lodge my visa last dec 2009 priority 5 as sponsored skilled visa until now no updates & my uncle sponsored me as well so I just wanna know how long still I have to wait I’m I was still waiting 2 yrs & 5 months already still in decision .I still calling for up dates cause this is for permanent residence I had a dependent my husband & daughter there still in my country and it’s so long to wait my daughter needs me. I wish I’ve been here long I hope I can get a better justice to live a better life now.

  31. Hi Karin
    As you told there are around 900 p5 offshore state sponsored cases waiting .could you Plz give an idea how many onshore p5 state sponsored cases waiting for allocation and will they allocate these cases by lodgement date.
    Thanx.

  32. Hi Karen,
    As you said the immigration has limited the number of Family sponsored visas of group 4 for this program year. They have mentioned 12 sept 2011 as the date of latest allocation of case officer. Does this mean that they stopped processing further applications? I have placed 475 family sponsored visa on 23 rd December 2011. So I am not sure when the next program year will begin and When will the remaining applications be assessed?

    • Hi Shri

      The allocation of P4 family sponsored applications lodged in and outside Australia has been limited due to there being a low number of available visa places remaining this program year. Each program year runs from 01 July through to 30 June of the following year. While specific timeframes as to when your application will be allocated can not be given, we will continue to provide you and other applicants as much information as possible via the allocation page on our website.

  33. Hi Karin.

    Thank you for the news.

    I would like to ask you about something that

    - Can’t you tell that how many applications remain for this quota?

    - Do you think that I will be allocating a case officer in this program year? (it was on 27/Feb/2009 , Hairdressing 886 family sponsored)

    Sorry for my bad English but I hope you will understand what I am inquirying about..

    I am very anxious because this happened when it’s almost my turn.

    Your reply will be really appreciated.

    Thank you

    • One more question that

      -Is the DIAC going to suspend the applications from 1/Jul/2009?

  34. Hi,

    This blog says “For example, in this (2011-2012) program year there has been a lower number of applications lodged under a state migration plan (priority group 3) than anticipated when government originally set the planning levels. To meet the set levels for this part of the program we have allocated some of the priority group 5 applications in greater numbers.”

    Is this mean if applications lodged under a state migration plan (priority group 3) are lower than anticipated, Immigration may also allocate some quota to Group 5 886 Family Sponsored???

    As for Financial Year 2010- 2011, Anticipated Quota for 886 Famliy Sponsored were 3500, however the actual outcome were 9117.

    please advise

    Thank you

  35. I would like to express my extreme disappointment that yet again Australian Family sponsored (886)applicants have been treated in such a disgraceful manner. I find it ridiculous that I have been working full time in Australia since graduating in 2009 (under my nominated occupation might I add), paying taxes to a government who wont even afford me the right of leaving the country for a holiday without having to go through the expense and time consuming process of applying for a Bridging Visa B. I am a British national whose entire immediate family are either dual Australian/British citizens, or about to become permanent residents under the defacto visa subclass. Yet despite this I still have no idea when I will be granted my permanent residency, despite nearly 3 years of waiting. Its a complete joke – the allocation of places to family sponsored applicants should higher and if you have doubts about their ability to ‘integrate’ into society and find work in their nominated occupation then they should be at least afforded the opportunity to prove that they have successfully done this – especially those of us already onshore, paying taxes!

  36. Hi Karin,

    Please advise -

    1) Till what date/month has DIAC allocated Case Officers for category 176 (Skilled, Relative Sponsored).
    2) How many applications are left in category 176 (Skilled, Relative Sponsored) as of today.
    3) Is this category currently on hold.

    Warm Regards…

    • The allocation of Skilled Australian Sponsored cases lodged in and outside Australia has been limited due to there being a low number of available visa places remaining this program year. In relation to your other question about the number of applications left – we are not in the position to run this data based on particular points in time, but you should have a look at the update provided on our website which has useful information: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/gsm-priority5-processing.htm

  37. Hi Karin
    I applied visa 886 (family sponsor) on 25 june 2010 with valid IELTS. Now it is going to expire on 5 may 2012.i am still waiting my decision . Do i need to attempet the IELTS again or not ? please reply

    • Hi Preet

      We don’t answer case specific questions here, but this answer might help other applicants. You are not required to provide another IELTS test. You will meet the English requirement as long as you achieved the required score, in a test conducted not more than 2 years before the day on which the application was lodged.

  38. hi

    I have applied to skilled migrant 885, 2010 july, and currently I am under p5

    I have done some numbers according to figures I found from this web site and immi web site.

    2011 – 2012 skilled independent budget 44350

    As at 13 April 2012, A further 21 471 Priority Group 5 cases are awaiting allocation.

    As at the end of March 2012, approximately 11,710 Subclass 885 and 15,680 Subclass 175 Skilled Independent visa’s had been granted in the 2011-2012 migration program.

    which means approximately 44350 ( 11750 + 15680 ) = 16920
    there are 16920 visas left for this programme year (skill migrant) ?

    could you please advice us how much skilled independent visas awaiting allocation P5 , according to my understand it must be less than 15000 , as whole P5 is 21471, am I correct ??

    I know p5 processing depend on the p4 visa volume, can you please demonstrate you idea according to above numbers ?is there still a large volume of P4 skilled migrant visas coming ??

    how much visa will they process for p5 skill migrant for this program year ?

    Please explain

    • Nash

      You are not comparing the same things which has created a couple of misunderstandings that are causing you confusion here. A case contains one primary applicant and their family members, so 21,000 cases can end up being a lot more than 21,000 visas. Also the reference to 21,471 you refer to on the website was under the heading “In Australia”. There were also 14,914 Priority Group 5 cases mentioned under the heading “Outside Australia”.

      Also, once a case is allocated to a case officer, there is still processing to do, so all cases could be allocated from a particular category but it could be some time before they are all decided and counted towards a program place.

      To answer your question though, there are not many Priority Group 4 applications that have not yet been allocated (about 1800) which is why Priority Group 5 applications have been allocated for some months now. You can certainly expect some Priority Group 5 visas to be granted this year – we won’t try to estimate the precise number because that is a function of both future applications, as you point out, and also how fast applications move from the allocation stage to the finalisation stage.

  39. Hi,

    On the DIAC website, it stated the following for the onshore priority group 5 applications,

    “As at 13 April 2012, all clients who lodged their application before 5 January 2009 have been contacted by their case officer. A further 21 471 Priority Group 5 cases are awaiting allocation.”

    Could you please let us know how many priority group 5 applications are lodged in 2009?

    Thanks!

  40. Hi Karin

    Thanks a lot for providing information in this blog. As you know lot of applicants are very anxious and frustrated, however, we need to appreciate your contribution which I am really grateful.

    I would be completing Masters in Information Systems in June. If SOL change in July, will it have any effect on the 485 visa? If any IT occupations would not be there in the New SOL will I not be able to apply for TR in July?

    However, as you mentioned before, we are able to apply for PR till end of this year, so the upcoming SOL will not have any affect on the PR application?

    I have applied in 2008 under 475 (relative sponsor), however when I read your answers I felt that it may not process for a while since the quota is used. When the 2011-2012 financial year is over, from 1st of July there should be a quota in the new financial year. Will they allocate for Priority group 5 or for new applicants. If they do so we will have to wait longer. I mean if they quota goes to Group 3 or 4.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Eua,

      Thanks for following the Migration Blog and for your comment. To answer your first question, one of the requirements for the subclass 485 visa is that you nominate an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL). If your occupation is not on the SOL in effect at the time you make your application, you will not be eligible for this visa.

      Similarly, to be granted a permanent General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa you must nominate an occupation on the SOL in effect at the time you make your application.

      The exception to this is if you have access to transitional arrangements. Transitional arrangements are in place for people who held a certain Student visa, or held or had applied for a subclass 485 visa, on 8 February 2010, the day that changes to the skilled migration program were announced. More information about transitional arrangements can be found on our website at:
      http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/transitional

      You also mentioned your subclass 475 visa application. Each program year runs from 01 July through to 30 June of the following year. In the first instance applications are allocated according to the priority processing direction. We are unable to give a specific timeframe as to when your application will be allocated as this depends on when you applied and how many applications are received in higher priority groups.

  41. Hi Karen,
    I was just reading going through this site and I must say I appreciate the time and patience you have taken to answer each and everyone questions .Your mails have helped a lot of people with their frustration of not knowing what is happening. It really means a lot.
    Thank you
    Beena

    • I was about to post the same messege as Beena. Also i wish DIAC BLOGs had some kind of LIKE button as in Facebook or Youtube. This one could easily become ‘BLOG of the Year 2011-12′ here.

      Thank You Karin for Patiently answering, I know there are anxious and perhaps disappointed applicants waiting in the queue for one reason or the other (including me), but at least from this BLOG we have some meaningful data.

      Thanks again Karin.

  42. Hi,

    Would you be able to let us know how many onshore priority group 4 applications(subclass 885) had been lodged in the financial year 2011-2012?

    Thanks!

  43. I understood that offshore Category 5 were going to be processed in date order. It now appears that SS are being given priority over Family Sponsored. Our daughter (in UK) applied in Oct 2008. At that time, she was advised to apply for 475 family sponsorship as the waiting time was the shortest (7 months!) and she got extra points with our sponsorship. She applied in good faith and should have been here 3 years ago. By the time all the changes started to happen she missed the chance of changing to SS (by 1 month). I agree with others that English speaking, degree qualified applicants, with a home to come to, will settle much quicker and contribute to the Australian economy much better than many others. She is very employable, having been offered numerous jobs here in Adelaide, but cannot find anyone willing to appoint her through the Employer Sponsored route. Can you please tell me why Family Sponsored are now virtually being ignored and when they will start to be treated with the respect they deserve?

  44. Do you think that after the 1st July DIAC will start processing offshore PG5? As on onshore PG5 is up to 27 Jan 2009 for 885 and 22 Dec 2008 for 886 and 487.

    What is the earliest lodgement date of a PG5 offshore applicant?

    Will DIAC process ALL onshore PG5 before starting offshore PG5 or will they be processed together in date order?

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for your question. Each program year runs from 01 July through to 30 June of the following year. In the first instance, visa applications are allocated according to the priority processing direction. We are unable to give a specific timeframe as to when applications will be allocated as this depends on when an application was lodged and how many applications are received in higher priority groups. Priority Group 5 applications will be allocated in date lodgement order from the earliest date onhand. Please visit the allocation dates page on the website for more up to date information.

      http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/estimated-allocation-times.htm

  45. Hi karin

    I’m wondering if you could shed some light on how many 886 family sponsored applications are on hold now

    Thanks and warm regards

  46. Hi, Karin,

    You just said as at the end of March 2012, approximately 11,710 Subclass 885 and 15,680 Subclass 175 Skilled Independent visa’s had been granted in the 2011-2012 migration program. There are 44,350 planning places in the Migration Program 2011-2012 for Skilled Independent. Does it mean there will be 16,960 visas of 175 and 885 to be granted by the end of June 2012?

    Thanks.

  47. Hi Karin,

    with reference to my previous question.May 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you for your answer, and appreciate.

    I knew, 21471 cases in P5 waiting for allocation only onshore. I ignore off shore because my understanding was immigration is not going to touch P5 off shore cases for this financial year , My question was targeting only this financial year , I am correct please ? ?
    can you give me a number for P5 skilled independent migrant cases waiting for allocation please ??

  48. Hi,

    I have applied for 485 Visa on 28 July 2011.

    The online status was changed to ‘application being processed further’.

    Just wondering when the visa can be expected to be granted?

  49. hi Karin,

    will the Diac start allocation of p5 886 australian sponsered straight after 1 july when new program year start as you said before that few places rmaining in this visa subclass in 2011/12 program year. i applied on 1 may 2009 how long i have to wait. plz reply.thanks

    • Hi Mandeep

      You may not have seen my response to a very similar question earlier. I’ve copied it here for your information:

      Each program year runs from 01 July through to 30 June of the following year. In the first instance, visa applications are allocated according to the priority processing direction. We are unable to give a specific timeframe as to when applications will be allocated as this depends on when an application was lodged and how many applications are received in higher priority groups. Priority Group 5 applications will be allocated in date lodgement order from the earliest date onhand. Please visit the allocation dates page on the website for more up to date information.

      http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/estimated-allocation-times.htm

  50. Hello Karin,

    I am a nurse. I have a skills assessments from 2009.

    I have been told that the Department will accept my expired assessment. But what I am confused about is if the assessment is still ok even though the assessing authority has changed its name?

    IE: My assessment is from the ANMC in 2009. This has a 2 year expiry date. I have been told that this is ok. But, the ANMC is now known as ANMAC.

    Does that mean that the assessment is not acceptable because ANMAC is now the skills assessment authority?

    Would you have any idea if the two assessment bodies would be deemed to be the same? Or if a new assessment would have to be applied for as they are not, I think, identical?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Diane.

    • Hi Diane,

      Thanks for your question. An assessing authority changing its name will not affect the validity of the skills assessment.

  51. dear sir I had applied 487 visa family sponsored visa in 2009 .now I knew that there is limitation on this program year.can you plZ let us clear how long should we wait??

    • Alex

      The Australian Government sets planning levels for the migration program, including a set number of places within specific categories. Allocation of Family Sponsored applications lodged in and outside Australia has been limited due to there being a low number of available visa places remaining this program year. We are not in the position to give you specific information about your application – the timing of processing depends on how many future applications we receive at a higher priority level.

  52. Karin,

    I have applied for a 175 visa and already been allocated a CO.

    In fact, I have already presented the medicals, the police records and paid the second VAC about a month ago.

    If I still don’t get the grant it may be caused by the 175 quota being reached?

    If that’s so, is wise to expect a grant after July 1st?

    Thanks!

    • Thanks for your question Gabriel.

      We are unable to give case specific advice in this forum. You will need to contact your case officer for further information.

  53. Hi

    I might be asking the obvious, but I’m just very anxious to get my Visa application underway (as I’m sure many of us P5 applicants are!). When the allocation date updates says P5 176 applicants can expect to hear from a CO by 31 May 2012, does that mean that even if I applied as recently as October 2011 I will hear from a CO by then? Thanks for all the valuable advice on this blog :)

    • Thanks for your question cxb. We are unable to comment on your specific case in this forum. However the allocation dates page on our website provides up to date information on when we will begin allocating certain applications.

  54. I found that there are few questions from 175 offshore applicants. In fact, we are very anxious to know more information about the processing of our applications. In the latest update about the allocation, offshore G5 state and Australian-sponsored applicants are specifically notified about the arrangements for them, but for us 175, there is only a change from “**” to “yet to commerce”. And there are only 1800 cases for G4 offshore, so we expect that our applications will be processed, or at least been allocated about two weeks later, or we still have to wait till July after onshore 885 has been processed for more than a half year! Some of us have waited for five years, and it is really unfair. We do have faith that is why we have kept for so long time, even having faith is hard when the rules change so often. Whether you can answer my question or not, thank you again for your time! Best Regards,

    • Thanks for your comment Ken. I note your concern about the length of time taken to process visa applications in priority group 5. The Department appreciates that migration is a major life decision that can be emotionally and financially stressful for applicants.

      The skilled migration program is designed to meet skills needs in the Australian labour market and strengthen the whole economy. Requirements for skilled migration may change from time to time in response to Australia’s changing economic needs. Priority processing ensures that the economy gets the skills it needs now, rather than those of the visa applicants who applied first.

      You can keep up to date with the latest allocation information on the allocation dates page of our website:
      http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/estimated-allocation-times.htm

  55. Hi,

    I have applied for 475 Visa (Regional Sponsored-Northern Inland,NSW) in the month of November 2009.

    Please confirm whether my case will be allocating to Case Officer before 31 may 2012 as part of allocating Priority 5 applications in this program year (2011-2012)

    Thanks ,
    Shiju Thomas

  56. Hi Karin,

    Thank you for patiently responding to all our queries:

    a. Is it possible that DIAC will stop accepting 175 or 176 (State Sponsored) Applications before July 1?

    b. Approximately when will DIAC be announcing the new SOL-1 /SOL-2 with effect from 1-Jul-2012?

    • Hi Girish,

      The subclass 175 and subclass 176 visas will remain open to new applicants until 30 June 2012.

      When information becomes available about the annual update to the skilled occupation list (SOL) it will be provided on the Department’s website. The new SOL will be effective from 1 July 2012.

  57. Hi, Karin
    I have heard a lot of news about the immigration policy recently. To be honest, I am really confuse right now. Here is my situation, I have already hold a 573 visa before 8/2/2012 and I will graduate on JUNE. I just wonder it is true or not the 885 visa will remain open to candidates like me until the end of 2012? looking forward to your reply, thank you

  58. Could you please provide us some estimate/ guesstimate that how many onshore relative sponsoreds are in pipeline/waiting allocation. I entreat you please. This can help us to plan our future course. Please don’t give general answer that it is not possible for us to calculate how many applications are waiting allocation. I am Australian Citizen and you can feel the frustration I am having right now.
    Cheers!
    I hope you will come up some numbers.

  59. Hi, I applied my SIR visa 475 on 21st Jan 2009 and still waiting for case officer but till now no one contacted me, could you tell me where gonna they allot me CO coz frustrating waiting so many years Thank you very much

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