New ITA Data now published for 2018-19
3 Aug 2018
After a poor year of invitations in the Australian financial year 2017-18, the Department of Immigration has finally published their data set for the first round of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) this new financial year, thereby declaring their intention for 2018-19.
The 2017-18 year closed with as little as 610 Invites a month for the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) and Skilled Regional Family Sponsored (subclass 489) visas combined. The year also finished with a practical or false points threshold of 75 points for subclass 189 instead of the theoretical threshold of 60 points. This meant that nobody below 75 points got invited in the closing months of ITA rounds in 2017-18. Likewise, for the subclass 489 visa category, the practical threshold ended as high as 80 points.
With the Australian financial year beginning on 1st of July 2018, the Australian migration market was eager to know what the Department’s intention was going to be for the new year, especially since they had increased the skilled migration points threshold from 60 to 65 points. The first round of the 2018-19 Australian financial year was held on the 11th of July 2018, and it was frustrating for all concerned to see that the Department did not publish their data for this crucial round of ITAs promptly. The precedent has been for them to publish the ITA data for a particular round two weeks later at the next round, and so we expected this to occur on the 25th of July. However, in the interim, the Department stated that they would now only conduct ITAs monthly, instead of every two weeks, and had still not updated, or published the much-anticipated 11th of July data set. In fact, and to the frustration of all prospective migrants, the invitation section of their website was grossly out of date. With pressure being applied from those concerned, especially by Registered Migration Agents (such as ourselves), the Department has finally published their first set of 2018-19 figures on the 3rd of August 2018.
Subclass 489 Family Analysis
The new data set does not seem to show any signs of improvement with this stream of migration, only 10 invites were given for subclass 489 (family), and the practical points cap is still 80 points! This will mean long waits in the EOI pool for family-sponsored applicants, which is most unfortunate.
Subclass 189 Analysis
At a quick glance, it would seem that whilst there was a slight improvement in ITA numbers increasing to 1000 (for subclass189) and the false threshold now being 70 points, that not much had changed. On closer inspection, however, there is a significant change to what the Department tried to do in 2017-18 with the pro rata occupations (occupations in high demand). Last year the pro rata points caps started relatively low and the Department seemed to be overly focused on inviting a set proportion of these occupations in each round. This resulted in approximately 75% of ITA’s going to pro rata occupations in most ITA rounds of 2017-18, which meant that the other or standard occupations were losing out. With the publication of the new data set it would seem the Department have made a significant shift away from their pro rata focus and have, on the whole, increased these pro rata points caps. Whilst this does not bode well for pro rata applicants, this is significant news for standard applicants, as the proportion of pro rata occupations invited in this round have dropped from around 75% to a mere 18%.
This move by the Department has opened things up for the standard occupations quite dramatically and is quite a positive shift for non-pro rata applicants. This can be quite clearly seen by looking at their ITA data in conjunction with their occupations ceiling data. We commend the Department for publishing this data and for setting considerably fairer parameters (on the whole). If the Department continue invitation rounds using their 'new recipe’ we can expect to see well over 60% of ITA’s in the next round (expected 11th August) being allocated to non-pro rata occupations. Going forward we estimate that subclass 189 invites could be coming in at 65 points later on in this financial year, bringing the false threshold in line with the legal threshold of 65 points. This would be great to see, and not out of the realms of impossibility. This is well within the Department’s control despite new ITA numbers of 1000, being very low in comparison to previous opening invitation rounds.
In conclusion, with the Department having now indicated their intention for the new financial year, the two most significant improvements to their ITA parameters are that they have increased the number of ITA’s by 400 per month, and have also increased the pro rata points caps for occupations in high demand (on average). This has opened things up considerably for other occupations and these changes alone have already brought down the false points threshold for subclass 189 by 5 points. Sadly, there is no change for subclass 489.
We expect that the Department will, at the very least, continue along these lines in the coming rounds, yet are still hopeful that they will open things up even more for prospective 189 migrants by increasing invite numbers even further. This will only be fair, as the Australian Migration Regulations intend for applicants with 65 points or more, on MLTSSL, to be able to apply for the skilled independent visa. For too long the Department had their ITA recipe slightly wrong, precluding many 189 applicants from being invited and thereby indirectly impacting the State Nomination systems. The new ITA strategy seems a lot more open and fair, and we look forward to seeing it work much better over the course of the coming year. We are particularly pleased for the majority of prospective migrants!
If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding the impact of the new ITA data set, or anything else visa related - please do not hesitate to contact us. You can call us at Immigration2oz HQ on 01483550914, or alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible