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October 7, 2022

After Thursday’s 189 visa invitation round, many temporary resident onshore permanent residency visa hopefuls felt betrayed by the Immigration Department.

For the first time in the history of the 189 Visa offshore Visa applicants were given priority over onshore applicants despite thousands of onshore applicants having higher points.

Recently as we have reported onshore visa applicants and those who are looking for a permanent visa pathway have had a rough time the last couple of years.

Those who have already lodged visa applications have been waiting years to be processed and then those who are looking for pathways to apply have been largely ignored by the department by the restriction of quotas and restricted state sponsorship lists.

Those who have been onshore during the pandemic and still not offered a pathway to PR feel resentful for their lost opportunities even though many have helped us during the pandemic period by doing jobs that many Australians did not want to do.

If it wasn’t bad enough that the priority of visa processing is going towards offshore applicants while onshore applicants are waiting years.

Now even the limited number of invitations for the 189 visa are deliberately given preference to offshore applicants over onshore applicants.

This has created a huge uproar within the temporary residency community many potential Visa applicants are being overlooked for an invitation. Whilst the 189 Visa has been operating on a targeted selection mode since the beginning of the pandemic, this is the first time we have seen some EOI’s being deliberately overlooked simply because they are onshore.

This is a further slap in the face to those international students and temporary resident Visa holders who have supported Australia during the pandemic period but are treated like second-class residents in Australia.

At first, it was difficult to ascertain what was going on with these invitation rounds however a few migration agents started reporting on the same unusual pattern of invitations.

However, during the Migration Alliance National Migration Conference, a senior DOHA official, Miss Karen Maiser, Assistant Secretary of the Skilled Visa Branch confirmed the department had indeed given preference to offshore applicants. She stated;

“Yesterday some 12,000 more invitations were sent out focused on Engineering, Health Care and Educational occupations. Whilst there is a strong focus on those offshore skilled migrants to bring in more workers to help ease workforce shortages, regular invitation rounds issued through skill select will continue to include both onshore and offshore candidates.”

Many former international students are now considering leaving Australia feeling they may have more opportunities for an invitation and faster visa processing if they are considered offshore applicants.

In reality, this new policy of inviting offshore applicants in preference to onshore applicants may in fact create a worse situation for Australia in its efforts to battle the skills shortages.

The policy will likely be successful create a scenario where more people leave Australia in the hope of receiving an invitation than the number of invitations issued to offshore applicants.

Overall it will create a net loss to Australia of skilled workers just at the time when we need them the most.

It is also crucial to remember that, for those who do receive these invitations only a percentage of them will end up coming to Australia anyway and even if they plan to it may be years before they arrive.

It is possible that whoever thought this was a bright idea within the DOHA maybe facing looking for another public service position.

A word of caution here though to those thinking going offshore may be more beneficial to receive an invitation.

The DOHA is not releasing the criteria for these targeted selections of offshore applicants. 

It may be possible they are being targeted for their significant work experience in their nominated occupations.

There is no guarantee that just by going offshore you will be targeted in their selection process as well.

We will be covering this story in our Sunday edition of Australian immigration news on our YouTube channel

Karl Konrad



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