Finally the ACT government has released its new system for selecting prospective migrants for granting them a 190 PR visa. You can read the full guidelines here.

They have developed a complicated points based selection system called the Canberra Matrix Scoring. This Matrix system is so convoluted that it makes the immigration departments EOI look simplistic.

Occupation Ceilings/Cappings

For international students our advice is simple. If you going to study in the ACT simply to obtain sponsorship and permanent residency, then think twice. Whilst part of the selection criteria for you will increase to two years of study (in line with many other states), it is occupation capping/ceilings that may kill your dreams.

What occupation ceilings you ask? According to the guidelines on page 10;

“The ACT Government may cap the number of particular occupations nominated at any time.”

If you are going to place a cap on a particular occupation then this mean a ceiling must be set in order for such a decision to be made. Of course the ACT Chief Minister may wake up one morning and just decide he hates Accountants and cap them, but we would like to think decisions are made in a logical planned basis. This means occupations ceilings are likely to be planned for each financial year in advance.

To make matters worse the guidelines are also threatening some kind of “Pro Rata” system that the immigration department is using for Accountants and many Engineering and IT skills;

“Invitations may not be issued to candidates when the number of invitations previously issued for a particular occupation significantly exceeds demand.”

Today we spoke to the ACT Governments SMP Client Manger about the possibility of an occupation ceilings but she denied there will be any. She did point out however that the ACT government will not be publishing any information on this cap issue to the public.

If your occupation is capped it means your dreams for PR is finished.

Who in their right mind would spend two years and tens of thousands of dollars to study in the ACT and place themselves at risk of not being selected. The ACT government is showing yet again, contempt for international students by a failure in transparency. Yes the new points matrix looks promising that you can reach the minimum of 20 points criteria to lodge an application but it is simply a carrot to lure students to the ACT but in no way is providing any certainty.

In the last couple of years many students asked me whether they should go to Tasmania or to the ACT to study and gain sponsorship. I advised them that based on past experience you cannot trust the ACT government when they are going to slam the door in your face. Many students ignored this advice and went to study in the ACT and sadly for this is exactly what occurred.

Should you go?

My best advice again is to give the ACT a miss. Go to the NT or Tasmania which offers sponsorship for PR for all students who complete their two year program there. It is a competitive industry attracting international students and the money they bring to economy. States and territories need to realise they need to treat students with fairness, not just take their money and then dump them.

Of course all of this is just based upon my 20 years experience and seeing what has happened to international students over time. Good luck in what you decide to do.