A further signal that the SMPs are imminent in this MIA message received today:
Important GSM Decision Ready Checklist update
David Stewart, Program Director, General Skilled Migration, DIAC South Australia has provided the following advice to the MIA:
You will be aware that Brisbane General Skilled Migration (GSM) currently have a trial of a Decision Ready Checklist (DRC) which gives priority allocation to GSM eLodged onshore applications lodged by Registered Migration Agents (RMAs) that are declared via the DRC to be decision ready.
Currently only GSM applications in Priority 3 and those not subject to the Minister's Processing priority Direction can be lodged with the DRC.
When State Migration Plans (SMPs) are introduced, priority in allocation must be given to GSM applications in Priority 2 and from that time only Priority 2 applications and those not subject to the direction will be able to be lodged with the DRC. Any Priority 3 DRC applications not yet allocated at that time will be allocated only when all Priority 2 applications (DRC and non DRC) have been allocated and will be allocated in order of date of receipt, ie they will receive no priority.
This has the potential to inconvenience clients as there is a possibility that health and character clearances may expire before such applications are allocated and decided. You and your client should consider this in making any decision to lodge Priority 3 GSM applications with a DRC prior to the introduction of SMPs.
Stewart also provided answers to two questions from MIA National President Sharon Harris:
1. Do you have any idea of timing for the release of the SMPs? I assume from this notice that they may be any time soon.Nothing informed regarding the timing for release of the SMPs; just know that, as program requires 24,000 grants, we need to get going soon.
2. In relation to health clearances, as they are the most costly, would it be possible to consider further extension of the validity of healths if a person has not departed Australia?
Case officers would apply the flexibility allowed by policy regarding the extension of health and character checks in such circumstances. Note, we have allocated all Priority 3 onshore applications received before 1 May 2009, so it will be some time before we start processing cases lodged in late 2010.
And worth noting that merely being in a state's group of sponsored applicants is no guarantee - except possibly for the ACT - that your occupation will be in the SMP for your state for this program year or that DIAC will reach your occupation in this program year. Each SMP is expected to include quotas for occupations and in some cases a file will be processed more quickly just by virtue of being a Schedule 3 occupation.
But good luck to everyone.