The skills shortage in Australia is continuing to produce a range of responses, including by governments, private enterprise, and the education sector. Our firm has responded by publishing a Special Collection on recruitment and employment law.

We turn now to migration law. Migration law expert, Paul Hense (pictured), has accepted our invitation to provide a series  of reports. We begin with his overview of key changes.

From 1 September 2007 a new points system has been introduced for those seeking skilled migration to Australia under the General Skilled Migration Program. It applies to a wide range of applicants.

Independent migration applicants

Although the number of points needed for independent applicants remains unchanged at 120, some may find it easier to obtain them.

Maximum points for English is now 25 (up from 20). To obtain this, an applicant will need to obtain a score of seven in each of the four IELTS parts. IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System.

Those who have had 12 months recent Australian work experience will now obtain 10 points, up from 5 points previously.

Applicants sponsored by relatives in Australia only need to obtain 100 points, 20 points less than a non-sponsored or independent applicant. Relatives include children, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles.

Gay and lesbian migration applicants

Also from 1 September, gay and lesbian (known as interdependent) partners can be included for migration as part of the application.

Student migration applicants

There are also benefits for applicants for permanent residence after studying in Australian for two years for a degree, diploma or trade certificate.

The major benefit is that a student now may study a so-called 50 point profession and apply for permanent residency (if passing the points test). An example of such a profession is business management, which was previously excluded from this arrangement.



Paul Hense BA, LLB, BSW (University of Sydney), Principal, Paul Hense Migration Lawyers

Tel +61 402 448 449  |  Email:

Mr Hense has been a migration lawyer since 1994. He has run a number of landmark cases, including before the High Court of Australia. He frequently represents clients before the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal. He has lectured for the University of NSW on refugee law and for the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre.  From 1990 and until recently he was a volunteer with the Immigration Advice and Rights Service. Previously he was a Senior Research Officer for the Australian Taxation Office.

Noric Dilanchian