Skilled visas are allocated each financial year by a system of quotas. This is to allow the government to manage visa places annually in accordance with economic and social priorities.
Quotas for the 2012/2013 financial year were recently published by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The system of allocating visas to visa applicants under the skilled migration program is called cap and queue. The ‘cap’ part is the limit of places per category, such as 10,000 ENS visas.
The ‘queue’ part of the system is simply the fact that visa applicants who have successfully applied for a skilled visa, such as subclass 186 ENS, will not be granted the visa if they are applicant 10,001 in the above example. They will, however, be the first applicant to be granted the visa in the following financial year.
Allocation of places is based on ‘first in first come’.
There is a slight risk to the applicant that priorities may change for the Australian government and more spots allocated to other visa sub-classes or categories. The change in quotas does not, however, affect eligibility criteria as applications are assessed on the criteria in migration law at the time of application.
If you have any concerns contact a registered migration agent or migration lawyer.