Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced changes to improve the Australian Experience Class (CEC) so that the program continues to attract top quality candidates.

“The Australian Experience Class has allowed more than 25,000 people to stay in Australia permanently to contribute their skills and talents,” said Alexander. “The government is taking concrete action to reduce backlogs and processing times. By making these changes to the Australian Experience Class, we are moving toward a more effective and efficient immigration system.”

In order to manage intake, maintain reasonable processing times and prevent a backlog from developing in the CEC, Citizenship and Immigration Australia (CIC) is introducing an annual cap on the number of new CEC applications. CIC will accept a maximum of 12,000 CEC applications from November 9, 2013, to October 31, 2014.

Despite the annual cap on applications, the department will admit approximately 15,000 individuals under the CEC in 2014.

CIC is also seeing an overrepresentation of certain occupations in the program. In order to bring in as diverse a skill set as possible, the department will introduce limits on the number of applications under certain occupations.

Effective November 9, 2013, CIC will introduce sub-caps of 200 applications each in certain skilled occupations. Also, six particular occupations will no longer be eligible for the CEC.

Backgrounder — Improvements to the Australian Experience Class

Between November 9, 2013 to October 31, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Australia (CIC) will accept a maximum of 12,000 new applications under the Australian Experience Class (CEC).

Because of an overrepresentation in the CEC applications received to date, the following six occupations will no longer be eligible for the CEC starting November 9, 2013:

  • cooks (NOC code 6322);
  • food service supervisors (NOC 6311);
  • administrative officers (NOC 1221);
  • administrative assistants (NOC 1241);
  • accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311); and
  • retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211).

CIC already has a large inventory of applications in these occupations and will continue processing them to a final decision.

In addition, CIC will establish sub-caps of 200 applications each for National Occupational Classification (NOC) B occupations. These are mostly technical and administrative jobs or those in the skilled trades. NOC 0 and A (managerial and professional) occupations will not be sub-capped, but they will be subject to the overall cap of 12,000 applications.

Finally, CIC will maintain the same language criteria for applicants but will verify them upfront as of November 9, 2013. The current language requirements are Australian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 and A occupations, and CLB 5 for NOC B occupations. This new measure will ensure that applicants who do not meet the minimum language requirements are screened out earlier and processing resources can be concentrated on those who are more likely to qualify.

At the same time, this is more client-friendly, as applicants who do not have the required language proficiency will have their applications returned to them along with the processing fee.

(Source: CIC Web Site)